IELTS Reading strategies: True, False, Not Given
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IELTS Reading strategies: True, False, Not Given

Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video,
we are going to be looking at the IELTS, that scary test a lot of you have to do. We’re
going to look at, specifically, one type of reading question for the academic reading.
So this isn’t for the general; it’s for the academic reading. We’re going to talk about the
question that has to do with “true, false, or not given”. So this is a specific question.
It may or may not be on your test, but I think, personally, this is one of the most difficult
questions on the reading section of the IELTS. So I’m going to give you some tips and strategies
on how to do well on this section. Okay, so let’s get started. In this section,
what you are going to find is a reading passage. So you will have a long
passage on maybe cybercrime, maybe food security, on the history of the Internet — it can be on anything.
After the passage, there will be some statements, some facts, okay? What you
need to do is you need to say if the fact matches — if it’s true based on the reading,
if it’s false based on the reading, or if the information is not given in the reading.
So I will explain “true”, “false”, “not given” in detail in just a minute. Okay. What else to
know about the “true, false, or not given”? Another important thing about this question
is we’re not talking about the question that has to do with the writer’s opinion. There’s
a very similar question on the IELTS that asks about the writer’s opinion. That’s the
“yes, no, not given”. This is only on “true, false, not given”, not “yes, no, not given”.
Just — hopefully, that will clear up any confusion. Okay. So let’s get started. What
do they mean by “true” in these questions? When would you write “true”? I will show you.
You can write “true” or “T”. “T” is shorter. If there is a fact and it is clearly written, you write “T”.
If the fact is clearly written in the reading, you would write “T”. You’ll
often see synonyms, and, again, write “T” only if you actually see this fact written.
If you know the fact is true, but it’s not written, don’t write “true”. Only write “true”
if, with your eyes, you read it, and you see it in the fact. You see it in the reading; write “true”.
So I’ll give you an example of this type of question. Here is
just a part of a passage. The reading is a lot longer, but here is a short version
that you might find on the IELTS. “This increase in cybercrime has alarmed many experts.” So
it would be a long passage. You might see something like that. And then, at the end
of the reading, one of the statements you might see might say, “Cyber crime is on the
rise.” You need to say if this is “true”, “false”, or “not given”. So how do you know
if it’s “true”, “false”, or “not given”? My advice to you is first, read the statement:
“Cyber crime is on the rise”; underline any key words. “Cyber crime” — this is a keyword.
“is on the ‘rise'” — that’s a keyword, okay? Then you go back to the reading passage, and
you quickly scan for these words or synonyms. What are “synonyms”? “Synonyms” are words
that mean the same thing but are different words. So what is a synonym of “rise”? “Increase”,
“go up”, okay? So let’s see if we can find “cyber crime” or “rise”. So I would scan the
passage — oh, the word “increase”, “cybercrime”. So “rise”, “increase”, okay. So I found a synonym.
Now, it’s important for me to read very carefully to see if there are any contradictions.
What does the sentence say? Does it really match? “This increase in cyber crime has alarmed
many experts.” “Cyber crime is on the rise.” Both of these — both the reading passage and
the fact or the statement are saying cyber crime is increasing. It’s going up. So that
would mean it’s true. So I could write a “T” beside this, “true”. Okay. One thing to look
out for with “true”: Sometimes you will see words like “some”, “all”, “only”, “never”,
“usually”, “often”, “sometimes”. Be careful with these words, okay? Because if it says,
“Some people in Canada like to eat poutine”, and you see the sentence saying, “Poutine
is always eaten by Canadians”, even though you see the two words — oh, “poutine”, “poutine”
— one says “always”, one says “some”. So this would not be a true statement. So be
on the lookout for “some”, “all”, “only”, “never”, “usually”. This is where they try
to trick you on the IELTS. Okay. So now, let us look at “false”. What does
it mean if you write “false”? Okay. Now, let’s talk about “false”. What
does it mean to be “false” in this section of the IELTS? If you write “false” for the
fact at the bottom after the reading passage, it means you’re saying the fact is opposite.
So if you read the reading passage, you read the fact, the fact says, “All cats are black.”
The reading passage says, “Not all cats are black.” That would obviously be “false”, okay?
So the fact is opposite. And, again, you have to look out for words like “all” versus “some”,
“often” versus “always”. This is how they trick you. So if it says, “All children should
eat broccoli” — if that’s what the fact says. In the reading passage, if it says, “Some
children should eat broccoli”, this would be where you would write “false”.
So let’s look at an example. Let me go to this side so you can see better.
“The first personal computer was invented in the 1970s.” So this is what it says in
