T/F/NG is a type of question that causes a lot of troubles for students. However, I believe it can be one of the easiest types in IELTS Reading when you know the right method. In this lesson, I will show you how to deal with it.
In order to answer T/F/NG questions, you need to follow these three steps:
Step 1: Read the question carefully, and underline important keywords (A, B, C, D) in the question.
Step 2: Go to the passage and search for keywords A1, B1, C1, D1 (which are keywords that have the same meaning with A, B, C, D but they have been paraphrased). Once you have found these keywords, this is the location of the information that you need.
Note that this step is very important. You have to find all keywords. For example, if the question has 4 keywords (A, B, C, D), you need to find all 4 paraphrased keywords (A1, B1, C1, D1).
Step 3: Read carefully and compare the pairs of keywords (A with A1, B with B1, C with C1, D with D1) in order to answer. Now, there can be 3 different scenarios:
Scenario 1: All the pairs of keywords have the same meaning. (A = A1, B = B1, C = C1, D = D1) -> TRUE.
Scenario 2: All the pairs of keywords have the same meaning, but there is only ONE pair of keywords that contradict each other -> FALSE.
Example: A = A1, B = B1, C = C1, but D > < D1. -> FALSE.
Scenario 3: All the pairs of keywords have the same meaning, but there is ONE keyword missing from the passage (it cannot be found), or you can find it but it is located in a different part which is not related to the main sentence. -> NOT GIVEN.
Example: A = A1, B = B1, C = C1, but we cannot find a keyword (D1) that either is the same with or contradicts D. -> NOT GIVEN.
Those are all three necessary steps for you to answer this type of question.
Now, let’s look at some real examples.
Question: Our ability to deal with a lot of input material has improved over time.
Passage: However, the fact that we are accustomed to processing large amounts of information does not mean we are better at it.
First, we need to analyse the question and underline the keywords:
A: deal with
B: a lot of input material
C: our ability has improved over time
Now, compare those with the keywords in the passage:
deal with = processing (A = A1)
a lot of input material = large amounts of information (B = B1)
Our ability has improved over time > < does NOT mean we are better at it (C and C1 contradict each other)
-> FALSE (Scenario 2).
Question: A number of pests are now born with an innate immunity to some pesticides.
Passage: Because of their tremendous breeding potential and genetic diversity, many pests are known to withstand synthetic chemicals and bear offspring with a built-in resistance to pesticides.
Let’s analyse the keywords of the question:
A: a number of pests
B: are born
C: with an innate immunity to some pesticides
Now, compare the pairs of keywords:
a number of pests = many pests (A = A1)
are born = bear offspring (B = B1)
with an innate immunity to some pesticides = with a built-in resistance to pesticides (C = C1)
-> TRUE (all the pairs of keywords have the same meaning – Scenario 1).
Question: The trees from which quinine is derived grow only in South America.
Passage: At the time, quinine was the only viable medical treatment for malaria. The drug is derived from the bark of the cinchona tree, native to South America.
Analyse keywords in the question:
A: the trees from which quinine is derived
B: grow in South America
Compare the pairs of keywords:
the trees from which quinine is derived = the drug (quinine) is derived from the bark of the cinchona tree (A = A1)
grow in South America = native to South America (B = B1)
only: we cannot find a keyword which is the same with or contradicts this keyword. (C1 cannot be found. We are not sure whether or not this type of trees grows only in South America.)
-> NOT GIVEN (One keyword cannot be found – Scenario 3)
Okay, in this lesson, I have shown you an easy way to deal with T/F/NG questions. Try to apply this technique in your practice tests, and I am sure you will find yourself having more correct answers.