Basic Math Facts: Study Guide for Elementary Math Students

Basic math facts are the building blocks of math education. Even when you start using a calculator in advanced math classes, you will still need basic math fact knowledge. For this reason, it's necessary to memorize basic math facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

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Basic Math Facts

Times Tables Rules

As you study, keep these basic rules in mind: any number multiplied by 0 is 0 (e.g. 3 x 0 = 0), and any number multiplied by 1 is that number (so 480 x 1 = 480). In addition, whenever you multiply something by 10, you can find the answer by adding a 0 to the number. For example, 45 x 10 = 450.

Division Tips

Dividing is basically the same as subtracting one group of numbers from another (usually larger) group. If you have the problem 12 ÷  3, you can ask yourself how many groups of 3 can be made from 12. You'll find that you can make 4 groups of 3, so you know that 12 ÷ 3 = 4.

You can practice visualizing basic division problems by emptying a box of toothpicks on your desk and acting out the division problem using them. To visualize the above example, start by selecting 12 toothpicks. Now, using those 12, make as many groups of 3 as you can. You'll find that you can make 4 groups. This trick can help you 'see' the math on worksheets and tests.

Review Problems

  1. 12 ÷ 4
  2. 34 + 9
  3. 8 x 12
  4. 67 - 42
  5. 34 ÷ 2
  6. 81 + 33
  7. 55 - 42
  8. 100 x 1
  9. 99 + 7
  10. 62 ÷ 10


  1. 3
  2. 43
  3. 96
  4. 25
  5. 17
  6. 114
  7. 13
  8. 100
  9. 106
  10. 6.2

Make Flashcards

One way to drill your math facts is by creating your own flashcards. First gather a stack of note cards or scraps of paper. On one side of each card, write a math fact problem, for instance 4 x 3. On the back, write the correct answer (in this case, 12). Make a large pile of these flashcards, and then go through the stack, picking up one card at a time and calling out the answer as fast as you can. Shuffle the cards before you start playing so that you'll get an unexpected mix of questions.

You can practice your flashcards with friends or siblings as well. You can either alternate asking questions, or have one person ask all the questions in one pile first, and then switch roles for the next pile. Sometimes a friendly competition for who will get the most correct answers can inspire greater success.

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