Verbal reasoning is almost always included in exam papers for selective schools, and relies on a strong vocabulary that goes beyond the primary curriculum.

Although verbal reasoning skills are not commonly taught at school, we give children the strategies needed to confidently tackle these types of questions.


Problem solving

Word problems, following written instructions


Code deciphering

Sequencing, algebra, number logic


Vocabulary knowledge

Including synonyms, antonyms, analogies

11 plus tutor
Verbal reasoning exams

Types of verbal reasoning exams

There are two types of verbal reasoning exams your child will take depending on the schools in your local area, and there are a few differences between examination types:

GL (NFER) assessments

These GL assessments cover up to 21 different verbal reasoning skills. These may require a child to find the correct answer to a question using their problem-solving abilities or find the answer from a selection of options, such as picking out the correct antonyms or analogies. For children preparing for this exam type we cover all 21 question types during our exam preparation class.

CEM exams

The question types tend not to be as clearly defined in the CEM exams. Verbal reasoning skills are commonly assessed as part of the 11 Plus English test. To give your child the best possible practice, our course largely focuses around the most common verbal reasoning question types that have historically appeared in the CEM exams.

Preparing for the 11 Plus

Support before, during and after the exams

For some children, despite never having seen these types of questions before, it just ‘clicks’. Tackling word searches and Sudoku can increase your child’s verbal reasoning skills; however, in most cases exposure and practice are key.

We use traditional paper-based as well as online activities during our weekly 11 Plus tuition sessions so your child will have plenty of practice and preparation for verbal reasoning exams. Our members can also access online activities which are perfect for supporting home practice, as there are endless unique tests your child can have a go at! Meanwhile, their individualised weekly maths and English tutoring sessions will be developing their core maths and English skills to help them tackle all elements of the exams.

We are also dedicated to ensuring that children have the necessary skills and confidence to succeed in their new school. This is something we are hugely passionate about.

For many children, the step up to year 7 can be a daunting one. That’s why from day one our course will develop not only a strong academic foundation for your child, but also their confidence and social skills – ensuring they are fully prepared, and ready and excited for the challenges ahead.

Our 11 Plus tutors are on hand to answer any questions you might have about how we can help your child prepare for the exams.


Verbal reasoning questions

Depending on your child’s individual needs we will develop their vocabulary skills in our tailored sessions. Our range of 11 Plus and entrance exam practise resources help your child feel familiar with the different types of verbal reasoning questions they may face. Here are just two examples that could appear in the exams.

Hidden word

A four-letter word is hidden at the end of one word and the beginning of the next word. Find the pair of words that contains the hidden word.

The probe streaked through outer space.

Answer: probe streaked

Letter connections

Find the letters that will complete the sentence in the best way.

AS is to FV as JL is to __

Answer: OO

11 Plus quiz

Want to practise some 11 Plus questions to test your speed and accuracy? Try our 11 Plus quiz to get a better understanding of the kind of maths skills need for the 11 Plus exams.



Practice Questions

Ready to get started?

From finding schools in your area to practising exam questions and discussing 11+ tuition, we can help with your next steps.

Over the last 15 years, Explore Learning has developed an 11 Plus and Entrance Exam offering that is tailored to suit the schools in the local area. Whether your child is sitting a CEM, GL Assessment, Bond, Avery or local school entrance paper we adapt our tools and advice to prepare for the exam.