To start, here are links to a large number of English 11 plus tips and tests. These will meet all your 11 Plus English exams needs.
11 plus English Tips
- Read Each Verbal Reasoning Question Very Carefully
Note this might sound like obvious advice. However, many verbal items may have one crucial word that’s easy to misinterpret. So, do look for words such as all, some, most.
- Interpret key word meanings carefully
Also, you must remember that easier verbal reasoning test formats ask test takers to interpret individual word meanings.
11 Plus English Comprehension tip 1 – Key words
Watch out for certain key words and phrases in either the passage or question (or both!). These key words often act as the link between different pieces of information. In many cases they qualify the information that has been given. When you come across key words in passages and questions you need to focus on their precise meanings. You are being tested on reinterpreting the passage so ask yourself: do exactly the same emphasis in both the passage and question?
Contrast words and phrases (e.g. however, although, but, alternatively, whereas, despite, rather, unless, instead, while and nevertheless). used to highlight differences are these contrast words: yet, at the same time and conversely. These make a transition between two clauses, or parts of a sentence.
11 Plus English Comprehension tip 3 – Propositions
There are certain words and phrases that you need to treat as propositions. Don’t be misled into thinking that they are facts. These include the following: claims, suggests, advocates, recommends, advises, offers, proposes, believe and considers. Treat these words with caution as they indicate a subjective statement based on one person’s opinions rather than absolute evidence.
Be on the look-out for comparative adjectives. These are words that compare two or more things. At the simplest level, these are superlatives such as most, highest, biggest and least. But there are other words for making comparisons, e.g. more, lower and less.
11 Plus English Comprehension tips Part II
Absolutes and generalisations
Adverbs such as never or always compare how frequently something occurs. Be alert for any words that imply something absolute, such as no, never, none, always, every, entire, unique, sole, all, maximum, minimum and only. Don’t confuse them with generalisations, such as many, almost always, some, nearly, usually, seldom, regularly, generally, frequently, typically, ordinarily, as a rule, commonly, and sometimes. These generalisations create something of a grey area where a fact only applies some of the time. This is an important distinction. Just because something usually happens does not mean you can assume it always happens. It is important to recognise these words and interpret them accurately. Some words are relatively low generalisations, such as ‘a few’, ‘a little’, and ‘only some’. Similarly, ‘unlikely’ and ‘infrequent’ tell you that there is still a slight chance, which is not the same as ‘impossible’.
Cause and effect
After doing lots of practice tests you will come to recognise cause and effect words and phrases. These include: since, because, for, so, consequently, as a result, thus, therefore, due to and hence. It is a good idea to focus on these as often a question will ask you to interpret how these words have been used to link different aspects of an issue or argument together. There are subtle differences between these words and phrases, as some signal stronger causal relationships than others. A word like because indicates a direct causal link. The word so also joins facts together but does not necessarily mean that it was the first fact that led to the second.
Look out for words or phrases indicating speculation, such as perhaps, probably, possibly and maybe. Words such as may, might and can also point to the possibility of something happening. You need to tread carefully with such phrases – they do not mean the suggested outcome is guaranteed, only that it is a possibility.
If you are told – The team is almost certain to win the championship – you should not interpret this as meaning that the team will definitely win. It is just speculation, even if there are good reasons for making that prediction.
How to improve your English writing skills
English writing skills are key throughout your education. In Primary school, Secondary school, College and University. While in education, your English writing skills will usually be used in writing essays.
English writing could not only do well to prepare you for a career in writing or blogging. It is also a great way to stimulate and nurture logical thinking and gives an outlet to many people. Whether it is for journal writing, blogging or your local village newspaper. In our most recent survey, we have a look at whether you might need to refresh your essay writing skills. Is your writing clear and to the point? We also give some great tips on how to improve your essay writing skills if necessary. How do you write a good essay?
- Understand the topic
- Structure your essay – Introduction, Body, Conclusion and References if needed
- Answer the question of the essay
How to structure your essay:
- Introduction: Keep it short and to the point. Only one to two paragraphs.
- Body: Here you summarise your argument or facts. Keep it clear and to the point with an idea per paragraph.
- Conclusion: This should also be short and to the point. Here, you want to summarise your points or argument from your essay.
Your style should always be clear so that you can express your opinion clearly and precisely. Do you need to refresh your essay writing style? Try our quiz and see what might be lacking.
