Practicing the soroban

Proud owner of a soroban (or an abacus), you wish to improve your skills. You've already found online generators of random numbers that help you practice (for example [3] or [4]). Maybe, you've even made one for yourself.

The 2 books of Kojima and Cumin-Hossenlopp mention the soroban examination [5] [6] taking place in Japan for each grade, called kyu. They show examples of these examination and it's a good exercise to do these to practice and improve your soroban abilities.

Exercises based on exam template

I modified the little generator I already made for myself to produce PDF files of these examination exercises and turn it into this website.

The HTML format is also available. An interactive version is available to check your answers. There are many options; feel free to try them all.

You can also subscribe to receive an exercise each day or week in your mailbox.

A screenshot, belowon the right, shows you how such a document looks like. To get a real document, just go and:

A preview of Cumin 5th kyu exercise
Click on the image for more examples

The basics

If you don't know yet how to read a number on the soroban, you can go and learn to do that on our basics page.

Then, you can learn how to do the 4 basic operations (interactively) by trying our virtual soroban, with step by step example of each operation.

If you need a more formal approach in the form of lessons, try our basics page, or [1] and [2].

Learning books

I have learned to use the soroban with the help of the very good book "Le boulier, Initiation" Le boulier's cover icon by Jean Cumin and Jean Hossenlopp (published by Chiron in french).

I have also read "The Japanese abacus, Its use and theory" The Japanese Abacus'cover icon, the book of Takashi Kojima.

Another recommended reading is the "Soroban" book produced and published by The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and The League of Japan Abacus Association. You can download it freely here [7]. It has been specially made by Japanese for foreigners that want to learn the soroban.