IELTS Reading strategies: True, False, Not Given
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Hello. My name is Emma, and in today's video, we are going to be looking at the IELTS, that
scary test a lot of you have to do. We're going to look at, specifically, one type of
reading question for the academic reading. So this isn't for the general; it's for the
academic reading. We're going to talk about the question that has to do with "true, false,
or not given". So this is a specific question. It may or may not be on your test, but I think,
personally, this is one of the most difficult questions on the reading section of the IELTS.
So I'm going to give you some tips and strategies on how to do well on this section. Okay, so
let's get started. In this section, what you are going to find
is a reading passage. So you will have a long passage on maybe cybercrime, maybe food security,
on the history of the Internet -- it can be on anything. After the passage, there will
be some statements, some facts, okay? What you need to do is you need to say if the fact
matches -- if it's true based on the reading, if it's false based on the reading, or if
the information is not given in the reading. So I will explain "true", "false", "not given"
in detail in just a minute. Okay. What else to know about the "true, false, or not given"?
Another important thing about this question is we're not talking about the question that
has to do with the writer's opinion. There's a very similar question on the IELTS that
asks about the writer's opinion. That's the "yes, no, not given". This is only on "true,
false, not given", not "yes, no, not given". Just -- hopefully, that will clear up any
confusion. Okay. So let's get started. What do they mean by "true" in these questions?
When would you write "true"? I will show you. You can write "true" or "T". "T" is shorter.
If there is a fact and it is clearly written, you write "T". If the fact is clearly written
in the reading, you would write "T". You'll often see synonyms, and, again, write "T"
only if you actually see this fact written. If you know the fact is true, but it's not
written, don't write "true". Only write "true" if, with your eyes, you read it, and you see
it in the fact. You see it in the reading; write "true". So I'll give you an example
of this type of question. Here is just a part of a passage. The reading
is a lot longer, but here is a short version that you might find on the IELTS. "This increase
in cybercrime has alarmed many experts." So it would be a long passage. You might see
something like that. And then, at the end of the reading, one of the statements you
might see might say, "Cyber crime is on the rise." You need to say if this is "true",
"false", or "not given". So how do you know if it's "true", "false", or "not given"?
My advice to you is first, read the statement: "Cyber crime is on the rise"; underline any
key words. "Cyber crime" -- this is a keyword. "is on the 'rise'" -- that's a keyword, okay?
Then you go back to the reading passage, and you quickly scan for these words or synonyms.
What are "synonyms"? "Synonyms" are words that mean the same thing but are different
words. So what is a synonym of "rise"? "Increase", "go up", okay? So let's see if we can find
"cyber crime" or "rise". So I would scan the passage -- oh, the word "increase", "cybercrime".
So "rise", "increase", okay. So I found a synonym. Now, it's important for me to read
very carefully to see if there are any contradictions. What does the sentence say? Does it really
match? "This increase in cyber crime has alarmed many experts." "Cyber crime is on the rise."
Both of these -- both the reading passage and the fact or the statement are saying cyber
crime is increasing. It's going up. So that would mean it's true. So I could write a "T"
beside this, "true". Okay. One thing to look out for with "true": Sometimes you will see
words like "some", "all", "only", "never", "usually", "often", "sometimes". Be careful
with these words, okay? Because if it says, "Some people in Canada like to eat poutine",
and you see the sentence saying, "Poutine is always eaten by Canadians", even though
you see the two words -- oh, "poutine", "poutine" -- one says "always", one says "some". So
this would not be a true statement. So be on the lookout for "some", "all", "only",
"never", "usually". This is where they try to trick you on the IELTS. Okay. So now, let
us look at "false". What does it mean if you write "false"?
Okay. Now, let's talk about "false". What does it mean to be "false" in this section
of the IELTS? If you write "false" for the fact at the bottom after the reading passage,
it means you're saying the fact is opposite. So if you read the reading passage, you read
the fact, the fact says, "All cats are black." The reading passage says, "Not all cats are
black." That would obviously be "false", okay? So the fact is opposite. And, again, you have
to look out for words like "all" versus "some", "often" versus "always". This is how they
trick you. So if it says, "All children should eat broccoli" -- if that's what the fact says.
In the reading passage, if it says, "Some children should eat broccoli", this would
be where you would write "false". So let's look at an example.
