Some of the big dictionaries have around half a million words. Eleven plus children, working through eleven plus papers, do not need to be able to cope with as many words. In any event it is likely that eleven plus children will be able to speak and understand far more words than they will ever meet on a paper.
Dialogue between mother and candidate, over working through eleven plus papers, is probably remarkably lacking in breadth and depth.
“It is time to start your work now.”
“Oh Mum. Just a few minutes more.”
“You always say that. Now go and start work.”
There may be a need for both sides, in a situation of this nature, to be direct and keep the vocabulary simple. Even if both parties sat down and used a Thesaurus it would be difficult to use a much wider vocabulary.
Eleven plus mathematics papers probably use a rather basic vocabulary.
The challenge comes in some verbal reasoning exercises. Some eleven plus authors seem to deliberately confine themselves to the more familiar words. Others, however, appear to look to extend and challenge the children.
We often tell children to read `good books’. Sadly some of the authors who are often promoted as capable of `good prose’ and `good for you’ writing seem write in a rather archaic manner.