Make sure you’ve read the general strategies for answering the reading section. For the true/false/not given or yes/no/not given type questions, the strategies are similar:
- skim questions
- identify keywords
- read carefully
- choose answer carefully
With this type of question it’s important to clearly understand the different choices. Most people are clear about identifying whether a statement is TRUE or YES. If the statement agrees with the information or reflects the views of the writer, then it is True or Yes.
The difficulty is between False/No and Not Given. Here’s the difference:
NO if the statement clearly CONTRADICTS (is the OPPOSITE of) the claims of the writer.
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this. You may find some information in the passage around the ideas of the statement – but there are no specific words that either clearly reflect or contradict the writer’s views on this idea in the passage.
FALSE if the statement clearly CONTRADICTS (is the OPPOSITE of) the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no CLEAR specific information about the statement that neither agrees nor contradicts the information in the statement.
So here are the Techniques for answering T/F/NG and Y/N/NG:
- Read each statement carefully and look for key words in each statement that you can scan for in the passage. Prepare to look for similar words or expressions to those key words (they most likely won’t be the exact same words).
- Take note of comparisons ( is like, more… than, less… than, bigger, etc) or qualifying expressions (a lot, many, little, not, most, some, much, slightly, never, sometimes, often, etc.)
- Once you have located the right sentences about the statement – READ CAREFULLY and compare it to the statement.
- If you can clearly see the statement reflects what’s written in the passage, choose TRUE.
- If you’re unsure – check to see if it says the opposite. If it’s not clear to be the opposite, you can guess Not Given.
For example, in the following Y/N/NG statement you see:
“The destruction of land for food and firewood is linked to desertification.” (From IELTS TestBuilder 2)
Key words I identify: destruction of land, firewood, desertification
Actual sentences in the corresponding passage that I found by scanning for my key words or similar words:
Transport systems including roads within and between cities need to be constructed or upgraded to create motorways; green fields are turned into airports; virgin forest is stripped to provide food and firewood. In poorer regions, this newly exposed land becomes desert, completing the cycle of destruction.
I had scanned the reading passage and found “firewood” and “destruction”. I also scanned “desert”, which is part of the word “desertification”, which means “making land that was once fertile with vegetation into a desert”. If you didn’t know this vocabulary word, you could try to guess the connection between “desert” and “desertification” since the statement is about destruction of land.
After locating these sentences, I read carefully around the words to match the statement to the information in the passage.
As you can see, from the passage, it says that forest is stripped for food and firewood and then becomes desert. It also mentions ” completing the cycle”. Different parts of a cycle are all linked to each other. Therefore, I see the statement clearly reflects the claims of the writer as its written in these sentences. So the answer is YES.
Here’s another example of a T/F/NG question from “The History of Salt”:
“The first tax on salt was imposed by a Chinese Emperor.”
Key words I identified: first tax, Chinese Emperor
When I scanned for these words I found:
In 2200 BC, the Chinese Emperor Hsia Yu levied one of the first known taxes. He taxed Salt.
Reading carefully, take note of the difference between “THE first tax” as in the statement, and “one of the first known taxes” as in the passage. “One of the first known” is NOT the same as “the (absolute) first.” Therefore the answer is FALSE.
** See more examples for Yes/No/Not Given questions.