Improve Your Mental Escape Room Math [Player Tips]

Mathematic puzzles are not all that common in American escape rooms… but they aren’t unheard of either. When they do emerge, they usually aren’t too tough, but if you’re not used to working with numbers, they can be intimidating nonetheless.

I have never loved math, but I have been actively taking on the math puzzles we encounter in escape rooms. I enjoy how escape rooms enable me to push myself. With that in mind, here are 3 tips from me and a whole bunch from Gizmodo.

Order of operations

We live in a civilized society and there are rules here. Order of operates matters.


  1. Parentheses (simplify within)
  2. Exponents
  3. Multiplication & Division (left to right)
  4. Addition & Subtraction (left to right)

You may have encountered escape rooms that have mathematical puzzles that ignore order of operations. These companies are wrong and deserving of shame.

Game of Thrones meme of the wicked priestess dinging her shame bell

Approximate & brute-force

While I’m not the best at calculating precise solutions, I’ve found that I am a talented estimator.

I like to round numbers, then do quick mental approximation. If I am inputting the answer in a lock, I’ll strive to get the answer within 20 and spin the dials until I get it open.

This tip and many others (most of which apply to escape room math) are discussed in Gizmodo’s 10 Tips To Improve Your Mental Math.

Shift your mindset & be fearless

The more I’ve taken on math puzzles in escape rooms, the more I’ve realized how simple most of these are to solve.

The biggest obstacles to me and any non-math-y puzzlers are ourselves.

Be bold. The worst thing that happens is you take a hint.

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