IELTS Reading True False and Not Given Questions

Almost everyone is familiar with the IELTS test. You might have already taken it or might be planning to soon. This English language assessment test is divided into four sections – listening, writing, speaking, and reading. While usually, the test is a little challenging for non-native speakers it is the reading section that most candidates find a bit daunting as it has 3 tasks with 40 questions that have to be answered within 60 minutes. These 40 questions are not all the same. The reading section contains different types of questions ranging from MCQs, sentence completion questions, matching headings questions, table completion, and the true/false/not given questions. The true/false/not given questions can be tricky and with only 60 minutes on the clock and 40 questions to answer you cannot dwell on one question too long.

What are the true/false/not given questions?

As the name suggests, in this type of question you will be given statements related to the task essay and you have to identify whether the statement is TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN. And you answer:

- TRUE when the statement matches with the information given in the essay,

- FALSE when the statement is in contradiction to the given information, or, 

- NOT GIVEN when there is no information relating to the statement in the essay.

Given the format of these questions, it is easy to see why one would get confused answering them. And for that we have written a few tips on how you can answer the True/False/Not Given questions:

Tips to answer the questions correctly:

- You need to remember that this type of question requires that you locate and identify specific information in the text. And this information will be presented in the essay text as facts which makes it easy to spot. So, keep an eye out for keywords when reading the text.

- More importantly, the questions have the same order as the sequence of information in the text, which means that the information you need for the first statement will be found before the information for the second statement. 

- When you read the essay make sure that you highlight the important points in the text. Any facts mentioned in the essay could be presented as statements for the true/false/not given questions so underlining them beforehand will make it easier to identify the statements correctly.

- This one is obvious, but you should read the statements carefully and answer them only when you have understood the information given in the statements.

- Don't spend too much time on one question. If you don’t find the answer, then the best thing to do is to mark it 'not given' – that way you will have a one in three chance that your answer will be correct.

- Watch out for words that can subtly alter the meaning of a sentence such as "many", "some", "occasionally" etc. This is a common mistake among the candidates as they miss out on these carefully placed words in the statements.

- Beware of synonyms, the statements will have the same information in the text but will use a synonym to throw the candidate off and confuse them. For example, ‘work’ could be changed to ‘employment’.

 - Paraphrasing – the statement will not be written in the same way as in the text, they will be paraphrased so concentrate on the information the statement is relaying.

Lastly, practice as much as possible. You will be able to identify what parts are difficult for you – it could be the synonyms, the time and the like. So, improve your vocabulary by reading English language publications and practicing sample questions. 

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