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How to be a Math Wizard by Learning
25 Math Short Cuts!

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25 Math Shortcuts

From The Desk Of
   Ike Prudente
   Math Advocate
RE: The Only Way To Teach Your Child Math from Home!

25 Math Short Cuts

Dear Math Enthusiast,

This collection of 25 Math Short Cuts is published in commemoration of the 25th Foundation Day of MSC Institute of Technology.

I have selected what I think will be most useful for everyone, whether you are students, teachers, professionals or plain folks who need to calculate every day. Much of the hard work in compiling this work is not in researching for materials because I know these short cuts by heart but in selecting what short cuts to include.

From our grade school years, many of us have learned many ways of simplifying calculations. I am sure that for most of us, "multiplying by 10" is one of the first math short cut we have learned. And we continue to use it, which is the reason why I did not include it here. Unfortunately, most of us have forgotten most of the short cuts we have been taught in the past. As for my case, I am somewhat "lazy" at calculations so that I always looked for easier ways of computing.

From my grade four teacher, I learned "squaring numbers ending in 5." I developed more short cuts by applying what I learned in algebra to simplify arithmetic computations.To this was added some more techniques which I later picked-up from various books, like Trachtenberg Speed Mathematics by Jacow Trachtenberg and Turn on the Human Calculator in You by Scott Flansburg. Then there were also some very simple but elegant solutions which I learned when I began to study "Vedic Math" from the works of Prof. Kenneth Williams of the Vedic Maths Academy, UK.

I observed that my students enjoyed the short cuts that I shared with them and many came to love Math and actually improved their grades in the subject. I am also sure that these short cuts helped countless of my students pass the Philippine Science High School, UP Rural High School and UP entrance examinations.

Realizing that most readers like me, don't want to read lengthy explanations, I tried to present the techniques in the form of examples. But sometimes I cited Sutras or "word formulas" used in Vedic Math, which are very useful in remembering the short cuts.

I hope that with these shortcuts the readers will eventually be able to do most calculations mentally. However, I also realized that many will have to write down the answer first before reciting it. So I will explain the procedures to arrive at a written answer using a mental solution. With a little practice, many can dispense with the written answer.

I also included some of the most common unit conversions where our techniques can be applied. While the Philippines officially adopted the SI or metric system, many still use the English or imperial measures such as pounds for body weight, feet and inches for height and quarts and gallon for liquid capacity. Using these conversions daily will enable us to practice these shortcuts.

I really enjoy using these short cuts so I included some pleasant experiences I had in using them. I hope all of you will enjoy them as much as I do.

Happy computing!

Ike Prudente


What do People Say About
25 Math Short Cuts?

"What I see in this book's collection of ‘Tricks' is practical Algebra. They will be important for our children… ensuring that they understand math before calculators and computers come in"

Michael L. Tan, DVM, Ph.D.
Chancellor, University of the Philippines – Diliman


Packed with useful calculation methods, neat math tricks and amusing anecdotes, and all explained in a fun and very readable style.

Kenneth Williams
, founder of Vedic Maths Academy, UK


"Ike's book is very useful. I certainly enjoyed reading it and learned some new things as well.

Reynaldo B. Vea, Ph.D.
President, Mapua Institute of Technology


"I really like your shortcuts. I now realize how easy a lot of things in computing would have been if I learned your shortcuts early in life. Your techniques should reach as wide a readership / adherence as possible, especially among the young ones."

Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, (Ret)
former Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines


"Well done, Ike! Truly a lateral way of going through the rigors and fears of numbers."

Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez (Ret.)
former Flag Officer in Command, Philippine Navy


"This is a great book.. I highly endorse this as a 'must have' supplementary book for DepEd and CHED so that Math will be More Fun in the Philippines."

Engr. Ma. Lourdes Orijola
Asst. Sec. for Technology Transfer, Dept. of Science and Technology
Governor, National Book Development Board


"He's giving us a bargain - 25 shortcuts in one book. I would recommend this not only to students, teachers and professionals but especially to businessmen like me."

Bobby L. Castro
President and CEO, Palawan Pawnshop


Foreword to 25 Math Short Cuts

Ever felt jealous of people who seem so much at ease with, and thrive in dealing with numbers? From our very first year as classmates in the Philippine Science High School, in what was known back then as "Zero Year" in the school's original five-year curriculum, I had known Virgilio "Ike" Prudente Jr. to be that kind of person – a math whiz who seemed to think and breathe math. He was clearly very comfortable with numbers, and quickly became our math teacher's pet for the math genius he truly was. I envied how he seemed to effortlessly breeze through math concepts and exercises that were a particular challenge for me. He would not only immediately catch on to new math concepts (oh how I dreaded those binary number operations we were made to do then!), but he actually looked like he was having fun!

Now I know why. Little did I realize then that there's a special intelligence or aptitude that seems to come naturally, even automatically, to mathematical minds like Ike has (that I certainly don't). I suspect he was born naturally equipped in his God-given intuition with some of the math tricks and short cuts he generously shares in this book already built in. But what is heartening to me – and should be encouraging to others, young or old alike – is his own indication that he picked up many of the tricks from other people or publications through the years. In other words, there is hope for today's young children and for those of us not necessarily born with mathematically adept minds, to attain the same math aptitude that the rest of us can only marvel about in people like Ike. And it just takes mastering simple but surprisingly very useful tricks and techniques, 25 of which are so conveniently assembled here, for breaking down seemingly complex math problems into simple ones.

As my good friend Ike sent me the draft copy of the book, he wrote: "I thought that promoting these short cuts among students will have at least two desirable results: First, many will discover that math can be fun and easy, so that we can transform math haters into math lovers. Second, students will be encouraged to solve many problems mentally instead of relying on the calculators in their cell phones and iPads. I am sure that you will agree with me that the brain needs meaningful and constant exercise, much like muscles need constant physical exercise to develop. With less mental exercise among our students nowadays, we are seeing a continuous decline in their mathematical skills and competence. This surely has a negative effect on the intellectual capacity of our new graduates."

I submit that more than students, all of us stand to benefit from being better able to handle simple and complex computations that are part of everyone's daily life, and at the same time keep our mental faculties in shape. For this reason, 25 Math Short Cuts is a book every household should have, and should be read by all its members, children or elders alike.

Ike further wrote to end his note: "Maybe, in this small way, the book could contribute to our national development." I could not agree with him more.

Cielito F. Habito, Ph.D, PSHS Batch '70 (Pisay Dos)
Former Director-General, National Economic and Development Authority
Former Socio-Economic Planning Secretary during the Ramos Administration

p.s. Who loves Math?

Who loves Math?

Author Ike Prudente did a demo to the Kariton Teacher Volunteers, Dynamic Teen Company of Cavite City

Unang tanong ni Ike sa teacher-volunteers, "How many of you like Math?" Very few raised their hands.

After a two-hour session, demonstrating some of the 25 Math Short Cuts, tinanong ulit sila, "Who loves Math?"

Halos lahat sila nag-taas ng kamay!

Teacher-volunteers, spread the word: Math can be made Fun, Fast and Easy!