Question type 2 of 9: True False Not Given questions in IELTS reading

Question type 2 of 9: True False Not Given questions in IELTS readingQuestion type 2 of 9: True False Not Given questions in IELTS reading. On this page, we will look at the second of the 9 types of question used in the IELTS reading test – True False Not Given questions in IELTS reading.

What do I have to do for True False Not Given questions in IELTS reading?

You need to decide if a statement matches the information given in the reading passage. If the statement and the reading text agree, the answer is TRUE. If they do not agree, the answer is FALSE. If the reading text has no information to support or deny the statement, then it is NOT GIVEN. These questions may also ask you to write YES NO or NOT GIVEN, although there is no real difference between the skills you are being tested on. Here are two examples:

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

Write

TRUE  if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN If there is no information on this

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage 1?

Write

YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer

NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer

NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

What is this question type testing my ability to do?

This question type is testing your ability to decide whether information is factual (supported in the text), incorrect (disagrees with the text) or not supported (not given in the text).

What are the best steps for answering True False Not Given questions in IELTS reading?

There are 4 steps that we recommend following for this question type:

Step 1 – Analyse: In the first step, you need to read the statement very carefully. You need to be absolutely clear on the meaning and the purpose of every word, carefully identifying keywords and qualifying words. For example, if the statement said ‘Most countries are aiming to reduce the rate of smoking’, you should notice keywords like ‘countries’, ‘reduce’ ‘rate’ and ‘smoking’, but also the qualifying word ‘Most’. If the reading passage says ‘All countries are looking to minimise the number of smokers’, then the keywords match, but the qualifying word doesn’t (MOST is not the same as ALL) so the answer would be FALSE.

Step 2 – Locate: Using the keywords you have identified in Step 1, you now need to find the relevant section of the reading passage. In the example from Step 1, you would scan the text looking for the words ‘countries’, ‘reduce’ ‘rate’ and ‘smoking’ or for synonyms of these words.

Step 3 – Confirm: Once you’ve found the general area that refers to the keywords in the reading passage, you know need to confirm whether the statement is True, False or Not Given. To do that. you need to read the sentence BEFORE the section that contains the keywords and the sentence that comes AFTER. This area of the reading passage needs to be read carefully – not skimmed – in order to decide which of the three possible answers is correct.

Step 4: Evidence: Before finally deciding on an answer, you need to find the specific evidence that proves your choice (True, False or Not Given) is correct. The best way to do that is to imagine someone has asked you to provide why you think you’re right, and you need to give them a specific reason from the text.

What useful tips are there for this question type?

  • TIP 1: The statements will come in the order of the reading passage. That means if you find the evidence for Question 1 in the second paragraph, then you know that the answer to Question 2 is below that, so there’s no point in looking at the first paragraph.
  • TIP 2: Understanding how reference words work is essential for this question type. Make sure to review this lesson on reference words. For example, if that statement was ‘Most countries are aiming to reduce the rate of smoking’, you should also consider words like nations, planning to, decrease, and levels.
  • Tip 3: If a statements includes proper nouns (names of people or places for example) or numbers (dates, years etc), then these are great keywords to scan for in Step 2.
  • TIP 4: When you are following Step 2 in the steps recommended above, keep repeating the keywords you are looking for. Of course you cannot say them out loud, but whisper them quietly to yourself – this will help your brain focus on what you are looking for without getting sidetracked with something you’ve just noticed while skimming.
  • Tip 5: Synonyms will almost certainly play an important part in these question types, so consider other ways your keywords could be expressed.
  • TIP 6: Use the ‘Could it be both?’ rule to decide if something is False or Not Given. Here’s a very simple example of this technique – if the statement says ‘The sun is hot’ but the reading passage only says ‘The sun is yellow’, then ask yourself ‘Could the sun be both hot AND yellow?’ If the answer is yes (in this case, the sun can be both hot and yellow) then the answer is Not Given. However, if the statement says ‘The sun is hot’ and the reading passage only says ‘The sun is cold’, then when you ask ‘Could it be both?’ the answer is no – it can’t hot AND cold, so the answer is false. Of course, this is a very simple example, but the ‘Could it be both’ technique really helps in more complex examples too.
  • TIP 7: Forget what you think you know! If the statement is ‘Smoking is considered to have a negative impact on health’, then you might think that the answer is obvious. However, the test is to find out what it says in the reading passage, not what you think. That’s why Step 4 in the steps above is useful – you MUST be able to show evidence from the reading passage for your answer.

Now practice!

Click the link in the table below to test your skills with True False Not Given questions in IELTS reading