Common mistakes preparing for 11 Plus Verbal Reasoning Exams

The most common error made in preparation is to believe that doing test after test will continue to result in improvement.

Doing practice 11 Plus tests helps children to get used to the demands for speed and accuracy, BUT if they have learnt what to do with each question then research shows that after a number of tests children will hit a performance wall, they won’t improve further.

The reason for this is that they will have reached the end of their ability to work quickly and accurately and will have exhausted their core English skills. Really the only further improvement that can be made is by further enlarging spelling and vocabulary knowledge.

The above of course is a little bit of a generalisation but it remains broadly true and has been written to drive home the point that the core activities children do to develop vocabulary and spelling are sadly left behind too early in many cases. The lure of doing test after test and hoping for excellence becomes too much and once tests have been started it is very difficult to go back.

Most children reach a plateau in Verbal Reasoning performance (often at around 80-85%). Really the only way to get beyond this is to improve vocabulary. Instead many make the mistake of doing more and more papers which doesn’t help at all.

In most cases children would benefit from doing fewer practice papers and more work on core skills.