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Understanding Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning

d8a5b89b045233051c527a2a13627808.jpgMany parents whose children are preparing for their 11 Plus exams will have no doubt heard of the terms ‘verbal and non-verbal reasoning’. Success in both these papers are crucial to passing the exam. As parents, it can be really useful to understand the teaching methods so they can help their children at home. But different concepts can get confusing, so we’re here to help!

So, what is verbal reasoning?

Verbal reasoning is almost always used as one of the test papers for the 11 Plus in different areas of the UK. This is because it’s understood that it’s a good way to test a child’s potential because it tests skill rather than learned knowledge.

The test requires the ability to decipher letter sequences and number-based codes, alongside a good vocabulary and spelling, a solid grasp of synonyms (words that have the same meaning), antonyms (words that have opposite meanings) and excellent basic maths skills. There are 21 types of Verbal Reasoning questions, including:

  • Finding one letter to complete two words
  • Finding words that mean the same from two lists
  • Finding antonyms from two lists of words
  • Spotting the odd ones out in a list of words

There are two main exam boards that schools can use for verbal reasoning : GL and CEM. CEM tests tend to use fewer different types of questions for verbal reasoning, but including other activities like jumbled sentences.

Find out more about verbal Reasoning here:

What is non-verbal reasoning?

Non-verbal reasoning is f19503e20e65ff30cc83210c6343a455.jpgdesigned to assess an individual’s ability to solve problems and analyse visual information, regardless of their written language abilities. The tests tend to require skills including:

  • Recognising visual sequences
  • Spotting differences between patterns and shapes
  • Identifying relationships between objects
  • Understand maths concepts such as rotation, addition, subtraction and symmetry

Each question will include a sequence of 3 to 5 shapes and the child will be asked to find the shape that completes the sequence or find the ‘odd one out’ within 3 to 5 options. Other questions may include reordering or counting a line of pictures or imagining what a shape will be if it is turned into 3D.

Find out more about non-verbal Reasoning here:

What can you do to help your children at home?

Speed and accuracy are said to be very important, and there are tools for children to familiarise themselves with the concepts. These include:

Verbal reasoning

  • Playing word games, quizzes and word-based games like Scrabble
  • Building vocabulary through doing crosswords and word searches and playing games like Hangman
  • Setting your child spelling challenges, like homophones (words that are the same by spelt differently, with different meanings)
  • Building general knowledge

Non-verbal reasoning

  • Doing jigsaws, Sudoko or visual puzzles
  • Developing spacial awareness through toys like Meccano and LEGO
  • Drawing shapes on paper and talking about mirror images
  • Playing maths games and using cards to practise addition and subtraction

Explore Learning’s expert tutors are on hand to support your family with getting fbeeee4554afdb4f048362dafcb4c16b.jpgto grips with the 11 Plus.

Click here to find out more about how our award-winning tuition can help your child.

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Since 2001 our award-winning maths and English tuition has supported over 200,000 children aged four to 14 excel academically, reach their potential and achieve the best possible results. But more than that, we are unwavering in our mission to develop a generation of Fearless Learners.

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