Twenty 11 Plus Verbal Reasoning Tips and Techniques

Verbal reasoning is one of the 11 Plus core subjects. It tests a child’s ability to understand and reason using concepts framed in words and measures a range of skills, including vocabulary, logic, and the ability to follow instructions. 

Here, we’ll explore practical tips and techniques to help your child excel in this challenging section. 

What Is Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning assesses a child’s problem-solving abilities using language. It involves a variety of question types, including:

  • Synonyms and Antonyms: Finding words with similar or opposite meanings.
  • Analogies: Identifying relationships between words.
  • Word Classifications: Grouping words based on shared characteristics or relationships.
  • Sentence Completion: Choosing the word or phrase that best completes the sentence.
  • Logical Sequences: Solving problems using deductive reasoning.

Familiarising your child with these types of questions can greatly reduce test anxiety and improve performance. Below, we’ll provide ways to master these question types.

Tips and Techniques for Studying 11 Plus Verbal Reasoning

11 Plus Verbal Reasoning Tips and Techniques

Building a Strong Vocabulary

Read Widely

Encourage your child to read a variety of materials, including fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, and magazines. This exposure helps them encounter new words in different contexts.

Use Flashcards

Create flashcards with new vocabulary words and their definitions. Use this review technique regularly to reinforce learning.

Word Games

Engage your child in word games like Scrabble, Boggle, or online vocabulary quizzes. These games make learning new words fun and interactive.

Explore Etymology

Teach your child the roots of words. Understanding Greek and Latin roots can help decipher unfamiliar words. For example, knowing that “bio” means life can help in understanding words like “biology” or “biography.”

Vocabulary Journals

Encourage your child to maintain a vocabulary journal. They can write down new words, meanings, and sentences using those words and even draw pictures to represent them. This multisensory approach aids retention.

Mastering Synonyms and Antonyms

Group Words

Teach your child to group words with similar meanings (synonyms) and opposite meanings (antonyms) together. This helps in quicker recall during the exam.

Context Clues

Teach your child to use context clues within a sentence to infer the meaning of unknown words. For example, in the sentence “The voracious reader devoured books,” the word “devoured” suggests that “voracious” refers to an intense appetite for reading.

Synonym and Antonym Chains

Create chains of synonyms and antonyms. Start with a word and find a synonym, then find a synonym for that word, and so on.

For antonyms, start with a word and find its opposite, then find the opposite of the new word and continue. This can deepen understanding and reinforce connections between words.

Tackling Analogies

Identify Relationship

Teach your child to identify the relationship between the first pair of words before attempting to find the second pair. Common relationships include part to whole, function, cause and effect, and degree.

Create Analogies

Encourage your child to create their own analogies. This exercise helps them understand how different relationships work and improves their ability to identify them quickly.

Story Connections

Use short stories or anecdotes to explain analogies. For example, explain “pen is to writer as brush is to painter” by telling a story of how each tool is essential to the respective professional.

Word Classifications

Examine Word Pairs

Analysing word pairs helps in understanding subtle differences and relationships between words. Create exercises where your child explains the difference between pairs of similar words.

Practice with Context

When learning new words, use them in sentences to understand their meanings better. Also, teach your child to use context clues in sentences to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words.

Analyse Relationships

Regularly practice analogy questions to understand different types of word relationships. Create mind maps to organise words into categories and relationships visually.

Sentence Completion

Elimination Method

Teach your child to eliminate clearly incorrect answers first. Narrowing down the options increases the chance of selecting the correct one.

Predict Words

Before looking at the answer choices, have your child predict a word that fits the blank. This helps them to think critically about the sentence’s meaning and increases the likelihood of selecting the correct option.

Cloze Tests

Use cloze tests (texts with missing words) to practice sentence completion. This exercise improves contextual understanding and vocabulary simultaneously.

Logical Sequences

Recognise Patterns

Train your child to look for patterns in sequences of words or letters. These patterns could be alphabetical, numerical, or thematic.

Daily Sequence Challenges

Create a daily challenge for your child to find the sequence in a set of words or numbers you provide. This will keep their skills sharp and make it a fun daily activity.

Sequence Stories

Develop short stories where each sentence logically follows the previous one. Ask your child to identify the sequence and predict the next part of the story.

Final Note

Preparation for the 11 Plus Verbal Reasoning test is about more than just cramming vocabulary and practising questions. It involves a holistic approach that includes building a strong vocabulary, enhancing logical thinking, and mastering test strategies.

With the abovementioned techniques, you can help your child approach the test with confidence and the skills they need to succeed. Also, consistent practice and a positive attitude are key to acing the 11 Plus Verbal Reasoning test.

Master the 11 Plus

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