Online Verbal and Non-Verbal Tuition

Online Verbal and Non-Verbal Tuition

If you have hopes of your child getting a place at a grammar school or an independent school, there is a good chance you have heard about the additional topics needed for the exams, namely: verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning.

You may also have heard that the 11 Plus test papers are not the same. Most grammar and independent schools in England use different exam boards to produce their exam papers but usually use CEM or GL, or a combination of both.

There is also the CSSE and the SET test papers.

Although the CEM and GL exams cover roughly the same 11+ topics, there are some differences, especially where verbal and non-verbal reasoning is concerned.

The GL Paper

The following 11 Plus regions use the GL Assessment:

  • Dorset
  • Kent
  • Lancashire & Cumbria
  • Lincolnshire
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wiltshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Plymouth


The following regions in England currently have a CEM exam:

  • Berkshire
  • Bexley
  • Birmingham
  • Gloucestershire
  • Shropshire
  • Walsall
  • Warwickshire
  • Wirral
  • Wolverhampton
  • Medway

The following regions use a mix of CEM and GL-style exam papers, namely:

  • Devon
  • Essex
  • Hertfordshire
  • Trafford
  • Yorkshire

The CEM Exam

The CEM exam was created by the University of Durham’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring. The test was introduced in 1999 in response to concerns over ‘coaching’ for the GL Assessment. The aim is to make the papers exam proof, but based on our experience at Geek School Tutoring, they are certainly not ‘preparation proof’!

What is Verbal Reasoning?

Verbal reasoning tests are a vital part of most secondary school selection and 11+ exams. And, more increasingly, verbal reasoning has also become a big part of Year 7 CAT tests.

Some grammar schools, like Newstead Wood in the borough of Bromley, only test children in verbal and non-verbal reasoning and it can be daunting for children (and parents alike) because these topics are not taught as part of the National Curriculum.

Despite this, your child won’t necessarily be taught verbal reasoning skills at school. 

This is one of the reasons why so many parents opt for private tuition to help their child prepare successfully for the 11 Plus.

We provide a comprehensive approach to teaching verbal and non-verbal reasoning at Geek School Tutoring and due to demand across the country now offer it as an online course.

Verbal reasoning, at the simplest level, is an extension of English, with an increasing focus on vocabulary. However, many verbal reasoning papers require an understanding of several codes.

Children who go to state schools are not taught these verbal reasoning codes, as it is not part of the National Curriculum. While prep school (private primary school) children will likely be familiar with the subject, many are not taught the actual techniques to tackle the codes.

Apart from the codes, exam papers can include cloze tests, comprehension, synonym and antonym questions, word association questions, shuffled sentences questions and other English language usage style questions.

What is Non-Verbal Reasoning

Non-verbal reasoning, in many ways, is an extension of maths, because of the skills required to decipher the answers. It involves the ability to understand and analyse visual information and solve problems using visual reasoning. 

Children will be required to identify relationships, similarities and differences between shapes and patterns; to recognise visual sequences and the relationship between objects when they sit their 11 Plus exam.

Once again, non-verbal reasoning is also not part of the National Curriculum.

You may see a picture developing here, which is the importance of verbal and non-verbal reasoning for both the 11 Plus and CAT tests.

If you would like to give your child a headstart and ensure that they get the best chance at doing their best in the 11 Plus exams or in CAT tests, this online course is a perfect tool.

What’s Included

There will be live online tuition, not just video recordings. So your child will be able to take part interactively in their learning, asking questions, working out answers etc.

Resources will be provided by one of the leading publishers – and one which is not often considered (so not Bond or CGP). This means your child will have a good opportunity to try their skills out using questions they are less familiar with (just like in the real exam).

This will include:

  • A verbal reasoning book
  • A non-verbal reasoning book

Additionally, you will get the following of the Geek School Tutoring resources: