Free IELTS course

IELTS Reading tips: True, False or Not Given

Two tips for guessing IELTS Reading TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN questions

How to guess IELTS Reading TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN questionsIf you don’t know an answer to a question in the IELTS Reading test, it’s important you don’t spend too long thinking about it and take a guess instead.

If you have to guess the answer to a TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN question, here are two quick tips to help you guess right.

Tip 1: Don’t guess the answer based on your own knowledge

If you think you know that an answer is TRUE (or FALSE) because you have heard or read it somewhere else, you shouldn’t use this knowledge to answer the question.

To show you what I mean, here are two TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN questions taken from a test in the book Cambridge IELTS 8:

Do the following statements agree with the information in the text?

Write:

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information given

29. Most New Zealanders believe it is good to teach children a second language
30. Chinese is the most common foreign language in New Zealand

If I had to guess the answers to these questions based on my own knowledge, I would answer TRUE for both. The answers in the test, however, are NOT GIVEN because the information isn’t stated directly in the text.

Tip 2: Guess the answer based on previous IELTS Reading tests

In all the published versions of official IELTS Reading tests that I’ve looked at (both Academic and General Training), there’s almost always at least one answer that is TRUE, one that is FALSE and one that is NOT GIVEN in any set of TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN questions.

What this means is that if you’re confident with all of your answers except one, you should choose the answer that you haven’t used yet.

If there are four questions, for example, and you’re confident that the first three answers are TRUE, TRUE and FALSE, then a good guess  for the fourth answer would be NOT GIVEN.

Do you have any other tips for guessing answers to IELTS Reading questions?

Pete

For more IELTS tips and advice, subscribe via email or RSS or try my free IELTS course.

14 comments on “IELTS Reading tips: True, False or Not Given

    1. Hi Mandeep,

      If you mean the Cambridge series of IELTS tests (e.g. Cambridge IELTS 10), it’s not surprising that you have many questions as these are official IELTS tests with no explanations or advice included.

      For some advice about improving your reading, have a look at my other posts in the ‘IELTS Reading tips‘ category.

  1. Hello Pete,
    Please help me. At the exam, I wrote abbreviation Y, N,NG for Yes, No, Not Given. And instead of true, false, not given , I answered Yes, No, Not given. This was the first time I took the exam so I was missed to check. I did well in reading test. But I am so afraid now for my mistakes.

    1. Hi Nway,

      Don’t worry, your answers will be marked correct if wrote…

      • ‘Y‘ for a YES/NO/NOT GIVEN or TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN question and the answer was ‘Yes’ or ‘True‘
      • ‘N‘ for a YES/NO/NOT GIVEN or TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN question and the answer was ‘No’ or ‘False‘
      • ‘NG‘ for a YES/NO/NOT GIVEN or TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN question and the answer was ‘Not given’
  2. Hi Pete,

    I’d like to confirm about T/F/NG and Y/N/NG questions…

    Some teachers said that I won’t get a mark if I write “Yes”or “No” for True/False question or vice versa. But others said it is considered as a correct answer. Many people confused about this information. I’d be glad if you could tell us which is right.

    Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your question, Asaka.

      I’ve checked with my local IELTS test centre and they have confirmed that you will get a mark if you write…

      • Yes‘ for a TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN question and the answer is ‘True
      • No‘ for a TRUE, FALSE or NOT GIVEN question and the answer is ‘False
      • True‘ for a YES, NO or NOT GIVEN question and the answer is ‘Yes
      • False‘ for a YES, NO or NOT GIVEN question and the answer is ‘No

      I hope that makes it clear for you and other IELTS candidates.

      Pete

        1. Hi Mandeep,

          One way to help you decide if an answer is ‘Not given’ is to turn the statements into questions and then see if you can answer the question with the information in the text.

          For example, for number 29 in the post above, you can turn the statement into the following question: Do most New Zealanders believe it is good to teach children a second language?

          If the text doesn’t provide an answer to this question, then the answer is ‘Not given’.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *