Personality quizzes on the internet: a ranking



This past year, many students have lost connection with their peers, and with it, a sense of self. Personality quizzes offer a solution, and varying degrees of accuracy.

For teenagers, a sense of self is inextricably tied to one’s peers and how one sees themselves in comparison. These peers are not necessarily friends, in fact they’re probably more often acquaintances at school. So perhaps one of the most significant social transformations of the past ten months for this age group has been the loss of this comparison and the sense of self that has vanished alongside it.

Perhaps this is less true for incoming freshman, students changing schools, or a slew of other situations, but the loss of most compulsory social interaction has definitely had its impacts.

And that’s where personality quizzes come into play. Whether for these reasons, or just sheer boredom, free online personality quizzes have taken off during the past year. So, I thought I’d give them a ranking.

In doing this, I had three main criteria: ease of completion, accuracy of results, and relevance of results. Overall, the best quizzes gave a lot of information and assigned takers a unique combination of possible results.

#5: Buzzfeed: Every student has probably taken a Buzzfeed quiz at some point in their life. If you haven’t, go do so right now. These quizzes are mostly for fun, and rarely provide much genuine insight. That being said, they do have a tendency to be weirdly accurate. They’re usually pretty easy to execute, if you don’t take any of the questions too seriously, and rarely take over a minute or two to finish. Try out their quiz party function too and take one––or five––alongside your friends.

Unfortunately, my marvel at the mysterious accuracy of these quizzes disappeared when I made one myself and learned that each item along the way corresponds to a single final answer and the final result is simply the highest sum of initial responses leading to a given response. Not exactly complicated math, but fun nevertheless.

#4: myColor 2.0: This test aims to find the color of your personality. The questions that lead you there are largely irrelevant, and this is most definitely one of those quizzes where it’s easier to look at the 6 answer choices and decide which you relate to the most than self-analyze every single question. The answers to this one were actually surprisingly relevant. Like the Enneagram test, which I will cover later, it offered a smaller set of results most useful when one can consider themselves a combination of a few. While I personally could not manage to identify which category felt most “me,” each of my friends who took it found one or two of the colors shockingly accurate and relevant to their personalities. That said, I don’t think that category was ever the one they actually got as a result of taking the quiz.

#3: Meyers-Briggs: The Meyers-Briggs test is one of the most popular personality tests on the internet. That said, I don’t think it’s very good. The test is not easy to take, and takes longer than any of these other ones to complete. Additionally, there are so many results that go so in-depth that it’s essentially impossible to self-assign, and it’s even harder to self-assign a combination.

I would also venture that this test is bizarrely less accurate for extroverts than introverts. Whether because the test creators were introverts or otherwise, it seems to assume that all extroverts are popular partiers loved by everybody, and introverts hate all people.

More broadly, this test is extremely faulted in its all-or-nothing algorithm. The initial survey identifies you as either an introvert or extrovert, a habit-based observer or an open-minded fantasizer, logical and emotionally repressed or empathetic and sensitive, decisive and organized or a flexible nonconformist. Most people exist somewhere in the middle along these spectrums, a fact that this test seems to completely ignore.

I’ve taken this test a total of three times, gotten three wildly different answers, and identified the fourth, and most fitting, result just through reading the descriptions myself. Meyers-Briggs succeeds in relevance of results because of the sheer quantity of information it provides, and fails in both other categories.

#2: 538 Personality Test: This was the newest test I chose to review. Released recently, this one provides a survey styled similarly to the Meyers-Briggs, where you respond to each question by placing yourself along a spectrum. Unlike the Meyers-Briggs, it took only a few moments.

This was the only one of the tests that truly placed each taker on a spectrum for each category. It ranked the taker on compassion, respectfulness and trust to form a unique multidimensional “agreeableness” score. The system was repeated for anxiety, depression, and emotional volatility to formulate a “negative emotionality” score, as well as aesthetic sensitivity, intellectual curiosity, and creative imagination to articulate “openness to experience,” organization, productiveness, and responsibility to categorize “conscientiousness,” and sociability, assertiveness, and energy level to identify “extroversion.”

Unlike any other test, it assessed each of these categories separately, and allowed for the possibility that a person could be extremely sociable yet unassertive and their overall extroversion would be more complicated than yes or no. For that reason, it was by far the most accurate of any of these tests, yet unfortunately fell through in explaining what a ranking in each category meant. With such specifically personalized results, the complexity of providing significant written analysis of a given combination is clear, yet it made this test not useful in terms of self-psycho-analysis.

#1: The Enneagram: Probably the third most popular of these quizzes (following the Meyers-Briggs and of course, Buzzfeed) the Enneagram established itself as my personal favorite.

While this was also one that was simpler to just read the descriptions and self-identify, the 9 categories it provided managed to be simultaneously broad and specific. They each encompassed a large group, as such a quiz must with only 9 categories, yet identified distinctly individualized groups, based on basic fears, desires, strengths, and weaknesses. The quiz also offers the easy combination of two results in what they call “wings,” effectively bringing the total possible outcomes to 18.

This quiz ultimately combines the strengths of the Meyers-Briggs and the 538 Test to create a highly individualized result with significant information explaining that result to any test taker.

While every personality test produced by sociologist-psychologist-behavioral scientists pretends to be “The first to actually be backed by science” or “Finally! A real genuine personality test!” I’m not a psychologist, and I can’t assess the verity of those statements, however, I recognize that this probably cannot be true for all of them. But take them yourself, recover your own lost sense of self, and see if you agree.