the reading passage. It’s a long passage, imagine, on personal computers, and you come
to this section. Now, you look at the fact afterwards. So you finish reading. Here is the fact.
“Personal computers were first invented in 1990.” Is this true, false, or not given?
Well, what would I do? First thing I would do — and also I should point out, it’s not
good to read the passage first. It’s better, in my opinion, to look at the fact at the bottom
of the passage and then look for information in the reading passage. This will save you some time.
Now, let’s do this how I would do it if I was doing the IELTS. First, I would
look at the statement: “Personal computers were first invented in 1990.” I would underline keywords.
So we’re looking at “personal computers”; we’re looking at when they were “invented”;
and we’re looking at a year. Okay. So I might try to think of different words for “invented”
in my head quickly: “created”, “manufactured” — maybe not true synonyms, but similar — and “1990”.
So then, I would do my scan looking for the keywords quickly. “Invented”, something
that looks like “invented”. Okay, “personal computer”, “invented” — same word, that’s easy — “1970s”.
Now, I look to see if there’s a match. I read this carefully, and I compare.
“The first personal computer was invented in the 1970s.” “Personal computers were first
invented in 1990.” “1990”, “1970s”, this statement is “false”. So it says the opposite, okay?
So now, let’s look at the hardest choice, “not given”. Okay, so now,
let’s look at “not given” or “NG”. This is, I think, why many people have
a very difficult time on this part of the test. Usually, “truth” isn’t so difficult —
finding things that are true. But the difference between “false” and “not given” can really
confuse a lot of people. So let’s look at what they mean by “not given”. Okay, so you
write “not given” if the fact is not written in the text, okay? So if it’s not there — if
it was written, it would be “true”, so it’s not “true”. And also, you do not see the total
opposite of the fact written. If you see the total opposite, it’s “false”. But if it’s
neither “true” nor “false”, it’s “not given”. All right? So let’s look at an
example to see what I mean by this. Let me switch sides. Okay. So, again, you’ll
have a long reading passage, and this is just a section of it. So, “Although once eradicated
from Toronto, bed bugs have made a comeback and are now considered one of the leading
pests in the city.” Okay? So the first thing I would do is I would — I wouldn’t even bother
reading the reading passage yet; I would go straight to the question. So here’s the question.
So I look at the fact. The fact says, “Rats are the most common nuisance Torontonians face.” Okay.
Now, I go back; I scan. Well, first, let’s underline “rats”, “most common”,
“nuisance”, and “Torontonians”. So these are the keywords. So I’m going to scan, scan, scan, scan.
“Although once eradicated from Toronto — okay, so I see the word ‘Toronto’
— bed bugs have made a comeback and are now considered one of the leading pests in the city.” Okay.
So this talks about bed bugs. This talks about rats. I don’t see anything
here about rats. Now, could this be — could this one be false? Because is it bed bugs
are the most common pest that Torontonians face? Well, if I read this, “bed bugs have
made a comeback and are now considered one of the leading pests.” This does not mean
that they are the most common. There could be something that’s more common than them.
Maybe rats are the most common nuisance, okay? So you’ve got to be careful with words like “one of the”.
“One of the leading pests”, “the most common”. So if I look at this question
— oh, the other thing I forgot to mention: When you the check for synonyms, in this example,
“pest” and “nuisance”, these are synonyms. So that helps lead me to this area. So in
this case, I see nothing about rats being the most common nuisance. It doesn’t say,
“Rats are the most common nuisance.” It also doesn’t say they are not. So in this
case, my answer would be “not given”. Now, there are some important things I want
to go over just quickly. One of the things I want to tell you is even if you read a statement
— okay, you read the passage, you read the statement — maybe you study rats at university.
Maybe you’re an expert, and you know for a fact rats are the most common nuisance Torontonians face.
“This is 100 percent true. I know it.” If you don’t see it in the reading passage,
it doesn’t matter if it is true or not, okay? Even if you know it’s true, if you don’t see
it, the answer is “not given”, okay? So that’s very important. Another important
point is don’t spend too much time on each fact because what can happen
is maybe there’s no information. Maybe it is a “not given”, but if you think “I’ve got
to find it”, “I’ve got to find it”, “I’ve got to find it”, and you keep searching, you’ll
waste a lot of time, and the answer might just be it’s not there. So it’s better to
spend some time on it, just a little time, and guess if you don’t know. You can always
put a star and go back after. So maybe, if I didn’t know this, I’d put a star; I’d move
on to the next question, and then I’d take a guess. So that’s also a very important point.
Okay, so I hope you come visit us at our website: There, you can practice a
test which will hopefully help you prepare for your IELTS. I hope you will feel more
comfortable with this type of question after practicing our test. So until next time.

