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VR - Spotting Synonyms or Antonyms and Answering Questions About Words

Spotting Synonyms or Antonyms


Find TWO words, one from each group, that have similar meanings OR opposite meanings.

(force break relax)
(mend strong stop)

This is a variation on the synonym question that we've explored already; it is a bit harder, but need not be difficult.

Firstly, if the answer doesn't come immediately, see if anything can be ruled out. 'Strong' is an adjective - it describes something. It is the only adjective and is therefore not going to be the correct answer. The opposite of something, like a synonym, will be in the same word class.

There isn't anything much to go on here so we should be taking each word in turn. 'Force' could be a verb or a noun; try to run through both synonyms and antonyms briefly before looking through the remaining two options, 'mend' and 'stop'. You could say there is a vague opposite meaning to either but it certainly can't be made clear. Forget 'force' and move on.

'Break' could mean 'to destroy' or 'a time of relaxation'. Looking through the words in the lower line, 'mend' would be acceptable as an antonym for 'break'. You break something, you destroy it. You mend something, you put it back together again. The answer must therefore be 'break' and 'mend'.

Technique Tip:

While I often suggest written notes on a verbal reasoning paper to aid thought, I would discourage it for these questions. Thinking about words and meanings is all you need and writing out a thesaurus-full of words is not worth the effort. By all means cross out any word that you genuinely cannot believe is right, but otherwise keep the pencil off the page to save time!

Answering Questions About Words


Look at the words below and then answer the questions about them.

  1. Which consonant appears most frequently?
  2. Which vowel does not appear in any word?
  3. Which word would come first in a dictionary?
  4. Which would appear last?

These questions are all fairly straightforward and that, I imagine, is why they only appear in certain styles of verbal reasoning papers. The main issue here is not whether your child can do them, but whether they can complete them under intense time pressure without making a silly mistake.

The words are deliberately similar. They start to meld into one on the page and, when the time is ticking, even the most conscientious child is prone to slipping up. If you want to train your child well for sitting the test then they MUST know how to work against the clock.

The answers are 'L', 'U', 'ELEVEN' and 'SOLVER' but I hardly need to point these out and techniques to get them right are hardly worthwhile! Don't test your child's ability to give the correct answers - if they can't do it then they should not be sitting the Eleven Plus - put them under pressure to solve these sorts of questions in thirty seconds.

Encourage your child to stay calm, be systematic, deal with each question at a time and make sure that the alphabet is second nature.

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