Methods of improving mental arithmetic?

Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by FAAWanabee, Jul 30, 2014.

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  1. Hey guys,

    I've got my SIFT interview soon and so (all being well) my FATs not long after. Now I've read around and obviously DST and fuel calculations play a major part in the aptitude tests and also seem to creep into AIB as well. However, I've always struggled with mental maths and always have to use a piece of paper or if not, take AGES to work things out.

    I was wondering if anybody (i.e Aircrew or those who have been through the process) can give me any tips or advice on ways to speed up my mental maths? Are there little short cuts that can help when I'm dealing with some unpleasant numbers? Obviously practise is a big thing but I want to get my mental maths as stong as possible!

    Any help would be appreciated! :)
  2. I can only speak from my experience of developing mental arithmetic speed in preparation for my RT.

    There truly is no substitute for practice. I had my partner throw two numbers at me and tell me what she wanted me to divide by or multiply by and the same with SDT calculations. I also set myself questions. You will quickly develop your own nuanced 'shortcuts' for any of these calculations however, at its most fundamental, you must recall how you were taught as a child - times tables were rehearsed until they stuck. Your brain is not configured any differently now.

    I suggest you start off slowly. Do the mental arithmetic without setting yourself the pressure of time. Once you have developed the ability you can begin to cut down on the time it takes but, if you race to do the calculations too early on you risk underselling yourself and frustrating yourself - that leads to the "I can't do this" attitude.

    Good luck.
  3. Thanks for the advice! It looks like it's going be a long process but as you said it's a matter of conditioning your brain to getting quick and speeding up on it's own.

    By the way, what trade are you going for if you don't mind me asking?
  4. I've applied to the Logs branch of the RN.
  5. Nice! Officer or Rating? Best of luck for the RT!
  6. I always had big snags with maths and just accepted the fact that it was something I was shit at. I have some sort of problem with numbers and just can't remember them. The only two numbers I can remember are my mobile number (which I've had for 14 years) and my service number (which I've also had for 14 years). I've had the same landline number for 3 years now and still can't even remember the area code. Likewise I need to plan card transactions well in advance because I can't remember my pin number.

    Despite this I dug out out at school and got a B in maths GCSE, however I pulled myself off RN Tiff's course halfway through because I could see big snags brewing on the horizon due to my maths.

    Anyway, some years on I've tried to do something about it, I'm an engineer by trade now and need maths everyday. My company also throws in cheeky little exams and psychometric tests on a regular basis so shit maths is no longer an option for me.

    GCSE bitesize is for winners as is the games section of the Daily Mail which has a few maths puzzles. Download some maths and puzzle apps for your phone too.

    I'm still shit at remembering numbers, but at least my maths is tip top now.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
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  7. Officer. I completed the RT earlier this month however thanks for the good wishes.
  8. Oops! Well then, best of luck for the rest of the application! :)

    2_Deck_Dash, I feel your pain! I'm hoping for at least a B in GCSE maths and although I can remember numbers, I can't manipulate them. I think I'm going to visit Bitesize (again!) and just do some quick mental maths on my phone whenever I can just to get my mind conditioned to it.

    By the way, what's a 'Tiff'?
  9. Ah right ok then thanks!

    WreckerL, I asked what a Tiff was and in the article it gives an outline of it and what it's become.
  10. You lost me at SI...
  11. I missed that bit, I did what was called Mechanicians course and became a tiff that way.
  12. I don't know but I've been told, drinking bleach speeds up mental maths.
  13. So I'm guessing that a Tiff wasn't a direct entry trade then like it is now?

    BBandy_E thanks for the advice! If I'm still no better at mental maths the night before FATs, I'll bear your suggestion in mind! :)
    • Like Like x 1
  14. witsend

    witsend War Hero Book Reviewer

    'If there was ten Bucky bottles sitting on the wall'

    I achieved 'outstanding'.

    English was 'the dyslexic twat thinks he is trying to reinvent the English language'
  15. Sorry, what? You've lost me!
  16. witsend

    witsend War Hero Book Reviewer

    Don't worry about it. Statistics say you have a 7.352% chance of passing.

    No pressure.
  17. Two methods of becoming a tiff. Direct entry and a 5 year tiff course, or join as mechanic without the required 5 GCSE's (or O levels for us oldies), prove your ability out in the fleet, get high enough marks on your Leading Hands/PO's course, get sea recommends and pass an oral board and then do a 2 1/2 year course. Those that joined up as mechanics were known as Mechanicians and rated as such until they decided to call everyone Artificers (in 1983 IIRC).

    All academic now as it's gone one size fits all ET's, although there are still tiffs knocking about.

    But stand by for the wheel to be re-invented after Project Faraday, or maybe I'm just a cynic ;)
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  18. mental maths.jpg
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