About Ralph Robinson

Read All Posts By Ralph Robinson

100 thoughts on “IELTS Reading strategies: True, False, Not Given

  1. I was an intern in the US for a year as a hotel desk associate and I converse to the guests and talk to them on the phone EVERYDAY without any problem. Now I intend to study in Canada, and I took a sample academic reading test just now and failed big time! There's some questions that I'm very confident with and when I checked, it was wrong and I find it very weird like how am I wrong with that?! This is test is more like a game with those tricky questions and I hate it.

  2. its very complex to find the answers of all 40 questions that we will have done in 1 hour.. and ielts is going to be more difficult day by day.

  3. I have some question about the "T" part, cause in this video she said,"….would not be true with "some", "any" in the statement, but she writes "T" in the board. So, it's true or false?

  4. very helpful, i have a question. does Tense matter in TRUEm FALSE or not given questions? i mean, if the question is in present tense, but in the passage, same information is in past tense, what will be answered, true or false or not given ?





  5. If we get similar type of questions in IELTS , all can score good marks. But doing practice questions from British council is headache, can't figure out how exactly they given the answer… I got full wrong during my practice test

  6. Reading is one of the most annoying one in ielts I don't know why the hell they want us to do all these things it's ok if the other three are given in the test but what are they going to do with reading ???if it's reading it should be just reading not these type of tricks actually cheap tricks

  7. They give one hour time and expect us to read whole passages not even skim and scan guys if u do that u will end up getting 5 bands not more than that and the annoying one is true false not given it's compulsory bcos they want us to get less band score

  8. So how would you answer this?

    -Passage on the text: Iannucci delivered the 40th annual MacTaggart Lecture.

    -Question True, False or Not Given: Iannucci delivered the 30th annual MacTaggart Lecture.

  9. Thank you Emma, it's very useful, but I think It's not easy as you mention. sometime it's take a time to fine the answer.

  10. It would be better to come up with some real questions, not those really easy examples, you know that the reading part suck.

  11. Wait did she say this is not for general training?? I spent hours trying to practice this .. did i waste my time? No one said it was only for academic

  12. Hi.

    I appeared IELTS today…n I mistakenly wrote T instead of true and F for false , NG for not given….will IELTS consider it right? It was for 7 marks so I am worried…

    It will b very helpful if u reply


  13. So beautifully explained
    I love the way you make us understand the difference
    This is the best channel for IELTS students
    Thanks @emma

  14. Passage: There were 100 students in a school. 60 of them were girls.

    Q. 40 of the students were boys.

    Is this true or Not Given? Help!!

  15. Respected madam , you gave very easy examples.. but in reality the question is more tricky . Actually this strategies makes more confuse and observating carefully results lose of time..

  16. The main question I have is: Many teachers suggest to not actually read the passage, but how to answer questions if I won't read it?

  17. Also, I want to mention that reading score usually depends on the topic of the passages. Sometimes the passages are very easy and I could get 7.5 and even 8 or 8.5, but sometimes they are too tough and I do really bad 🙁

  18. Facts about NG
    1- Every statement is NG as long as you read until you prove that it is true or false.
    2- If you don't see the fact, it is NG.
    3- If the statement is not true or false, it is NG.

  19. Your teaching method is thrilling and whatever you say is very lucid without any confusion regarding accent for non -native speakers! Thanks.

  20. Hello. I am
    proffesional English Teacher .  I can guide
    your preparing for IELTS exam . For any question please contact with me  +380672587967 Viber /WhatsUp / Telegram

  21. It's clearly said about "true"
    Here my question is if the correct answer was not found in the text what should we do ? Shall I put "NG" ?

  22. Please help me with this question taken from the Cambridge IELTS 14 book.

    Text: Dosoco can contribute up to 50% towards project cots. Projects must be locally based….

    Statement: In some cases Dosoco will cover the full cost of the project.

    Why isn't the statement 'not given'? The correct answer is 'false'.

    I think it should be 'not given' because the text does not say "Dosoco can ONLY contribute up to 50%…"

  23. What if the passage says

    Personal computers was invented in the 1990's

    Question says
    Personal computer invented in 1991

  24. Hi everyone. I'm from Australia. I'm looking for English learners who could give me feedback on my project (Convose) in exchange for help with their English.
    My project (Convose) will help English learners find an instant conversation about any topic (just like you can find an instant video about any topic on Youtube). To find it just search "Convose" then click on me "Josh" to start a conversation with me there.

  25. Hi, Emma! ) Could you please tell me what is your IELTS band score? I would like to know from each sections. Lis read spe and writing?

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