The 60-minute reading section has 40 questions with different formats for academic and general tests. The reading section is developed to test your understanding of an idea, your ability to gather the writer’s opinion with the use of your scanning skills and your overall understanding of the language. It could seem easy at first but some tasks are designed to test your understanding at a deeper level. Yes, No or Not given and True, False or Not given is one such task. Finding something from the paragraph which is true is easy but most students will find false and not given information hard to differentiate between.
Let’s look at an example:
Dedicating time and having discipline are important factors that drive a company. The success of any company is the outcome of efforts that is put in by its team members. Recently it has been found that employees have started taking office timings lightly. There has been a sudden increase in late comers with many people coming late to the office regularly.
It is therefore imperative for the company to take necessary actions. It has been decided by the management that if any employee is late by more than 5 minutes, it will be considered late attendance. When this late count attendance will reach 3 in a month, the employee will be marked absent for one day.
The management has always accepted genuine reasons for being late. But when employees start taking given privileges for granted it becomes the responsibility of the company to take some action. From now onwards no late coming requests will be accepted.
Hope to see you all cooperate and comply with the company rules. Thank you.
True, false, Not given
- Dedicating time is an important factor in driving a company (true)
- There has been a drastic increase in the number of late comers in the particular company (True)
- Employee will be marked absent if he is 5 minutes late (False)
- The management will accept genuine reasons for late coming. (False)
- The management will issue a warning if the employee continues to come late (not given)
- The company hopes everyone will comply with the rules laid out (true)
- Managers and above are exempt from this rule (Not given)
In the above example, reading through the paragraph once will not get you to the answers. You would’ve had to refer to the passage for every sentence to check whether it is true false or not given. But the catch is that you only get 60 minutes for 4 passages and 40 questions. Reading the passage again and again just isn’t possible. The idea is to incorporate certain habits and tricks when solving such questions.
We help you with some basic ones below.
1. Understand the meaning of the answers
Yes/True means that the information is present in the passage. For e.g. Dedicating time is an important factor in driving a company. The first sentence in the para confirms this.
No/False means that the contradictory or opposite information is found in the passage. For e.g. Employee will be marked absent if he is 5 minutes late. In the passage the statement –
‘if any employee is late by more than 5 minutes it will be considered late attendance’ presents contradictory information. The employee will be marked absent after 3 late attendance markings.
Not given means that there is absence of the information. It is nowhere to be found in the passage. For e.g. The management will issue a warning if the employee continues to come late. In the passage there is no information regarding warnings. The only information provided is the action the company will take if an employee comes late. There is complete absence of the information hence the answer will be not given.
2. Look out for paraphrasing
Meaning the same thing using different words is called paraphrasing. In the reading and listening tasks paraphrasing is commonly used to test or confuse you. In the above example, the word ‘drastic’ is nowhere to be found but it is used here – There has been a drastic increase in the number of late comers in the particular company. The original phrase is ‘There has been a sudden increase in late comers with many people coming late to the office regularly.’ The meaning is essentially the same but the words used are different. When solving this kind of questions, understanding content is of utmost importance.
3. Answers appear in order
Knowing this trick can make the test so much easier. Most passages will be divided into paragraphs and each answer will be hidden in a particular paragraph. Knowing that its sequential means that you don’t have to go back to the start every time you look for an answer. Just start reading ahead of the last answer you find.
4. Look for the controlling words
Sometimes in our haste to answer, we ignore small words that completely change the meaning of the sentence. For e.g. ‘some’, ‘all’, ‘it is not’, ‘it is’, ‘only’, ‘never’, ‘always’. Highlighting such controlling words along with key information is the trick to making sure you get the answer right.
5. How to answer the ‘not given’ questions
The not given part is the trickiest one to establish. When scanning the passage make sure you gather the essence of it. For e.g. In the above passage‘Managers and above are exempt from this rule’ has no mention. But how do you register that when reading the passage? Take a look at the questions before you begin. Underlining keywords and keeping basic awareness while reading should help you tackle this one.
6. Bonus tip
Since paraphrasing is very common in the IELTS, work on building a good vocabulary. For example, drastic means sudden change, nocturnal means awake at night and herbivorous means vegetarian. If you aren’t aware of these synonyms, it can leave you feeling confused and dejected. Avoid such situations by preparing well.