Starting to feel so nervous whenever you see 3 words ‘YES’, ‘NO’, ‘NOT GIVEN’ while taking the IELTS reading test? Going mad when you know the information is right in front of you but still fail to give a correct answer and cannot find out the reason why? If you have been into any situation above, then you may have problems with Identifying Writer’s Views Questions (IWVQ) in the IELTS reading test.
IWVQ is a difficult yet common IELTS reading question type. This type of question does not only require you to use various skills to find the needed information, but also to think logically to answer correctly.
Therefore, in this article, we will go through EVERYTHING that we need in order to win this monster: definition, steps to solve the questions, tips and necessary skills, common mistakes, solutions and some practices.
Now let’s get started!
What Are Identifying Writer’s Views/Claims Questions?
With this IELTS reading question type, there will be several given statements. Your job is to decide whether they agree with the writer’s views or not. Your decision should be based only on the information from the text. There will be 3 answers: YES, NO and NOT GIVEN
- YES – If the statement agrees with or is the same as the writer’s opinions and claims that you see from the reading text
- NO – If the statement disagrees with or contradicts the writer’s opinions and claims
- NOT GIVEN – If you cannot find any clue from the text to decide what the writer’s opinions are.
From this definition, you can see that the IWVQ requires you to:
- Understand the statements and the text.
- Locate the information in the text quickly.
- Analyze and compare the information.
When you can master this, both your reading skill and critical thinking will become stronger. This is a challenge yet a great opportunity to improve yourself!
So let’s go to the second part where you can see how to solve these questions in the best way!
Solving Identifying Writer’s Views/Claim Questions – Step By Step
1. Warm-up: Familiarise yourself with the overall content of the article
This is a must-have step before you start doing any IELTS reading question type.
Reading the whole passage quickly with strategies will give you an overview of the content while saving your time.
So how to read a long article effectively? The answer is skimming skill. You will read the title, subtitles, the opening and closing sentences of each paragraph because they contain the key messages. After that, the information will connect with each other to help you get the most general idea about the text.
Once you get the flow of it, you can identify the location of the needed information more quickly and precisely.
Note: To save more time, you can choose to do this reading question type after finishing the others which you are more comfortable with.
2. Step 1: Read the given statements with strategies
After skimming the passage, you will start to read every statement carefully and strategically. The objective of this step is to understand fully what each statement is about. You have to know what you are finding before you start finding it, right?
It is highly recommended that you underline the keywords of each sentence. This will help you focus and find the information more easily through spotting those words or their synonyms in the text.
3. Step 2: Match the statements with the information from the text
After you have got the flow of the content and the meaning of the statements with some keywords, you can easily locate where to find the answers from the whole passage.
Try to look out for numbers, names, locations, synonyms of the keywords, so you can spot them as quickly and as possible!
4. Step 3: Analyze the information and decide the answers
It’s time when you decide the answers to the questions. In this part, you will have to compare the statements with the information in the text. You will also have to use your critical thinking to give the final answers.
5. Step 4: Transfer the answers to the answer sheet
After deciding the answers, you have to write them down on the answer sheet. Although it sounds easy, some examinees still make mistakes in this step which leads to their answers not being counted as correct (read more in the next part). Therefore, remember to be extremely careful!
Tips To Win Identifying Writer’s Views/Claims Questions
1. Notice the order of the statements
The statements will appear with the continuing flow of the text. Therefore, once you can locate the information for Statement 1 correctly, keep on reading to find answers for the next statements. TRY NOT TO LOOK BACK – IT’S TIME – CONSUMING because the answer will not be there.
2. Look out for important indicators
Important indicators include name, number, location, synonyms and different word forms (noun, adjective, verb, adverb) of the keywords in the statement.
They are very helpful for you to find the correct section of the article that contains the needed information. By doing this, you can spot the location more easily and quickly especially when the keywords in the statements are often paraphrased when compared to the original text.
Statement: Emily started to manage the company three years ago.
In this case, you should look for indicators such as:
Name: Emily, or the name of the company
Number: 3 years, or any number of years
Synonyms: operate, run, lead,…..
Different forms of the word: manager, leader, managerial, leading,…
3. Absolute statements are often false statements
In most cases, you have to think more carefully about the statements that contain absolute qualifiers such as never, always, the + superlative comparison. Just for you to know, the answer for this kind of statement is often NO. However, it is still better when you can find the reason for each answer. Only write NO when you cannot find logical evidence or understand the information.
