Tutor HuntResources Eleven Plus Resources

Soulla’s Secrets To Success In The 11+ Reasoning Exam

Hints and tips for the 11+ Exam

Date : 08/06/2022

Author Information


Uploaded by : Soulla
Uploaded on : 08/06/2022
Subject : Eleven Plus

Some children will be sitting the 11+ this coming September, so I hope these tips and hints on tackling the paper and preparing will you feel more confident and ready.

I have written a short, succinct series of posts comprising of what the 11+ entails.

The four main areas are

Verbal Reasoning,

Non-verbal Reasoning,

maths and


Even if your child isn t sitting this year, please read this now and give yourself time to collate resources, look at what your child needs support in and book a competent tutor as soon as possible. Working against the clock will only add to your child s anxiety and can lead to failure or lower results.

Verbal reasoning is not studied as part of the school curriculum but depends upon a set of core English skills as well as some basic maths. The scope and content of the 11+ exam content will vary slightly across different parts of the UK but a typical paper will test your child s ability in the following areas:

1. Processing of verbal information.

2. Application of logical thinking and problem-solving skills.

3. Finding and following patterns and rules.

4. Spelling accurately.

5. Application of basic maths skills.

6. Working with a systematic approach.

All verbal reasoning questions can be categorised into four main groups and 26 question types. This paper practises many of the types not all are included in this blog series but are practiced in the range of Bond s Third, Fourth and Fifth papers in Verbal Reasoning.

You can find a full explanation of all the reasoning question types in Bond s How to do 11+ Verbal Reasoning.

Group 1: Sorting words

1. Identifying groups of words. (GROUPS)

Eg: trees, rivers, etc.

2. Sorting words into categories. (CATEGORIES)

Eg: sport, food, furniture, etc.

3. Pairing up words (SYNONYM MATCH)

Find the two words which are closest in meaning.

Eg: A) jump, talk, start and B) from, begin, sing

= start and begin

4. Finding words that do not belong (ODD ONE/S OUT)

Eg: Find two odd ones out in the following:

blue, black, brown, queen, yellow, orange, king, red

queen and king

5. Finding words that are the most similar. (PAIR MATCHING)

Eg: Underline the pair most similar in meaning.

sun/moon sugar/flour dish/bowl


6. Finding words that are the most opposite. (ANTONYMS)

Eg: black/white

7. Finding words that have letters in common. (COMMON LETTERS)

Eg: moon, spoon, room

These question types focus on:

Word recognition and definitions.

Success in this area relies on a good and wide understanding of vocabulary as well as the ability to identify synonyms and antonyms with ease.

Activities to support the development of these skills: Reading widely to strengthen vocabulary skills, dictionary games and familiarity with a thesaurus to widen word knowledge and build skills as well as reading together and discussing the meaning of unusual words and new words.

Group 2: Selecting Words: These are all straight forward but good spelling and a good vocabulary are necessary tools.

8. Combining two words to make new words.

9. Choosing pairs of opposites.

10. Finishing one word and beginning the next.

11. Finding a prefix for a set of words.

12. Making new words by adding or removing letters.

13. Changing letters to make new words.

14. Selecting the best words to make a complete sentence.

15. Finding a connection to complete a sentence or word pair.

These all rely on a solid understanding of how words are constructed. An ability to identify and use common suffixes and prefixes is necessary, along with firm knowledge of word roots. Accurate spelling is needed in order to identify single letter changes within words. These skills ideally should be supported by careful observation and a methodical approach.

Group 3: Anagrams

16. Rearranging letters to make a word.

17. Rearranging a sentence to make sense of it.

18. Using a rule to create new words.

19. Completing crosswords.

20. Applying alphabetical order.

21. Finding a word hidden in a sentence.

Eg: The dads had bats and balls = sand

22. Finding a small word in a larger word.

Eg: The cat jumped onto the mouse = use

These all rely upon a good solid knowledge of the alphabet, an understanding of word definitions and good spelling skills. For some questions it is necessary to look for clues or look at the context in each sentence. For other questions, your child must use careful observation in order to spot letters, letter patterns or letter positions in a word. Some question types will require your child to find a rule and be able to apply that rule in the same way to another word or set of words.

Group 4: Coded sequences and logic

23. Working out letter and number sequences.

3 6 9 12 _ _

= 15 and 18

24. Coding and decoding words using numbers, letters and symbols.

25. Making deductions from given information.

Eg: Find the two missing pairs of letters in the following sequences.


Therefore GO, HO

26. Applying number logic.

Eg: a=1 b=2 c=3 d=4 e=5

Therefore b + d e = a

This set of question types tests your child s logic and skills of deduction as well as the ability to work out and follow sequences and patterns. The sequences in these coded questions may use a combination of numbers, letters or symbols. Having knowledge of alphabetical order will be helpful for letter pattern and sequence type questions. Knowledge and reasoning skills will be needed for the problem-solving questions. The key to tackling these questions is to work carefully and logically. Write out the alphabet if that has not been done for you.

The golden rules for success in verbal reasoning

Have a strategy for every question type. Make sure that your child has a way of approaching every question type.

Work methodically. This means ensuring that questions are tackled in a systematic way.

Practise widely to avoid surprises. It is important for your child to practice more widely than the question types they think will be in the exam. Lots of 11+ sites available on the ???. For example, 11+ DIY. If a question type comes up which your child is unfamiliar with then it s important that they can think on their feet.

Target what you don t know. It is best for your child to focus their practice on those questions they find most difficult and not on the ones they are confident in. They must not shy away from the more difficult questions as these are the questions where crucial marks can be made up.

Make sure basic English and maths skills are in place. See the checklist below.

Basic skills checklist

For your child to be successful at verbal reasoning the following set of basic skills should be practiced and should start these from Year 1 if you can as they do take time to implement and develop. If you do not have this time, then and are sitting soon just practice and read.

1. Develop logical thinking skills. The ability to think logically, analyse evidence, spot common links, patterns or rules, and work systematically are essential skills in verbal reasoning. Logic puzzles and games will help here. For example, crosswords, wordsearch puzzles, riddles and brainteasers and cryptograms as well as electronic and board games that require tactical thinking.

2. Develop accurate spelling. Your child must learn their regular school spellings. Schonell s Essential Spelling List and range of accompanying workbooks are good for extension activities. It is also a good idea to work out your child s spelling age so you can assess their present level and judge how much they need to improve by. By the time your child is ready to sit the 11+ exam their spelling age should be approximately 1-2 years above their actual age, if they are to cope at a Grammar School.

This resource was uploaded by: Soulla

Other articles by this author