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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vocabulary and the Eleven Plus

Vocabulary plays a large part in parts of the eleven plus examination. A wide vocabulary is considered to be one of the signs of ability. It is difficult for most ten year old potential eleven plus candidates not to absorb new words and ideas. Some words, however, are a little more obscure than others.

Do you remember the story about the seven year old?

On Mother’s day, my seven-year old son couldn’t wait to present me with a book of poetry he had written for me. Part of it was an acrostic of my name – Victoria – with an adjective describing me next to each letter.

Beside `I’ he had written “intelligent”
Next to `c’, “caring”
And for the `o’, “outstanding”.

I was swelling with pride until I came to the final `a’. Next to it my son has written: “able to scream”.

I am fortunate to have a 1912 edition of Roget’s Thesaurus of English words. The word `acrostic’ comes up in the section on `secrets’. Some of the other words are:  mystery, enigma, teaser, riddle, poser, conundrum, rebus, anagram and acrostic. 

When we see elements of the richness of the English language it is not hard to see why vocabulary is rated so highly in ability tests.

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