The importance of times-tables

One of the questions our Year 2 & 3 parents ask is how they can help their child before they start with us at the beginning of Year 4. We will do a longer blog on some of the pointers we give in the next few weeks.


However, one key area to work on is your child’s ability to recall their times-tables. It cannot be emphasised enough how children with instant recall up to their 12 times-table gain an advantage when sitting the Maths papers. We notice time and again that those children that don’t need to 'calculate' simple multiplications in their head usually progress the quickest. Conversely children who are poor at their times tables can often struggle.


We regularly get our Year 4 and 5 classes to complete the 5 minutes mental maths challenge. We’ve made a game of it - where children win a prize for being the most improved and there is real competition to be the class record holder. If you can help your child develop instant recall of their times-tables so that they can immediately answer a question, they will be in a position to pick up on new maths concepts that much quicker. We have told many of our parents over the years to play games that involve multiplications. Once they are in Year 5 the focus shifts to grammar school question papers where speed is critical. This will help.


Here is an example of one of our 5-minute timetables tests:


timestable recall
5 Minute Metal Maths Challenge

A few “halves” and “doubles” questions are thrown in to add that extra challenge. We feel that once your child can get to 100 correct answers in 5-minutes they have instant recall. We want our Year 5s to be at 120 +.


So print off the 5 minute challenge and see what level your child is at. Then spend some time practising to improve. Maybe they can then beat the all-time Tutors 11+ record holder?

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