Way back in 2013, an educational tech firm analysed 60,000 Times Table ‘answers’ given by over 200 children. They found that the story was more positive than the press occasionally makes us believe. The children gave the right answer more than 75% of the time. Just as importantly, it became clear that the ones they got wrong – the ‘hardest times tables – fell into a pattern.
The 8x table gave the children the most challenge. 8 x 12 was particularly awkward. But even this one was beaten by one other multiplication fact which caused the most confusion…
So, to answer our question, which is the hardest Times Table… well, it appears to be 6 x 8. In the experiment over 63% of the children got this one wrong. You can read more details in the Guardian, May 2013
6 x 8 may seem tricky on its own – but it can be arrived at by working up from a known fact. 5 x 8 is much easier, and since 5 x 8 = 40 then it follows that 6 x 8 is one more 8 than 40