Group learning is an effective method of learning that is often overlooked for exam purposes. We regularly think that the best preparation is through dedicated individual study or 1:1 sessions. This post talks about the potential to thrive in a group environment when preparing for examinations, particularly those that require new knowledge and skill development.
For this blog I will be focusing on the examples of Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning assessments, frequently conducted for entrance into grammar schools. These tests can be daunting and the content alarming if your child is not attending a prep school. Group classes are able to ease these concerns as the entire group of students are in the same boat. They are all worried about doing well, concerned that they won’t understand and most importantly keen to learn.
Verbal Reasoning is a challenge based upon skill, rather than knowledge. The answer cannot usually be determined through other knowledge, instead it needs to be reasoned through the information presented within the question. Verbal Reasoning often confuses students as it is not just focused on words, but also on numbers. It is tested to determine a student’s ability to problem solve, retain information and determine outcomes. Verbal Reasoning questions can be brief, others are lengthy, but, all can be approached in various methods. This is where group learning becomes increasingly powerful as students share their experience in working out an answer. Often students build upon the experiences of each other to determine the method that is best for them, while developing an understanding that problems can be approached from various perspectives and a correct answer is reached. With a whopping 21 standardised methods of presenting Verbal Reasoning questions, it is important that your child has a variety of ways to come to logical and reasoned answers. Verbal Reasoning does not always come naturally to our children, it is not something that they are exposed to within the National Curriculum and as a result a safe space to explore the question types, be provided with explanations and develop their own methods is essential for success.
Non-Verbal Reasoning using your child’s critical thinking skills to solve problems based around images, diagrams and shapes. This paper tends to lean towards mathematical thinking, rather than Language skills. Like Verbal Reasoning, it is not taught within the National Curriculum and as such can pose a stumbling block for those that haven’t had the practice. Group learning can identify methods and techniques suited to your child, while exploring their own ideas and that of their peers. The group situation highlights that Non Verbal Reasoning can be problematic for all children and they are not alone in their experiences. There is less variety in the types of questions, but spatial reasoning is included, which can be trickier for dyslexic and dyspraxic children to master, however, with practical tools and resources spatial reasoning becomes easier and there are generally rules that can be applied to certain question types.
As the content of Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning is not generally covered in school, approaching the learning in a group relieves stress and tensions that children may feel, as they have their peers for support. Exploring a new concept with your peers is an enjoyable process, however, with an adult can feel daunting as children are aware the adult is likely to know the answer. This creates a reluctance for them to take chances due to the fear of being wrong or feeling silly. By replicating lessons within the school environment children feel at ease, able to ask questions and work together.
I am passionate about supporting children to develop their confidence, explore their questions and develop their love for learning. I believe that is what creates successful children and in turn successful adults. If you have a child sitting an 11+ exam in 2023, our group sessions may be ideal for them. To find out more, express your interest here.