How do you determine which statements are false?

Answer

False statements on tests contain a specific fact or keyword that creates an exception. Words such as "all," "never" and "always" provide an indication that the statement is false. Since absolutes are rare, even in science and mathematics, definitive words are rare in false statements.

Creating a quick mental list of possible exceptions to a statement helps students identify false statements. Absolute words are the first indicators of probable exceptions, but the specific words used with universal statements also provide clues when identifying false statements. When statements are specific and include numbers or other unique characteristics, false answers are more prevalent.

Weeding out decidedly true statements is also useful on true/false tests. True statements often contain conditional words such as "usually," "sometimes" or "occasionally." These conditional words are less compatible with false statements on testing materials. Conditional words are also subjective and encourage possible exceptions or incompatible facts.

Because test-makers are also aware of the existence of clue words that tend to imply one type of response, using clue words alone is inadequate. When students have a solid understanding of the key concepts for test material, identifying false statements is easier. However, highlighting absolute statements and conditional statements provides useful clues in the absence of certainty.

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