A “CANNOT be true” question in logical reasoning is one that asks you to identify the a statement that contradicts a set of facts. These questions are rare, but do pop up every once in a while. The question stem for a CANNOT be true question might read:

  • If the sentences above are true, then which of the following CANNOT be true?
  • The information above is true only if which of the following is NOT true?
  • Which of the following CANNOT be true if the statements above are true?

We solve these questions by following two steps:

  1. Examine the fact pattern or argument.
  2. Choose the answer that contradicts the fact pattern or argument.

Let’s take a look at each step.

Examine the Fact Pattern or Argument

These fact patterns can sometimes be difficult to pay attention to, but a good understanding of the content in the stimulus is important. The solution here is to mentally paraphrase the material. Put it in your own words as you read. This will not only force you to pay attention; it will increase your ability to retain the information as well.

Choose the Answer

Choose the answer that contradicts fact pattern. It’s not enough for the answer to weaken an argument or cast some doubt. We need a a contradiction.

CANNOT be True Questions

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