It might just be that you need to practice a bit more. However, taking a look at where you can improve might be just what you need. Getting stuck in a rut might be the problem, so why not freshen up your English writing skills. There is always room for improvement.
Ways to improve your 11 plus vocabulary
Sheena Ager (S. L. Ager) is the author of the Vocabulary Novels Trilogy The Cadwaladr Quests (the Welsh spelling of the surname Cadwallader).
These are a series of fun-adventure novels written specifically for the 11+ tests to help children to learn and understand challenging vocabulary.
I supported both my children through the 11+ process. My son was not a reader, and I worried much about his exposure to vocabulary and his comprehension skills. He read only non-fiction. Reading classic works with my son (and daughter) was such hard work that I wrote my first 11+ Vocabulary Novel for him and with him (my children beta read all my books).
We started with sentences, which grew into paragraphs, then chapters and finally a book. We included the 11+ vocabulary we amassed during our years of study with both children. The Cadwaladr Quests are contemporary stories packed with classic vocabulary boasting a built-in dictionary on every page.
How are my vocabulary novels different? The relevant words in the text appear in bold, which then have a corresponding footnote. The definitions are (crucially) in-context and child-friendly, along with their synonyms, antonyms and relevant parts of speech.
Tangled Time, Race for the Gold, and the last part, Cat’s Eye.
The first novel, Tangled Time, was my debut book, and I aimed to pack in the vocabulary. For books two and three, I listened to my readers focusing more on the story and easing off (a little) on the definitions. The first book, Tangled Time, has 3,000 definitions along with hundreds of synonyms and antonyms. Whereas books two and three have only 2,000 definitions along with hundreds of synonyms and antonyms.
The first two novels now have supporting comprehension and creative writing workbooks, the results of a fruitful collaboration with Education Boutique. There is also a standalone verbal skills workbook based on Tangled Time. This multiple-choice workbook was a collaboration with XLEducation, an incredibly popular tuition company based in Reading, Berkshire (where my teenagers attend state grammar schools). We are currently working on another verbal skills workbook based on the second novel, Race for the Gold.
You can learn more at www.slager.co.uk
Listen carefully when your child
- Set regular reading times with your child to encourage your child to love reading.
- This will also model the correct reading style with appropriate intonation.
- Plus, if you klisten carefully you can provide feedback (the most impactful feedback).
- And also, provide an opportunity to immediately ask about any unclear vocab.
Word games exercises
- Go through the alphabet and providing a word for each letter in turns.
- Or use the last letter of the word as the first letter of the word you need to think of.
- Make new sentences of the word to aid understanding how the word can be used.
- Also if the word has multiple meanings it can help your child understand the subtleties of English.
- Weekly spelling tests are excellent way of introducing new vocabulary.
- Choose topics for your children or simply ask them to write about their day.
- Review their work and provide feedback to help them improve.
- Don’t be overly critical about grammar and punctuation.
Daily word exercises using letter magnets…
- …to make new words every day.
- Use your fridge as the wall or a magnetic white board which is visible from the place at which you eat your breakfast.
- The word can then become a topic of conversation and can be used in sentences to help understanding.
- An easy but very effective way to help your child learn new words.
- Argument Interpretation
This might also seem tricky. However, find the different positions making up a written argument. Also, if any assumptions and inferences have been made.
- Statement Evaluation
Evaluating whether statements are supported, contradicted, or implied by the information in the passage.
- Passage summaries
Summarising the main points that the passage makes.
Try our recommended 11 Plus English Study and Practice Book (by our affiliated tutor Charlotte Watson).
11 Plus English Test Type 1
Practice examples of four different types of verbal reasoning tests are provided below. The first type consists of a single sentence containing a word in brackets. Replace this word with the most viable alternative. Select the multiple-choice option closest in meaning to the word in italics.
1) My brother’s complacency has always irritated his friends, neighbours and colleagues.
- A) nosiness
- B) ostentation
- C) neglect
- D) cockiness
- E) smugness
2) The ascetic hermit dwelled in a hut on the mountain top.
- A) austere
- B) religious
- C) penitent
- D) reclusive
- E) indigent
3) The foreign tourists found the locals to be extremely amiable.
- A) gracious
- B) friendly
- C) curious
- D) suspicious
- E) polite
4) Parents of pupils complained because they felt that the teacher was too lenient.
