IELTS Reading : True, False, Not Given Answer Tips

IELTS Reading True, False, Not Given Answer Tips
IELTS Reading True, False, Not Given Answer Tips

Both the IELTS Academic and General Training Reading Sections feature True/False and Not Given-type questions. One of the hardest problems to resolve is this one. It consists of a series of five or six statements about a passage, and the candidate must indicate whether or not each statement is True, False, or Not Given. It's not as simple as it sounds because the statements could be worded in a deceptive manner or contain rephrased sentences. Here, you'll read a passage and then evaluate whether or not you agree with five or six statements made about it. Select True, False, or Not Given for each statement.

So the purpose of today's blog is to simplify the True, False, or Not Given question types of the IELTS reading module. This article will teach you about the pattern of these questions, common mistakes that students make, strategies to solve them like a pro, some tips to solve these types of questions, and sample question types that a candidate can use to improve their skills.

Table of Contents

Approaching True, False, Not Given Questions?

First of all, let us see what the three terms, “TRUE FALSE and NOT GIVEN”, mean.

True If the statement matches the information in the passage.
False If the statement contradicts the information in the passage.
Not Given If the information is not found in the passage.

Important Patterns of True, False, Not Given Questions

Here are some of the difficulties that many candidates have encountered as a result of different patterns of True/False/Not Given Questions. As a result, understanding the pattern of questions is critical.

1. Paraphrasing

Students are prepared to match the words in the given sentence with the words in the paragraph, but the sentences may come in a rephrased form, implying that you will need to improve your vocabulary in order to excel in this section.

2. Synonyms or Antonyms Used

The best way to answer these questions is to first understand what the sentence means. Many candidates attempt to find the same words in the passage, but synonyms and antonyms are frequently used in sentences. This can only be solved by first comprehending the meaning of the sentences.

It is possible that the same words are used in the sentence but the meaning of the statement is the opposite, so it is important to understand the meaning of the words.

3. Confusion Between Not Given/False

Don't get the concepts of not given statements and false statements mixed up. Remember that Not Given is used for a statement in which the text is not found in a paragraph or the information given in the paragraph is insufficient to state whether the text is true or false. False, on the other hand, is used for a statement that completely contradicts the text of the passage.

Common Mistakes in Answering True, False, Not Given Answer Reading Test

  • Not knowing the difference between Not Given and False Questions
  • Answering Questions Using Prior Knowledge
  • Giving an answer based solely on similar words in the statement
  • Due to a lack of vocabulary, there is a poor understanding of the meaning of the statement.
In order to better understand other types of IELTS Reading questions, Tips for answering Short Answer IELTS Reading Test

5 Steps To Solve IELTS Reading True/False/Not Given Question

  1. Identify and underline the keywords provided in the statement
  2. Mark the similar words related to the keywords in the passage
  3. Match the keywords and the similar words
  4. Now, evaluate whether the keywords and similar words are the same, synonyms, opposites or if there’s no match
  5. At last, decide whether the statement is True, False or Not Given

Example True, False, Not Given Question

Below, you saw that you'll be given a series of factual statements and asked to determine, based on the text, whether or not the statement is true, false, or not given.

Tea and the Industrial Revolution

A Cambridge professor says that a change in drinking habits was the reason for the Industrial Revolution in Britain. Anjana Abuja reports

Alan Macfarlane, professor of anthropological science at King’s College, Cambridge has, like other historians, spent decades wrestling with the enigma of the Industrial Revolution. Why did this particular Big Bang – the world-changing birth of industry-happen in Britain? And why did it strike at the end of the 18th century?

Macfarlane compares the puzzle to a combination lock. ‘There are about 20 different factors and all of them need to be present before the revolution can happen,’ he says. For industry to take off, there needs to be the technology and power to drive factories, large urban populations to provide cheap labour, easy transport to move goods around, an affluent middle-class willing to buy mass-produced objects, a market-driven economy and a political system that allows this to happen. While this was the case for England, other nations, such as Japan, the Netherlands and France also met some of these criteria but were not industrialising. All these factors must have been necessary. But not sufficient to cause the revolution, says Macfarlane. ‘After all, Holland had everything except coal while China also had many of these factors. Most historians are convinced there are one or two missing factors that you need to open the lock.’

