What are True/ False/ Not Given (TFNG) questions?
True: 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 answer is 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 oneTrue, 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/Does Not Say questions
- Recognise common tricks (quantifiers, comparisons, subjective opinions)
- 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.
Common TFNG questions:
1. Is it ok to write the short form T/F/NG 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 (Y/N) instead of True/False (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. Find extra tips about YNNG questions (with video).
Example 1: True
Read this paragraph from a text about how the pyramids were built:
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 look at statement 1.
1 It is generally believed that large numbers of people were needed to build the pyramids.
Underline the synonyms (similar words or words with the same meaning):
It is generally believed = The conventional picture
large numbers of people = tens of thousands of slaves
So is the statement True or False?
Correct answer: TRUE (the statement has exactly the same meaning as the text).
Example 2: False
Follow the same strategy for the next statement:
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.
Look at Statement 2:
2 Clemmons found a strange hieroglyph on the wall of an Egyptian monument.
So is statement 2 True or False?
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: Not Given
Look at the next paragraph of the text (remember that the statements/questions usually go in the same order as the information in the text):
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.
3 Gharib had previously done experiments on bird flight.
Ask yourself the question.
Did Gahrib do experiments on bird flight before he met Clemmons?
Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t. We don’t know, so the answer is NOT GIVEN.
- 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.
Watch my 10-minute Tutorial here:
Most Reading Texts have T/F/NG questions and I have plenty of True/False/Not Given practice on the website and on my podcast.
Click here to improve your IELTS Reading – read the texts, do some practice and get explanations.
More Reading Practice
Find TFNG in a General Training Reading text here (easy introduction).
Find How comparisons can help you solve Not Given here (difficult Academic passage).
Practise TFNG in chronological texts (easy passage 1 about Marie Curie)
Watch a short video about Yes, No, Not Given (Beyond the Blue Horizon).
View ALL the TFNG and YNNG texts.
For more advice on different parts of the Reading Test, click on the links below: