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True False Not given reading tutorial and practice

Perhaps the question type that gives most pain to most IELTS candidates is the
True/False/Not given question type. Here are some pointers to help you improve your
IELTS band score with a link to some specific practice on this type of question.
The question types
In fact there are two question types here:
1. True/False/Not given: fact based
2. Yes/No/Not given: opinion based
In each case you need to decide if the information in the text agrees with the
information in the question. You should note that in the Yes/No/Not given questions,
you are normally asked to look for the writers opinions rather than facts.
Note the key skill
The key skill here is to understand that you are interpreting the text and the question.
This means that you need to read very closely and pay attention to what the writer
means. Dont think of it as a skimming question, rather a question where you need to
read the text and the question closely and decide what the writer means.
How to get the answers right
There is information in the text that agrees exactly with the statement in the question.
Note that you will almost certainly need to look for synonyms here and match meaning
and not words.
There is information in the text that is directly opposite to or contradicts the statement
in the question. Again note that you will also need to think about meaning here. You
should pay careful attention to little words that qualify or change meaning such
as: some , all, often, occasionally
Not Given
This is the one that normally causes the most problems. Something is not given if there
is no information about it in the text. Do not spend ages looking for Not Given answers
because you will waste time.
Guessing intelligently
This is probably the hardest question type. Dont despair though you have a good
chance of guessing correctly. In fact the questions are hard because you have a one in
three chance of guessing! Here is my suggestion
1. if you find information in the text about the statement in the question:
guess True or False but remember to read the whole question and not just match
words in it
2. if you find no information in the text about the statement guess Not Given - dont
waste time. Typically, answer are Not Given when they match just one or two
words in the question
3. if you have no idea, then guess Not Given. You have a one in three chance of being
right and you may have no idea because it isnt there!
Some examples of how the questions work
Macallan is one of the four top selling brands of malt whisky in the world. It is made
in barrels made of Spanish oak that have previously been used for sherry because
this adds sweetness to its flavour.
Macallan is globally successful.
This is true because top selling brands of malt whisky in the world matches globally
Macallan is made in metal containers.
This is false because the text says it us made in barrels of Spanish oak. Because oak is
a wood this contradicts the words int he questionmetal containers. Note that you need
to think about meaning
Not Given
Macallan is made in Spain.
There is no information about where it is made. Be careful of the trap of seeing the
words Spanish and made in the text. Usually with Not Given answers you will find
some words in the text that match words int he question without matching the meaning
of the whole question.
A difficulty Not Given
The Not Given variation is probably what makes this type of question so difficult. How
can you deal with this problem? You need to understand that:
Not given does not mean no words in the question are used in the text. Typically,
you will find some of words from the question in the text they simply dont
answer the whole question
You cannot add information that is probably true: you can only use the information
given in the text
Some practical tips
1. Read the whole question. Do NOT focus on key words. Think about the meaning of
the question.
2. Be especially careful with words such as often and some. They can change the
meaning of the question dramatically.
3. Be careful with questions beginning The writer says: here you need to think about
the writers opinions and not about facts.
4. The questions will follow the order of the text: if you cant find answer 12, you
know it must be somewhere between 11 and 13.
5. Do not spend too long on any one question. If the answer is Not Given, there may
be nothing for you to find.
6. One possibility is to mark all the True answers and all the False answers and
then guess Not Given for the others.
A suggested procedure
Here is my suggested procedure:
1. Read the instructions carefully and note whether you are being asked to look for
facts or opinions.
2. Look at all the questions and see what topics they ask about. You may note key
words here, but only to identify the correct part of the text to read.
3. Skim the text to identify which paragraphs you need to read more closely. Note that
the questions will follow the order of the text and so the answer to question 10 will
follow the answer to question 11
4. Mark on the question paper which paragraphs relate to which question: eg, write 11
against paragraph E
5. Refocus on the question and read the whole question: be careful with tricky words
like usually
6. Underline the words in the text that give you the answer. This helps you
concentrate and also allows you to change your mind, if you find a better answer
A variation is to mark the True answers first as they tend to be the easiest and then go
back to the False and Not given later.
Some practice questions
The majority of professional players on the ATP and the WTA tours now use polyester
strings made by Luxilon, a company that specialised in the past in manufacturing fibres
for female undergarments. The trend was started by the then little-known Brazilian
player Gustavo Kuerten who more or less by chance discovered that this string was
almost completely dead meaning that the players are able to swing much harder at
the ball and impart much more spin on it without it flying off uncontrollably as it would
do with a traditional gut string. Kuerten of course went on to achieve much success
and, in the clay court game at least, is regarded as one of the modern greats. His most
lasting legacy though may not be his titles, rather it may be that his use of a material
primarily made for womens bras allowed him and successive champions to change how
the tennis ball flew. Players were able to find completely new angles on the court
because, in the hands of a master, a shot hit with a luxilon string that might look as if it
were heading way out of court would suddenly drop like a stone, describing an almost
perfect parabola. This technological innovation has revolutionised the way in which the
game is now played. For example, Roger Federer, a man who many regard as the
greatest player of all time, may have begun his career as an attacking all-court player,
but in latter years he has been forced become a much more defensively orientated
player who chooses his time to attack more carefully. Indeed, he is on record as saying
that new string technology has changed the face of the game and that he has had to
adapt his game to counter players who stand behind the baseline and produce winning
shots from almost nowhere.

True/False/Not Given - Luxilon
Question 1
Roger Federer uses luxilon to string his tennis racket.
Not Given
Question 2
The use of luxilon allowed players to hit new types of shots.
Not Given
Question 3
Roger Federer has always played an attacking game of tennis.
Not Given

Tip one Underline the part of the text that shows the
A forgotten reading skill is to learning how to read intensively when you are looking
for the answer itself. Forget key words they only show where to find the answer.
Once you have found the right part of the text, read very carefully you want to
find something that says:
1. This agrees with the information in the question True
2. This contradicts the informnation in the question False
Do NOT read generally at this point. You want to find something you can underline.
If you cannot find anything specific that you can underline, then the answer is likely
to be Not Given.
Tip two refer back to the whole question and think about
its meaning
IELTS reading is designed how well you understand reading passages. This means
you always want to focus on meaning when you are looking for the answer. Once
you have found the right part of the text, forget key words. Its quite possible to
find words in the text that match words in the question, but the overall meaning is
quite different.
1. Go back to the question and re-read it carefully focus on the little words
too (some, never, generally etc), these can change the meanings of questions
dramatically. Ask yourself if you are looking for something absolutely true or
something that is qualified in some ay.
2. Re-read the text. Does it mean the same as the question? Make sure you check the
text and question against each other that they mean the same thing.