The missing factors, he proposes, are to be found in almost even kitchen cupboard. Tea and beer, two of the nation’s favourite drinks, fuelled the revolution. The antiseptic properties of tannin, the active ingredient in tea, and of hops in beer – plus the fact that both are made with boiled water – allowed urban communities to flourish at close quarters without succumbing to water-borne diseases such as dysentery. The theory sounds eccentric but once he starts to explain the detective work that went into his deduction, the scepticism gives way to wary admiration. Macfarlanes case has been strengthened by support from notable quarters – Roy Porter, the distinguished medical historian, recently wrote a favourable appraisal of his research.

Macfarlane had wondered for a long time how the Industrial Revolution came about. Historians had alighted on one interesting factor around the mid-18th century that required explanation. Between about 1650 and 1740, the population in Britain was static. But then there was a burst in population growth. Macfarlane says: ‘The infant mortality rate halved in the space of 20 years, and this happened in both rural areas and cities, and across all classes. People suggested four possible causes. Was there a sudden change in the viruses and bacteria around? Unlikely. Was there a revolution in medical science? But this was a century before Lister’s revolution*. Was there a change in environmental conditions? There were improvements in agriculture that wiped out malaria, but these were small gains. Sanitation did not become widespread until the 19th century. The only option left is food. But the height and weight statistics show a decline. So the food must have got worse. Efforts to explain this sudden reduction in child deaths appeared to draw a blank.’

This population burst seemed to happen at just the right time to provide labour for the Industrial Revolution. ‘When you start moving towards an industrial revolution, it is economically efficient to have people living close together,’ says Macfarlane. ‘But then you get disease, particularly from human waste.’ Some digging around in historical records revealed that there was a change in the incidence of water-borne disease at that time, especially dysentery. Macfarlane deduced that whatever the British were drinking must have been important in regulating disease. He says, ‘We drank beer. For a long time, the English were protected by the strong antibacterial agent in hops, which were added to help preserve the beer. But in the late 17th century a tax was introduced on malt, the basic ingredient of beer. The poor turned to water and gin and in the 1720s the mortality rate began to rise again. Then it suddenly dropped again. What caused this?’

Macfarlane looked to Japan, which was also developing large cities about the same time, and also had no sanitation. Water-borne diseases had a much looser grip on the Japanese population than those in Britain. Could it be the prevalence of tea in their culture? Macfarlane then noted that the history of tea in Britain provided an extraordinary coincidence of dates. Tea was relatively expensive until Britain started a direct clipper trade with China in the early 18th century. By the 1740s, about the time that infant mortality was dipping, the drink was common. Macfarlane guessed that the fact that water had to be boiled, together with the stomach-purifying properties of tea meant that the breast milk provided by mothers was healthier than it had ever been. No other European nation sipped tea like the British, which, by Macfarlanes logic, pushed these other countries out of contention for the revolution.

But, if tea is a factor in the combination lock, why didn’t Japan forge ahead in a tea-soaked industrial revolution of its own? Macfarlane notes that even though 17th-century Japan had large cities, high literacy rates, even a futures market, it had turned its back on the essence of any work-based revolution by giving up labour-saving devices such as animals, afraid that they would put people out of work. So, the nation that we now think of as one of the most technologically advanced entered the 19th century having ‘abandoned the wheel’.

Questions 1-6
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet, write

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. China’s transport system was not suitable for industry in the 18th century.
  2. Tea and beer both helped to prevent dysentery in Britain.
  3. Roy Porter disagrees with Professor Macfarlane’s findings.
  4. After 1740,there was a reduction in population in Britain.
  5. People in Britain used to make beer at home.
  6. The tax on malt indirectly caused a rise in the death rate.

