TOEFL iBT : NEGATIVE FACTUAL QUESTIONS

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Unlike the positive form of factual questions where they are asking about explicit facts or details given in the reading text, the negative types of factual questions ask you to determine which of the four answer choices is not given in the passage. Additionally, these questions generally contain the words ‘not, except, or least’, as they often appear in form of uppercase or capital letters.

Here’s the examples:

- According to the passage, all of the following statements are true EXCEPT ......

- Which of the following is NOT mentioned in the passage?

- Which of the following is LEAST likely? (less true or possibly false)

Well, for you to be able to tackle those sort of typical questions, it is suggested that you need to scan the entire passage carefully to find the answers that appear to be correct or mentioned in the text. Why? That is because of the correct answers are the ones that simply do not appear or are mentioned in another context. At certain point, the three incorrect choices sometimes are clustered or grouped in one or two sentences. Sometimes, they are also scattered throughout the passage and this will definitely take you more time to find the correct one.

Normally, the common types of negative factual questions are considerably the hardest part since they are practically consuming more time during your first reading section. Perhaps, if you find them rather complicated or quite difficult to bear with, it might be well-advised that you should skip these questions for a while and then come back to them later by using the Review Feature.

Here’s the part of one passage from the Reading Preview Test along with a negative factual question being asked.

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Question : From above reading passage, the author does NOT provide a specific example of

a. A bird that is affected by behavioral barriers

b. An aquatic animal that is blocked by physical barriers

c. A land animal that is affected by behavioral barriers

d. A tree that has spread by means of a corridor

As you can see from that reading passage, it is clear to notice that the author does provide the example of a bird that is affected by behavioral barriers in paragraph 4 (the Kirkland warbler) and in the same paragraph, the author also does mention the example of a land animal that is affected by behavioral barriers (the blue spotted salamander). Moreover, the author gives an example of a tree that has spread by means of a corridor (the Engelmann spruce) in paragraph 5. Although the author describes that aquatic animals are blocked by physical barriers, however, a specific example of any of these animals is NOT illustrated. Therefore, the answer choice for that question is (b.) which is ‘An aquatic animal that is blocked by physical barriers’.

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