When we hear the words 'Verbal Reasoning' our minds automatically jump to the eleven plus tests that school children sit in various parts of England for a place at a grammar school. But Verbal Reasoning is not just used for the eleven plus. It is also used by many employers to test the skills of their prospective employees and by many graduate training schemes to distinguish between applicants.
Verbal Reasoning is basically about the way we think with words. It is a form of understanding and reasoning concepts based around words and language. It involves:
Verbal reasoning tests judge a person's ability for problem-solving, critical and constructive thinking and general intelligence.
There are many different types of verbal reasoning questions including:
And many more. Verbal reasoning is something that can be improved with practice and dedication.
Let's take a look at a few different examples of verbal reasoning and how the answers are based on logically working out what is being asked:
1. If A = 4 B = 6 C = 7 D = 30 E = 13
What is C + A + E + B =
Answer = D (Simply add up the numbers represented by the letters and the answer is 30; 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).
As we can see the answers to the questions are based on logic. It's a simple matter of being able to think about what the question is asking and logically working out the answer. There is always a logical sequence, pattern or observation that can be seen; it is just a matter of being able to work it out.
Verbal Reasoning is important both 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 their 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 vocabulary.
So what do children need to succeed at verbal reasoning tests? Author of Learning Together practice books, Stephen McConkey, states on the website The School Run:
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...Even if your child understands the question and can follow the written directions, if one of the possible words in the answer is unfamiliar, they may trip up.
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 words and understand comprehension. Other ways to help your child develop their verbal reasoning skills are:
Some children are naturally very good at verbal 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 aid them in their academic life but will build up their logic skills, and of course plenty of other skills, for when they grow up.
Post By: Anna Michaelidou
Anna has been a private tutor of both English Literature and English Language for fifteen years having taught all levels from nursery school right through to university level. She has a BA (Hons) Degree in English Literature & Modern Languages, is a writer, content marketing executive and a busy mother of four lovely children.