Question Type 21: Same Meaning

Eleven-Plus Preparation Specialists

This question type relies on your vocabulary as much as your ability to use reason and logic. It’s therefore a section that good readers should enjoy and do well in. 

What does this question type involve?

You will be given two pairs of words, and then asked to choose a word from a list that works with both sets of words. This question therefore relies on a knowledge of both synonyms (two words that mean the same or nearly the same thing) and homonyms (a word that is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning).

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Example questions

Example: (limb, appendage) (supply, provide)
Options: weaponise, government, arm, took


Your arm is a limb, but one can also ‘arm’ someone or something – which is supplying them with something.

A Simple 3 Step Approach to Same Meaning Questions

These questions are great for those with good vocabularies, and there’s no reason to overcomplicate the process of finding the answer. As such, we advise a simple process, as follows:

Step 1: Consider the first brackets
Step 2: Consider the second brackets
Step 3: Look through each word in turn to find the correct one

You begin by looking at the words in the first set of brackets. Try to find another word that defines them, and ensure that you get a sense of their overall definition from this exercise. If we looked at the example above, I’d think of the words ‘arm’ and ‘leg’ instinctively.

Now, move onto the second set of brackets. Again, try to find another word that conveys the same meaning, to ensure that you’re clear on the definitions. I’d therefore think of the word ‘fund’ or perhaps ‘stock.’

Now, we need to look through the words that we’ve been given. We’d notice the word ‘arm’ as being both a limb, and meaning ‘to arm’ or to supply. 

Worked Example

Let’s consider another example.

(magazine, ammunition) (video, extract)
Options: holder, segment, clip, some, media

We begin by looking at the first bracket. I instinctively think of the word ‘bullets’ which isn’t quite accurate, but allows me to get an idea of what I’m dealing with. I therefore need to remember that this word seems to be a group of bullets, rather than just a bullet.

Now, we move onto the second set of brackets. Here, I would think of the word ‘passage’ because I see the word ‘passage’ – however, I need to remember that the word ‘video’ is also featured. I therefore would bear this in mind, and remember that I’m looking for something between the two meanings.

Let’s take a look at the list of words that we’ve been provided with. Holder doesn’t seem like a good fit, as I don’t get any sense of the word video. Segment works well for the video part, but fails to capture the idea of bullets. However, ‘clip’ means both a video clip and an ammunition clip and is therefore a good fit. Check the other two words – some doesn’t work, and media doesn’t either. We can therefore select our answer and move onto the next question. 

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Top Tricks

You must carefully consider each word and make sure that you don’t miss a second meaning. That means practising reading words and checking for double meanings. As an example, I’d automatically think of a video clip when reading the word clip rather than an ammunition clip. As such, I’d need to carefully consider the word when deciding whether it fits or not. If you’re wondering whether a word is the answer but can’t think of its second meaning, try to think of it in different contexts or other times that you’ve heard it. For example, I’d think ‘full clip,’ which would remind me of the other meaning of the word clip.

Common Pitfalls

Make sure to read through every option, and don’t jump to selecting one without at least quickly checking through the rest of the choices. Selecting one of the first words without realising that a better option exists is a common error.


In summary, this is a great section for those who have good vocabularies and are more interested in the English part of verbal reasoning than the codes and mathematical parts. Make sure to work through systematically and define words for yourself as you go.
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