See my previous post on strategies for answering True/False/Not Given and Yes/No/Not Given questions on the IELTS Reading section. The basic strategy is:
- SKIM for main idea and organization of passage
- SCAN for key words you’ve highlighted in the question
- READ INTENSELY (CAREFULLY) around the sentences where you found the key words
Here’s an example showing how to do this with a sample passage & questions taken from Academic Reading Sample from ielts.org (The Risks of Cigarette Smoke – full passage).
This is the Yes/No/Not Given question:
Look at the key words I circled in yellow. These are the words I’m going to SCAN for in the passage. Numbers are especially quick and easy to scan for. Here is the paragraph I found the words I scanned for.
Straight away I see “30 per cent”. Notice the yellow underlines the key words – “is responsible” indicates “causes” and we’ve got “30 per cent”. However, the text underlined in pink shows that this percentage is for all deaths from cancer, not “deaths in the United States” as written in question #4. By reading this part carefully, you would see that this statement does not match the writer’s view and therefore you choose the correct answer of “NO”.
Here’s the next question:
Scanning through the passage I come across the 4th paragraph and see “married couple” and “one partner”. Here is the paragraph:
Reading carefully, the part underlined in pink doesn’t mention anything about the other partner likely to take up smoking. I continue to read to the end of that paragraph and still, there is nothing about the non-smoker partner taking up smoking. After scanning the rest of the passage for “marriage” or “partner”, I don’t find anything else. Therefore, I would choose “NOT GIVEN”.
Now to the next question:
Reading carefully here, I’ve underlined that 17 % of people with lung cancer got it from second-hand smoke (from their smoker parent) when they were teenagers. Therefore, I will correctly choose “YES”.
Now, here’s the last question:
I’ve found “opponent”, but it says nothing here about “financing” the study or anything similar to that, ie. “paid for the research”. It only states that it was “published” in the Journal, which isn’t the same. Therefore, I can correctly choose “NOT GIVEN”.
Practice using this strategy of SKIM, SCAN, READ INTENSELY around the key words you’ve located. Be careful of pitfalls (hidden danger or trap!). I’ll write about these mistakes to avoid in another post.