How to answer True/False/Not Given questions?
IELTS reading requires your skimming and scanning skills no matter the type of questions, but for the True/False/Not Given question type, you also need your logic to draw a conclusion based on factual information. You also need an expanded vocabulary to recognize synonyms and antonyms.
Skimming the text is the understanding of overall context, while scanning is used to identify specific keywords.
To make it easier for you to understand, I have simplified the steps in answering this type of question below:
1. Skim the reading passage to get the central concept
You need to know what the reading passage is all about. So read it entirely but quickly to understand the main idea.
2. Identify keywords in the first question
Read the first statement and underline/highlight the keywords. They can be names, places, values, adjectives or adverbs. Any word or phrase that reveals some details about the main idea is a keyword.
Remember to read one statement at a time, find the answer then move on to the next.
3. Scan the reading passage to find the keywords
Once you have the keywords from the first question, go back to the beginning of the reading passage and scan the text for those keywords. The critical point is to pay attention to paraphrasing!
The statement might be referring to the meaning, or it might be indicating a value. Therefore, you need to read the related part of the passage to extract the actual meaning and pay attention to subtle details about values. In either case, you are looking for the “same facts”! It might not be a word-by-word repetition, but it should have the same meaning or value. Be careful not to fall into the trap of “similar”.
There might also be synonyms and antonyms or even adverbs that convey the same or opposite meaning so you should look out for them. Words such as all, majority, some, few, mainly, always, never, occasionally, etc. are often used to change the meaning or value in a sentence.
4. Read the sentences before and after keywords
If you found the keywords, don’t rush to decide the statement is true. Instead, read the sentences before and after the keyword to make sure information hasn’t changed in the opposite direction, or the logic makes sense.
This example can help you better understand what I mean:
|Discovered in the early 1800s and named nicotianine, the oily essence now called nicotine is the main active ingredient of tobacco. Nicotine, however, is only a small component of cigarette smoke, which contains more than 4,700 chemical compounds, including 43 cancer-causing substances. In recent times, scientific research has been providing evidence that years of cigarette smoking vastly increases the risk of developing fatal medical conditions.
In addition to being responsible for more than 85 per cent of lung cancers, smoking is associated with cancers of, amongst others, the mouth, stomach and kidneys, and is thought to cause about 14 per cent of leukaemia and cervical cancers. In 1990, smoking caused more than 84,000 deaths, mainly resulting from such problems as pneumonia, bronchitis and influenza. Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths from cancer and clearly represents the most important preventable cause of cancer in countries like the United States today.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage?
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
1. Nicotine is the only component of cigarette smoke.
2. Thirty per cent of deaths in the United States are caused by smoking-related diseases.
As you can see in the first statement, the word “only” has been used intelligently to make you think it is the exact keyword in the passage, while, the meaning changes entirely by the word “small” as it indicates nicotine is just one of the many components. So the answer is FALSE.
In the second statement, by using your logic and paying attention to underlined keywords, you can see that the statement does not exactly match the facts in the passage. 30% of all deaths “from cancer” are caused by smoking, not “all deaths” and not “from smoking-related diseases”. So the answer is FALSE.