How To Improve Your Working Memory For Mental Math And Other Problem-Solving Skills

Jul 25, 2020

Students who struggle in Math usually find it very difficult to recall certain things from memory. They have studied the topic, know it well but at that moment when the situation calls for them to perform, they lose their head completely. That’s nothing unusual. Stress and anxiety are the major issues for which such things happen.

Mental math is dependent substantially dependent on the working memory. All those quick operations, recalling math facts to do those operations require some significant applications of working memory. That practice doesn’t come naturally. There are some strategies through which it can be done. Let’s go through them.

  • Encourage working memory

Many students find it really difficult to take proper class notes. They sometime miss key facts or figures when the lecture’s going on at a speed beyond their comprehensibility. If you are able to implement certain ways through which students can maintain an audio recording of the on-going lecture, it becomes much easier from the point of view of the students. They’ll be able to maintain the records, note down key points from the same and engage in practice according to their convenience. This practice would be tremendously beneficial from the point of view of the student.

  • Improve spatial skills through games

Mathematical performance is strongly related to visual spatial working memory.

Several iOS or Android apps and games are available in the appmarket that can be used to improve spatial skills. Traditional puzzles like Tangrams, the Tower of Hanoi problem,  etc. can also be beneficial in this aspect. Such skills will be immensely beneficial in important math topics like trigonometry, geometry and calculus.

  • Ask open ended questions

This is very important. You should try to involve your students in solving open ended questions meaning that the questions would not have a single specific method of solution. There can be many. The student has to find the right way to come to the correct result.

Open ended questions are capable of developing a student’s critical thinking abilities. If a student comes to the correct result without any aid from guide books or teachers, you will see that the learning experience from the point of view of the student becomes much more gratifying. 

You can also introduce puzzles in classes that ask these sorts of open ended questions to the students. Take the example of Rubik’s cube which can suit this purpose effectively.

  • Implement a multimodal approach

You can allow your students take images of lessons in classes. We have already mentioned audio recordings upabove. Visual lessons such as lessons through videos, drawings, charts etc. can be immensely beneficial to boost verbal working memory as well as visual spatial memory.

  • Improve mental mathematical skills

Mental math skills are very essential in life. You just cannot ignore the importance of these skills in your career. In the later stage of your career, these skills can make you a standout individual in competitive examinations. There are a few ways through which this can be down. If you want to know about that in detail, you can go through this article.

Before signing off, we would like to say that desire is the most important requirement of success. So do ensure that your students do not lose interest in the topic. Make it more meaningful as much as possible. With that, we'll sign off for now. Hope you had a good read.

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Article Posted in: How to


Sid writes educational content periodically for Wizert and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got more than 5 years of experience in technical content framing, digital marketing, SEO and graphic designing.

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