Test Taking Strategies for True or False Tests

By Margo Dill

True or false questions are often deceiving as you may think they are easy to answer. You only have the choice of either true or false as your answer. However, these questions can be more difficult than they look. Here are some test taking strategies for true false tests.

Number One Rule

The number one test taking strategy for answering questions on true false tests is: The whole statement must be true in order for the answer to be TRUE.

As you know a true or false test is made up of several statements, assessing your knowledge of the objectives. Many statements will appear true because most of the statement is true. However, one word in the statement that makes it false, makes the entire statement false.

Here are some examples of false statements (that seem MOSTLY true):

1. Every one in the 1960s longed for the Civil Rights Movement to make some changes. (This is a false statement--Many people longed for changes, but not every one).

2. When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, he put down an American flag and said the most famous words in all of history. (Neil Armstrong said something that most people can remember, but how do you know they are the most famous words?)

True false tests always have questions like these on them. It is important to learn how to spot them--they usually will have words such as always or everyone. There are very few instances where something always happens or everyone believes or does the same thing. Just remember that when you are taking a true false test. To learn more about these types of words in true or false questions, see the next section.

Useful Tips

Here are a few more useful tips for answering true or false questions. Use these test taking strategies to do your best on a true false test.

Tip 1) Watch out for negative words

Many true or false statements will contain the words NOT or NEVER. Read these questions carefully as they can be confusing. If you miss the one negative word, you will answer the question wrong because you will be answering the opposite.

Tip 2) Absolutes and Qualifiers can be tricky

Qualifiers are words such as "sometimes," "frequently," or "often." These words are thrown into true false tests and will often make a statement TRUE. Don't assume because you see a qualifier that the answer is true, but look at it carefully and know that the answer is usually TRUE.

Absolutes are words such as always, every, never, and most, which were mentioned in the above section. (In the examples in the previous section, absolutes were used to make those statements false.) When you see absolutes, these true or false questions are almost always FALSE. Think about it: very seldom does something always happen or have every one involved.

Tip 3) True false tests usually have more TRUE answers.

Most true or false tests will have more statements that are true than false. It is important to read a true or false question carefully and find why it is false before you answer it false.

As with any test, the easiest test taking strategy is to study for the test and know the material well. This will cut down on test-taking anxiety.