11+ Putting Words Into Groups Illustration | Counters
Sorting things into groups is easy. Sorting words is just the same.

VR - Putting Words Into Groups

This article was formerly combined with another on the topic of words with multiple meanings. Both of these refer to parts of the 11+ Verbal Reasoning exam which are designed to test a child’s vocabulary. You can now read the information in the previous article in our new one, VR - Words with Multiple Meanings.

As always, when facing Putting Words into Groups questions in the exam, a large vocabulary and a knowledge of some lesser-known words will improve your child’s chance of success considerably.

As long as candidates know the meanings of the words they are given (or most of them), then this type of question is quite simple. The relation between the different groups of words is usually obvious, or can be worked out quickly.

How Are These Kind Of Questions Posed In The Exam?

Candidates are asked to look at several groups of words which are related in some way. These groups are followed by some more words which the candidate must place in one of the groups, making sure that that word is related to the other words in that group.

That may sound complicated, but it’s really rather simple, as we shall see.

Example Question One

Below are four groups of words. All of those in the same group are connected in some way. Once you have worked out what the connection is between the words in each group, look at the test words. Decide which group each of the test words goes in to.

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Asthma Spotty Fig Trio
Influenza Freckled Apple Quartet
Tuberculosis Greasy Grape Single

Test words:

CLEAR - _____________
PEAR - _____________
QUINTET - _____________

The format of these questions needs to be learned and after that there should be no problem. The easiest way to solve them and to get your head around it is to label the groups in pencil first, like so:

Group A could be called 'illnesses', regardless of whether your child knows what each of the words means or can spell them!

Group B is tougher - it actually refers to the state of someone's skin, although a child may not realise this straight away.

Group C, obviously, is a list of fruit. There will usually be one very easy to identify group given.

Group D is all about the number of things - words which refer to one, two, three and so on.

Once the format is sorted, all you need is a good vocabulary and a keen eye for spelling.

'Clear' goes with Group B. If your child doesn't see this, get them to think about whether it can be a verb, noun or anything else. It can, of course, be different parts of speech. Using the different meanings, run through the groups' descriptions that you've already given them. Does it fit in with any? Which can you rule out? It's often the best way to decide what's not the answer and work from there.

'Pear' is a fruit; the temptation is to link it to the words in Group D as 'Pair' would fit in there. That's why spelling is important!

'Quintet' may be a word your child doesn't know - this is where reading and vocabulary are critical. Of course, it goes with Group D and, if in doubt, the fact that 'quartet' ends with a similar letter string should point a bright child with limited vocabulary to the right group.

Sample Tests:

The best way to get to grips with these kinds of questions is to practise. Write out some example questions of your own and then ask your child to complete them. The questions should be quite easy – just think of four groups of words (animals, languages, colours or whatever comes to mind) and some more words which they must put into the relevant group.

In addition (or alternatively, if you are short on time) we have four quizzes on our site featuring Putting Words Into Groups. You will find them in our Eleven Plus Verbal reasoning section, or you can follow these links:

Putting Words Into Groups 1

Putting Words Into Groups 2

Putting Words Into Groups 3

Putting Words Into Groups 4

Let your child have a go at all forty questions and see how well they fare. If they struggle then you may need to offer some pointers. However, by the time they reach the last quiz in the series, they should have mastered this particular topic. Good luck!

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