Top Tips for IELTS

True False Not Given – some tips and an exercise

This lesson reminds you of some tips on the True False Not Given question type in IELTS reading. There are two main points to focus on when you are answering the question: firstly, to think about meaning and not just words, and secondly to focus on the question as much as the text itself. There is also an interactive quiz at the bottom for you to test your skills.

Tip one – Underline the part of the text that shows the answer

A forgotten reading skill is to learning how to read intensively when you are looking for the answer itself. Forget “key words” – they only show where to find the answer. Once you have found the right part of the text, read very carefully – you want to find something that says:

  1. This agrees with the information in the question – True
  2.  This contradicts the informnation in the question – False

Do NOT read generally at this point.  You want to find something you can underline. If you cannot find anything specific that you can underline, then the answer is likely to be Not Given.

Tip two – refer back to the whole question and think about its meaning

IELTS reading is designed how well you understand reading passages. This means you always want to focus on meaning when you are looking for the answer. Once you have found the right part of the text, forget key words. It’s quite possible to find words in the text that match words in the question, but the overall meaning is quite different.

  1. Go back to the question and re-read it carefully – focus on the little words too (some, never, generally etc), these can change the meanings of questions dramatically. Ask yourself if you are looking for something absolutely true or something that is qualified in some ay.
  2. Re-read the text. Does it mean the same as the question? Make sure you check the text and question against each other – that they mean the same thing.


Some practice questions

The majority of professional players on the ATP and the WTA tours now use polyester strings made by Luxilon, a company that specialised in the past in manufacturing fibres for female undergarments. The trend was started by the then little-known Brazilian player Gustavo Kuerten who more or less by chance discovered that this string was almost completely “dead” – meaning that the players are able to swing much harder at the ball and impart much more spin on it without it flying off uncontrollably as it would do with a traditional gut string. Kuerten of course went on to achieve much success and, in the clay court game at least, is regarded as one of the modern greats. His most lasting legacy though may not be his titles, rather it may be that his use of a material primarily made for women’s bras allowed him and successive champions to change how the tennis ball flew. Players were able to find completely new angles on the court because, in the hands of a master, a shot hit with a luxilon string that might look as if it were heading way out of court would suddenly drop like a stone, describing an almost perfect parabola. This technological innovation has revolutionised the way in which the game is now played. For example, Roger Federer, a man who many regard as the greatest player of all time, may have begun his career as an attacking all-court player, but in latter years he has been forced become a much more defensively orientated player who chooses his time to attack more carefully. Indeed, he is on record as saying that new string technology has changed the face of the game and that he has had to adapt his game to counter players who stand behind the baseline and produce winning shots from almost nowhere.

True/False/Not Given - Luxilon

Decide if the answers to these questions are: TRUE - there is information in the text that shows that this is the author's opinion FALSE - there is information in the text that shows that this is NOT the author's opinion NOT GIVEN - there is not enough information in the text to determine whether this true or false
Congratulations - you have completed True/False/Not Given - Luxilon. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Shaded items are complete.

Where next?

Another true false not given exercise on George Orwell A tutorial on true false not given questions More reading practice and advice


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21 Responses to True False Not Given – some tips and an exercise

  1. July 10, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    Hi, Thanks for the tips. Though the question type is true or false, it is still difficult and it needs a lot of understanding.

  2. amrinder July 11, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    hi Mr.Cole……i want to ask you thing my writing score is not improving i need 7 in academic in all modules and i have been trying from past 2 years …….i always lag behind by 0.5 bands in writing …plz suggest something …….

    • Dominic Cole July 11, 2012 at 8:45 am #

      2 years?!@ Ouch.

      I can only suggest that you approach a teacher on the teachers page to identify what your problem is. Sadly, I don’t have time myself.

    • binu July 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      Even I am facing the same problem

  3. Aditi July 12, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    Hi Mr. cole ! Thxxx 4 these tips.They are really helpful…………..

    • DELPHINE LEVER July 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Hi Mr. Cole,

      on observation, i realized., the TRUE, FALSE, NOT GIVEN section would work out better, and comprehensive, if the passage is not lengthy. To read a text of almost 200 words…does take a lot of concentration. One has to remember the content , then comprehend the same, later identify the quality wanted., all this in a limited time. Phew! Maybe a 4 to 5 sentences paragraph will do good.

      With regards
      Delphine lever.

      • Dominic Cole July 13, 2012 at 5:54 am #

        Interesting observation. I think this where practising your reading skills comes in handy. One essential skill is identifying which part of the text you need to focus on to get the answer. If you can identify the correct paragraph, then the task becomes much simpler than if you are searching a text of over 900 words.

        • ASHUTOSH GHIMIRE November 17, 2014 at 11:38 am #

          Exactly Cole but Once while practicing I cam over an Paragraph where there was not enough information on one paragraph and I answered NOT Given Later when I found myself wrong ,I tried again and found out that there was some content on similar topic that contradicted about it .What can be done in such case.Can we use the position of question as stated by the examiners that the answer for Question no 2 must be searched within 1 and 3 or search for the information some where else

          • Dominic Cole November 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

            Generally speaking yes. The answer for 2 will fall between 1 and 3. That is not absolute rule though – there may be information elsewhere in the ext that helps you find the answer.

