Learn how to identify the "type" of problem quickly. Master arithmetic and basic algebra. Memorize commonly used facts. Learn shortcuts.

You can't be fast at all math. Solving challenging new problems takes time. However, most grade school math is actually incredibly repetitive, and is less problem solving than pattern recognition. Most teachers think "okay I need 5 of this type of problem, 3 of this type of problem, and 4 of this type of problem" when they create an assignment or an assessment. The problem is, some students will just see 12 separate problems, whereas a good math student will q

Learn how to identify the "type" of problem quickly. Master arithmetic and basic algebra. Memorize commonly used facts. Learn shortcuts.

You can't be fast at all math. Solving challenging new problems takes time. However, most grade school math is actually incredibly repetitive, and is less problem solving than pattern recognition. Most teachers think "okay I need 5 of this type of problem, 3 of this type of problem, and 4 of this type of problem" when they create an assignment or an assessment. The problem is, some students will just see 12 separate problems, whereas a good math student will quickly be able to categorize the questions and be able to start on the correct solving method quickly.

Once you've identified the problem, solving quickly usually comes down to your skill with arithmetic and algebra. Does it take you a long time to multiply? To solve a two step equation? Do you have to put simple problems into a calculator? If you're having to think while solving linear equations, you're doing it wrong. These are things that should be near automatic. You might want do some practice problems, or better, find a review game to help you get "reps" without it feeling like too much work. Identify some concepts that confuse you, and eliminate those time sinks. I know "do a lot of practice" doesn't really sound fun, but it's really nice in math class to be able to focus on coming up with creative solutions and doing "real math" instead of getting bogged down in arithmetic and basic algebra.

There's stuff that you should memorize if you want to be able to do math quickly. Single digit addition and multiplication. Perfect squares and cubes. Powers of 2. How do add and subtract fractions. Exponent rules. Difference of squares factoring. Basic geometry formulas and facts: area and perimeter of squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles. Volume of a box and other prisms. The quadratic formula. You lose so much time having to look things like this up, and memorizing helps you make connections and identify patterns you wouldn't otherwise.

There's also a lot of shortcuts out there to help you do problems quicker. For one, use the commutative property. Add and subtract in the order that's most advantageous (no, subtraction isn't commutative, but if you have 3 + 7 - 3 you can subtract 3 before you add 7.) In the same vein, multiply and divide in the order that's most advantageous.

Ultimately, speed is not the goal in math. But doing some of these things can help clear the brush to allow you to enjoy math, and help you get to do more problem solving and less fluff.