What are the steps to solve IELTS Reading True/False/Not given questions?

Generally, it is seen that the candidates find IELTS Reading True/False/Not given and Yes/No/Not given type of questions quite challenging. But, if certain strategies are used these become simple to solve. Let us begin by identifying the difference between True/False/Not given and Yes/No/Not given type of questions in IELTS Reading task.

What does it mean?

True/False/Not given type of questions are related to the factual information whereas Yes/No/Not given are related to the views of the writer.

It is mandatory to keep in mind not to write ‘yes’ instead of ‘True’ and ‘No’ instead of ‘False’ . The reverse also holds true.

Steps to Follow while solving such questions asked in IELTS Reading:

While solving this type of questions, the candidate should keep three C’s in mind.

  1. Confirmation: If the statement of the question confirms the information in the text, then the answer is ‘True’  
  2. Contradiction: If the statement of the question contradicts the information in the text, then the answer is ‘False’
  3. Confusion: If the statement of the question neither contradicts nor confirms the information in the text, it simply causes confusion. then the answer is ‘Not Given’.

Useful tips for True/False/Not Given Type of Question in IELTS Reading

The following tips can be helpful in solving these type of questions asked in IELTS Reading:

  1. An answer is true if it exactly confirms the information in the passage and not something similar in meaning. For example, if in the passage it is mentioned,’ It rains everyday in the rainy season’ and the statement of the question is ‘It rains almost daily in the rainy season’, though these sentences look similar are actually not. The answer is ‘False’.
  2. Be aware of the controlling words like all, mainly, almost, occasionally. These words can alter the meaning of the sentence. The sentence, ‘In the evening, he can mostly be seen playing in the park’ and ‘Everyday in the evening, he can be seen playing in the park’ carry different meaning.
  3. Also be on a look out for words like ‘few’, ‘a few’, ‘little’, ‘ a little’ and so on. For example, if in the passage it is mentioned, ’There were few students in the seminar,’ and the statement of the question is, ‘ There were a few students in the seminar’. The answer will be false as ‘few’ has a negative connotation whereas ‘a few’ has a positive implication.
  4. Do not make any assumptions. Concentrate on what is given in the text. Supposing the information in the text is ‘Mr. Smith did not go to the office as he was unwell’ The question says, ‘Mr. Smith did not go to the office as he had fever’. The answer will not be ‘True’ as ‘unwell’ cannot assumed as having fever.
  5. Try converting the statement of the question into a question. This can help in finding the answer. For instance in tip 3. If we convert the statement of the question into question,’ Did Mr. Smith not go to office as he had fever?’ Now if look at the text, there is no mention of ‘fever’. Hence the answer is ‘Not Given’.
  6. In a set of ‘true’, ‘false’ and ‘not given’, type there will always be one of each type. Otherwise at least one answer will be incorrect.
  7. For solving this type of questions, it is important to read that portion of the text where the answer in the passage lies exactly. Skimming and scanning the passage only will not help.
  8. Matching the words in the passage and the question will not help, look out for synonyms instead.
  9. Remember the answers follow the order of the text.
  10. ‘Not Given’ type of answers often lead to confusion. Do not waste more than one minute on such questions and write the answer as ’Not Given’.
  11. The answer is again ‘Not Given’ if it is not mentioned in the passage.

Useful tips for Yes/No/Not Given Type of Question in IELTS Reading 

For Yes, No and Not Given type questions, the following tips can prove helpful:

  1. Read  all of the question statements so that you have the idea of what information that you will need to focus on in the reading passage.  
  2. Skim and scan the reading passages to find the words that are or relate to the proper nouns, nouns or adjectives in the question statements.  Tackle those questions that have proper nouns in the statements first, as this information is easier to find through scanning. Then move on to the other questions.
  3. Do not look for the exact words but for the synonyms. The statement of the question and those in the passage will have the same meaning but the words used will be different. For example, the question statement is ,’Many people have moved away from Detroit.’  The passage reads ‘Detroit has suffered enormous population loss.’ Both the statements express the same view although the words used are different. Hence the answer is ‘Yes’.
  4. Read the question and the relevant part of the passage carefully. Even if the meaning looks the same but the controlling word or words will totally change the meaning and hence  the answer. For example the question statement is ‘Some visitors find the place very appealing.’ In the passage it is written, ‘All the visitors find the place very appealing’. here the answer is ‘No’. ‘some’ and ‘all’ do not mean the same.
  5. Finally if you find it  difficult to find the information, do not waste time and go for ‘Not Given’ as the answer.

You can practice True/False/Not Given exercises here: TFNG Exercises (mini-ielts.com)

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