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IELTS Tips: Reading - True, False, Not Given?



IELTS Tips - Reading - True, False, Not Given?

About the Task

True, False, Not Given is one of the tasks in the Reading section of the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training exams. In the options, you are given various statements. In relation to a text, you must mark whether each statement is TRUE (T), FALSE F(F) or NOT GIVEN (NG). That is:


TRUE = if the statement agrees with the information

If it says the same thing (though it may use synonyms - i.e. different words)

FALSE = if the statement contradicts the information
If it says the opposite in the text

NOT GIVEN = there is no information on this

If it does not say it (clearly) in the text


This is one of the trickier tasks for test-takers, so here is a little explanation.


Understanding the Task

We can understand the task by using a simple statement as an example (your test will not look like this, but we will use a simple sentence just to demonstrate):



  • 'There is a tree in the courtyard.'



Here are three statements that would be either true, false or not given.


There is a tree/plant in the courtyard = TRUE


Why? Because it agrees with (i.e. says the same thing) as the statement (1). It doesn’t use exactly the same words, but these words are synonyms, that is they mean the same thing, so this is an example of a TRUE option.

There is a not a tree in the courtyard = FALSE



Why? Because it actually contradicts (says the opposite) of what statement (1) says. Another false statement would be There are no plants in the courtyard. Even though it doesn’t say “tree”, a tree is a type of plant, and if there are no plants, there must be not trees, thus this statement is false.

There is a cherry tree in the courtyard = NOT GIVEN


Why? Because we know there is a tree in the courtyard, but we do not know what kind of tree, therefore we cannot say for sure it is a cherry tree. So, this would be marked “NOT GIVEN”.


Hopefully, that exercise has made it a little clearer for you. Now let’s look at some Top Tips


Top Tips for IELTS Reading - True, False, Not Given:


  • Read the question first! This will help you speed read through the text to find what you are looking for.
  • Get to know your synonyms - the questions often paraphrase what is found in the text.
  • Beware of keywords! Words that are used in the question that appears in the text are often misleading! So if the question as the phrase “hot spot” in it, and you find the phrase “hot spot” in the text, don’t just assume it is true! Examiners often use these keywords to try to trick you, so make sure you read the text carefully to check.
  • Write correctly on the answer sheet: T for True, F for False, NG for Not Given
  • Don’t confuse this task with “Yes, No, Not Given” - this is slightly different as it depends on understanding the writer’s point of view. We will look at that in a later blog post.
  • The answers can be found in the same order in the text as they are in the questions, i.e. the answer to (1) will be found in the text before the answer (2), (3) before (4) etc.
  • Remember: Not Given means the information is not stated clearly in the text. Sometimes this can be hard to tell, but if you have excellent knowledge of synonyms and word definitions, it will make this task a lot easier!


IELTS Reading Practice


Now it’s time for some practice. Check out these great resources below. However, the best way to prepare for the IELTS Reading section is with an IELTS Preparation course at English Key. To start an IELTS Preparation course today, get in touch with us online or by dropping by one of our centres in Adelaide or Melbourne. We look forward to helping you get your best score!


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