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VR - Making Words From Larger Words And Words that Cannot Be Made From Larger Words

Making Words from Larger Words

From the word IMPORTANCE, form new words having the following meanings :

Tighten _ _ _ _ _
Two parts of the eye _ _ _ _ _ _ AND _ _ _ _ _ _
A form of transport _ _ _ _ _
Writer of verse _ _ _ _
Close _ _ _ _

This is a tricky question to explain and, thankfully, not the sort that you'll get very often. I've seen it on a couple of papers to get into private schools at 11+ so it's worth taking a quick look at.

The basic premise is to test a child's verbal reasoning and vocabulary. The initial word is likely to be quite long, to make life tricky, and the number of letters required for each of the answers is usually indicated by the number of dashes.

There is no special way to solve these questions - you simply have to work on it from the vocabulary point of view and be aware of the letters available. Work your way through the clues one by one, see what you can get and don't get held up on a question you don't know straight away. This is a great tip for everything, mind you!

You can always look for common letter strings and other techniques but, realistically, all you can do is ask your child to come up with a mental list of words which could mean the same thing as the clue and see if any of them come up in the letters of the large word. For example, if your child has been listening in science lessons, they may have heard of parts of the eye such as pupil, cornea, iris, retina... Of these, both cornea and retina can be made from 'IMPORTANCE'. This is testing vocabulary as much as anything; it is an advanced version of the anagram questions.

The other answers would be 'cramp', 'train' (not 'car' as there are five letters in the answer, as shown by the number of dashes), 'poet' and 'near'. Remind your child that many words have different meanings so 'close' could mean 'to shut' or 'not far', and try to visualise any objects to help them come up with other names for things.

Words that Cannot be Made from Larger Words

Which of the following words can NOT be made from the letters of the word POSITIONAL?

Postal Opal Notion Posit Pools Satin

This is a fairly straightforward type of question that I've seen in a few 11+ papers for schools that don't take the regular style ones; there should be little problem for your child if they see this.

There are a few tricks that are used to confuse candidates but it all boils down to looking carefully. If you are steady and methodical it is impossible to get wrong! The main thing to watch out for is the use of repetitious letters. If you've ever played Countdown then you know that you can only use a letter the number of times it appears in the selection, therefore in our example we can use 'I' and 'O' twice because they are each in 'POSITIONAL' twice. Any other letter can not be used more than once. Secondly, there is no trick in the words and it doesn't matter whether or not you know their meanings.

Looking through the example words, 'posit' is very tricky and you would expect a child of ten or eleven to be baffled by it. Tell them that it doesn't matter, just look at the letters and see whether they appear in the large word. As they do, it's fine - as are all the other words with the exception of 'notion', purely because 'n' does not appear twice in 'POSITIONAL'.

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