Question Type 1: Insert A Letter

Eleven-Plus Preparation Specialists

The first of 21 different question types, this question type will rely on both your vocabulary and your ability to solve simple problems.

What does this question type involve?

Here, you’ll be provided with a set of four words. The four words are subdivided into two groups of two words. Between each group of words is a bracket. You must find a letter that you can place in the brackets, which will complete the first word of the group, and begin the second word of the group. The letter must be the same for all four words – i.e. it must work for both the first bracket and the second bracket.

Type 1: Insert a Letter

In these questions you have to add the same letter to both sets of brackets, thus completing all the words. The letter that you choose will both begin two words and end two others.

Example: Tas (?) it bar (?) nell
Answer: K

Here, the words would be task, kit, bark, and knell.

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Example questions

Rud (?) poch ric (?) dit
Answer: E

This forms the words rude, epoch, rice, edit

Sla (?) ask maxi (?) ore
Answer: M

This forms the words slam, mask, maxim, more

The LFAS Approach: Look, Focus, Attempt, Second Word

We’ve devised a simple approach to these question types that will allow you to work through them systematically and avoid stress and confusion. Firstly, you have to:

Look at all the words, but focus on two. You should allow your brain time to process each of the four words, as you will be more likely to gravitate to one group than another. For example, in the second example above, the words ‘slam’ and ‘mask’ are much more likely to appeal to the normal student than ‘maxim’ and ‘more.’ This is because slam and mask are two common words that are clearly missing a letter – whereas maxim is an uncommon word, and ore is already a word.

After you’ve focused on two words, it’s time to begin attempting simple solutions. Don’t overcomplicate things – just use common letters and do your best to make words. So, if we use the first part of question two again, my instincts would be to follow ‘sla’ with either a P to make ‘slap,’ an M to make ‘slam’ or a T to make ‘slat.’ I would then try each letter in turn with the second word. They would form pask, task, and mask. Only task and mask work.

So, we now need to move to the second group of words. We have ‘axim’ and ‘ore’. If we try both, we would get taxim, and tore – tore is certainly not a word, and while taxim sounds like it could be, it’s not! On the other hand, maxim and more are both words. So, the best option is M.

Worked Implementation

Let’s look at a worked implementation again.

Boo (?) ill ban (?) ept

So, my first thought here is to quickly glance at all the words. I’m naturally drawn to the first set of words, as I find ‘ept’ to be a more difficult ending to deal with. Remember, this is a personal instinct, and you might feel differently. As such, having read all the words, I now focus on the first group in particular. Time for some simple solutions. I would try T, K N, all of which form words in the first group. Now, it’s time to move across to the second group. I could form words here using K, but not N, and not T. Therefore, K is right, as we can form book, kill, bank, kept.

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Top Tricks

The key here is being systematic and following a clear process, as outlined above. Whilst some words will be harder, they will largely be simple enough that a good approach will be enough, and a more advanced vocabulary would perhaps only benefit someone in one or two questions.

Common Pitfalls

The most common error is being confused by a word that is already a word, and therefore encountering a mental block in trying to add a letter to the front of it – as with ‘ore’ above. An additional problem can be students failing to remember that only one letter is needed, or that it must be the same letter for both groups.


In summary, these questions should be straightforward so long as you practice them sufficiently in timed conditions and get used to using the LFAS approach.

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