11+ Symbol Codes illustration | Greek letters
Greek letters are often used as symbols in these codes.

VR - Codes Using Letters for Symbols

This article was formerly combined with another which explained how to solve codes involving letters for numbers. To read how to do that, you can look at another new article, VR - Codes Using Letters for Numbers.

Letters for Symbols are a third type of code question. Almost identical to Letters For Letters and Letters for Numbers, they are codes in which symbols are used to represent letters.

Seeing symbols (which children may not have come across before) can be daunting for some candidates, but they needn’t be. The method for solving these problems is identical to the other two types of code question. Logic and reasoning are key, and a knowledge of maths or English is unnecessary (at least for these questions).

How Are Letters for Symbols Codes Used In The Exam?

There are a couple of ways these can be presented. Firstly, candidates are shown a list of four-letter words. Beneath these are the same amount of words, though this time written in seemingly random symbols. It’s up to the child to find out which code represents which word.

Alternatively, candidates might be shown three words, along with three codes which represent those words – though not in the correct order. They than have to write down the code for a fourth word.

To help make things clearer, let’s show you some examples, starting with the first format:

Example Question One


Here are five words:
A) dole
B) mole
C) doll
D) mode
E) dome
Below, you will find the same five words written in a secret code, and in a different order. All the words are written in the same code. Work out what each coded word stands for.
α β π µ
α β λ µ
π β α µ
π β λ µ
α β λ λ


Now, how to tackle these questions. The first thing I'd teach a child is to search for similarities and differences between the codes, and look for links between those and the words provided.

The clearest similarity is that all but one of the codes ends in 'µ' so this must represent the letter 'e' as four of the words end in 'e'.

'Doll' is the only word to end in anything else so 'λ' is the code for 'l'.

All the words have 'o' as the second letter - the codes show that the equivalent must be 'β'.

Three of the words start with 'd' so, as three of the codes start with 'α', they must mean the same thing.

That leaves 'm', which starts two of the words, being the equivalent of 'π' as it starts two of the codes.

The answers must therefore be:

α β π µ is dome
α β λ µ is dole
π β α µ is mode
π β λ µ is mole
α β λ λ is doll

Example Question Two


These three words are given in code. The order is mixed up.
MAKE LIKE TIME
Ψ Ώ ¶ ¥
Ж Ώ μ ¥
μ Λ ¶ ¥
Find the code for the word KITE


Sometimes candidates are given a multiple-choice answer list, which makes it much easier to find the correct answer (more on that later). But let’s begin by looking at the more difficult questions with no choice of answer.

To solve these problems, first look at all the codes to see which characters they share. All of them end with a ¥ symbol, so we know that that represents the letter E.

Two of the codes have Ώ in second place, and two of the words have an I in second place, so Ώ must represent the letter I.

Two of the codes have a ¶ symbol in their penultimate slot, where two of the words have a letter K. ¶ must represent K in our code.

The only letter we still need to find to make KITE is a T. T only appears in one of the given words: TIME. We know that TIME will have a Ώ in its second place (I) and will not contain a ¶ (K). Therefore, TIME must be Ж Ώ μ ¥, so the letter T is represented by a Ж.

We now have enough information to write the word KITE in code. It is: ¶ Ώ Ж ¥

It’s all about methodically checking each word and each code until you can decipher them all.

Now let’s look at the simpler multiple-choice format:

Example Question Three

These three words are given in code. The order is mixed up.
MAKE LIKE TIME
Ψ Ώ ¶ ¥
Ж Ώ μ ¥
μ Λ ¶ ¥
Find the code for the word KITE
Possible answers:
A) μ Ώ Ж ¥
B) ¶ Ώ Ж ¥
C) ¶ Ж ¥ Ώ
D) ¶ Ж Ώ ¥


We immediately know the correct answer must end with a ¥ as all the words end with an E and all the codes end with a ¥. We can rule out option C straight away.

We want the code to begin with a ¶ as two of the given codes have one of these symbols in their penultimate slot, and two of the words have a K in that position. We can therefore rule out option A, leaving us with a choice between B and D.

The second letter must be an I, which is also the second letter in two of the given words. I must be a Ώ so we can now rule out option D. The correct answer must be option B.

Sample Tests

Now we have finished looking at the three different types of code found in an Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning exam. I do hope you have managed to get to grips with them. They are quite easy to crack, once you know the technique.

And now it’s time to practise. There are four quizzes on the Education Quizzes site devoted specifically to Letter for Symbol Codes. Try them with your child and share with them the tips we have learned in this lesson.

You’ll find the quizzes in our Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning section or, alternatively, you can follow these links:

Letters for Symbols Codes 1

Letters for Symbols Codes 2

Letters for Symbols Codes 3

Letters for Symbols Codes 4

Happy code cracking!

© Copyright 2016-2020 - Education Quizzes
TJS - Web Design Lincolnshire
View Printout in HTML

Valid HTML5

We use cookies to make your experience of our website better.

To comply with the new e-Privacy directive, we need to ask for your consent - I agree - No thanks - Find out more