The march of Verbal Reasoning (VR) and Non Verbal Reasoning (NVR) is relentless. More and more schools, it seems, are choosing to screen students using reasoning examinations, believing them to test for innate, as opposed to coached, ability. At Keystone, we are often asked what parents can do to help their children prepare for such examinations.
Does practice help?
Most teachers agree that students' scores are improved by exposure to the format of VR and NVR questions. There is no subject content to learn - as in most other examinations. But as a result of practice, children get quicker at spotting the style and form of certain questions, and do better as a result. Most teachers are also agreed that whilst it is possible to raise scores, it is hard to transform a student's scores by practicing VR and NVR alone. In this sense, the examinations are quite a good indicator of innate intellectual ability.
Accordingly, Keystone's position is that parents should certainly help their children to practice VR and NVR - but that it should not take up too much of a child's week. We think that it is a bit like cleaning your teeth: not an awful lot of fun (though some children do enjoy it!) but important, and worth doing in small doses and on a regular basis.
We recommend the following practice websites:
Can it be tutored?
We are often asked to tutor VR and NVR. Our position is that tutoring is only valuable for a few lessons to introduce a child to Reasoning, just to go over the basic techniques and methods for the different question formats. If parents would like tutorial support for their children's test preparation, time and money is much better directed at Maths and English - subjects for which transformaton in a student's scores is much more likely to be achieved.