True False Not Given questions are commonly used in all 3 Reading Passage in the IELTS test.
The basic principle is simple. The answer is
True: if the statement is the same as the text (you have to find synonyms that say the same thing as the statements)
False: The statement contradicts/says the opposite of the text (you have to find evidence that the statement is wrong or NOT TRUE)
Not Given: The text does not say if the statement is True or False (in real life, it could be true OR false, but there is no answer in the text)
Tips for True False Not Given questions
- The True and False answers are always in the text – you never need to use your own general knowledge (though sometimes it might help you guess the answer before you find it in the text).
- There is always at least one True, one False and one Not Given answer.
- The statements are usually in the same order as they appear in the text.
- If you find the right part of the text but you can’t find the answer, the answer is Not Given.
- True False Not Given questions are the same as Yes No Not Given questions (YNNG questions related to people’s opinions)
- There are common tricks that you can learn to recognise (quantifiers, comparisons, subjective opinions)
My True False Not Given Strategy
- Turn the statement into a question (see below) – this will help you see if the answer is actually NOT GIVEN in the text.
- Use keywords in the statements (e.g. capital letters, names or dates) to quickly find the part of the text you need.
- Look for synonyms of the statements to find TRUE answers.
- Look for antonyms (opposite words) from the statements to find FALSE answers.
Example 1: True False or Not Given?
Look at the first statement:
1 It is generally believed that large numbers of people were needed to build the pyramids.
Look at the text:
The pyramids of Egypt were built more than three thousand years ago, and no one knows how. The conventional picture is that tens of thousands of slaves dragged stones on sledges. But there is no evidence to back this up.
Now turn the statement into a question:
Is it generally believed that large numbers of people were needed to build the pyramids?
So is Statement 1 True False or Not Given?
The text says:
“the conventional picture” = “it is generally believed”
that tens of thousands of slaves = large numbers of people
So there are two pieces of evidence that large numbers of poeple were needed (to build the pyramids).
Don’t OVER-THINK it.
Example 2: True False or Not Given?
Follow the same strategy for Statement 2:
2 Clemmons found a strange hieroglyph on the wall of an Egyptian monument.
Now a Californian software consultant called Maureen Clemmons has suggested that kites might have been involved. While perusing a book on the monuments of Egypt, she noticed a hieroglyph that showed a row of men standing in odd postures.
So is statement 2 True False or Not Given?
The sentence in the text contradicts (says the opposite of) Statement 2:
- ‘while perusing a book’ is not the same as ‘on the wall of an Egyptian monument‘
So of course the answer is FALSE.
TOP TIP: If you want to check if the answer is NOT GIVEN, turn the statement into a question e.g.
Did Clemmons find the hieroglyph on the wall of an Egyptian monument?
Where did Clemmons find the hieroglyph? Was it on the wall of an Egyptian monument?
The answer is in the text – she found the hieroglyph in a BOOK. So the answer is GIVEN, but the statement is not correct. So it is FALSE.
Example 3: True, False or Not Given?
Look at Statement 3 and the next paragraph of the text (remember that the statements/questions usually go in the same order as the information in the text):
3 Gharib had previously done experiments on bird flight.
Clemmons contacted Morteza Gharib, aeronautics professor at the California Institute of Technology. He was fascinated by the idea. ‘Coming from Iran, I have a keen interest in Middle Eastern science’ he says. He too was puzzled by the picture that had sparked Clemmons’s interest.
Ask yourself the question.
3. Did Gahrib do experiments on bird flight before he met Clemmons?
FAQs about True False Not Given questions:
1. Can I write T F NG (the short form) on the answer sheet to save time?
YES, this is 100% OK. You do not need to write True False Not Given in full.
2) I wrote Yes No Not Given (Y/N) instead of True False Not Given (T/F) – will I lose points?
No, you will NOT lose points.
3) Are Yes No Not Given questions different from True False Not Given questions?
Not really. You use exactly the same strategies. YNNG questions tend to be used for the writer’s opinions.
- NOT GIVEN is very different from FALSE.
- FALSE answers say the opposite or give incorrect information, so you need to read very carefully to see if you can find any evidence of opposite or incorrect information.
- NOT GIVEN answers do not have the opposite information. They may say something related to the topic, but it will not give us an answer to the ‘question’ in the statement.