Guest Author - Melissa Weise
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 down to the library and check out a book (if you wanted a more reliable test) from the psychology and self help section or that you would 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). Now, just google “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 a personality test is over time. In other words, if you were to take it twice, would it show the same results? It should, since you are the same person right? Well, unreliable personality tests may not and this makes one 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 is purely about fun. Maybe you have a few extra minutes to waste and you find a fun personality test that tells you which “Lost” 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 though is that they probably aren’t too reliable, accurate, or valid and 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 Hurley from “Lost”, don’t stock up on candy bars just yet.
So, how can you tell the difference between a fun personality test and a reliable and 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 – after all personality 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 now you will get along with another person.
So, in the end taking personality test online can be fun and informative, but just be aware that some tests are more informative than others.
Some of my favorite personality tests online are below.