Explanation True, False, Not Given Question

Question 1 : China’s transport system was not suitable for industry in the 18th century.
Keywords for the answer: China, transport, not suitable, 18th century

Even though the writer talks about China in paragraphs B and F, and also talks about China and the 18th century in paragraph F, there is no mention of how people get around in China.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 2 : Tea and beer both helped to prevent dysentery in Britain.
Keywords for these answers: tea, beer, both, helped, prevent dysentery

Remember reading lines from Paragraph C for list of headings?

"Tannin, the active ingredient in tea, and hops, the main ingredient in beer, both have antiseptic properties, and both are made with boiled water. This made it possible for urban communities to grow close together without getting water-borne diseases like dysentery." Even though people in cities lived close together, the antiseptic properties of tea and beer helped keep them from getting dysentery.

So, the answer is: TRUE

Question 3 : Roy Porter disagrees with Professor Macfarlane’s findings.
Keywords for this answer:  Roy Porter, disagree, Macfarlane

At the end of paragraph C, the author writes, "Macfarlane's case has been helped by support from well-known people like Roy Porter..." This line makes it sound like Roy Porter agreed with Professor Macfarlane's findings and backed them up. The answer doesn't make sense with the question.

So, the answer is: FALSE

Question 4 : After 1740, there was a reduction in population in Britain.
Keywords for this answer:  After 1740, reduction, population, Britain

In paragraph D, lines 3-4 say, “Between 1650 and 1740, the population in Britain was static. But then there was a burst in population growth.” This means that after 1740, there was a huge increase in population in Britain. The statement contradicts with the question.

So, the answer is: FALSE

Question 5 :  People in Britain used to make beer at home.
Keywords for this answer:  Britain, make beer, at home

Though drinking beer is mentioned in paragraphs C and E, there is no such information that makes it clear to understand that people in Britain used to make beer at their homes.

So, the answer is: NOT GIVEN

Question 6 : The tax on malt indirectly caused a rise in the death rate.
Keywords for this answer:  tax on malt, indirectly caused, rise, death rate

At the end of paragraph E, the words "tax" and "death rate" are used. “But in the late 17 century, a tax was introduced on malt, the basic ingredient of beer. The poor turned to water and gin and in the 1720s the mortality rate began to rise again.” This shows that when the malt tax was put in place, poor people stopped drinking beer and started drinking water and gin instead. This caused the death rate to go up.

So, the answer is: TRUE

9 Tips To Solve IELTS Reading True/False/Not Given Question

  1. Never assume anything based on your current level of expertise. In other words, you should only rely on the text provided to inform your answers.
  2. Choose the best option for the given statement by locating the qualifiers within the statement. Qualifying words, of which some, all, often, always, mainly, and so on are common examples, are used to specify something. The statement's meaning may shift drastically depending on these words.
  3. Look for adverbs of belief, knowledge, claim, and knowledge, among others, to determine if the statement is qualified. For example, there is a difference between "The man claimed he was an Australian citizen" and "The man is an Australian citizen."
  4. The answer must be one of the three possibilities (True, False, or Not Given). There is a penalty for indecision: a lower grade. Although, we do recommend that you venture an educated guess.
  5. In contrast to TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN questions, which focus on verifiable facts, YES/NO/NOT GIVEN questions are more open to interpretation.
  6. Don't waste time searching in the wrong places for the answers; they are presented in the same order as they appear in the passage.
  7. In cases where you are extremely unsure of your answer or have no idea whatsoever, it is recommended that you mark the statement as Not Given. Therefore, you should not spend time looking for details that aren't actually in the text.
  8. Don't just search for the exact words used in the passage and sentence; look for alternatives, like antonyms or different ways of putting the same idea.
  9. Skim and scan reading strategies won't help you get to the answer any faster. Spend the time necessary reading the text and comprehending the meaning of the statement being answered for.


You can do well on the IELTS Reading True/False/Not Given Type Questions if you follow the strategies and tips provided in this section. Make use of the tools provided to hone your abilities. It may take some time to become proficient at answering these types of questions, but with practice, you can get the score you need on the IELTS.

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