The 11 Plus Verbal Reasoning Syllabus Explained

The 11 Plus verbal reasoning exam is not just about rote learning or straightforward problem-solving ability. It also includes several unique elements not commonly taught in the National Curriculum.

This is what makes the 11 Plus verbal reasoning a challenging and comprehensive test of a child’s cognitive and linguistic abilities. It needs rigorous preparation for academic success.

Let’s dive into the 11 Plus verbal reasoning syllabus to understand it better.

What Is the Syllabus of Verbal Reasoning?

11 Plus Verbal Reasoning Syllabus

Verbal reasoning’s content and focus areas vary slightly depending on the examining body or the specific requirements of the schools you are targeting. 

It’s always advisable to consult with the specific grammar or private school’s guidelines or sample papers to ensure comprehensive preparation. 

Generally, though, the verbal reasoning syllabus specifically focuses on:

Vocabulary and Word Knowledge

Understanding and using a wide range of written words, including their meaning and contextual usage, specifically:

  • Synonyms and Antonyms
  • Homophones
  • Definitions

Logical Sequences and Patterns

Identifying and completing sequences and patterns in numbers, letters, or shapes:

  • Letter Sequences
  • Number Sequences
  • Word Patterns


Finding relationships between pairs and applying that relationship to a new pair:

  • Word Analogies
  • Concept Analogies

Code Deciphering

Interpreting codes or patterns where letters or numbers are substituted for others:

  • Letter Codes
  • Number Codes

Logical and Deductive Reasoning

Applying logical rules and principles to arrive at a conclusion based on given premises or information:

  • Inference
  • Odd One Out
  • Classification

Word Formation

Form new words by rearranging letters or combining different ones:

  • Anagrams
  • Compounds
  • Prefixes and Suffixes

Master the 11 Plus

A unique, confidence-boosting way to study for the 11 Plus

Frequently Asked Questions

To approach the test with confidence, employ the following simple preparation strategies:

  • Create Words: Encourage children to engage in letter activities like anagrams or scrambles. 
  • Encourage Logical Thinking: They should think logically and critically through puzzles, riddles, and brain teasers to solve VR questions.
  • Utilise Resources: Use online resources, books, and practice papers with answer keys to provide additional practice and support.
  • Regular Practice: Encourage regular practice to build confidence and improve performance.

The syllabus for the 11 Plus test can vary depending on the specific school or local education authority, but it generally covers four main subjects:

  • English: This subject tests reading comprehension, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and creative writing skills.
  • Maths: This subject assesses arithmetic, fractions, decimals, percentages, geometry, data handling, algebra, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Verbal Reasoning: This subject evaluates vocabulary, logical sequences, analogies, code deciphering, and inference skills.
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning: This subject measures pattern recognition, spatial awareness, logical thinking, sequences, and matrices using shapes and visual information.