Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

In today’s episode, we provide excellent strategies for some of the hardest question types. The question types that we’ll talk about in today’s episode are:

  • Y/N/NG
  • T/F/NG
  • Matching Headings to Paragraphs

If you don’t have Reading strategies, these types of questions are extremely difficult! The Reading Test is one of the hardest parts of the entire exam.

If you know how to avoid the pitfalls, they will be much easier!

We will teach you how to avoid inferencing as well as other tips that will help you get these answers correct!

Tip #1: Avoid inferencing

Inferencing: making an assumption about the text

Information needs to be explicitly or directly stated in the text.

  • Example: The text states “Her rainboots were by the door” and the question asks “Is it raining?”

You could infer that it is raining out because her boots are by the door.

However, we don’t know!

Just because her rainboots are by the door, it doesn’t mean it’s raining.

Maybe it rained yesterday and she just hasn’t put her rainboots away!

We haven’t been given any information about what’s happening outside!

The answer to this question would be “Not Given.”

Check out the IELTS TV episode on this about 2 things you should never do on the IELTS Reading exam.

The Reading exam is not a comprehension test!

If you’re reading to understand and thinking a lot, you end up making assumptions, reading between the lines and making inferences.

This will make you get the wrong answers.

Test writers will create traps and pitfalls that will trick you if you’re making inferences.

Instead, just match key words!

Other question types that are difficult if you’re reading for comprehension.

  • Matching Headings to Paragraphs
  • Finding Information in Paragraphs

These shouldn’t be hard if you’re matching key words.

You need reading strategies to find the answers in a quick way.

Don’t read everything!

You don’t even need to understand what the passage is about!

You just need to be able to match words.

Strategies Created By a Former Examiner

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Tip #2: Ask yourself, “Can I answer, ‘I don’t know’?”

Ask yourself this question to determine if the answer is No or Not Given.

  • Example: The text says a professor taught the 40th annual McTaggart lecture. The question asks if this professor taught the 30th annual McTaggart lecture.

You may think the answer should be no, because the text states he taught the 40th lecture, not the 30th!

However, if you ask yourself, “Can I answer, ‘I don’t know’?” you realize the answer would be yes, I don’t know!

We don’t actually know if he taught the 30th lecture or not, because the text doesn’t tell us.

The answer for this question would be Not Given.

Tip #3: Don’t confuse T/F/NG and Y/N/NG

If it’s T/F/NG be sure to write T for True and F for False.

If you write Y or N for these, they will be marked false!

Similarly, if it’s a Y/N/NG question, be sure to write Y for Yes or N for No.

If you write T or F for these, they’ll be marked false!

Tip #4: Little words in the statement are usually the key

What key words do you underline?

The words that carry the most information.

  • Names
  • Verbs

Most importantly, the answer to the question is almost always found with little words that agree or contradict.

  • Time
  • Amounts
  • Number words
  • Negative words like “no” or “not”


To score highly on the most difficult question types on the Reading exam, you need strategies!

The Reading Module in 3 Keys IELTS provides strategies for every question type.

Many of our students have scored a 9 on Reading after learning these strategies!

Today’s tips are a few of these strategies.

Practice these to make some of the most difficult question types much easier!

Do you have questions about today’s topic?

Let us know in the comments below

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