Why a wide vocabulary is so important for 11 Plus success

Whatever type of 11 Plus exam you are doing a wide vocabulary is absolutely essential. In verbal reasoning tests children without a wide vocabulary reach a plateau and will not make further progress regardless of how many practice tests they do. In English children with a wide vocabulary will have developed skills which naturally help them when it comes to comprehension tests, spelling tests and punctuation tests. The process of developing a wide vocabulary is so important that any child who has not been through it likely to find attaining a grammar school place very difficult.

We have so many questions regarding developing a wide vocabulary that we have developed a section for it which should have all the answers you need including suggested resources.

Why developing a wide vocabulary is more difficult for some

It’s also worth adding here that those parents who have children who are switched on by non-fiction and don’t enjoy reading books and those parents who perhaps come from another country and so find English particularly difficult should not shy away from getting on with it. It’s a very common mistake to think that spending more time on Maths and more time on Non-Verbal reasoning will balance out a weak vocabulary- it won’t.

Even if children get 100% in the maths and non-verbal reasoning sections of a test they will still struggle because pretty much every 11 Plus test around the country is heavily weighted towards literacy skills , particularly a wide vocabulary.

We’d add that while some active learning exercises are useful, the later vocabulary development is left, the more difficult it becomes. The best way for children to acquire a wide vocabulary is naturally through reading and hearing and speaking.