Learning How to Multiply: Easy Methods for Learning Multiplication

Learning how to multiply often involves a lot of memorization. Using multiplication tricks can help reduce the number of facts you have to memorize. Here are some tips to make multiplication easier.

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Basics of Multiplication

The Rule of Reversal

When you first see a multiplication chart, it may look like there are an endless number of facts to memorize. However, every multiplication fact can be written backwards, so there are only half as many as it first appears. For example, 5 x 4 = 20, but 4 x 5 = 20 as well. Likewise, 9 x 4 =36, and 4 x 9 = 36. So, when you learn the times tables for four, you are also learning part of the two times tables, the three times tables and all the way up. You still need to practice the times tables for each number (the threes, the fours, the nines, etc.) but, you'll find as you continue up, that there will be certain equations you will already have memorized from earlier.

Zeros, Ones and Tens

The times tables for zero, one and ten have easy tricks. Multiplying any number by zero equals zero (4 x 0 = 0, 200 x 0 = 0). Multiplying any number by one equals one, and anytime you multiply a number by ten, the answer is the original number with a zero added to it (for example, 9 x 1 = 9, 4 x 10 = 40 and 12 x 10 = 120). This means you really only have to learn the times tables for numbers 2-9.

Practice Problems

Here are some sample problems to practice with:

  1. 3 x 0
  2. 5 x 1
  3. 10 x 10
  4. 9 x 1
  5. 12 x 0


  1. 0
  2. 5
  3. 100
  4. 9
  5. 0

Learning to Multiply by Two

You can solve the two facts by doubling. Any number times two is the same as that number plus itself. Making the problem into an addition equation may make it easier for you to figure out. Instead of multiplying 4 x 2, you can think of it as 4 + 4. The answer either way is eight. The problem 16 x 2 is the same as 16 + 16, which equals 32. All multiplication problems can be transformed into addition problems, but none are as simple as the twos.

Count in Groups

If you practice counting to 100 in fives or tens, you can see how many fives, and how many tens equal 100. Because ten groups of ten make 100, 10 x 10 = 100. Similarly, 20 groups of five make 100, so 20 x 5 = 100. By counting up to other large numbers (like 200 or 80) in groups of fives or tens, you can see how multiplication works - it's all about groups of numbers.

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