# Is abacus speed calculation really useful or just a gimmick?

For those who have been doing mental calculation for a while did you notice any improvement in your overall speed or was it
only useful in math. Also can one use the abacus to learn to solve problems and equations or only arithmetic ?

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Nope, pretty much the same mile and 5k with or without soroban.

Not quite following the logic hereā¦ you canāt graph functions on an abacus. Geometry might be a bit weird too. Could you give a concrete example maybe?

For example if you where given a simple equation to find the value of x do you think it would take you less time to solve it than it would before soroban.

But really though do you feel that you can think faster?

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I am training mental calculation through soroban, but actually I realize that my calculations become more slow. When I perceive I will make a mistake, I apeal to traditional method, so everything flows.

Flash Anzan is a significant investment and if not started as a child your top end will likely be limited, BUT Iām working on my Soroban anyway. Students at the higher levels have a significant advantage with the speed that they can do simple calculation. Advanced practitioners have all sort of neat things that they can do with an abacus. Any of these things take a very large number of hours to wire into your brain so do one or both but the sooner you start the sooner you will find out if it will work for you. ( Give it about 10,000 hours of intentioned practice or so to rewire your head ).

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In general? No, why should that happen?

Great advice! I am practicing there is almost one year, almost every day. I have downloaded a free app āsimple sorobanā to practice soroban and other free app to practice mental calculation, it is an app for kids, there are a lot of math games and begins with very very simple calculations. I wish to improve my memory and mental calculation to use it on poker tables.

The Soroban is an adding machine. Anything that can be done by addition can be done on the Soroban. You can calculate cube roots, trig functions etc if you know the algorithm. It probably wonāt do much for your tennis game.

We donāt really know how the brain thinks or calculates and we donāt yet understand how one mental skill crosses over and and supports a different activity. The data on the āBrain Trainingā games is that you get better at those games - there is no evidence of knock on effects in other activities.

The current wisdom is that learning new āmotor skillsā improves brain plasticity. This is something I really like about the Soroban. I think the element of physical engagement is an important factor. Not only is one more engaged in the operations, the motor part of the brain is enlisted to help with the calculation