How to prepare for Verbal Reasoning (VR)

Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning Tests provide an assessment of a child’s ability to understand, reason and solve problems involving written information

eleven plus verbal reasoning preparation information and resources

In addition to the highly recommended Chuckra Online Assessment Tool, Chuckra 11+ Online, which makes all of our Premium Tests (initial assessment tests, past mock papers and varied length practice papers) available and affordable to all, there is a multitude of free eleven plus verbal reasoning resources on We have also made recommendations of some other useful resources that are available to purchase in the Chuckra Online Shop which will enhance the 11 plus journey for parents, tutors and students.

You can jump straight to the list of Recommended 11+ Resources for Verbal Reasoning preparation, or continue reading for more detailed guidance on how to use these resources. The path of preparation outlined has helped thousands of students to pass their eleven plus exams.

If you have decided to send your child to an 11+ tutor, it is always worth checking whether the tutor knows about the 11+ resources recommended here, which of these resources they incorporate into their lessons and hence which resources you can use with your child to help them along the preparation path.

Assess Current Ability

The Initial Assessment of your child before they embark on any preparation is important to do, even if only to provide a record of your child’s ability at that stage so you can analyse their progress along the way. There are many aspects to take in to consideration when you assess a student’s current ability.

Master the Subject

eleven plus grammar and comprehension english preparationEleven plus verbal reasoning test papers comprise a number of different question types within one exam. Many of the basic skills required for verbal reasoning are developed during key stage 2 English lessons at school which is why we recommend assessing your child’s English skills and reviewing the key English topics that are generally tested in selective exams to help strengthen your child’s language skills.

Some 11 plus or selective exams will have separate papers for verbal reasoning and English, but some publishers such as CEM (Durham) include many skills often tested in English exams (such as comprehension, spelling, punctuation & vocabulary) as part of their verbal reasoning exams. 

Master the basics of Verbal Reasoning and make preparation effective:

  • Practise questions of each type after watching the corresponding video. Remember, timing is not as important as understanding at this stage, so allow your child as long as they need to complete these questions. Untimed Practice Questions (by question type) are available in My 11PLUS.

Once your child is clear on how to tackle each of the Verbal Reasoning question types then move on to mixed practice papers (timed) and practise, practise, practise!

Please bear in mind that some UK publishers of 11 plus exam papers (e.g. GL Assessment) include simple code breaking or letter sequence questions, as well as core arithmetic and basic mathematical concepts, as part of their verbal reasoning (VR) papers; whereas CEM papers (published by the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University) tend to focus on testing vocabulary, word recognition and understanding in their VR sections, but many of the same logic and numeracy skills are tested in CEM Numerical or Non-verbal Reasoning sections in any case.

It is also important to understand that although the GL Assessment (formerly nferNelson) 11+ exams have contained a selection of 21 question types in their VR exams for many years, it is possible that they may choose to add in new question types or change their exam papers in an effort to become more ‘tutor proof’.

Of course, a likely Grammar School candidate with strong core skills will find it engaging and enjoyable to try a large variety of question types while preparing for their eleven plus exams. Therefore, we recommend mastering a variety of question types, but also enhancing core skills required in Verbal Reasoning generally to be best equipped for anything that may come up on the big day. 

How to prepare for verbal reasoning girl

Enhance Core Skills

Make sure to incorporate a selection of exercises and games to enhance core skills, throughout the preparation process, to help keep interest and motivation up.

Boost Exam Performance

An important aspect of entrance exam success is having the ability  to stay calm whilst working quickly AND accurately.

View our tips on how to Boost Exam Performance

Find out more about Mock Exam Days

Recommended 11+ resources for VR

View the list of Recommended 11+ resources for VR

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