Getting to know yourself better is always a good goal and personality tests are a fun way to do that. Years ago, before the internet (when dinosaurs munched on the hedges in our front yards), taking a personality test might have meant that you would need to go to the library and check out a book (if you wanted a more reliable test) from the psychology and self help section. You could also take a fun quiz in a teen magazine that you bought at the checkout of the grocery store (if you didn’t know are care too much about reliability). Nowadays, all you have to do is Google the term “personality test” and you get over 10 million results – most of them accessible, graded, instant, and free.
But there’s still that thing about reliability. Reliability is how accurate something is over time. In other words, if you were to take a personality test twice, would it show the same results? It should since you are the same person, right? Well, some personality tests may not be reliable and this can make you question their validity, too. A valid personality test will accurately tell you more about yourself – it will actually work to measure and explain your personality. And if you really want to learn more about yourself, don’t you want it to be accurate, reliable, and valid?
On the other hand, sometimes taking a personality test can be purely for fun. Maybe you have a few extra minutes to waste and you find a fun personality test that tells you which “Teen Wolf” character, vegetable or horror villain you are most likely to be. There are plenty of these online as well and they really can be a fun way to spend your time. Many people will post these fun personality tests on their webpages, too. The thing to remember about them, however, is that they probably aren’t too reliable, accurate, or valid so you shouldn’t put too much stock in them. In other words, if a fun personality test tells you that you are most like Scott McCall from “Teen Wolf”, don’t go running through the woods late at night just yet.
So, how can you tell the difference between a fun personality test and a reliably accurate one? With over ten million Google results, it can seem daunting. A good rule of thumb is that there aren’t really many very valid or reliable personality tests. This is because they take years to create and test – personality, after all, is a complicated thing! So, the best ones out there are called the Myers-Briggs and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. These have been researched and tested for many years and tests associated with them are usually better than others.
Another thing you often find will be compatibility tests. If you are looking for accuracy, be even more wary because if testing for personality is complicated, it is at least twice as complicated to test two people for compatibility. So, don’t take the results you get from an online test too seriously as an indicator for whether or not you'll get along with another person.
In the end, taking an online personality test can be fun and informative. Just be aware that some tests are more informative than others.
Some of my favorite personality tests online are below.