I'm tutoring a woman in reading/math who is going back for her GED. She understands the process of 2 and 3 digit multiplication, and can do it rather well. But she keeps getting the wrong answers. Sometimes its her math facts that are wrong, sometimes she makes small mistakes when adding (and carrying numbers). Sometimes it seems there are simply too many numbers on the page for her to look at at once. Sometimes she does everything right. Right now, I'm giving her mult. and add/sub facts to practice every time we meet to try and strengthen those skills. She is willing to do anything we give her and gets frustrated when she keep making the same mistakes, but doesn't give up. Any suggestions on how to help her out?

Have you tried turning the paper vertically, so that she can use the lines to make columns. It might give her one less thing to focus on so that she can really focus on her facts... Provide a calculator and let her check each line as she goes (confidence building and it will help her catch her little mistakes).

I agree with everything except the calculator. Multiplication facts really need to be memorized. Have her do the same thing we all did when we were young. Write them over and over again 1-12. Then give her timed test. Print out a worksheet with 100 problems and gradually give less time to complete it.

We actually use graph paper and that does help. A lot of the time I'll watch what she's doing, and just tell her to look at a certain set of numbers and usually she can pick it out, but if she just double checks on her own it doesn't help.

I know very little about the GED exam. Are you allowed to use calculators??? If so, then tutor her using one, and an approved one at that. She's not a kid, she's an adult, and I think that that this point in her life the emphasis should be on using whatever tools she's allowed to use in order to pass the test. And let me offer a totally alternative method of multiplication: Use place value. If you're multiplying 42 by 63, then first multiply 40 by 63, then 2 by 63, and add the answers. I think it will probably make a whole lot more sense to an adult than the traditional algorithm, and if it makes sense she's probably more likely to remember it. If she needs times table drill, then have her make up flash cards and have her enlist the help of everyone she knows in drilling the facts. But tell her NOT to buy the premade cards; for so many people those facts are much easier to remember once you've written them down.

My kids LOVE using the grid method to multiply because it makes the problems so easy. Similar to what Alice said. example here

The rules for the GED differ depending on your region: http://www.gedtestingservice.com/testers/jurisdiction-testing-policies Here's the rule on calculators: http://www.ehow.com/list_5847425_ged-math-rules.html In your place, I think the first thing I would do is get one of those Casio calculators, and ensure that the woman I was tutoring was competant in using it. Then I would worry about the stuff that you can't use a calculator for.

I agree with looking up the box method, it might be helpful for her. Basically if you are multiplying 42 by 53 you would create a 2 by 2 box. Then above the top, write 40 above one box and 2 above a second box. On the left side, write 50 next to one box and 3 by the other box. Multiply the two numbers that meet at each box (kind of like a punnet square), then add all the numbers together. This won't help with multiplication facts though, but might help with some of the adding mistakes.

If she wants to become accurate with multiplication facts, have her use a multiplication chart for a while every time she needs to multiply. This allows her to get an accurate answer EVERY time. Have her say it out loud as she looks it up using her two fingers or index cards. When she gets to the point where she knows the answer before her fingers get there, and it is consistent then she has memorized the facts. At that point, then speed can come into play, but not before. Some people struggle to recall the correct answer because they guess so often and can't build an accurate connection.