Back to Basics: Synonyms and Antonyms

As part of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) 11+ exam, children are tested on their knowledge of synonyms and antonyms. That’s why it’s really important that you understand how best you can help your child to improve their vocabulary (the number of words they know) and use of words.

Chambers – The Chambers Thesaurus

What Are Synonyms?

Synonyms are words that have the same or similar meanings. For example:

  • Excited – Thrilled
  • Look – Search
  • Finish – End

What Are Antonyms?

Antonyms are words that have different or opposite meanings. For example:

  • Excited – Scared
  • Look – Ignore
  • FInish – Start

Why Are They Important?

As children begin to prepare for the 11+ exam, it is important that they begin to expand their vocabulary. At Smart 11+ Tuition, we encourage children to replace the adjectives that they have learned in early schooling. Words like ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ often don’t allow to provide enough depth of meaning to provide context. This will make their writing richer and more engaging. Knowing plenty of synonyms and antonyms is therefore so important.



The thing that makes increased vocabulary is so important is that it allows children to increase the range of books and literature that they can read. Being able to read more advanced books can help children to advance quicker than almost anything else, in terms of their English ability. Having a broad lexicon is essential as a child enters secondary school.

To escape the stress of grad school, I read fiction | Science | AAAS

How Can You Help Your Child?

Helping your child improve their knowledge of synonyms and antonyms is actually quite easy. Giving your child different types of books, books by different authors, and having a set reading list are easy first steps. Buy your child a thesaurus so that they can look up words they don’t understand in new books is also a very helpful step.

If your child studies at Smart 11+ Tuition, following our reading list will give your child a great head start, as will using Bedrock, our vocabulary building platform. If you want more tips, speak to your Smart 11+ Tuition tutor.

Back to Basics

This blog series is designed to help parents understand some of the terms which they might read regularly. We hope that by providing these blogs, they will help parents better understand the education their child is receiving. Many browsers provide an opportunity to translate text and we hope that in writing this information in plain details, this will help parents for whom English is an additional language.

Smart 11+ Tuition is a specialist in tuition for the 11 plus exam to help gain a place at grammar school. If you are interested in finding out how we help children aged 7-10 to pass the 11 plus exam, fill out the form below: