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Friday, February 23, 2007

Reasoning help

On our eleven plus courses we teach reasoning skills. We naturally use a wide range of different methods to try to help to stimulate the children. Reasoning is not just confined to verbal and non verbal reasoning exercises. We use reasoning in our every day life.

Sometimes we use the word `reason’ when we say: “Why can’t you reason with me? I did put the car away last night.” In this sense we want some form of justification.

A different type of reasoning that does come up when we want a logical response

In eleven plus terms, however, we are most often use the word reason because we want our children to be able to think clearly and coherently.

When a reasoning test is constructed the questions are designed to look at ability in different ways. Somewhere on the paper your child will be expected to justify an answer. On a different question your child will need to be able to think logically. Very often your child will need to be able to think clearly.

To draw these responses from your child a variety of techniques will be used. An examiner has different tools that can be employed. You will find, creeping into the questions, different types of reasoning skills including:

• Recognising objects from different angles
• Imagining movement and displacement
• Rotation/Reflection/Enlargement
PERCEPTION• Have to use all senses – Sight, Touch, Hearing
• The process of organising and using information received through the senses
• Understanding relationships
• Analysing patterns and structures
• Hypotheses, and planning a set of operations

It is easy to understand where some questions come from. For example looking at the list above it takes a very short time to recognise this type of question:

Amanda and Elizabeth Wilson were both born just before midnight on October 10, 1998. They had the same parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. Yet even though they had the same parents and were born at the same time, they were not twins! Can you explain this?

It is obvious this type of question is one of perception. You can’t look at it from a different angle and there isn’t much logic to it – so you have to organise the data in such a way that your mind accepts what is in front of you. You can, however, reason your way through to the solution.

Naturally you will be helping your child to try to develop a set of strategies to cope with solving reasoning problems. On some papers there could be some questions that even you will need to read twice! So preach:

• Re-Read the question.

• Read the question again – this time to look for clues.

• Use diagrams

• Guess and then check the answer.

Did any of this help in working out the puzzle about Amanda and Elizabeth Wilson? One our bright ten year olds on the last course did it about 15 seconds!

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