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How can I avoid making arithmetic and petty calculation errors while performing manual arithmetic?

The problem arises whenever I am engrossed in problem solving. I make mistakes as silly as 3 times 3 is 6!! The mistakes range from actual wrong values to faulty interpretations (mis-read the values from the working space). Although the scourge of silly errors haunts me in all cases (missing important points in the question, etc), I seem to make most mistakes in arithmetic calculations. Haste could be one of the factors, but I seldom have time due to very lengthy papers. Hence time is not the luxury I can afford. How can I minimize general petty errors which arise partly due to haste and partly due to something I don't know?

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Therefore computer were build. –  kame Feb 2 at 18:11
    
@kame My question pertains to when computing devices of any kind are not allowed. –  Satwik Pasani Feb 3 at 8:44

2 Answers 2

Aside from the obvious advice to "slow down" (which I know is hard!), I would practice arithmetic and logic daily outside of this case work. For example, you could do daily Sudoku games, crossword puzzles, and/or Lumosity games.

You might also want to highlight or jot down your assumptions (n=6) as you go through, so when you check your work you can also easily re-check your assumptions.

I was noticing a similar tendency in myself as I got older and did math less frequently ... having to pause on 6x7 ... and practicing arithmetic daily (I use Lumosity) has pretty much made that disappear.

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A genuine thanks for your help. But I think the issue is beyond arithmetic inefficiency. It is very general, for sometimes while going slow, I still miss reading a great deal in the question or do some logically false calculation, the mistake being obvious as soon as I complete the test. I believe it goes beyond arithmetic errors. –  Satwik Pasani Feb 3 at 8:44
    
That's why general brain/memory exercises like regular crossword puzzles can help. –  Marina Martin Feb 3 at 13:20
  • Use graph paper to align your numbers.

  • Read the problem more slowly and more deliberately.

  • Visualize the answer in your head before you write anything down.

  • Set a measurable standard and record the results.

  • Practice until you can achieve that standard on a regular basis.

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