VR - Making Words Using a Rule

Example

In this question, the three words in the second group should go together in the same way as the three in the first group. Find the word that is missing in the second group.

(real [meat] time)
(tire [ ? ] note)

These questions are quite intimidating at first glance; often in a verbal reasoning test there will be a straightforward answer that doesn't need too much thought but this is one of those that needs some steady, written work to complete successfully.

Let's check the basics - we need to create a word (not just a set of letters) that replaces the [?] in the second line. The first line shows us the technique we must use.

If it is an easy question, the letters will all be different and the question straightforward. It rarely, if ever, is!

Make sure your child thinks it 'out loud' in their head. Have them say the words aloud to start with so you can check their logic, then in their mind once they are used to the questions. I would say that 'meat' starts with the THIRD LETTER OF THE RIGHT HAND WORD. Now we can apply that to the second set of words and the THIRD LETTER OF THE RIGHT HAND WORD is 't'. Our answer must begin with 't'.

The second letter of 'meat' is either from the SECOND LETTER OF THE LEFT HAND WORD or the FOURTH LETTER OF THE RIGHT HAND WORD. That makes the second letter 'i' or 'e'.

The third letter of 'meat' is from the THIRD LETTER OF THE LEFT HAND WORD so must be 'r' in our new word. The final letter is made by taking the FIRST LETTER FROM THE RIGHT HAND WORD and so is 'n'.

Putting these together, we have the following combination, set out just as I recommend children do it:

e
t r n
i

The word reads across as either 'tirn' or 'tern' - hopefully your child would spot the right one. 'Tern' is a type of sea bird and is the correct answer, whereas 'tirn' makes no sense.

Example 2

In this question, the three words in the second group should go together in the same way as the three in the first group. Find the word that is missing in the second group.

(pass [laps] stalk)
(elder [ ? ] rigs)

Be careful - sometimes they are counting the letters from the beginning of the word, sometimes it can be from the end. When you have a five letter word on one question and a four letter one on the equivalent underneath it, the letters we are trying to find might be 'LAST LETTER' / 'FIRST LETTER' / 'SECOND LETTER FROM THE RIGHT' etc. of that word. Whatever it is, the same rule must apply to the second set of words to form the answer.

Let's try explaining where the first letter came from in the first set of brackets. It's from either the FOURTH LETTER / SECOND LETTER FROM THE END OF THE RIGHT HAND WORD. The equivalent from the second set of brackets will be 's' or 'g'.

The second letter comes from either the SECOND LETTER / THIRD LETTER FROM THE END OF THE LEFT HAND WORD or from the THIRD LETTER / THIRD LETTER FROM THE END OF THE RIGHT HAND WORD. Our possibilities are therefore 'l', 'd', 'i' or 'g'.

The third letter must realistically be the FIRST LETTER OF THE WORD ON THE LEFT, that is to say, 'e'.

As 's' appears a lot in the first words, the fourth letter can be the THIRD / FOURTH / LAST / PENULTIMATE LETTER OF THE WORD ON THE LEFT. It could also refer to the FIRST LETTER OF THE RIGHT HAND WORD. That means any of 'd', 'e' and 'r'.

This, when done at speed, can be reduced to a written response like this:

l
s d d
i e e
g g r

The final solution may take a moment but needs some common sense to rule out certain combinations. There are two possible answers I can find here - 'SLED' or 'GLEE'. Don't panic - if this was the situation then only one of these would be given as a possible answer on a multiple choice paper.

Technique Tip:

Many schools use papers which are bought-in and therefore the answers will be written in a multiple-choice format for ease of marking; this is helpful for everyone! If you work out part of the answer, it's often possible to use the multiple choice answers to see which fits this pattern, thereby saving the time of answering the whole thing. It can lead to mistakes from those who rush things and get part of a question wrong, but it really is a great short-cut. If the answer you find begins with 'a' and only one option on the answer paper begins with 'a', you either have the answer already or got the 'a' wrong!

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