Most common “difficult” words in 11+ comprehension

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    11+ Comprehension: Make sure you know what these words mean!

    A broad and mature vocabulary is crucial to ensure success at the 11+ comprehension. However just a couple of misunderstood words in the text can lead to an unfortunate loss of marks, or worse still, a misunderstanding of the entire passage. So, aside from good quality reading on a consistent basis to help build up vocabulary, we decided to analyse all 11+ papers in the last 5 years to see which “difficult” words kept reappearing year after year. This exercise took a healthy dose of patience and stamina but below is the fruits of our labour!

    These 20 words should be learnt as it seems 11+ examiners are very keen to use them.

    • revulsion
    • precedent
    • prompt
    • immense
    • timid
    • byre
    • scurrying / to scurry
    • inevitable
    • (on the) verge
    • dubious / dubiously
    • to dab
    • to glance
    • seldom
    • to retaliate
    • indefinable
    • uneasiness
    • oppressed
    • to perceive
    • resolutely
    • superciliously


    Even if you know the meanings, practice using them in their right context by incorporating them into a full sentence. We are more than happy to check and mark your sentences a gratis if you send them into us. We will send them back to you with comments and/or corrections.

    And remember, this exercise is great not just for comprehension, but also for creative writing and verbal reasoning.