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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

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scary test a lot of you have to do. We're going to look at, specifically, one type of

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reading question for the academic reading. So this isn't for the general; it's for the

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academic reading. We're going to talk about the question that has to do with "true, false,

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or not given". So this is a specific question. It may or may not be on your test, but I think,

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personally, this is one of the most difficult questions on the reading section of the IELTS.

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So I'm going to give you some tips and strategies on how to do well on this section. Okay, so

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let's get started. In this section, what you are going to find

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is a reading passage. So you will have a long passage on maybe cybercrime, maybe food security,

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on the history of the Internet -- it can be on anything. After the passage, there will

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be some statements, some facts, okay? What you need to do is you need to say if the fact

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matches -- if it's true based on the reading, if it's false based on the reading, or if

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the information is not given in the reading. So I will explain "true", "false", "not given"

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in detail in just a minute. Okay. What else to know about the "true, false, or not given"?

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Another important thing about this question is we're not talking about the question that

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has to do with the writer's opinion. There's a very similar question on the IELTS that

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asks about the writer's opinion. That's the "yes, no, not given". This is only on "true,

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false, not given", not "yes, no, not given". Just -- hopefully, that will clear up any

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confusion. Okay. So let's get started. What do they mean by "true" in these questions?

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When would you write "true"? I will show you. You can write "true" or "T". "T" is shorter.

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If there is a fact and it is clearly written, you write "T". If the fact is clearly written

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in the reading, you would write "T". You'll often see synonyms, and, again, write "T"

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only if you actually see this fact written. If you know the fact is true, but it's not

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written, don't write "true". Only write "true" if, with your eyes, you read it, and you see

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it in the fact. You see it in the reading; write "true". So I'll give you an example

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of this type of question. Here is just a part of a passage. The reading

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is a lot longer, but here is a short version that you might find on the IELTS. "This increase

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in cybercrime has alarmed many experts." So it would be a long passage. You might see

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something like that. And then, at the end of the reading, one of the statements you

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might see might say, "Cyber crime is on the rise." You need to say if this is "true",

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"false", or "not given". So how do you know if it's "true", "false", or "not given"?

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My advice to you is first, read the statement: "Cyber crime is on the rise"; underline any

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key words. "Cyber crime" -- this is a keyword. "is on the 'rise'" -- that's a keyword, okay?

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Then you go back to the reading passage, and you quickly scan for these words or synonyms.

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What are "synonyms"? "Synonyms" are words that mean the same thing but are different

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words. So what is a synonym of "rise"? "Increase", "go up", okay? So let's see if we can find

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"cyber crime" or "rise". So I would scan the passage -- oh, the word "increase", "cybercrime".

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So "rise", "increase", okay. So I found a synonym. Now, it's important for me to read

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very carefully to see if there are any contradictions. What does the sentence say? Does it really

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match? "This increase in cyber crime has alarmed many experts." "Cyber crime is on the rise."

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Both of these -- both the reading passage and the fact or the statement are saying cyber

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crime is increasing. It's going up. So that would mean it's true. So I could write a "T"

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beside this, "true". Okay. One thing to look out for with "true": Sometimes you will see

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words like "some", "all", "only", "never", "usually", "often", "sometimes". Be careful

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with these words, okay? Because if it says, "Some people in Canada like to eat poutine",

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and you see the sentence saying, "Poutine is always eaten by Canadians", even though

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you see the two words -- oh, "poutine", "poutine" -- one says "always", one says "some". So

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this would not be a true statement. So be on the lookout for "some", "all", "only",

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"never", "usually". This is where they try to trick you on the IELTS. Okay. So now, let

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us look at "false". What does it mean if you write "false"?

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Okay. Now, let's talk about "false". What does it mean to be "false" in this section

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of the IELTS? If you write "false" for the fact at the bottom after the reading passage,

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it means you're saying the fact is opposite. So if you read the reading passage, you read

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the fact, the fact says, "All cats are black." The reading passage says, "Not all cats are

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black." That would obviously be "false", okay? So the fact is opposite. And, again, you have

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to look out for words like "all" versus "some", "often" versus "always". This is how they

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trick you. So if it says, "All children should eat broccoli" -- if that's what the fact says.

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In the reading passage, if it says, "Some children should eat broccoli", this would

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be where you would write "false". So let's look at an example.

