More Mental Maths Tricks from the Teacher’s Maths Test


This is a guest post by Adrian Beckett maths tutor extraordinaire!

In my last blog post on the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) Skills Mental Maths Test, Can You Pass the Maths Test For Teachers, we looked at the all-important times tables.  Without them, so much of maths becomes more difficult, and for those intrepid trainee teachers doing the QTS Skills Test, if they don’t know them there chances of passing the test becomes much less. Math tricks

In this post, I’ll be looking at how to answer a question from the QTS Skills Test which involves multiplying three numbers using mental maths. This is the sort of question we are looking at:

 100 pupils correctly completed a sponsored spelling test of 56 words.

Each pupil was sponsored at 5p per word. How much did the pupils raise in total?

  The prerequisite knowledge is

  1. Knowing your times tables
  2. Being able to multiply a number by a multiple of 10 (simple enough – just add on the zeros)

You are faced with this sum: 100 x 56 x 5 As you have very little time in the QTS Skills Mental Maths Test – only 18 seconds, you can’t rely on short multiplication alone to answer it and you need to identify quickly which order to multiply the numbers and how to multiply.

Check out this video post:

Adrian Beckett and his band of London Maths Tutors offer maths tuition for students and workshops for maths teachers in person and over Skype. He also blogs about maths learning for children and adults, those all important maths exams and dyscalculia at

If your child struggles with the times tables, check out my 31 Days to Faster Times Tables product to help your child to faster, more confident times tables

Inside the Head of a Maths Parent: Math Four Interviews Maths Insider


I’m taking a 1 month break from posting new posts here on Maths Insider while I work on other projects. In the next few weeks I’ll be highlighting some posts I’ve written here and on other websites that you may have missed. Enjoy!

I’m a big fan of the Math Four blog run by Bon Crowder. She’s an expert at talking straight when it comes to helping kids with maths. I love the idea of her Mathematician Parent series where she interviews real life maths educators and asks them how they use maths with their own kids. I was excited to share my own family maths experiences in this interview on the Math Four website. Here’s an extract:

MathFour: How do you play with your kids? In particular, what kind of math play do you do compared with non-math play?

Caroline: We talk a lot about maths, we like showing them You Tube videos or Ted Talks related to maths or science, but we also try to expose them to different things like poetry, anthropology, and business.

MathFour: Do you think you speak with your children or behave differently than other parents because you have a math background?

…..Read more…

Check out the other fascinating Mathematician Parent interviews in the series!