IELTS – strategies for True/False/Not Given

March 17, 2008 at 12:44 pm | Posted in Reading Strategies | 4 Comments
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Here are some idea strategies for the TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN exercises, which I consider are a headache in IELTS reading.Be careful to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS in your booklet and write in your answer sheet TRUE instead of YES and so on. 

Although the strategy is completely the same, you’ll be penalised if you didn’t write the correct word as your answer. Students generally find this type of exercise in the IELTS rather difficult. One reason is that they are used to doing True/ False exercises where the False covers False and Not Given. Then when they come to do True/ False/ Not Given, they cannot make the distinction between the three different types of contradiction and Not Given. It is therefore important that students are able to understand what False means in True/ False/ Not Given. 

There are three types of contradictions: 
• statements which are the opposite of the original text.
• statements which are the opposite of the original text, because they are negative.
• statements where the information is not the opposite or negative, but the information in the statement contradicts that given in the text. Look at the examples below relating to the text and exercises:

Example 1 There are plans to increase slightly the space for displaying art at the Uffizi. You can see that the statement is False, because a slight increase contradicts an increase of 100%. 

Example 2 From the author’s point of view, the plan to increase the space for displaying art at the Uffizi gallery is not at all ambitious. You can see that the statement is False, because the negative contradicts the text, which says it is ambitious. 

Example 3 A collection of pictures by Caravaggio now in a small room on the second floor will soon be transferred to larger premises on the first. You can see that the statement is False, because the text states that the paintings are by Caravaggio and his school not by Caravaggio alone. 

Note that the statement is contrasting one basic piece of information [by Caravaggio], where the original text contains two [by Caravaggio and his school]. Compare this with: The Palazzo degli Uffizi was designed by Giorgio Vasari, who was an artist. The statement is checking one piece of information. It is easy for students to become confused here, because the text states that Vasari was an historian and an artist, but the statement here is only asking if he was an artist [not an artist only excluding the idea of his being an historian]. 

Strategies to help students tackle True/ False/ Not Given exercises 

If we take the sentence in the example we can look at some basic ways to help yourselves understand what is being asked. Sentence There are plans to increase slightly the space for displaying art at the Uffizi. 
• Turn the above statement into a question: Are there plans to increase slightly the space for displaying art at the Uffizi? 
• Ask yourselves to say which words or phrases qualify the basic information in the statement: There are plans to increase the space for displaying art. 
• Ask yourselves to say which word or words are most likely to carry the main stress in the statement: slightly. This helps to see what the focus of the statement. 
• Ask yourselves to match the individual pieces of information to the text. 
• Remember always to look from the statement to the text and not to    analyse from the text to the statement. In True/ False exercises, the answer going both ways is the same, but with True/ False/ Not Given you may have a different answer! 




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  1. You are right, T/F/NG is the most difficult part that many students are afraid of. I hope this strategy could help us improve the reading skill. Thank you for posting.

  2. Good tips, its really helpful for this part is the hardest module of IELTS for me.Thanks!

    • thanks for replying immediately.well, there is different techniques to find the answers and i can find it out but not in time.i don’t know if i will call it lack of concentration or some techniques that i still missing to apply. i am giving moc test each and everyday and the score never goes up from 3 to 4.5. if things goes like this i would rather say, i am on the highway to hell, because i will have to take the exam on 3rd of December 2011 anyway.i have registered already for the seat.
      At the very end i will say please provide me, if you have any kind of special techniques not only for the T/F/NG but also the MCQ’s and heading questions.i know beside my local teachers, your advice would be helpful for me last thing is if you have your skype ID, i would very much like to add you up on skype, so i can talk to you about that case.

      shahed khan

  3. I guess you have to read the text point by point in order to get what the author is saying only then One will be able to get all answers correct. Which I seem is not possible.

    Don’t Use your mind to “Think”. Read the line and then find the answer by skimming or keep this part for end time.

    In other words, the Idea is how fast you can go to the line or point that question is all about.

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