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Let me go to this side so you can see better. "The first personal computer was invented

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in the 1970s." So this is what it says in the reading passage. It's a long passage,

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imagine, on personal computers, and you come to this section. Now, you look at the fact

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afterwards. So you finish reading. Here is the fact. "Personal computers were first invented

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in 1990." Is this true, false, or not given? Well, what would I do? First thing I would

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do -- and also I should point out, it's not good to read the passage first. It's better,

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in my opinion, to look at the fact at the bottom of the passage and then look for information

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in the reading passage. This will save you some time. Now, let's do this how I would

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do it if I was doing the IELTS. First, I would look at the statement: "Personal computers

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were first invented in 1990." I would underline keywords. So we're looking at "personal computers";

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we're looking at when they were "invented"; and we're looking at a year. Okay. So I might

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try to think of different words for "invented" in my head quickly: "created", "manufactured"

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-- maybe not true synonyms, but similar -- and "1990". So then, I would do my scan looking

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for the keywords quickly. "Invented", something that looks like "invented". Okay, "personal

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computer", "invented" -- same word, that's easy -- "1970s". Now, I look to see if there's

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a match. I read this carefully, and I compare. "The first personal computer was invented

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in the 1970s." "Personal computers were first invented in 1990." "1990", "1970s", this statement

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is "false". So it says the opposite, okay? So now, let's look at the hardest choice,

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"not given". Okay, so now, let's look at "not given" or

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"NG". This is, I think, why many people have a very difficult time on this part of the

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test. Usually, "truth" isn't so difficult -- finding things that are true. But the difference

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between "false" and "not given" can really confuse a lot of people. So let's look at

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what they mean by "not given". Okay, so you write "not given" if the fact is not written

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in the text, okay? So if it's not there -- if it was written, it would be "true", so it's

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not "true". And also, you do not see the total opposite of the fact written. If you see the

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total opposite, it's "false". But if it's neither "true" nor "false", it's "not given".

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All right? So let's look at an example to see what I mean by this.

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Let me switch sides. Okay. So, again, you'll have a long reading passage, and this is just

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a section of it. So, "Although once eradicated from Toronto, bed bugs have made a comeback

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and are now considered one of the leading pests in the city." Okay? So the first thing

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I would do is I would -- I wouldn't even bother reading the reading passage yet; I would go

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straight to the question. So here's the question. So I look at the fact. The fact says, "Rats

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are the most common nuisance Torontonians face." Okay. Now, I go back; I scan. Well,

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first, let's underline "rats", "most common", "nuisance", and "Torontonians". So these are

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the keywords. So I'm going to scan, scan, scan, scan. "Although once eradicated from

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Toronto -- okay, so I see the word 'Toronto' -- bed bugs have made a comeback and are now

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considered one of the leading pests in the city." Okay. So this talks about bed bugs.

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This talks about rats. I don't see anything here about rats. Now, could this be -- could

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this one be false? Because is it bed bugs are the most common pest that Torontonians

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face? Well, if I read this, "bed bugs have made a comeback and are now considered one

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of the leading pests." This does not mean that they are the most common. There could

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be something that's more common than them. Maybe rats are the most common nuisance, okay?

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So you've got to be careful with words like "one of the". "One of the leading pests",

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"the most common". So if I look at this question -- oh, the other thing I forgot to mention:

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When you the check for synonyms, in this example, "pest" and "nuisance", these are synonyms.

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So that helps lead me to this area. So in this case, I see nothing about rats being

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the most common nuisance. It doesn't say, "Rats are the most common nuisance." It also

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doesn't say they are not. So in this case, my answer would be "not given".

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Now, there are some important things I want to go over just quickly. One of the things

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I want to tell you is even if you read a statement -- okay, you read the passage, you read the

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statement -- maybe you study rats at university. Maybe you're an expert, and you know for a

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fact rats are the most common nuisance Torontonians face. "This is 100 percent true. I know it."

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If you don't see it in the reading passage, it doesn't matter if it is true or not, okay?

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Even if you know it's true, if you don't see it, the answer is "not given", okay? So that's

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very important. Another important point is don't spend too

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much time on each fact because what can happen is maybe there's no information. Maybe it

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is a "not given", but if you think "I've got to find it", "I've got to find it", "I've

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got to find it", and you keep searching, you'll waste a lot of time, and the answer might

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just be it's not there. So it's better to spend some time on it, just a little time,

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and guess if you don't know. You can always put a star and go back after. So maybe, if

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I didn't know this, I'd put a star; I'd move on to the next question, and then I'd take

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a guess. So that's also a very important point. Okay, so I hope you come visit us at our website:

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www.engvid.com. There, you can practice a test which will hopefully help you prepare

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for your IELTS. I hope you will feel more comfortable with this type of question after

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practicing our test. So until next time.

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