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True/False/Not Given Questions: A guide to help you master these tricky questions.

In the IELTS reading test, many students struggle with true false not given questions. In True, False, Not Given questions you are required to identify if the information is true, false or not given from a number of statements.

Example Question

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


TRUE if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

1 Chronobiology is the study of how living things have evolved over time.

2 The rise and fall of sea levels affects how sea creatures behave.

3 Most animals are active during the daytime.

4 Circadian rhythms identify how we do different things on different days.

5 A ‘night person’ can still have a healthy circadian rhythm.

6 New therapies can permanently change circadian rhythms without causing harm.

7 Naturally-produced vegetables have more nutritional value.

Source: Cambridge English IELTS Past Papers.

As you can see from the example questions you have to judge whether the statement is true, false or not given based on the text.

What’s the difference between True/False/Not Given?

The most important thing to remember is what the words ‘true’, ‘false’ and ‘not given’ actually mean.

• If the text agrees with or confirms the information, the answer is TRUE

• If the text contradicts or is the opposite of the information, the answer is FALSE

• If there is no information or it is impossible to know, the answer is NOT GIVEN

Some Examples

Now we know the difference between the options let have a look at some examples and look at how to tackle answering the question.

Example 1

Here is the passage in the text:

The majority of people who graduated in Physics from University found it difficult to get a job.

Here is the answer:

After finishing their degrees in Physics all people had trouble finding employment.

To answer the question, we need to see what matches from the question and what is different. We can see that the subject of Physics is the same and found it difficult to get a job and had trouble finding employment are the same. However, we see one major difference. The difference is the word majority in the passage and the word all in the question. These don’t match and therefore make the answer false.

Example 2

Here is the passage in the text:

The company raises money to pay for education for their employees and the daily needs of poor people in the local community.

Here is the answer:

The company spends less money raised on the schooling of their workers than the daily needs of poor people from the local area.

We follow the same process as in the first example. We begin by looking at what matches. Education for their workers and the schooling of their workers is the same as is the local community and local area. In the answer, however, we see that a comparative is used. We see the word less. We now have to check the passage to see if any information is given about the comparison of the money spent. We see that it isn’t. This means that our answer would be Not Given.

7 Tips for answering the questions.

1. Identify any words that qualify a statement. These are words that can really help you to see if the information matches. Look for words such as all, always and occasionally.

2. You can’t just match keywords. You have to match the meaning. Don’t just look for keywords and if you see them in both the answer and passage thinking the answer is true. You have to match the meaning.

3. Spend time analysing the questions. Read the statement carefully. Look at not just the words but also the meaning behind them.

4. Look for synonyms. Remember you’re not matching words but also matching the meaning.

5. True/False/Not Given questions deal with facts. They are not the same as Yes/No/Not Given questions. These deal with opinions.

6. Answers are in chronological order. Remembering this can save you a lot of time in the test.

7. Don’t use prior knowledge. Even if you are an expert on the subject of the text make sure you only use the text for your answers.

A strategy for True/False/Not Given Questions.

1. Always read the instructions carefully.

2. Read all the statements carefully. Try to understand what the whole sentence means rather than simply highlighting keywords and then searching for these keywords.

3. Try to think of what synonyms might be in the text. This will help you identify the matching part of the text.

4. Match the statement with the correct part of the text.

5. Focus on the statement again and then carefully read the matching part of the text to establish if it is true or false. Remember the meaning should exactly match that of the statement if it is true. Be very thorough in this part and remember that more or less the same doesn’t make it true.

6. Underline your answer in the text. This will make it easier for you to check at the end.

7. If you can’t find the answer, mark it as ‘not given’ and move on to the next question.

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