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True/False/Not Given and Yes/No/Not Given Questions

Two types of questions that are similar to each other on the IELTS reading paper are true/false/not given questions and yes/no/not given questions. They’re very similar but they do have a small difference between them. So we’re just going to take a look at both of them in this lesson. And we’ll look at some examples of true/false/not given questions to show you how to approach this type of question on the IELTS.

Okay, so this is what a true/false/not given question looks like. What you’re supposed to do is probably similar to other kinds of tests you’ve taken before with true and false, right? True and false always means that, yes, according to the passage this is true, or, no, according to the passage this is not true. The IELTS adds another category here and that is not given.

And that means that the passage does not say it’s true or false. It doesn’t provide the information that’s there. So that can be a little bit tricky. If it’s not there and you’re searching for it and you never find it, you might worry, well, maybe I just didn’t find it. Well, many times on the IELTS exam, it’s just not there, it’s not given.

And so you should mark that on your paper. So basically, as you look at these questions, you’re going to always have the same directions here up on top. And they give you these instructions below about how to understand true/false and not given. They always say, if the statement agrees with the information, if the statement contradicts the information in the passage and if there is no information in the passage about this.

Okay, so then down below, you’ll have your questions. And you’re supposed to read each question and decide if it’s true/false or if the passage just doesn’t say whether that statement is true of false. True/false/not given questions are often used on very factual reading passages. So things that may come from the sciences or something like that. Where there are facts, you can go and find and say whether it’s true or false in the passage.

So, the strategy for this is very similar to other kinds of questions you’ve done before. Really, what you need to do is go through each statement and you’re going to have to find that information in the passage. So much like other questions we’ve done, it’s very important to underline keywords.

Okay, if we looked at question number 1 here I would say, clonal colonies. Okay, so I’m going to underline that and then go scan in the passage for parts where they discuss clonal colonies. Okay, asexually is another keyword there and that word is used a few times in the passage. And you use that to go and try to find the information.

Now remember, before you even look at these questions, you need to do your scanning, right? The SUN method, where you’re scanning, you’re underlining, note taking, you’re getting familiar with the passage before you answer the question. So hopefully, you will have some place you remember where these keywords in the statements are mentioned in the passage.

So you can go and find the information and try to see if it’s true or not. Okay, yes/no/not given are similar. Now, yes/no/not given question are often used on argumentative text. So passages where somebody is giving an opinion on something. And the reason is that the yes and the no relate to whether or not the statements that you’ll read as the questions agree with what the author says.

Or do the statements contradict or disagree with what the author says? Okay, so if the author is writing his or her opinion in the passage and you got a statement down below. Okay, the question is, does this statement agree with what the author said? Or does it disagree with what the author said? If it agrees, you put yes.

If it disagrees with what author said, you put no. And just like on true/false, you put not given if we don’t know what the author thinks about the statement by reading the passage. Okay, so you can see these are very similar to true/false/not given, all right? The difference is that when you get a yes/no/not given.

You’re going to simply see whether the author would agree with the statement or disagree with the statement or whether the passage doesn’t say whether the author would disagree or agree. Okay, let’s look at an example, we’re gonna look at some true/false/not given examples here. And we’re going to use the Clonal Colonies passage that you have.

So go ahead and get that out again. If you haven’t skimmed it recently, you may wanna go back through and skim it again. All right, but we’re gonna go one-by-one through some of these questions for the true/false, all right. So remember, here’s what our question looks like.

So, go ahead and pause the video. Skim the passage if you need to and come back and we’re going to answer these questions. If you would like to, before you unpause the video, you could try to answer questions 1 through 3. And then we will go over answers to those questions in the remainder of the lesson.

Okay, so if you need to, go ahead and pause your video. Okay, so let’s look at Question 1. Clonal colonies are found among plant species that can only reproduce asexually. Okay, so as we mentioned at the beginning, clonal colonies and asexual reproduction are two keywords that I would use to start and go back to scan the passage to see what I can find about that information.

And when you do that, you find that those words are mentioned a few times. And if you are able to find in paragraph B, this middle part of the paragraph here. Let’s read beginning here at clonal colonies. So clonal colonies are common in many species of plant, ranging from grasses to trees.

While those species may also reproduce sexually through the production of seeds, offspring from those seeds are not considered part of the clonal colony. As they are not genetically identical to the plants that are created. Okay, number 1 is false, because it says, clonal colonies are found among plant species that can only reproduce asexually. Okay, so we went to scan for this information, and then we went to look for, okay, can these plants that make up clonal colonies only reproduce asexually?

And here, down in the middle we see that in fact, we see that even though those plants made up a clonal colony. And therefore, because they’re part of a clonal colony, they did reproduce asexually to become part of that colony. Those plants can also reproduce sexually through the production of seeds. That’s why this answer is false.

Let’s look at two, so rhizome. Rhizome was your keyword there. And you would go back and scan for that and try to find a statement about rhizomes that confirms or is not confirmed or just is not given within the passage. Okay, so let’s take a look.

Severing a rhizome can lead to two independent plants. All right, well, two independent plants. Two plants that can live on their own after you cut them. So severing is a keyword there, hopefully you know. But if you didn’t know that you could infer it by the word, two independent plants there.

Okay, so is this true or false? Well, if you went back to the passage and scanned for rhizome and read the statement surrounding that, you would have found a place where that is true, which is in paragraph D. The first part of paragraph D, if the connection between two stems, the rhizome is cut, neither will necessarily die.

It is possible to sever one ramet and its most immediate roots from a system, transfer that stalk to a new location, plant it and have it survive. Okay, this is a very direct answer to this paraphrase of the basic idea of this first sentence. Okay, hopefully by scanning, looking for your keyword, your were able to find this and you’re able to determine that it was true.

Okay, last one, Pando is much heavier than any other living organism. Okay, so what did you say for this? So what answer did you come up with? This one is a tricky one, I think. All right, and by the way, like the other questions. Once again, the strategy is go back and find Pando.

Pando was only mentioned towards the end of the passage, so you could find information about Pando pretty quickly, hopefully. All right, not given is the correct answer for this one. Did you get that? Here’s why, this one is a tough one. It says, at the top, of paragraph E, excuse me, perhaps the most famous example of a colony linked by a single rhizome is Pando.

A quacking aspen colony which is widely cited as the world’s heaviest organism as well as one of the oldest. Boy, okay, so this seems like it should be true, right? But look at this here, Pando is a much heavier than any other living organism. If you got this one incorrect, if you said, true, hopefully you got it, maybe you got it.

But if you said true, did you notice that the passage doesn’t mention any other living organism and whether or not it weighs close to Pando? All we know is that it is cited as the world’s heaviest. There could be another organism that weighs slightly less than Pando. Pando is still the heaviest in the world but that other organism is close. The passage doesn’t mention anything like that.

And therefore, the answer is not given. Okay, hopefully you got that, if not this is something that IELTS loves to do for true/false/not given and yes/no/not given. Taking statements that use qualifiers like this, much heavier. Okay, this much heavier makes all the difference. In fact, if the question didn’t have much, you would have put true, right?

Pando is heavier than any other living organism. According to the passage, that is true, okay? Pando is heavier according to the passage. But because they added much, then we don’t know the difference between Pando and any other organism. Okay, this is an introduction to true/false/not given and yes/no/not given, which are very similar, they just deal with people statements instead of facts from the passage.

Okay, so try some of these, try the practice questions in your study materials. And just like in these example questions we’ve had, you have to go back and scan, find the answers. And then really focus on the details of the statement and the passage to see if it’s true/false/not given, or if you can say, yes/no/not given.

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