How to Deal with True/False/Not Given Questions in Reading

In this question type you will have to decide whether a statement is True, False or Not Given according to the information in the reading passage.

  • True – the information in the reading passage is the same as in the statement
  • False - the information in the reading passage is different to the statement
  • Not Given – there is no information in the reading passage related to the statement

Your approach

  • Skim the passage first to get an idea of what it is about. When you skim the text, read fast but with your full attention.
  • Read the first sentence attentively. Underline the key words to focus your attention on the important details. 
  • Scan the passage for synonyms or similar words to find the right place in the text.
  • Find the sentence in the passage that gives the information in the sentence. Note that it is highly likely that there won’t be the same words in the text as in the sentence, so look out for synonyms or words with similar meaning.
  • Sometimes, you will need to use logic to find the answer in the text.
  • After you’ve found the right sentence(s) in the passage, go back to the sentence and read it attentively to understand if it is True/False/Not Given
  • You can turn the sentences into Yes/No questions to help you decide.  
  • Remember that the sentences follow the order of the text. This means that the answers in the text will come one after another. So, if you found the answer to Q1, Q2, and Q4, the answer to Q3 in the text will be in between the place where you found the answer to Q2 and Q4. It cannot come before Q1 or after Q4. The sentences follow the order of the passage.
  • Pay attention to such words as ‘never’, ‘always’, ‘not’, ’the only’, ‘everyone’, ‘no one’  which may give the opposite meaning to the one in the passage.
  • Pay attention to the comparisons used in the question statements. If there is a comparison in the question but there is no comparison in the text, the answer will be ‘Not Given’ as we do not know if something was bigger, stronger, or less popular.

 

Turning T/F/NG statements into Yes/No questions

Let’s look at the example of a T/F/NG question below.

Q1 The first instance of product placement was the idea of a movie company.

Turning it into a question you will ask yourself:

Was the first instance (case) of product placement the idea of a movie company? In other words, was it a movie company that first placed a product?

If you think that according to the passage it is ‘Yes’, then it is True. If your answer will be ‘No’, then it is ‘False’ and if you are not sure or you don’t know, then it is ‘Not Given’.

 

Using your logic or reading between the lines

A good example of a question task when you need to use your logic can be found in Cambridge IElTS 7:

Q: The survey concluded that one-fifth or 20% of the household transport requirements as being outside the local area.

In the passage you find the following sentence:

Interesting facts regarding transport were found: 95% was on foot; 80% was within the locality; and 70% was related to the collection of water and firewood and travelling to the grinding mills.

In the text you don’t have anything about 20% or one-fifth BUT you have 80% was within the locality. So, youfigure out that if 80% was within the locality, the remaining 20% was outside the local area and the statement in the question is True.  

 

Another example of a task when you need to use your logic to figure out the right answer is taken from Focus on IELTS by S. O’Connel.

Q: Young women are most likely to have accidents when driving at night.

Nearly half of all accidents involving young men and one-third of those involving young women take place when it is dark.

The answer is False because one-third is not the majority and therefore, it is the men who are most likely to have accidents when it is dark, not the women.

 

Comparisons in True/False/Not given

For instance you see the following question;

Q: Desertification is taking place faster in southern Africa than in the Sahel.

In the text you see the following:

Droughts have become more prolonged and more severe, the most recent lasting over twenty years in parts of the Sahel region. The same process of desertification is taking place across southern Africa as the Kalahari Desert advances into Botswana and parts of South Africa.  

The answer will be Not Given because we do not know if the desertification in southern Africa is faster than in the Sahel. We only know that desert is spreading in both regions.   

(Example taken from Improve your IELTS reading skills by S. McCarter and N.Whitby)

 

Another example of using comparison in the question can be found in Focus on IELTS by S. O’Connel:

Q: Fewer children walk to school now than in the past.

In the passage you read…

In recent years there has been a significant decline in the number of school children who walk to school each day, compared with previous generations.

The answer is True because there is a comparison in the question and in the passage, so the meaning is the same.

 

In the question

 

In the passage

 

A is bigger than B

=

A is bigger than B

True

A is smaller than B

A is bigger than B

False

A is bigger than B 

??

There is A and there is B (no comparison)   

Not Given

 

Small words that make all the difference

In the True/False/Not Given statements you can sometimes have limiting words, such as never’, ‘always’, ‘not’, ’the only’. These words make the statement sound different compared to the information in the passage, so pay attention to such words when you see them in the task.

There is a good example is Improve your IELTS reading skills by S. McCarter and N.Whitby in the following sentence

Q: The swallow is the only species of bird that migrates to spend the summer in northern Europe. 

In the passage you read…

Every April, along with many other species of birds, the swallow arrives to spend the summer months in northern Europe, in Russia, Iran and parts of Siberia.

So, the answer is False, because the texts says ‘…along with other species of birds…’ which means it’s not the only species of birds. 

For more hints on how to deal with different question types in reading section follow the link

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