How Can I Help My Child Improve Their 11 Plus Vocabulary? (Free Download)


  1. How do children develop vocabulary?
  2. How can my child improve their 11 Plus vocabulary?
  3. Are there any books to help prepare for 11 Plus vocabulary words?


Taken by year-6 primary school students, the 11 Plus is a selective entrance exam used by UK grammar schools and many private schools to identify academically-able children before they enter said schools. The exam comprises four parts: verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, English and maths.

Primary children often struggle with learning new words and therefore have a limited grasp of the vocabulary featured in their school syllabus. In fact, 69% of teachers reported that the number of pupils with a word gap was either increasing or significantly increasing in their schools. Because the verbal reasoning and English papers rely on a good knowledge of vocabulary, it’s imperative that your child is well prepared before exam day arrives. So, if you’re looking for ways to help your child revise, you’ve come to just the right place.


How do children develop vocabulary?


Children naturally develop vocabulary through exposure to new words in everyday interactions. Using unfamiliar words around your child and explaining their meaning will give your child the confidence to adopt the word into their everyday language too.  However, it's enough if your child knows what a word means without integrating it into their conversations. Setting aside time for activities and using the correct terms to explain activities will also help to develop your child's vocabulary as they will be encountering terms that might not crop up in day-to-day conversations.

However, as the 11Plus approaches, your child may not yet be familiar with every word on our recommended vocabulary list. We suggest adopting the flashcard method explained below to help accelerate that 11 plus vocabulary learning and excel in the 11+ English paper.

11 plus Vocabulary List

Download 11+ VOCAB LIST


How to use the 11 Plus vocabulary list? 


As with all exams, starting preparation and revision as early as possible is an excellent way to get your child ready for their 11 Plus. 

Because we know this can be a stressful time for parents and children, we’ve compiled a short but useful guide that will offer some assistance in the lead-up to the big day. 

“What are the best ways to prepare my child for all those daunting 11 Plus words?” We hear you ask? Read on.

Reading to improve vocabulary

Not only will reading get your child’s skills in tip-top shape for the comprehension part of the 11 Plus, but reading, in general, is one of the best ways to expand vocabulary knowledge.

If your child is already a bookworm, simply encourage them to build reading into their daily routine in the run-up to their exam and try to provide different and challenging reading materials/topics for them to explore. 

Also, find out which writers/authors your child has been studying at school and locate other books from the same people. This will get your child accustomed to that author’s writing style and use of language. 

English exam practice papers will also help your child know what to expect from the 11 Plus.

If your child is not a big reading fan, make reading time seem more appealing. For example, let them read newspaper/magazine articles on your iPad (we all know kids love any excuse to use tech😉). 

Adopt this approach to start with, and then when they’re used to reading more than usual, start to introduce some books – but don’t choose very long books because a zillion pages can seem scary to non-readers. 😂 Instead, try some of the latest Young Adult fiction; from this, move into some more academic texts. And if you need to, suggest that 30 minutes of reading time comes with a reward after!  

11+ Vocabulary Flashcards 

Why not make learning fun? Flashcards are a simple yet effective way to instil new vocabulary into your child’s mind. Not sure what words to include? Try searching for ‘11 plus vocabulary worksheets pdf’ or ‘11 plus vocabulary free’ on Google and you are sure to find a handy 11 Plus vocabulary list or two! 

To get you started, we’ve listed 80 important words below. For revision, write each of these words onto a flashcard and ask your child to tell you the meaning of each word. For bonus points, get them to make a sentence with the word too!

Abode – absence – absurd – abundance – believe – belligerent – betray – bicycle – burden – coax – college – compel – covet – coy – devote – din – dose – dumb – dwelling – emerge – endure – equip – errand - exaggerate – fertile – flora – forbid - frequent – gratitude – grotesque – hasty – helix – heroic – idle – ignorant – innocuous – jargon – jocular - keel – kindle –- latter – linger – meagre – meticulous – mysterious – nauseous – nuisance – obstinate – odour – oppress – parallel – peril – prosperous – quaint - quarantine - repent – rigid – rogue – sacrifice – seldom – subtropical – tempestuous – trifle – twilight – union – unsurpassed – vacant – vapour – virtuous – weird – worthy – yield – zealot – zestful 

Online games for 11+ vocabulary

Get digital for 11 Plus exam preparation with entertaining word games. Freerice uses a super-fun-guess-the-word-meaning game that donates grains of rice to people in need for every correct answer you give. Created by The United Nations World Food Programme, not only can your child polish their vocabulary skills, but they can also make a difference. 

Classic Word Games to help improve vocabulary

Go old school with a classic game of Hangman. This can be played with just you and your child, or you can involve the family to help make revision a team activity. Keep the words attainable without making them too easy; if you need some inspiration, look to our word list above. Keep your child on their toes by asking them to give you synonyms and antonyms of the words once they’ve guessed them.

And if that's not quite enough, we've created our very own GoStudent 11+ bumper vocab list which you can download for free! 


Are there any books to help prepare for 11 Plus vocabulary words? 


 Take the hard work out of helping your child revise vocabulary and grammar with these nifty 11 Plus books. 

11 Plus Vocabulary 500 Essential Words written by J Johnathan

This super-helpful text offers word roots, prefixes/suffixes, word usage, synonyms/antonyms, related words and more – everything your child needs to enhance their vocabulary knowledge. 

11 Plus Vocabulary written by Rose McGowan

Featuring 100 exercises that should be completed once per day, this book will help your child find success in their 11 Plus exam.

The Big 11+ Vocabulary Playbook by The Armadillo's Pillow Ltd

Games, quizzes, cartoons, rhymes, tongue twisters, activities and over 1000 specifically-selected words – this fun-filled book is your go-to for engaging exam preparation. 

While we know you want to do all you can to help your child succeed in their 11 Plus, try not to take the full load on alone – let us help! Book your free trial session on the GoStudent website today. 😊

Hire a dedicated 11+ English tutor

An easy way to motivate your child and a fast way to practice content is through an 11+ English tutor. By hiring a specialist tutor, your kid will have access to more practice material and have some very enjoyable classes along the way too. 


At GoStudent, we have dedicated English tutors who can explain the questions in an entertaining and interesting manner so your child will walk into the exam feeling confident. Why not see for yourself and book a free trial class to get your kid excited and prepared?