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What does my child need to know for the Verbal Reasoning section of the 11+?

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

Verbal Reasoning is combined with the English section in paper 1, and together make up 50% of the overall mark. Verbal Reasoning aims to evaluate the ability of a pupil to think constructively rather than just recognise vocabulary. It covers a whole range of question types, however predominantly it is how letters, words or numbers can be used to complete a task. Verbal Reasoning can be divided into five main sections:

1. Cracking codes – pupils are presented with codes in letter or number form, and need to identify the code and then apply the code to answer similar questions.

2. Creating words – pupils need to create words by looking at incomplete words and either adding, removing or moving a letter to create new words.

3. Using numbers – in these questions pupils need to use numbers to complete series, complete equations or find a missing number.

4. Finding words – these questions require pupils to find words similar in meaning, opposite in meaning or any double meanings.

5. Thinking logically – this type of question involves a series of statements with which pupils need to come to a conclusion based on the information provided.

Verbal Reasoning, similarly to Non-Verbal Reasoning, is not taught in schools. These Verbal Reasoning skills form a vital part of the 11 plus and the more practice pupils have, and the more exposure they have to these question types, the more confident they become and the better they become at answering them.

To find out how we could help your child as they prepare to take the secondary transfer test (11 plus) please contact us through the contact page on the website at or direct via email at


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