How to prepare your child for the CEM 11+ Verbal Reasoning Exam

An increasing number of prestigious schools are opting to assess Year 5 and 6 students using the Durham University CEM exam.

As a result, it's vital that most 11+ students have a good grasp of the question CEM question types and understand the difference between them and other question types.

In the Verbal Reasoning exam, the majority of CEM-style questions are vocabulary based and it's therefore essential that students hone their understanding of various word definitions and know how to apply those words into a variety of sentences.

One of the easiest ways to get started with this is to simply learn the synonyms and antonyms of a variety of words, ranging from the simplest to the most complex.

Here are some quick tips that can your child to improve their vocabulary even if they only have a small amount of time:

- Get a magpie book. 

What's that?

A magpie book is simply an exercise book that's filled with words that your child doesn't know.

Your child can simply write down such words and then each evening, write the definition and synonym and then learn the meaning of the word. It's a simple yet highly effective way to improve your child's vocabulary.

- Use big words when speaking to your child.

One of the fastest ways to help your child with exam preparation even when you're on the move is to use high-level vocabulary words when talking to them.

It might sound like a strange thing to do but children often pick up new words when they're used in a natural context.

So, the next time you're telling your child off, try doing so using a big word and see how they react. They might just pick up a new word in the process.

- Practice a range of CEM question types.

Rather than just sticking to the same Verbal Reasoning questions, make sure that your child has mastered answering virtually every type of question that could come up in the exam. 

This includes cloze questions, synonyms and antonyms, hidden words etc.

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

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