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Whether it’s IELTS Academic or the IELTS General test, most people across the board seem to say that the most challenging question type for the IELTS reading test is the IELTS True/False/Not Given question type.

IELTS Reading Strategies for True/False/Not Given Questions

So let’s look at some IELTS reading strategies to tackle this famously tricky question type and then practice applying them together to see how we can steer our exam ship into safe and calm waters!

IELTS True/False/Not Given - Water
Learn how to navigate the treacherous IELTS waters with our IELTS reading strategy!

‘Switch on’ During Your Exam

Before we begin on our potentially treacherous ‘journey’ into the world of IELTS reading questions, an important piece of general advice to mention, which is a universal IELTS reading strategy that can be used for each and every question type, is to use your brain!

Really – and I’m not trying to be being rude or condescending, but it seems that in exam conditions we can, and do, unfortunately, forget to really ‘think’ or use our brain, or even worse, become unable to think or ‘switch on’ our brain and go into some panicked ‘fight or flight’ state, otherwise known as a brain freeze or shut down!  Not much fun.

So to avoid both of the above and gain access to all the wonderful skills and abilities we all have at our disposal thanks to our amazing brains, let’s have a look at some techniques to tap into our full IELTS reading strategy potential and power through the test!!

IELTS Reading Strategies

Some overall IELTS reading strategy tips:

  • Utilise our rewording or paraphrasing skills to fully absorb and clearly interpret the meaning of a statement when we read the question and answer options
  • Use our analytical or critical thinking skills to ask ourselves: what is going on in this paragraph, and then learn to separate the main idea from the supporting ideas and detail.
  • Remember to use our common sense and background knowledge on a subject to make a logical deduction or guess at a meaning of an unknown word or message/idea on a topic (just because it’s a formal academic test, doesn’t mean we can’t think for ourselves and trust our own judgment!)

IELTS True/False/Not Given Reading Strategy:

So, first of all, we need to read the given statement carefully and then cross check it in the text or passage and to do this we can use the following steps:

Step 1.

Focus on the statement.

Step 2.

Identify the keywords and interpret the meaning of the statement.

Step 3.

Locate the area in the text that talks about this particular information.

Step 4.

Decide if it is saying the same thing (True), a different thing (False) or is not mentioned or referred to at all (Not Given).

So let’s try this strategy with the IELTS True/False/Not Given statements below (in the following text the relevant information has been located and highlighted for you to guide you how to use this strategy):

Practice Your IELTS True/False/Not Given Question Type

Are the Following Statements True/ False or Not Given about koalas according to the text below:

  1. Koalas are vegetarian
  2. There are more koalas in the southern parts of Australia
  3. Koalas may have 1-3 babies during their lifetime
  4. Koalas are mainly awake at night
  5. Koalas get drunk from gum leaves
  6. Koalas do not drink water normally

The Real Story about Koalas

Q.1 & 2. Although bear-like, koalas are not bears. They are mammals, so feed their young milk and are marsupials, which means that their babies are born immature and they develop further in the safety of a pouch. They are tree-dwelling, herbivorous marsupials, which average about 9kg in weight and live on gum leaves. Their fur is thick and usually ash grey with a tinge of brown in places. Koalas in the southern parts of Australia are considerably larger and have thicker fur than those in the north. This is thought to be an adaptation to keep them warm in the colder southern winters.

Q.3. Younger breeding females usually give birth to one joey each year, depending on a range of factors. The joey stays in its mother’s pouch for about 6 or 7 months, drinking only milk. After venturing out of the pouch, the joey rides on its mother’s abdomen or back, although it continues to return to her pouch for milk until it is too big to fit inside. The joey leaves its mother’s home range between 1 and 3 years old, depending on when the mother has her next joey.

Q.4 & 5. Koalas are mostly nocturnal. They sleep for part of the night and also sometimes move about in the daytime. They often sleep for up to 18-20 hours each day. There is a myth that koalas sleep a lot because they ‘get drunk’ on gum leaves. However, most of their time is spent sleeping because it requires a lot of energy to digest their toxic, fibrous, low-nutrition diet and sleeping is the best way to conserve energy.

Q.6. The koala gets its name from an ancient Aboriginal word meaning “no drink” because it receives over 90% of its hydration from the eucalyptus leaves (also known as gum leaves) it eats, and only drinks when ill or times when there is not enough moisture in the leaves i.e. during droughts, etc.

IELTS True/False/Not Given - Studying
Check the answers after you have re-read the questions in the above example!

Check Your Answer to IELTS True/False/Not Given Question Types

  1. Koalas are vegetarian= T (herbivorous means only eats plants; eats gum leaves)
  2. There are more koalas in the southern parts of Australia = NG (koalas are bigger in size in southern Australia but the number of koalas is not mentioned)
  3. Koalas may have 1-3 babies during their lifetime =NG (they do not talk about how many joeys they have)
  4. Koalas are mainly awake at night = T (mostly nocturnal, which means awake at night time)
  5. Koalas get drunk from gum leaves = F (they sleep a lot, but it doesn’t state that they become drunk)
  6. Koalas do not drink water normally = T (they usually get their water from gum leaves)
So how did you go with IELTS True/False/Not Given practice?! Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Remember, the IELTS reading strategy to keep carefully checking to see if it is saying the same thing, something different or they do not talk about it in the text, and above all use your brain!

For more IELTS reading tips, take a sneak peek at the IELTS Preparation: Maximising Your IELTS Reading Test Score!

Written by Danielle, E2Language Master Tutor. 

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