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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cats and the Eleven Plus

When your child tries to solve a problem you may find that sometimes he or she is trying to formulate a hypothesis. Your child may not always make random guesses at an answer – and sometimes a seemingly random answer may be an attempt to describe the logic or the thinking behind the response.

Those of us who own cats may understand that true trial and error lies in the domain of cats. If anyone can prove that their cat has performed a logical and complexly understandable task I am sure we would all like to hear. Your child may not adopt the same methods that you see so clearly when solving a problem – but it is highly likely that he or she will have used far less trial and error than you may want to comprehend. A cat, for example, may try a trial and error approach again and again on a problem where the solution is elusive. Your child is far more likely to recode the question in his or her terms.

The language your child uses when trying to solve a problem can sometimes give a clue to how your child is coping with the situation. If we look at a simple exercise – which word does not belong?

Mouse cat dog tree lion

We can see that tree does not belong. You child may, however, see immediately that the words `cat’ and `lion’ are members of the same family. This then leave a dilemma and having to choose between mouse and tree. Of course the leap is then made that a tree is not an animal so the word `tree’ must be the odd one out.

Top Tip

Suggest, very gently, that your child looks at the relative associative strength of words when tackling some types of verbal reasoning questions.

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