Necessary Skills To Get The Correct Answers
1. Skimming and Scanning
For any IELTS learners, these two skills have become very familiar. However, they may be the hardest skills to gain and improve. If you are a little bit confused about the difference between these two skills, then have a look again at the definition here.
Skimming means you have a quick look at the whole text in order to get the most general idea about the passage. There are some steps so you can be the master of skimming:
– Read the headlines;
– Underline the subtitles;
– Underline the opening and the closing sentence of each paragraph.
Scanning means you look through a text for specific details. You can use this skill to locate the sentence that contains the answer to your question. In order to do that effectively, you have to identify and match keywords of the statements with the suitable words (synonyms and different word forms) in the text to get the information location.
2. Paraphrasing skill
Paraphrasing skill is an essential skill for every IELTS test. When you actively work on this skill, it will enrich your vocabulary and help you spot the information more easily even when they are paraphrased (and they are, most of the time).
So how to improve this skill? The answer is to learn new words, learn their synonyms and group them together.
- Learn new words: Vocabulary is very important for IELTS. However, if you think learning new words is “painful” and boring, you can be dead wrong. What if you can read about any subject that you like and watch any movie that you love without having to stop and look new words up in the dictionary? It’s great, right? Technology now allows us to do it. You can check out eJOY eXtension, download it to totally transform the way you learn new English words.
- Learn synonyms: It’s easy. You only need to search “word + synonyms” on Google or buy a type of dictionary called ‘Thesaurus Dictionary’. Then note them down in a notebook and practice every day to remember them longer.
3. Critical thinking
Critical thinking is essential to reach a higher band in the IELTS exam. It is the ability to think clearly about what to do and what to believe. With critical thinking, you can understand logical connections and spot illogical points. Therefore, it is very helpful for doing YES/NO/NOT GIVEN questions.
You can practice critical thinking in many situations. The key is to question everything, even the things that seem to be certain.
Let’s start by asking yourself ‘Is it true that…?’, then try to find the reasons for your answer.
Common Mistakes: Examples And Solutions
1. Do not follow the question’s instructions
You can think that no one can make this mistake in such an important exam. However, everything can happen when you are nervous. To avoid this, there are two things that you need to be careful:
– Notice if it is YES/NO/NOT GIVEN questions or TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN questions.
– Be careful when you transfer the answers to the answer sheet. If the test asks you to write ‘YES’ but you write ‘TRUE’, that answer will not be counted as a correct one.
2. Making assumptions
Assumptions are the statements or judgments that you believe to be right or wrong without any proof.
Assumptions in this IELTS reading question type often come from 2 main reasons:
- First, it is because you use your knowledge to answer the questions, not the information from the text. This situation is common among students who meet the topics that are of their expertise. In this case, they often write YES or NO without reading the text carefully. However, you need to remember that this is ‘WRITER’S CLAIMS/VIEWS’, not YOURS. Therefore, the proof that you have to look for is in the passage, not from your own knowledge.
– Forget what you know about the topic, because it can be possible that the writer does not agree with and want to debate with that knowledge in the article, or that your knowledge may not have been proved.
– Make sure you have considered carefully by underlining the sentences in the text that give you the answer. This action will help you check again to make sure that every answer you give has its evidence.
- Second, examinees often make the mistake of assuming because of logical reasons.
Article: “Apples first originated in South Africa 3000 years ago.”
Statement: “South Africans are the first people to eat apples.”
In this case, many students may answer YES because when apples originated in South Africa, it is likely that South African people were the first to eat them.
But if you think a little bit more, you will find out that it can be some travelers from other regions going there and eat apples. That’s when the statement is not 100% correct. The answer should be ‘NOT GIVEN’ if the writer did not give you any more information about this statement.
In order to minimize your chances of making this mistake, the best advice may be to doubt everything before you give the final decision, even when it seems to be obvious.
Remember to ask yourself repeatedly ‘Is it true that + statement?’ before you say YES, NO or NOT GIVEN.
Do not let yourself be tricked, look for the exception ACTIVELY.
3. Do not notice qualifiers
Qualifiers are words that modify other words to limit or enhance its meaning.
– Qualifiers that limit meaning: slightly, sort of, somehow, somewhat, may, seem,…
– Qualifiers that enhance meaning: always, never, every, all,…
The sad thing is that qualifiers are often there to trick you. Therefore, you need to be careful whenever you see them in the statements.
