IELTS Reading: IELTS True/False/Not Given Question Type

IELTS Reading Strategies for True/False/Not Given Questions

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.

So lets 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 reading true / false / not given
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, lets 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 key words and interpret 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 lets 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 south 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 a tree-dwelling, herbivorous marsupial, which averages 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.

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

ielts true/false/not given
Check the answers after you have re-read the questions in the above example!
  1. Koalas are vegetarian= T (herbivorous means only eats plants; eats gum leaves)
  2. There are more koalas in the south 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 life-time =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 peak at the IELTS Preparation: Maximising Your IELTS Reading Test Score!

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Written by Danielle, E2Language Master Tutor.  

IELTS preparation | Maximising your IELTS Reading Test Score!

This article will teach you some relevant tips on how to maximise your score in the IELTS Reading Test. Be sure to practice the 3-Steps to improve your reading comprehension and make your preparation time count on test-day! 

IELTS reading test
Get ready to: “knock your opponent of the table”(aka the IELTS exam!) using the following test preparation strategies for IELTS reading.

How can I improve my IELTS reading test score?

A great way to get off to a strong start with your IELTS reading test study is to firstly do some IELTS reading practice tests to find out or ‘diagnose’ what kind of mistakes you are making, and from there where you need to improve.

You might need to focus on increasing your academic vocabulary, improving your grammar or simply your speed of reading and ability to take in the meaning quickly – so tightening up your reading comprehension skills is a great start!

Next, start to read widely from a variety of sources to build up your vocabulary on a range of academic topics and improve your overall reading skills.

IELTS reading tests contain authentic reading passages, so as well as reading IELTS reading tests, articles that can be found in good newspapers, such as:

Also, for more advanced reading material try:

Thirdly and very importantly, it’s not only what you read but how you read! If you just let the information you read ‘go in one ear and out the other,’ and brush over unknown words like they don’t matter, you probably won’t be improving your reading skills much!

If you want suggestions on generalized IELTS study tips (IELTS general and academic), follow the link to the blog here!

3-Steps for IELTS reading practise

In order to achieve a high score in the IELTS reading test, it’s really beneficial to practice your reading comprehension skills using these 3-steps:

Step 1: Skim the passage first

Have a quick look at the whole thing to find out what it’s about and then your mind will start predicting information: read the heading, then the topic or first sentence of each paragraph and quickly speed read through the whole thing.

This will help you with ‘global’ IELTS questions, such as assessing the attitude or the author of the passage or in choosing the best title or heading for the whole passage.

Step 2: Summarise each paragraph as you read

Get into the habit of looking up after each paragraph you have read and then summarise the main idea/points in the paragraph in your own words in just 1-2 sentences.

Not only will this really exercise your brain, it will greatly improve your reading speed and comprehension skills.

Step 3: Keep a record of new vocabulary

After reading an article, note down any new words you have discovered and their meaning on an Excel spread sheet or in a notebook.

Then read this sheet/list everyday whenever you can: before work, during your lunch break, after work, on the train, before bed (!) etc.

IELTS reading test
Even spending a few minutes at the train station reading a news article online, would count as practice towards your IELTS reading exam. 

To note, it’s said that it takes 6 revisits or reviews of a new word or expression in order to remember it properly.

This is at the point where it becomes part of your personal lexicon ( … a new word for you? I will be kind and tell you the meaning this time to help you start your own IELTS reading test vocabulary list!)

A lexicon is the vocabulary of a person, a language or branch of knowledge; it is a countable noun so we can use ’a’ in front of it or put it in plural form by adding ‘s.’ For example: ‘People in the IT industry need to learn a lexicon of computer terms.’

Like I have just done, it is always a good idea to put new words into a sample sentence, so that you ‘engage’ with the word and bring it to life, thus making it easier to retain in your memory.

Overall, widening your academic vocabulary in this way will certainly be helpful for both the IELTS reading test and writing test components.

Even though it might seem like a bit of a ‘hassle’ (something that’s a bit annoying to do and seems like hard work) at the time, you will thank yourself later, and also your overall confidence in your English skills will grow 10-fold!

Making use of your time on test-day

Finally, to achieve a high score in the IELTS reading test, use the full hour to check over your answers once more, even if you have already, or feel confident and that it was ‘easy’.

You may have missed an answer, or made a careless error or an accidental mistake when transferring your answers from the test to the IELTS reading test answer sheet; you might have misread the instructions so you have put 3 words instead of 2, etc.

ielts reading test
Remember: “Practice makes perfect”, so read regularly and stay up-to-date with news items. 

Surprisingly, on test-day it is always quite amazing to observe the number of IELTS test takers who finish early and decide it’s a good idea to have a little sleep or start drawing cartoons when they have finished and are waiting for the hour to be up!

