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Finding Clue Words in True or False Tests

Generally, there will be some questions that may require you to take an educated guess -- when you're simply not sure of the answer. Fortunately, you've got a 50-50 chance of guessing correctly. However, you can improve these odds by paying attention to certain clue words, which may appear in the question.

Questions that contain the words "all," "always" or "never" are usually false responses. These words usually imply a universal -- no exceptions -- type of statement. There are exceptions to almost everything. For example, read the following statements:

  • All men are honest.
  • Liquids always freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The IRS never makes mistakes when auditing taxpayers.

At first glance, you may want to answer these statements "true." However, all men are not honest. We could say that most are honest, but not all. Alcohol is a liquid that does not freeze at 32 degrees. Out of fear and apprehension, we may think that we make tax mistakes, but the IRS doesn't. The IRS does make mistakes, however.

Thus, when you are forced to guess on a true-false test, take a second look and determine if any of these clue words are in the statement. If so, statistically, the odds are in your favor if you guess false.

There are also certain clue words that generally result in the correct response being true. Examples of such words would be "generally," "usually," "frequently," "most" and "probably." Read the following statements:

  • Generally, most men are honest.
  • Frequently, liquids freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Usually, the IRS does not make many mistakes when auditing taxpayers.

Guessing true to statements that contain these clue words probably will improve your chances of guessing correctly. The use of these clue words removes the statement from the position of being universal or without exception. These words hedge the question or qualify the statement, and thus should lead you to guess true.