“You want to multiply 7 x 6. So you find 7 in the top row and 6 on the left side. Follow the yellow arrow down from 7 and across from 6. They meet at 42 and that is your answer. HowStuffWorks

OK, here’s the thing: Multiplication is kind of fun, and a multiplication table can help make it easier to learn.

First, a quick refresher on what exactly we’re talking about. Multiplication is what we use when we need to add groups of things. So if there are three groups of apples, and each group has four apples, we can multiply 3 x 4 and get 12. It’s way faster and easier than counting up each apple!

A chart like the one above is called a multiplication table or times table. It’s a grid of numbers that can help you learn to multiply quickly either using the table or, eventually, in your head. It’s not magic, it’s memorization.

Using the table is a snap. You can choose any number across the top, 0 through 12, and any number along the left side, also 0 through 12. Draw your finger down from the top number and across from the left number. Where the two meet is the answer.

Check out the example above. You want to multiply 7 x 6. So you find 7 in the top row and 6 on the left side. Follow the yellow arrow down from 7 and across from 6. They meet at 42!

If you need to memorize the table for school, take it one row at a time. Trying to memorize a big square full of numbers at once is too tough for most of us. Pick a row or column and learn that one all on its own. Say you pick the 2 row. Move your finger across from the 2 and say to yourself (if it helps), "2 x 0 = 0. 2 x 1 = 2. 2 x 2 = 4. 2 x 3 = 6." And so on, to the end of the row: "2 x 12 = 24."

When you’ve memorized one row, move on to the next one. You’ll have the whole table memorized in no time. Good luck!

Now That’s Ancient

You’re not the first person to use a multiplication table – they’ve been around for thousands of years! The Babylonians created times tables in clay tablets to help them do quick calculations when building new structures, or when trading or selling.