True or false questions are found on many different types of tests. These types of questions present statements and the test taker must decide whether these statements are true or false. These questions can be trickier than they appear at first glance, however. Here are a few tips and things to look for.
- Watch for absolute statements: Examples of absolute statements would be “every person who smokes gets cancer” or “birds never abandon their young.” When you see words like “every,” “never,” “always,” or “only,” there’s a good chance that the statement is false because it only takes a single exception to make it untrue.
- Watch for qualifiers: Unlike absolute statements, qualifiers usually indicate that the statement is true. When qualifiers are used, the statements above take on an entirely different meaning. Now, they might read “some people who smoke get cancer” or “birds generally don’t abandon their young.” These statements leave room for exceptions, and are more general. When you see words like “generally,” “often,” “some,” “sometimes,” or “most,” there’s a good chance that the statement is true.
- Review the whole statement: Be sure to read every statement in its entirety before you decide whether it is true or false. Some statements might contain five or six facts about a topic. Ensure that each and every one of these is true before you circle true on your answer sheet.
- Don’t overanalyze the questions: While there are some teachers who love trick questions, most just want to test your knowledge of the subject matter. Therefore, it’s usually a good idea not to read too deeply into a question. It’s probably safe to assume that the question is asking exactly what it appears to be asking, and that there is no hidden meaning or trick you have to figure out.
- When in doubt, choose true: It’s easier to create true statements than false ones, so it’s likely that more than 50% of the statements on a given test are true. Therefore, if none of the tips above are any help, and you have no idea what the answer is, the odds will probably be in your favor if you choose true.