toefl guide

TOEFL Reading Question Type - Negative Factual Information

Madison Oster May 20th, 2023

This is part of a series of TOEFL Reading Question Types. In today’s post, we will discuss a "Negative Factual Information" question. You can recognize a Negative Factual Information question by either the word “NOT” or “EXCEPT” in the question. The question can appear like one of the following:

  1. According to the passage, which of the following is NOT true of X?
  2. The author's description of X mentions all of the following EXCEPT.

Usually, a "Negative Factual Information" question requires you to check more of the passage than a Factual Information question. The three choices that are mentioned in the passage are spread across a paragraph or several paragraphs. You need to pick the choice that is not mentioned in the passage, is stated inaccurately, or contradicts other statements. Let’s look at an example.

TOEFL Reading Practice: Negative Factual Information Question

[4]  Darwin's theory posits that 'natural selection' acts as the engine behind evolution, resembling a form of 'selective breeding' occurring in nature. This theory forms a solid basis for understanding the gradual changes organisms undergo over time. Nonetheless, being a theory, it remains elusive and challenging to definitively prove. One of the primary challenges to Darwin's theory revolves around the concept of "irreducibly complex systems." An irreducibly complex system refers to a system where numerous distinct parts must function together in unison, as the absence of even a single component would lead to the collapse of the entire system. With advancements in modern technology, scientists can now identify such "irreducibly complex systems," even at the microscopic level. If these complex systems indeed rely on intricate interdependencies, they pose a significant challenge to Darwin's hypothesis concerning the process of evolution. As Darwin himself candidly admitted, "To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for correcting spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."

Question: All of the following are mentioned in paragraph 4 as a viewpoint to state the natural selection is difficult to prove EXCEPT

  1. The notion that natural selection could account for the intricate complexity of the human eye appears highly implausible.
  2. The existence of irreducibly complex systems contradicts the mechanisms of evolution.
  3. Modern microbiology provides evidence for the existence of irreducibly complex systems.
  4. The presence of selective breeding poses a significant challenge to the theory of natural selection.
D is the correct answer. Selective breeding is not the major hole, but the presence of irreducibly complex systems is.

A is incorrect because it is stated in this paragraph “As Darwin himself admitted, “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus for different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection”.

B is incorrect because it is stated in “One of the major holes in Darwin's theory revolves around “irreducibly complex systems.” An irreducibly complex system is known as a system where many different parts must all operate together. As a result, in the absence of one, the system as a whole collapses.” and “These complex systems, if so inter-reliant, would be resistant to Darwin's supposition of how evolution occurs”

C is incorrect as the irreducibly complex system is the major hole in the theory of natural selection and modern technology proves the existence of the irreducibly complex system.

TOEFL Reading Tips & Strategies: How to Answer “Negative Factual Information” Questions

Here is a lesson on how to tackle TOEFL reading “Negative Factual Information” Questions.



If you want to practice more TOEFL reading negative factual information questions, sign up for our TOEFL preparation course to access our 72 complete TOEFL reading practices and 13 extra negative factual information questions in our TOEFL reading lessons.

Looking for TOEFL preparation?

Check out our NEW TOEFL prep online learning tool called TOEFL Tutor.
TOEFL Tutor will help you achieve your target score with 1500+ TOEFL practice questions.

Try TOEFL Tutor Free!

Popular Videos

Check out our YouTube channel for more TOEFL preparation videos
BestMyTest on YouTube