- Example 1
Article: Some European governments are against the wave of refugees from the Middle East.
Statement: All European governments are against the wave of refugees from the Middle East.
All the sentences are the same except for ‘some’ and ‘all’ (qualifiers). ‘Some’ and ‘all’ have totally different meanings. Therefore, the answer is ‘NO’.
- Example 2
Article: He claims to come from England.
Statement: He comes from England.
If the article says ‘He claims to come from England’, it is still possible that he is lying. Therefore, it cannot be a fact as in the statement. The answer is NO.
4. You forget about verb tenses
Article: He lived in Canada with his family.
Statement: He lives in Canada with his family.
In this case, ‘lived’ means that the action had started and ended in the past, while ‘lives’ means the action is still happening. Therefore, they are disagreeing with each other, then the answer is ‘NO’.
– Review English verb tenses to get the meaning of each tense.
– Always underline the main verbs of the statements and the information from the article.
– Be careful, compare and use your knowledge to identify the differences.
Things To Note Down To Master Identifying Writer’s Views/Claims Questions
- Watch out for timing. If it is taking too much time to find an answer, you have to move on. If you do not have time to look back, you still have to write down one answer because the chance of getting it correct is still higher.
- Write down the reason why you choose that answer by putting ‘√’ in the correct part of the statements, ‘x’ in the wrong part, and circle the contradictory points between the statements and the article. This will help you check the answers more easily later.
- Check the answers again after you transfer the answers to the answer sheet
- Practice, practice, and practice – because it makes perfect!
Now, as you have known some basic steps and tactics to do this type of question, let’s go and apply all of them to finish this test together.
ANSWER KEY AND EXPLANATION
- Keywords and components: Thirty percent of deaths in the United States are caused by smoking-related diseases
- Indicators: 30 percent, deaths, United States, smoking, responsible
- Source of information from the text: Smoking, it is believed, is responsible for 30 percent of all deaths from cancer and clearly represents the most important preventable cause of cancer in countries like the United States today.
- Analysing: The article says that smoking causes 30 percent of all deaths FROM CANCER. However, the statement says smoking causes thirty percent of deaths in general. Therefore, they are disagreeing with each other.
The answer is NO.
2. If one partner in a marriage smokes, the other is likely to take up smoking.
- Keywords and components: If one partner in a marriage smokes, the other is likely to take up smoking.
- Indicators: married couple, partner, smoker, non – smoker
- Source of information from the text: As an illustration of the health risks, in the case of a married couple where one partner is a smoker and one a non-smoker, the latter is believed to have a 30 percent higher risk of death from heart disease because of passive smoking
- Analysing: The text only mentions the higher risk of death that the non-smoker of the couple will run if his/her partner smokes.
The answer is NOT GIVEN
3. Teenagers whose parents smoke are at risk of getting lung cancer at some time during their lives.
- Keywords and components: Teenagers whose parents smoke are at risk of getting lung cancer at some time during their lives.
- Indicators: childhood, adolescene, lung cancer, secondhand tobacco smoke
- Source of information from the text: It has been calculated that 17 percent of cases of lung cancer can be attributed to high levels of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke during childhood and adolescence.
- Analysing: ‘Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke during childhood and adolescence’ here writes about children whose parents smoke because:
– Second-hand smoke means passive smoking and children are passive smokers.
– This particular passage mentions the smoking issue of a married couple, which implies a family context. Therefore, smokers here are parents.
‘17 percent of cases of lung cancer’ means the risk of lung cancer.
The answer is YES.
4. Opponents of smoking financed the UCSF study.
- Keywords: Opponents of smoking financed the UCSF study.
- Indicators: report, opponent
- Source of information from the text: The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA), was based on the researchers’ own earlier research but also includes a review of studies over the past few years. The American Medical Association represents about half of all US doctors and is a strong opponent of smoking.
- Analysing: In this text, they do mention the opponents of smoking and the UCSF study. However, there is no information about the financial problem.
The answer is NOT GIVEN
Above is a process on how to solve Identifying Writer’s Views Questions. Now it depends on you to step up your reading ability.
A tip for you is to enrich your vocabulary and read more. This will help you do any IELTS test, not just reading. You can make reading more enjoyable with eJOY eXtension. It will give you the meaning of every new word just by double-clicking it. You can also add new words to an E-wordbook and look back at them for revision anytime.
If you have any question, comment below to get our support. Good luck with your test!