Being able to perform arithmetic quickly and mentally can greatly boost your self-esteem, especially if you don’t consider yourself to be very good at Math. And, getting comfortable with arithmetic might just motivate you to dive deeper into other things mathematical.

This article presents nine ideas that will hopefully get you to look at arithmetic as a game, one in which you can see patterns among numbers and pick then apply the right trick to quickly doing the calculation.

The tricks in this article all involve multiplication.

Don’t be discouraged if the tricks seem difficult at first. Learn one trick at a time. Read the description, explanation, and examples several times for each technique you’re learning. Then make up some of your own examples and practice the technique.

As you learn and practice the tricks make sure you check your results by doing multiplication the way you’re used to, until the tricks start to become second nature. Checking your results is critically important: the last thing you want to do is learn the tricks incorrectly.

**1. Multiplying by 9, or 99, or 999**

Multiplying by 9 is really multiplying by 10-1.

So, 9×9 is just 9x(10-1) which is 9×10-9 which is 90-9 or 81.

Let’s try a harder example: 46×9 = 46×10-46 = 460-46 = 414.

One more example: 68×9 = 680-68 = 612.

To multiply by 99, you multiply by 100-1.

So, 46×99 = 46x(100-1) = 4600-46 = 4554.

Multiplying by 999 is similar to multiplying by 9 and by 99.

38×999 = 38x(1000-1) = 38000-38 = 37962.