Arithmetic is the oldest division of Mathematics which essentially deals with operation of numbers such as counting, adding and subtracting. It is one of the most basic skills and is learnt at a very young age. This article aims to appreciate the value of acquiring this skill, and also provide you with techniques on how to learn and develop it.
Importance of Arithmetic
Education plays an important role in the development of arithmetic skill. During primary level, individuals are taught to count and perform arithmetic operations from simple to complex, and later on expanded to other branches of mathematics such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry during secondary level.
From a general perspective, arithmetic allows individuals to think, reflect, and reason out. Plato, who is one of the greatest philosophers of all time, believed that any person who has good arithmetic skills will also do very well in other knowledge-based competencies.
Consider this, if a person depends largely on calculators to “calculate” instead of using mental math, which refers to the use of our brain to perform number operations, it will reflect poorly on him. On the other hand, the person who can quickly give answers using mental math is bound to amaze colleagues, friends, and family members with this ability.
Lastly, arithmetic skill is considered a core skill because we apply it to our lives everyday. To point out an example that is very applicable to day to day living, imagine receiving your change from the cashier in the supermarket, the amount is less than what it is supposed to be. When arithmetic skill is poor, such an error will be easily overlooked, however, when one is good in mental math, this can be easily spotted because this skill enables you to perform calculation quickly. Now such a situation will probably only involve a few dollars or pennies even, but what about checking credit card statements and utility bills, and even making a household budget? What about analyzing trending reports and quantitative data?
How to Assess Arithmetic Skill
As mentioned, if one relies too much on calculators to perform number operations then it is indicative of poor arithmetic skill. In addition, if a person does not depend on calculators however takes time to arrive at a correct answer for simple arithmetic then this could also mean that there is a need to further enhance this skill.
It is fairly simple to assess this particular skill because a person can easily determine if his skill level is sufficient or not, especially when it comes to arithmetic. Think about how often you have to rely on calculating devices just to help you crunch small numbers. However, to be more accurate, there are arithmetic assessment software programs available online, although the more reliable ones need to be acquired for a price. These tools are used mainly by educational institutions but one can always avail of them if they opt to.
How to Improve Arithmetic Skill
A skill is acquired through training and practice; therefore, to be skilled at arithmetic, one must first understand the concepts of numbers and then put this knowledge into practice. This means that any person who wants to enhance their arithmetic skills must learn and re-learn counting numbers, as well as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers. As soon as these concepts are well understood, the next step is to engage oneself in mental math exercises as often as possible. This means that the use of calculators and other similar devices should be avoided; make an effort to really utilize your mental math whenever you encounter situations that require the processing of numbers, no matter how difficult it may seem.
The most important thing is to keep on practicing because doing so would help you to enhance this skill. The more you practice, the better you will become at it, and in time, you will be able to do mental math accurately and quickly.
The objective is not to be an expert mathematician but rather to be able to answer simple arithmetic problems using only your mind. Being able to do so equips you with one of mankind’s essential life skills.