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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Eleven Plus Assumptions

Many years ago Freud published the book “Psychopathology of Everyday Life”. He gave examples of how the mind makes connections that on the surface appear to be unrelated and highly superficial.

His idea was that certain operations in the mind produce a chain of associations.

Suppose your child is faced with an Eleven Plus question which asks:

Use the letters of the word in capital letters to make words which match the definition:


A person who attends to teeth.

One kind of brain will read the definition fleetingly and then look hurriedly at the word in capital letters. For this child Grand Dad will whisper, “Tell him to slow down. He is always rushing.”

A different child could look carefully at the definition. The words person and teeth will stand out. The word dentist may spring to mind – because of the definition. The child will, we hope, then check the chosen solution against the word ADVERTISMENT.

A third group may employ yet another method. Once again the word dentist may spring to mind. The child will then test the hypothesis against other definitions of a person who attends to teeth. He or she may then try dental (as in dental surgeon) or horse-doctor.

We could be faced again with the word ADVERTISMENT.

The definition this time could be: To give helpful information.

The word ADVERT may spring to mind immediately. If the definition was, however, changed: `To give helpful and truthful information’, then some minds may immediately reject the word ADVERT, and look for a different word.

Some alternative associations could be:

`Notice, letter, mention and explain’.

Each of these would need to be tested against ADVERTISMENT.

If your child does not arrive at the answer in the same way that you did, then it could be that the two of you have developed different ways of forming associations.

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