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Step up to the challenge!
By Sarah Collins
22 Aug

Did you solve the Galore Park problem-solving summer blogs? If so, you can be confident your logic-solving skills are well developed and you have already mastered this essential skill needed for 11 plus and pre-test success!  Check out the answers to the problems here.
 
The common feature of all of these blogs is to ask you to use information you already know to solve a new problem. You may have heard that 11 plus tests are changing and so you can’t revise for them. This is true if you accept that every kind of question can’t be predicted - as we have shown in these blogs, they are simply variations on problems you have seen before.
 
We at Galore Park believe that 11 plus success is achieved by:

  1. familiarity of information you have already learned

  2. being able to using this knowledge to answer questions quickly and accurately

  3. the ability to choose from facts you already know to answer problems you haven’t come across before

  4. having the confidence to predict what might happen next, based on information you already have.

Tackle these problems like a detective and you can’t go far wrong!
 
To help you build your detective skills, each Galore Park Revision Guide uses Learning Ladders (see Mathematics example, right) to break down your revision:

  • At the beginning (base of the ladder)
    you will revise your basic skills and knowledge

  • In the middle (centre of the ladder) you will use these skills in simple and more complex problems

  • By the end of the book (top of the ladder)
    you will be working with the most challenging 11 plus problems currently set.

Once you have completed your revision you can use the Workbooks and Practice Papers to improve your speed and confidence to face the fastest-paced and most challenging tests.
 
Understanding the blogs

Blog 1: Verbal Reasoning
Are you eagle-eyed enough to spot the bird?
 
The questions in blog 1 comes under the heading of ‘Deduction’ questions (see Verbal Reasoning Revision Guide page 92).
 
Verbal Reasoning questions relate to your knowledge of English and occasionally mathematics. You are asked to discover patterns in letters, words, numbers and sentences then, in these most complex questions, short paragraphs.
 
Practicing any logic puzzles and word puzzles can help your Verbal Reasoning skills. Look for interesting problems to discuss with your family – the following is taken from the Verbal Reasoning Revision Guide though you can find many more:
 
A piece of paper has just one sentence written on the front and one o the back.
Front side: The statement on the other side of this paper is false
Reverse side: The statement on the other side of this paper is true
 

Blog 2: Non-verbal Reasoning
Can you discover which snail ate the strawberry?
 
The question in blog 2 comes under the heading of ‘Matrices combining different skills’ questions (see Non-Verbal Reasoning Revision Guide page 94).
 
Non-Verbal Reasoning questions relate to your knowledge of maths, and the guide breaks these problems down using the familiar skills of number, angles, rotation and translation to explain how they work.
 
Any games that explore how shapes are put together and appear differently when rotated can help build skills in working out what is happening in Non-Verbal Reasoning problems.
 
Many games can be found on smart phones – here is an example from the Non-Verbal Reasoning Revision Guide:
 
Flip it!
Create your own flipbooks using one of the free apps available. These electronic animations are an enjoyable way to practise moving images around for Translation and Rotation questions. They are fun to create as well!
 
Try using shapes to create images, such as triangle to make a tree, and find the best way to place the shapes in different layers to make the picture move about!
 
 
Blog 3: Maths
Test your mental arithmetic speed with this shopping trolley challenge!
 
The questions in blog 3 relates to fractions, decimals and percentages (see Mathematics Revision Guide chapter 3).
 
Although there are many complex maths problems, being able to perform basic calculations, such as those in this blog are essential in the 11 plus and pre-test. You will not be allowed to use a calculator in the tests. and a number of tests include sets of simple questions that challenge your speed and accuracy.
 
Look for ways to practice working with fractions and percentages in everyday life. Think about activities you enjoy such as cooking a pizza an dividing it between your family or halving the size of a cake in a recipe and working out the new quantities of ingredients.
 
Card games are another way to practice these skills. This is an example from the Mathematics Revision Guide:
 
Number cards (a game for two people)
Make a set of number cards with the numbers from 1 to 9. Shuffle the cards and deal four cars to both players. Take turns to make up challenges such as, who can make…

  • the largest proper fraction?

  • the smallest improper fraction?

  • a fraction that can be simplified?

When you have run out of ideas for the challenges, shuffle the cards and deal them out again.
 

Blog 4: Science
Can you spot the winning cyclist?
 
The questions in blog 4 relate to physics: mechanisms and friction (see Science Revision Guide pages 86–89).
 
Although the blog only covers physics, it represents the type of problems typical in the 11 plus that ask you to look at events scientifically and use data to solve problems.
 
Look for simple ways to remember the information you have learned in Science so that you can concentrate on working out how to solve the problems you are set.
 
Mnemonics (sentences that start with the first letter of each item in a list) are a good way to remember a lot of different information. For example, ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’ is a good way to remember the colours of the rainbow: R – red, O – orange, Y – yellow, G – green, B – blue, I – indigo, V – violet.
 
This is an example from the Science Revision Guide:
 
Forces
Invent a mneumonic for this list of forces to help you remember them.

  • Upthrust

  • Gravitational

  • Push

  • Pull

  • Magnetic

  • Frictional

    • Contact

    • Air/water resistance

  • Support

 
Here’s one we made up...
Ugly Green Parrots Peck Moist Fruity Cakes And Squawk
 
Now it’s your turn!
 

Blog 5: English
Can you unlock the door?
 
The question in blog 5 is based on English Comprehension and tests skills in scanning, summarising, identifying the setting, inference and deduction (see English Revision Guide chapter 2). All of these skills are commonly tested in the 11 plus and pre-tests.
 
As well as this reading task, you will probably be set a writing task. In many tests this is based on the reading passage and may be the only option.
 
Chapter 1 in the English Revision Guide summarises the skills in spelling, grammar and punctuation you need to understand to create your composition and chapter 3 provides guidance on continuing a text (page 97) and how to tackle other writing tasks.
 
If you are asked to continue a story, look at the way the author writes, including how they use description, whose point of view the story is written from and important parts of the plot before you begin.
 

Now it’s time to take the final challenge!
 
Reread the text in blog 5 and continue the story ‘The hidden passage’.
Aim to write three or four paragraphs.
 
Use this marking grid from page 142 of the English Revision Guide to see how the examiner might review your text. Why not tell us how you get on viat Twitter (@galorepark), Instagram (@galore_park) or Facebook (@galore1park)?

In the meantime, if you're looking for some 11 plus and pre-test help, take a look at our revision material and Revision Packs for English, Mathematics Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Covering all the key content for pre-tests and 11 plus independent school entrance exams, these packs will take your child step-by-step through their 11 plus revision - consolidating their knowledge, teaching them how to apply this knowledge in questions, and finally building confidence and exam technique.

Tags: 11+, challenge, english, mathematics, quiz, reasoning, science

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