Let me go to this side so you can see better. "The first personal computer was invented
in the 1970s." So this is what it says in the reading passage. It's a long passage,
imagine, on personal computers, and you come to this section. Now, you look at the fact
afterwards. So you finish reading. Here is the fact. "Personal computers were first invented
in 1990." Is this true, false, or not given? Well, what would I do? First thing I would
do -- and also I should point out, it's not good to read the passage first. It's better,
in my opinion, to look at the fact at the bottom of the passage and then look for information
in the reading passage. This will save you some time. Now, let's do this how I would
do it if I was doing the IELTS. First, I would look at the statement: "Personal computers
were first invented in 1990." I would underline keywords. So we're looking at "personal computers";
we're looking at when they were "invented"; and we're looking at a year. Okay. So I might
try to think of different words for "invented" in my head quickly: "created", "manufactured"
-- maybe not true synonyms, but similar -- and "1990". So then, I would do my scan looking
for the keywords quickly. "Invented", something that looks like "invented". Okay, "personal
computer", "invented" -- same word, that's easy -- "1970s". Now, I look to see if there's
a match. I read this carefully, and I compare. "The first personal computer was invented
in the 1970s." "Personal computers were first invented in 1990." "1990", "1970s", this statement
is "false". So it says the opposite, okay? So now, let's look at the hardest choice,
"not given". Okay, so now, let's look at "not given" or
"NG". This is, I think, why many people have a very difficult time on this part of the
test. Usually, "truth" isn't so difficult -- finding things that are true. But the difference
between "false" and "not given" can really confuse a lot of people. So let's look at
what they mean by "not given". Okay, so you write "not given" if the fact is not written
in the text, okay? So if it's not there -- if it was written, it would be "true", so it's
not "true". And also, you do not see the total opposite of the fact written. If you see the
total opposite, it's "false". But if it's neither "true" nor "false", it's "not given".
All right? So let's look at an example to see what I mean by this.
Let me switch sides. Okay. So, again, you'll have a long reading passage, and this is just
a section of it. So, "Although once eradicated from Toronto, bed bugs have made a comeback
and are now considered one of the leading pests in the city." Okay? So the first thing
I would do is I would -- I wouldn't even bother reading the reading passage yet; I would go
straight to the question. So here's the question. So I look at the fact. The fact says, "Rats
are the most common nuisance Torontonians face." Okay. Now, I go back; I scan. Well,
first, let's underline "rats", "most common", "nuisance", and "Torontonians". So these are
the keywords. So I'm going to scan, scan, scan, scan. "Although once eradicated from
Toronto -- okay, so I see the word 'Toronto' -- bed bugs have made a comeback and are now
considered one of the leading pests in the city." Okay. So this talks about bed bugs.
This talks about rats. I don't see anything here about rats. Now, could this be -- could
this one be false? Because is it bed bugs are the most common pest that Torontonians
face? Well, if I read this, "bed bugs have made a comeback and are now considered one
of the leading pests." This does not mean that they are the most common. There could
be something that's more common than them. Maybe rats are the most common nuisance, okay?
So you've got to be careful with words like "one of the". "One of the leading pests",
"the most common". So if I look at this question -- oh, the other thing I forgot to mention:
When you the check for synonyms, in this example, "pest" and "nuisance", these are synonyms.
So that helps lead me to this area. So in this case, I see nothing about rats being
the most common nuisance. It doesn't say, "Rats are the most common nuisance." It also
doesn't say they are not. So in this case, my answer would be "not given".
Now, there are some important things I want to go over just quickly. One of the things
I want to tell you is even if you read a statement -- okay, you read the passage, you read the
statement -- maybe you study rats at university. Maybe you're an expert, and you know for a
fact rats are the most common nuisance Torontonians face. "This is 100 percent true. I know it."
If you don't see it in the reading passage, it doesn't matter if it is true or not, okay?
Even if you know it's true, if you don't see it, the answer is "not given", okay? So that's
very important. Another important point is don't spend too
much time on each fact because what can happen is maybe there's no information. Maybe it
is a "not given", but if you think "I've got to find it", "I've got to find it", "I've
got to find it", and you keep searching, you'll waste a lot of time, and the answer might
just be it's not there. So it's better to spend some time on it, just a little time,
and guess if you don't know. You can always put a star and go back after. So maybe, if
I didn't know this, I'd put a star; I'd move on to the next question, and then I'd take
a guess. So that's also a very important point. Okay, so I hope you come visit us at our website:
www.engvid.com. There, you can practice a test which will hopefully help you prepare
for your IELTS. I hope you will feel more comfortable with this type of question after
practicing our test. So until next time.