I wonder if they all achieved their target IELTS reading test scores?!

Learn about the format of the IELTS reading test on this informative IELTS Reading Tips article!

Watch the E2 IELTS video below to practice in a real life IELTS Reading mock test!

Do you have any tips for tackling the IELTS reading section? Be sure to let us know what your top strategies are in the comments! 

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!



Written by Danielle K. 

IELTS Speaking Preparation Overview | Tips & Topics for IELTS success!

This article on IELTS speaking preparation explores the 3 parts of the IELTS speaking section and provides a list of IELTS topics along with useful tips for test day! 

The speaking section of the IELTS test is included in both the general and academic IELTS. It lasts for less than 15 minutes and includes 3 parts which will be examined in more detail:

Part 1: Interview

Part 2: Presentation

Part 3: Discussion

Interview (IELTS speaking preparation)

In part 1, the examiner will ask you some simple questions about yourself, such as:

  • What did you study?
  • What do you do for work?
  • What’s your hometown like?
  • What kind of food do you like?
  • Do you enjoy going to the movies?

As you can see from these examples, these questions are pretty easy to answer. The trick is, not to give answers that are too short.

For example, if the examiner asks you what kind of food you like, try to elaborate. Rather than just saying: “I like all kinds of food”, you can say something like: “I have eclectic taste in food. I enjoy trying foods from different countries and experiencing their flavours. I especially like Greek, Italian and Thai food”.

Presentation (IELTS speaking preparation)

In part 2, you will be given a task card that looks something like this:

ielts speaking preparation

As you can see from the example, the topic will always be related to a personal experience you have had. You will have 1 minute to note down ideas and then you will be given 2 minutes to speak continuously on the topic.

Discussion (IELTS speaking preparation)

Part 3 is a discussion.

Here, the examiner will ask you some more questions related to the topic of part 2. But these questions will be more abstract and related to your opinion rather than your experience.

For example, based on the topic above, some discussion questions could be:

  • In your opinion, are national celebrations an important part of a country’s identity?
  • Are any traditional celebrations in your country disappearing? Why do you think that is?
  • Do you think these days that celebrations in your country are over-commercialised or have lost their original meaning?

IELTS speaking topics

There are common themes in IELTS speaking topics, though the specifics of each question vary.

See a list of common themes below!

ielts speaking preparation

The examiner is looking for four things:

#1 Fluency and coherence: Your ability to speak fluently without hesitation, repetition or loss of ideas

#2 Lexical resource: The range and accuracy of your vocabulary

#3 Grammatical range and accuracy: Your ability to speak using accurate complex and simple sentences without serious grammatical errors

#4 Pronunciation: Your ability to be understood when you speak

IELTS Speaking Test Tips

Below are some useful tips for test-day preparation:

Tip #1  Develop your answers by giving examples. This means using personal experiences or knowledge to add more information to your answers and keep your speech fluid.

Tip #2  Give your opinion. This will show the examiner that you can think in English and express yourself on a variety of topics.

Tip #3  Keep your speech fluent. Try to stick to things you know so you don’t get stuck. This will also show the examiner that you can speak at length without too much hesitation.

Tip #4  Ask for clarification. This is not a listening test. If you don’t hear a question, or don’t understand it, it is totally acceptable to ask the examiner to repeat or explain the question. This means you will be able to answer it properly.

Tip #5  Although you need to be prepared, try not to repeat memorized answers. You will come across as robotic and unnatural. The examiner will also know and will change the questions.

Before test-day:

Tip #6  Practice, practice, practice! Role play at home with a friend or family member. Let them be the examiner and you practice answering questions about a variety of different topics. You can also record yourself and listen back to see where you can improve (fluency, vocabulary, etc.).

Tip #7  Read about general topics to broaden your general knowledge. This will help you generate ideas during the test and come up with examples from your own knowledge and experience.

This will have the widening your vocabulary for reading, as well as giving you knowledge that you can then use to generate ideas for your essay. So, read a blog or social media article per day, or watch at least one Ted talk or documentary daily on the topics listed above.

Learn how to Ace the IELTS with further preparation tips and strategies.  

Check out the E2 IELTS YouTube Channel, with loads of methods and strategies including this one on IELTS speaking preparation! 

For more formal test preparation, professional IELTS coaching from experts will help you apply the essay formula to different essay questions. Feedback is another important aspect of preparing for the IELTS writing task.

Learning IELTS online with E2language will provide you with effective methods, practice essays and expert feedback to feel confident and prepared to write your IELTS essay.

Get Jay’s insight into taking the IELTS Speaking Test: IELTS Success Tips: How to get an IELTS 9 in Speaking

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!



Written by Jamal A.