- A) demanding
- B) strict
- C) tolerant
- D) negligent
- E) informal
5) The King filled his Court with sycophants and fops.
- A) courtiers
- B) flatterers
- C) loyalists
- D) advisers
- E) dandies
6) On the flight to New York, he sat next to a very garrulous woman.
- A) sullen
- B) attractive
- C) convivial
- D) loud
- E) talkative
7) The Tutor praised his students’ perspicacious comments.
- A) intelligent
- B) insightful
- C) critical
- D) scholarly
- E) technical
8) At the school assembly, the Headmaster sternly declared “Honesty is a tenet of this institution”.
- A) rule
- B) principle
- C) tradition
- D) anathema
- E) virtue
9) The initiates participated in esoteric rituals at the midnight ceremony.
- A) ancient
- B) religious
- C) traditional
- D) secret
- E) solemn
10) Investing in the nuclear power industry proved to be the entrepreneur’s most astute decision.
- A) calculated
- B) risky
- C) controversial
- D) lucrative
- E) shrewd
11+ English Test Type 2
Verbal reasoning tests may also take the form of analogies. Here the respondent’s vocabulary and knowledge of simple verbal relationships are being tested. Some examples of this type of verbal reasoning test practice are given below. Therefore, interpret the meaning that connects the word shown in large type on the left-hand side.
11) SPIDER web
12) BOOK library
13) PAPER ream
14) BOAT water
15) ANIMALS hybrid
16) ENTER lathe
17) FATHOMLESS deep
18) LETTER envelope
19) DECLINE ascent
20) WORDS sentence
21) INTRODUCTION conclusion
22) DROUGHT rain
23) WORD abbreviate
24) PROXY vote
25) PEANUT shell
26) BICYCLE tandem
27) WAX wane
28) CHESS board
29) BIBLIOPHILE book
30) FLAX linen
11+ English Test Type 3
Verbal tests may also take the form of antonyms. Some examples of this type of verbal reasoning test practice are given below. Select the multiple-choice option that is the opposite in meaning to the word shown in bold print.
31) mean: A B C D E
generous average miser median good
32) sincere: A B C D E
faithful hypocritical genuine suspicious unkind
33) evergreen: A B C D E
myrtle flower deciduous fern yellow
34) irresponsible: A B C D E
mischievous independent diplomatic dependable manager
35) nationalisation: A B C D E
democracy oligopoly coalition trains privatisation
36) inauspicious: A B C D E
lucky auspices bachelor mutinous inarticulate
37) pessimism: A B C D E
pesticide optimism prototype positive socialism
38) innocuous: A B C D E
vaccinate amicable harmful ostensible effusive
39) benevolent: A B C D E
kind empirical demagogue uncharitable eminent
40) altruistic: A B C D E
bird helpful unhelpful altitude selfish
Our 11 plus English test practice.
11+ English Test Type 4
Verbal tests may also take the form of selecting the odd word out from a group of words. Some examples of this type of verbal reasoning test practice are given below. Identify the common connection between four of the five words. Choose the multiple-choice option corresponding to the odd word out.
41) magenta cyan cerise turpentine turquoise
42) sole haddock salmon trout frog
43) damp wet water moist saturated
44) staff personnel employees workforce managers
45) jester comedian comedy clown comedian
46) fax computer letter memo email
47) hexagon polygon pentagon octagon square
48) squid cockle mussel crab winkle
49) trophy medal prize gift reward
50) cask beer bottle can barrel
English 11+ Exams Part I
English 11 plus tips
English 11+ Exams Part II
English 11+ Exams Part III
English 11+ Exams Part IV
Finally, 11+ English (Sevenoaks 2010)
English 11+ Exams Part V
English 11 plus tips
School Entrance Exams – Past School Test Papers
KS1 KS2 KS3 Past Papers
Please click on the links below to practice for your KS1, KS2, KS3 exams:
english 11 plus exam paper – free 11 plus english – english 11 plus revision – 11 plus mock tests
11 Plus Pass Mark Tips
What score do you need for passing the 11+? /Health tips during exams / Getting high exam results / How to apply for grammar school test / Some last minute 11 Plus Strategies! / How to become an 11 Plus Tests tutor / Top Tips for Successful 11-plus Preparation / Bespoke 11+ Verbal reasoning tests designed for tutors
English 11 plus tips