Why is verbal reasoning so important?

For anyone who sat, or has children sitting the 11+ exams as part of the UK school entrance procedure will have their own view on the relevance of these tests. But verbal reasoning is not only used for the 11+ it is also frequently used by employers to test the skills of their prospective employees.

What is verbal reasoning?

Verbal Reasoning is basically all about the way we think with words. It is a form of understanding and reasoning concepts based around words and language. It involves:

  • problem-solving around words
  • thinking about text
  • following written instructions and deciphering a solution
  • understanding letter sequences
  • decoding letter and number-based codes

Insert a letter, where you must find a letter that will fit onto the end of one word and the beginning of another to form two new words.

Find words that do not belong in a set group of words

Find words that have the same, similar or opposite meaning

Find hidden words within a sentence

Work out which number stands for which letter

Word corrections

Letter and number sequences

Reading information and analysis


  1. If A=4 B=6 C=7 D=30 E= 13. What do C+A+E+B =

Answer = D (Simply add up the numbers represented by the letters and the answer is 30. This is represented by the letter D)

2. Gerry’s dad Mike is three times as old as Gerry was 2 years ago. If Gerry is 17 next year, how old is his dad?

Answer = 42 (If Gerry is 17 next year that would make him 16, meaning he was 14 two years ago. 14×3 = 42).

3. If the code for the word YACHT is BZXSG

What is the word for NLZGH?

Answer = MOATS (This is a simple matter of working out the relationship between the letters. You will notice that Y is to B as A is to Z and C is to X. You should now be able to spot that the first letter of the alphabet transforms to the last letter of the alphabet, the second letter to the second to last letter, the third letter to the third last letter and so on. In this way we are able to work out that the words NLZGH is actually MOATS. You can also check this as two of the letters in the first coded word are also in the second coded word, A and T, so you only have to work out the other three.)

4. Read the following passage and decide which statement is true.

On Saturday Olly, Jim and Christian like to go to the cinema. In the cinema Olly likes to buy popcorn and Jim always gets something to drink. Christian sometimes gets some sweets but will always get what Jim gets too.

A. The boys go to the cinema every Saturday.

B. Popcorn is the cheapest to buy.

C. Christian doesn’t have much money.

D. Christian always gets a drink.

E. Jim is the richest one.

The answer is D. (These questions are simply a matter of elimination and again, logic. The statement states clearly that Christian always gets what Jim gets and Jim always gets something to drink. Therefore the only answer that is certain is D).

5. AB is to CD

As EF is to =

Answer = GH (The letters are a continuation of each other in the alphabet)

6. Which number comes next in the sequence?

12 6 16 10 20 14 (?)

Answer = 24 (If you look at the numbers you will notice a pattern. Taking the first, third and fifth numbers they all progress by adding four each time. Then taking the second, fourth and sixth numbers also progress by adding four each time. Therefore the seventh number would just be four more that the fifth number).

Verbal reasoning is always based on logic. It is simply a matter of finding the sequence and following the trail of logic within it. Patterns are a great starting point.

The importance of verbal reasoning is important in a child’s academic life and their adult lives. Developing their verbal reasoning skills will allow them to become socially independent and succeed in thier professional life later on, Having verbal reasoning skills will allow your child to develop qualities such as perception, understanding and solving complicated subject questions, empathy and logical reasoning as well as ensuring they have a great vocabularly.

One of the best ways to encourage your child to develop their verbal reasoning skills is to encourage them to read. Reading will not only increase their vocabulary but they will learn to interpret workds and understand comprehension. Other ways to help your child develop their verbal reasoning skills are to: Play word games with them, encourage them to do word searches and crosswords, do spelling tests, to write stories, to improve their general knowledge with online quizzes and by playing detective games with them round the house.

Our tutors work with children to help them learn verbal reasoning skills, this is great addition to your child’s learning not just to pass 11+ exams but to give them skills to work out exam answers and problem solve all the way through their educational journey.

To conclude some children are naturally very good at verabl reasoning whilst others require more practice and a helping hand. Whatever the case, your child will need verbal reasoning throughout their school days and on into adulthood. Encourage your child to develop their verbal reasoning skills through games, trips and simple tasks at home. This will not only help them in the future but it is great fun as well.

If you enjoyed the sample questions above, why not check out our great selection of verbal reasoning resources. https://heatherharries.com/verbal-reasoning-resources/

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