How to Design a Personality Test

By Amber Viescas

Taking a personality test can be serious or fun
i taking test image by Petro Feketa from

Since the development of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in 1962, people have been fascinated by personality tests. And it's easy to see why; they claim to hold the secrets of personality, which is at the heart of human interaction. Personality tests are often used by businesses to screen employees, or people seeking an ideal partner, but they are enjoying increasing popularity on the Internet. In the modern Internet age, the most common form of personality test is a simple questionnaire such as "What Pop Star are You?" or "What is your Soul Color?"

Designing the Profiles

Choose a set of profiles. These profiles will be the "end states" of your personality test. For instance, the Myers-Briggs featured 16 types based on four dichotomies. Most personality tests have between 5 and 20 end states --- enough to make a wide variety, but not enough to make it too complicated.

Enumerate the qualities of these profiles. Most successful personality tests have profiles that focus on positive and neutral qualities, sometimes balancing them with negative qualities. People will enjoy a test which gives them a complementary reflection.

Design the end states for your personality test. Each end state should feature a summary of the profile, a short description, and a list of the qualities associated with that profile. It also helps to include a catchy graphic or list of famous people who share the personality type as the test taker.

Designing the Test

Make your qualities into questions. For example, you can give the test-taker a scenario and ask them to choose a response for it. Eg "What would you do if you found a wallet on the ground?"

Create between three and five answers that correspond to the profiles you made earlier. Make them as clear and neutral as possible. The less ambiguous the answers are, the more satisfied the test-taker will be with the result.

Choose your value set and how it contributes to a winning profile. By default, most answers to a personality test give the test-taker one "point" to one or more profiles, and the profile with the most points is the winner. If some questions are more important than others, make them worth more points.

Write an introduction to your test. Make it catchy and fun, or whatever suits your purpose for the personality test.