There are some crucial skills you must have before applying for a management consultant job. Excellent problem solving and analytical skills are two of them. Mental math is another important element too. Mental math can help you compute quantitative data like cost reduction, graph analytics, general averages and other things faster and more accurately.
Where it comes into play?
Mental math plays a key role in the world of consultancy. It keeps your mind sharp and active and increases concentration levels and structured thinking. You will be more confident in solving issues that demand qualitative analysis.
Mental math also help you during case interviews where you have to crunch numbers very well. As an aspiring consultant, you need to know that recruiters look for the ability to apply frameworks to solve sample cases. If you are strong with your mental math you will be able to crack such cases easily.
So here’s how to avoid being caught off-guard and enhance your mental math. These tips should help you improve your quantitative prowess.
1)Get the basics right
The foundation for getting your basic math equations right is to know the four functions – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Practice them not only with whole numbers but percentages, fractions and averages.
Practice with as many sums, quotients, products and problems as you can. Allot specific times in a day to regularly practice the basics. You will be surprised with the amount of speed you have gained.
2)Never ignore single and double digits
While practicing, you must also use three to four digits and get comfortable with them. This will help you when numbers get more complicated at work. Your estimation skills will help you big time.
3)Enhancing your estimation skills
When you face bigger numbers, you will need to round off numbers so that you can come to an estimated answer. It is important to practice these again and again until you are confident that you can tackle any kind of numbers. This will play a huge role when you are in a consultant interview.
4)Everyday Life Practice
If you do not have the habit of doing everyday math like calculating your grocery bills, start doing it now. Things like your electric bills, restaurant food expenses, credit card statements and many other calculations can help you develop your mental math. If you can get your mental math muscle work hard day-after-day, you will avoid being shocked on an interview day.
5)Researching for Pre-worked Shortcuts
The fact that some numbers have ideal properties help you make use of pre-worked shortcuts. For example, when 11 is multiplied with any two-digit number, (like 11 * 23) you may just add up these two numbers (2+3=5) and put the digit between 2 and 3. So the answer would be 253. Now how easy and fast is this?
This trick is also applicable in case of three digit numbers as well. It is just one of the many tricks available. If you can research for tricks and shortcuts like these, no doubt they will help you work faster.
6)Use the many sources available online
Many online sources go into detail on crucial mental math techniques. You can check High Speed Vedic Mathematics, Trachtenberg, Kumon Math Method and other sources for more lessons. There are some great books you may like to try like “The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art”.
You might have to work on which one best suits you. If you are not very comfortable with specific resources or techniques, do not force yourself into it. They may not work for you in the long run.
7)Mental Teasers and Puzzles Could Help you
Try different puzzles and mental teaser exercises to strengthen your mental muscles. Few games of Sudoku puzzles each week is a good thing to start with. They provide great challenges and improve your overall numeric skills. There are tons of puzzles available.
8)Analyze your speed and accuracy levels regularly
As you practice, keep testing your speed and accuracy regularly, may be once a week. Have somebody prepare a written test for you with real-life numeric computations. With this, you can also gauge how much you have improved and determine what areas you need to work on.
So those are few tips for you to improve your mental math and get into any field that requires you to have good math skills. If you have any other suggestions to improve people’s mental math, please share them in the comment section below.
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