Question Type Strategy: True / False / Not Given
Hello everyone. In this lesson we will discuss the most difficult question type on the reading test: True / False / Not Given.
Don’t worry. Understanding how to handle these questions (and practicing them) is going to help you get a great score.
What is True / False / Not Given?
On this question type, each question is a statement, and you must decide whether each statement is True, False, or Not Given... according to the text (very important!)
These are sometimes called yes / no / not given questions. Note that for a yes / no / not given question, it is okay to write “true” for your answer if the answer is “yes”, or “false” instead of “no”. As long as the examiner can understand your intention, it will be marked correct.
Here is an example true / false / not given question:
3 Tips for True / False / Not Given questions:
TIP #1: Understand the meaning of “True”, “False” and “Not Given”.
TRUE (or “yes”) means that the text says this. BUT, it is very important to understand that the statement will be heavily paraphrased, and maybe even stated in an indirect way.
FALSE (or “no”) means that the text contradicts the statement. That means that you can tell by reading the text that the statement cannot be true. Again, expect heavy paraphrasing.
NOT GIVEN means that the text does not contain this information. Even if you think the statement might be true or false… if the text doesn’t state this information (or paraphrase it) then the answer is “Not Given”!
The best way to learn this tip is to do lots of practice tests. We'll take a look at some practice questions at the bottom of this lesson!
TIP #2: Always do these questions last for their section! Here's why:
This question type is difficult, and doing it last will help you to understand the text better.
Doing it last means that you can guess if you have to. This will help a lot with your time management. If you are going too slow on a particular section, then at least you can guess T/F/NG answers and have a 33% of getting them right. It’s even better if you can at least eliminate one out of the three options first.
(Imagine if you left a fill-in-the-blank question for last, and then ran out of time? You would get a zero on all those questions.)
TIP #3: Remember that T/F/NG always go in order.
Knowing this will help you to locate answers. You should not be searching the entire text for answers! Each answer comes after the previous one.
This can especially help you with possible “Not Given” questions, to limit the area of the text in which you have to search.
For example, if you think an answer may be “Not Given”, you can go on to the next question, find it, and now you have a much smaller area in which to search for the previous answer.
Look at the text below to see what I mean:
The student above found Answer #3, but couldn’t find Answer #4 so they moved on to #5. After finding #5, they knew exactly where to search for Answer #4 (it turned out to be “Not Given”).
Lets See Some Examples.
First I want to show you some example T/F/NG questions, to help you become familiar with how true, false, and not given answers look in the text.
After these examples, we'll do some practice.
I have listed the questions first, then the text containing the answers. Take extra time to study these, and look carefully at the vocabulary and the way the answers are written.
The answer for #8 above is true. Can you see why?
The key in the text is “both sides painting unreal pictures of the other”, which means that both have been misrepresented.
As you can see, the question is heavily paraphrased in the text.
This one is more difficult. The answer here is also true. Can you see why?
The question is saying that the way we judge a person’s intelligence is affected by how they use language. In the text, it says “linguistic factors [language] influence how we judge personality, intelligence”… and here is the answer.
Again, note how this question is paraphrased!
#4 above is false. The question says that Marie “stopped doing research” when her children where born, but the text directly contradicts this statement, by saying that the births of her two daughters “failed to interrupt her scientific work”.
This question is really difficult. Take a moment to read the question and the text.
The key here is that the question states that people feel more strongly about language education, than small differences in usage… BUT, the final part of the text says that “Arguments can start as easily over minor points of usage as over major policies of linguistic education”.
In other words, people generally feel just as strongly about small differences in usage as they do about language education!
So the answer to #2 is false.
It’s really important to see here how one small detail (like the word “more”) can make a big difference for the answer to a question!
#4 here is not given. This section mentions nothing about the cost of grammar books.
One of the most important things to remember for NG answers is that you don’t have to search the entire text for them! They are meant to be located in one limited are of the text.
If you’re not sure about a NG answer, it can help to simply move on to the next question in order to limit the area that you have to search, then come back to it after.
Let's Get Some Practice!
Let's try some True / False / Not Given questions right now. Read the questions below, and look at the text. Now, this is easier than a real IELTS test, because the relevant sections are right here for you instead of you having to search for them in an article. But this practice will help you to understand what the IELTS test is looking for with this question type.
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False. Notice that “joint winner” directly contradicts “sole winner”.
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False. This question is tricky. The key here is that the text says that “this development” (meaning, theme parks becoming more serious) “is a response to market forces”, meaning that consumers want theme parks to deal with serious issues.
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