Many people are intimidated by math, but learning to be good at math is a matter of putting in the effort. As with most things, the key to improvement lies in hard work and plenty of practice, along with the ability to do some memorization.

- Multiplication tables
- Practice problems
- Calculator

Start with memorization. Although the school system seems to discourage memorization as a way to learn spelling and math, it can work. Learn the multiplication tables through 10. Learning the tables at least through 10 means you can figure out things longhand if you need to.

Practice. Much like we didn't all drive a car perfectly the first time we tried, math also takes practice. At the grocery store, work on estimating what the before-tax cost of your purchase will be, or calculate the amount you are saving via coupons. It is not necessary to be exact, just to work on math. As your math skills improve, you will get closer to the actual price.

Get rid of the digital products when possible. Digital clocks make it more difficult to teach children to read an old-style clock. Get a wind-up clock. Rather than using a calculator, use a pencil and paper to practice basic math.

Pay for everything for one week, or even one day, in cash. With the constant use of credit cards and debit cards, people can;'t even make change properly anymore without a computer or cash register to tell them what the change is. Pay some bills with cash, and if you are due to receive change, try to figure out beforehand how much you should get back.

Practice on math worksheets. Make random math problems for yourself on a sheet of paper and do the math without using a calculator. Then, use the calculator to check your work. Getting to be good at math is mostly just a matter of memorization and practice.

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About the Author

Lucinda Gunnin began writing in 1988 for the “Milford Times." Her work has appeared in “Illinois Issues” and dozens more newspapers, magazines and online outlets. Gunnin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Adams State College and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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