Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning is, thinking with words. ‘As the name suggests, it’s a form of problem-solving based around words and language. Verbal reasoning isn’t a curriculum-based skill, so your child won’t be taught the techniques at school, at first glance, they can be baffling.

Verbal reasoning involves thinking about text, solving word problems, following written instructions to come up with a solution, spotting letter sequences and cracking letter- and number-based codes.

Verbal reasoning tests are intended to test a child’s ability to understand and reason using words, and are a test of skill, rather than of learned knowledge. The theory is that they allow the examining body to build a picture of a child’s potential for critical thinking, problem-solving and ultimately, intelligence.

It’s generally agreed that there are 21 standard types of verbal reasoning question, Although the majority of verbal reasoning tests are word-based, some are based on numbers, Although these questions require a basic grounding in maths, the main principle is the same as for word-based verbal reasoning problems: to test your child’s ability to solve problems based on written instructions.

Children perform best in verbal reasoning tests if they’re widely read and have an extensive vocabulary. They need a solid grasp of synonyms (words that have the same meaning), antonyms (words that mean the opposite of each other) and plurals, good spelling skills, and strong maths skills. A good general knowledge is also needed for verbal reasoning tests.

The key is a child needs to be good at reading questions carefully, and following the directions exactly, which can be an issue for those who tend to rush or skim-read.

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