The 11 Plus Exam: What is Verbal Reasoning?

Changing the word Chance into Change

The 11+ verbal reasoning tests assess your child’s ability to analyse the written word. These exams come from a time when people needed more than just their eyes, ears and hands to do well at work or school; they also used their brainpower as measured by how much fluidly thoughts flowed through them (Paxson 2009). The main idea behind this type of testing style is based on understanding and reasoning concepts related to words that can be applied anywhere – even outside an exam hall!

What is Verbal Reasoning?

The 11+ verbal reasoning tests are designed to assess your child’s ability to analyse the written word. The main idea behind this type of examination is understanding and reasoning concepts related to words and language. Though the 11 plus exams come to mind at the mention of ‘verbal reasoning’, this style of testing is used by organisations when hiring employees.

Why is Verbal Reasoning Used in the 11 Plus Exams?

As you’re probably aware, the 11 plus exams are the entryway for many primary school students to enter grammar secondary schools. The verbal reasoning exam isn’t the only assessment your child will need to sit. The ones they’ll need to sit will include English, a verbal and non-verbal reasoning test and a maths test.

This particular form of testing is used in the 11 plus exams because aside from gaining entry to grammar schools, your child will develop other useful qualities. These types of qualities are beneficial later on in life as well as in these assessments. Your child will improve their perception, empathy, logical reasoning and many other skills that will equip them for academic success and beyond!

The Skills and Knowledge That Verbal Reasoning Tests?

The children who read regularly and read widely are often the ones who perform well on these tests. This is due to their increased exposure to all kinds of words which will serve well when preparing for the 11 plus exams. Your children will also need to have an extensive understanding of different kinds of words. These include, but are not limited to: synonyms, plurals and antonyms

The other kinds of skills tested in these 11 plus exams include:

  • Problem-solving 
  • Following instructions and finding solutions
  • Decoding letter and number-based codes
  • Working systematically
  • Using logical thinking 

The best way to prepare for these kinds of tests is, of course, to practice, practice, practice. As the parent, you’ll want to get your hands on 11+ mock papers, and you’ll also want to make sure that you start prepping your child when they are in year 4 or 5. The earlier, the better.

What Makes Verbal Reasoning So Challenging for Children?

Since verbal reasoning is not a curriculum-based skill, it is not something they will be taught in school. As a result, those looking to excel in this will need to practice and have someone experienced or knowledgeable on the topic to give them the best chances of success. Parents who are unaware of the need for additional support may lack their child’s preparation for these exams. 

If you’re looking for an experienced 11 plus tutor to support your child from the start of their 11 plus preparation journey, then get in touch here. 

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