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Mental Math Free

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Mental Math Free App Poster Image
Solid times tables practice and some tricks.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn nine mental math techniques to speed up math calculations (subtraction, multiplication of various sets, square roots, some algebraic-related mental math tricks, factorization, and division). To get much out of the tricks, kids will need to already be strong in their computation skills. Kids can also practice multiplication tables, but the most engaging part of the app is probably the Flash Calc game, designed to improve mental calculation. Overall, Mental Math Free offers solid math practice, but the plain user interface doesn't encourage engagement. 

Ease of Play

Very easy to use. Just four basic menu tabs (Times Table, Techniques, Training, Flash Calc) listed on the main screen. Tap on one, and a one-sentence instruction or description appears (or the settings page for the Flash Calc game, which can be a bit confusing because there are no directions). But it is quite easy to quickly grasp the game's easy concept once it begins.

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Consumerism

This free app is supported by ads that scroll across the bottom bar of the screen. The info page explains that clicking on an ad will make the banner disappear for 24 hours.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mental Math Free is a simple mental math practice and trick-teaching app to help middle- and high-school students solve math problems more quickly. Younger kids can practice their multiplication tables, while older kids can use the techniques list to learn nine mental math tricks. Training questions and the app's game, Flash Calc, help kids practice their new skills. Ads run along the bottom of this app; the developer states that tapping an ad will make them disappear for 24 hours.

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What's it about?

First, tap an option: Times Tables, Techniques, Training, or Flash Calc. For Times Tables, set the practice range (for example, to practice the 2 times tables through 15, set the left number at 2, then set the range 1 ~ 15 with the next two numbers). Then tap Start to begin solving problems by entering the answers in a number keypad. Tap Techniques to see a list of mental math tricks; tap on one to view its instructions. Training is practice of the techniques. Flash Calc is a quick calculation game where players see 3, 5, 10, or 15 numbers (positive or negative) in a row and must enter the correct total at the end.

Is it any good?

For a free app, Mental Math Free is a simple, useful tool for math practice. The practice is solid, and the tricks, while not explained in the clearest manner, do work if kids are strong in their computation skills and put some effort in. The Calc game is customizable enough to offer a challenge to a range of skill levels, and the encouraging quotes on incorrect answers is a nice touch (though it would be nice to get similar encouragement for a successful streak too). It's not fancy, but it's a good way to practice speedy calculation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Talk about why repetition of multiplication tables and other memorized math facts is important to academic development, and how handy apps like Mental Math Free can help squeeze in that repetitive practice.

  • Keep in mind that kids just learning their times tables won't find the math tricks useful -- those are best for older kids.

App details

  • Device: Android
  • Subjects: Math: addition, algebra, division, multiplication, subtraction
  • Skills: Self-Direction: academic development, identifying strengths and weaknesses
    Thinking & Reasoning: memorization
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: December 2, 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 0.24 MB
  • Publisher: cyandroid
  • Version: 1.1.3
  • Minimum software requirements: Android 2.2 and up

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