Nation e-Edition

11-Plus bust

11-Plus bust

By B.C. Pires | Mon, June 06, 2011 - 12:00 AM

WE RETURN today to my attempt to pass the 11-Plus Exam the children of Barbados sat on May 3.

Results last week caused almost as much stress as the test itself; it’s an indictment of West Indian societies that we can’t find a less brutal way of sorting children into secondary school. But let me press on with the English and try for St Michael’s and not Dodds. This is last year’s exam.

Section A. Write the correct form of the adjective in brackets. Question 1. John’s house is the (large) in the village. Is this question set in a village or a “gardens”?

Chattel houses in Bajan villages come in standard sizes; if John’s house is really noticeably bigger, John must be the village dealer. Question 2. Is ice cream (good) than chocolate? Is this English or dietetics? And suppose the ice cream is chocolate?

Section II. Underline the correct word in brackets. 5. The cooks (grate/great) the cheese every evening. I think I know this shop; they claim their macaroni pie is great but it would be better if they grated the cheese in the morning.

8. There’s a hole in the (soul/sole) of the shoe. Soul, obviously; this is Barbados, where everything, alive or dead, exists only by the grace of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; test the proposition with this sentence:

He is the (sole/soul) youth columnist for THE NATION; yes, obviously correct.

Section IV. Write the simple present tense of the verb in brackets. Question 17. Many farmers (grew) thyme and sweet potatoes. This must be a Guyanese question masquerading as a Barbadian one, like construction workers.

Farmers don’t grow anything in Barbados; they develop their land, sell tiny wall condos for three times their value and move to Brooklyn.

Section V. Underline the correct word in brackets. Question 23. (Have/Has) she taken a glass of lemonade? Well, we know we’re back in Barbados, Little England, if we’re drinking “lemonade” and not “lime juice”. Skip on.

Section VI. Correct the error by inserting the most suitable punctuation mark. 28. Marcia, the waitress works at a restaurant. Hmm. This needs explication, not punctuation. Given the harsh economic downturn, to be correct, it should really read, Marcia, the sex worker, waits outside the restaurant.

 Section X. Rewrite the sentences to give the passive voice. Question 55. The principal encouraged the children to obey the rules. Answer: The children were encouraged to obey the rules by a sound cut-tail from the principal at the school gates; this was

St Leonard’s, you see.

Section XIII. Write the appropriate form of the word in brackets. Question 64. The tourists received (direct) to Harrison’s Cave. The tourists may have got directions but they would have been anything but direct, if they came from a Bajan: “G’long that side, follow the road, swing above, swing back below, and if you see a cow ’pon a pasture, you gone too far.

Swing back and ask the old fella by the rumshop. He know everywhere in Buh-bay-duss”.

That’s enough English. Next week we do all the essays.


BC Pires is in reform school. Happy birthday Rosie, congratulations Ben, the new St Michael’s footballer.


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Posted by Gabrielle Crichlow 3 years, 4 months ago
lol. lovely. I give you an A+

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Posted by Brerlou King 3 years, 4 months ago
1. "Suppose the ice cream is chocolate?" Good one, maybe someone should examine the examiners.
2. In Buhbaydos "Above" is starboard, "below" is portside. You see, everybody comes to this island on a craft of some kind. Sailors take their bearings on board ship from the bow and the sea rather than E. and W. because the ship moves around so much. So since your car moves around too we use "above" to mean starboard (vehicle right) and "below" to mean leeward. It's a personal (subjective) reference rather than an objective (global) reference. Much easier to use, actually, once you understand. (hint, watch the speaker's hands.)

3. J.C. Pires (J.C. means Jesus Christ, cause he like he mek heself,) en no Bajan, so he might not know, that "Wha sweeten goat mout does bun he tail." So, it would be better if the people serving the "grated" cheese, washed their hands thoroughly before serving anything at all, as I have learned from bitter experience. The experience was bitter, not the cheese which was "great!"

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