Questioning the questionnaire

Are personality tests as accurate as they seem?


graphic by Margaret Debenport

Story by Zane Johnston, staff writer

After endless questions asking you for your favorite colors and foods, you’re certain that there is nothing the website doesn’t know about you. However, when Buzzfeed tries to tell you that you are a unicorn when your magical creature spirit animal is so clearly a dragon, you start to second-guess it.

It’s practically impossible to avoid taking a personality test at some point in your life. They are a great way to pass the time, from quizzes on Buzzfeed to insightful questionnaires that help you live your life like the Myers-Briggs test. Everyone’s taken countless personality tests, but how accurate are they really?

The Myers-Briggs personality test asks the testee many questions, to which they can agree, disagree, or remain neutral. It then gives them a four-letter acronym to perfectly describe their personality.

This test has been used by countless workplaces to determine whether someone would be a good fit for the job, and its online counterpart “16Personalities” has been taken by millions to help them better understand themselves.

The website gives the testee a lot of information about their lives, along with details on how to play to their strengths and work on their weaknesses. With many feeling that this quiz completely understood them after only fifteen minutes of questions, it’s understandable why so many people swear by this personality test.

“I got Mediator, which is INFP,” sophomore Lia Graham said. “I feel like it definitely describes me because I like to dream a lot, and I always keep other people’s feelings in mind.”

However, with a test like that having been taken by so many, you have to wonder how accurate the types are. Evidently, they aren’t always so reliable.

“I got INFJ, or the Advocator,” freshman Stephanie Jumper said. “The type’s decisiveness does not match me whatsoever.”

Perhaps even more popular is the infamous Buzzfeed quiz. On Buzzfeed, you can find a personality test to tell you anything, from which Spice Girl you are based on your favorite eyeshadows to how many pairs of shoes you own based on what pizzas you choose.

These quizzes can be a great way to kill time, but they tend to be inaccurate. This makes sense because they make outlandish assumptions based on completely unrelated information. However, this is a big part of what makes them so fun.

“Buzzfeed quizzes can sometimes be accurate when it comes to the types of food or movies I prefer, but I don’t expect it to tell me what kind of dragon I’d be in another world,” sophomore Abby Elliott said. “They are pretty entertaining, though, and they’re fun to do when I’m bored.”

As much as we would like to believe that a website can guess your age and gender by your preferred sandwich types, this is very rarely true. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still spend countless hours trying to find out if they can, as long as you aren’t too disappointed when they fail.