  4. Tom-Lawyer July 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Dear Mr. Cole,
    I have written my IELTS exam. I was successful, so,I wouldn’t want to receive this mail, any longer.

  5. Thoa August 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    After doing some exercise about True/False/ Not given in a Cambridge book I am really get stuck. there are some cases in which the answer given are so confusing. Please help me make it clearer.
    Statement: on Thursday, coincidentally the same day as Google and Amazon announced their initiatives, Microsoft released details of a deal with the British Library, the country’s main reference library.
    Question: Microsoft signed a deal with the British Library on the same day as Google and Amazon made their announcements.
    The correct answer given in the book is False, but I think the answer must be Not given because the text just mentions that Microsoft released details of a deal but does not state that Microsoft did not sign a deal with the Bristish Library. In this case, What mentioned in the text does not contradict with the question.
    Statement: So say physicists who believe the same exotic materials used to make cloaking devices could also be used to levitatate tiny objects.
    Question: Cloaking devices can be used for levitation.
    Similar to the first case, the correct answer given in the book is NO, but i think the question neither agrees nor disagree with the text. So in my opinion the correct answer must be Not given.

    The thing that adds to my confusion is the answer for the following Question
    Statement: These companies are hoping for a return to the levels of interest in e-books seen when Stephen King, a best-selling horror writer, published “ Riding the Bullet” exclusively on the Internet in 2002……Barnes and Noble, a leading American bookshop chain, began selling e-books with fanfare in 2000 but quietly pulled the plug in 2003 as interest faded.
    Question: Barnes and Noble published Riding the Bullet online.
    The question given in the book is Not given, I also agree that there is no information whether Barnes and Nole published Riding the Bullet on line or not. However, my students asked me why not say False? Their reason for False is that in the text they say Stephen King, a best-selling horror writer, published “ Riding the Bullet” not Barnes and Noble. I think my students’ explanation is similar to the two answers given in the books in the two cases I mentioned above.
    I am really confused now. Could you please help? I would be very grateful.

  6. kevina July 22, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    Am getting lost and depressed over my never changing ielts score of 6.5 in reading i need aseven just wondering on how i can achieve this .please do help

  7. Dominic Cole April 9, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    Most of it looks quite good to me. It is a reasonable analysis of how mistakes are made by not reading the question. The idea is that you need to look at the “little words”.

    Though I’m afraid I just don’t understand the first point. I can’t agree with it or disagree because I don’t understand!

    • Masteringenglish April 19, 2014 at 1:21 am #

      I had some difficulties to understand the 1st point too. So, I leave you here the example that the website provides, which may help you understand better:

      A) In the paragraph there is this sentence:

      Children are particularly at risk as the thick hollow stems and broad fan-like leaves lend themselves to a variety of games.

      B) In Question there is sentence,

      Are children particularly at risk as the thick hollow stems and broad fan-like leaves lent themselves to a variety of games?

      Then, they warn us by saying:

      “Note: If you think its TRUE for a moment, do not even think about it; most of the students get it wrong. Most of the times these kinds of Paraphrase questions will be asked in IELTS to trap students. Remember when you see this type it is Not Given!”

      So, what I understand from this is that if the question given is written with the same exactly words as in the passage, then the answer is “not given”.
      This doesn’t quite make much sense to me and I am quite skpetical.

      Why would it be “not given” for the simple fact that it uses the same words for the question as in the passage?

      I hope you can give me your opinion on it now! Thanks in advance!

  8. Naren August 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    Dear Cole,

    After a bit of search I found your site & beyond the information and logic you mentioned here about how to handle T/F/NG & Y/N/NG is really important.

    Besides I loved the experience Thoa shared…. I also have strong belief that, why we should accept the answer mentioned in oxford, if at all we feel it surely deviates from given formula to follow.

    I have also come across many articles I had a strong doubts but thing is majority teachers later try to just leave it…. and real question remains unanswered.

    I feel the problem is with the thin line between ‘False’ & ‘Not given’… it more depends on the logic of a particular person how he applies the formula… & can’t be straight away treated right or wrong.

    Anyways, I thought of applying below formula to my upcoming test –

    Score as much as you can on rest of the parts + focus more on ‘True’ & leave ‘false’ & ‘NG’ to luck factor. Which at least ensures you can have 7-7.5 if cant assure 8-8.5.


  9. Ali November 6, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    Thank you so much, with your notes I found a big difference.

  10. Vimal February 2, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    100% …!!! Woo..hoo…!!!

  11. Nga April 9, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

    Thank you! Your tips will be used effectively.

  12. tee July 15, 2015 at 2:46 am #

    I hope to improve on my reading test .I find it difficult to get it right.especially when asked write no more than three words

    • Dominic Cole September 12, 2015 at 6:31 am #

      Good luck and let me know how it goes. The reading is one paper where you may need plenty of time to improve. The texts are very hard.

  13. JAkir November 22, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    I have been in touch with this site from couple of years.Really it is working as a trustworthy guide in my preparation.Want to have more practice plots here and asking for inboxing me that i used to get!Thanks Dominic Cole for your outstanding effort.

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