Are personality tests, strength inventories worth it?

By ReaganRosenbaum

Personality tests are not just something to do when scrolling through various BuzzFeed quizzes at 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning. They provide a way for people to be able to more accurately describe the way their brain works and the things that motivate them. “I think it’s kind of nice to be told what kind of person you are,” senior Colette Lawler said, “I feel like everyone is kind of looking for the descriptions of exactly who they are.”

In a lot of cases, some people might think that personality tests can’t be fully descriptive to a singular person because they’re designed to cater to such a wide variety of personalities and characteristics. 

Sometimes, people might cling to the results as the answer they’ve been waiting their whole life for. “If it gets to the point where you’re defining every action you make based on an online test score, then I think it could be disruptive or harmful to take them,” junior Maddie Smith said.

Some personality tests include the Enneagram which gives you a number that corresponds to a specific personality trait. The Clifton Strengths Finder test gives you a list of strengths that best fit your abilities. The Myers-Briggs (or the 16 Personalities) test provides you with four letters that correspond to extroversion or introversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling and judging or feeling. Finally the DISC test assess someone on four factors: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.


According to, the Enneagram is a test designed to assess and describe the types of patterns in how people interpret the world around them and how they interact with their emotions. This test describes nine different types of personalities by mapping them on a diagram to help the test taker better understand how they’re wired. 

Colette Lawler ’23

Type ones tend to be more rational in their day to day thinking, and they lean more to a very principled lifestyle. Type twos are typically the most generous and helpful, and they often seek to help others. Type threes tend to be more driven and goal oriented, but they desire to live a life aligned with their values over one full of recognition. Type fours tend to be more creative and empathetic, and they are very driven by the different things that inspire them.

Type fives are very progressive and open-minded. These people tend to focus more on the big picture. Type sixes are typically loyal, and they have a very comforting sense about them when those around them are anxious. Type sevens tend to be filled with joy about life and they have an openness when it comes to embracing the future. Type eights tend to be more gentle and courageous, and they can see opportunities where others may see failure. Finally, type nines tend to be deeply caring and peaceful. They are very in tune with nature and the world around them.

When Lawler took the test, her top result was a number one, meaning she lives a very detail oriented life. “I do think I’m very detail oriented, but some of the descriptions are kind of universal,” Lawler said, “Of course everyone hates making mistakes.” 


Abby McGuire ’25

The 16 Personalities test is simply a variation of the more well known Myers-Briggs. It still presents you with the same descriptive letters, but you do not have to pay for the results. The first letter, either I or E, describes how the mind interacts with the environment. In other words, it tells someone if they are more introverted or extroverted.

The second letter, either N or S, describes how one directs their mental energy: are they more intuitive (n) or observant (s)? The third letter, either T or F, describes how one will make decisions and cope with emotions; do they think (t) or feel (f) more? The fourth letter, either J or P, reflects the way one approaches their decision making and their work: do they take a more judgemental approach or a prospective one?

Specific to the 16 Personalities, there is a final and fifth letter that describes how confident people are in their decisions and abilities: this letter is either A for assertiveness or T for turbulent.

“I was fairly surprised by my results,” sophomore Abby McGuire said. When she took the 16 Personalities test, she received the letters INTP-T, or a logician. “I didn’t really think I was that logical of a person, but there were some sections of my results that I absolutely agreed with,” McGuire said.

According to these results, McGuire tends to be more introverted, intuitive, rational thinking, prospective with tactics, and more turbulent when it comes to confidence in decisions. “My results helped me to understand more about the way I process information,” McGuire said, “but I also think it’s important not to take these tests too seriously because you know yourself the best.”


The DISC Personality test assesses someone on four factors: dominance (d), influence (I), steadiness (s), and conscientiousness (c). Unlike other personality tests on the market, the DISC gives a more flexible and adaptive assessment of one’s traits to help them understand and communicate more effectively in their life, according to

The DISC test helps to create empathy within the test taker so they can be able to better understand the motives behind their emotions and their behavior. Someone with the dominance trait is more likely to be assertive and independent in their actions; they are competitive. The influence trait presents itself in those who tend to have more confidence and who love social settings: they are outgoing.

Maddie Smith ’24

The steadiness trait tends to show itself in people who value loyalty and are more sympathetic in their actions: they are patient. And finally the conscientiousness trait presents itself in people who are extremely analytical. They have a very good ability to think through tough situations: they are very structured individuals.

When presented with the results, DISC will give the test taker their results on a spectrum-like graph. Similar to the 16 Personalities, one may receive a different combination of letters, versus one of the four explained above. Someone could be a type DI, which means they are an initiator, or a IS, which means they are a harmonizer. Type IS is what the test described Smith as. According to the results, she is more likely to approach the world with an open attitude, but tends to shy away from conflict.

“I’ve always viewed myself as a bit more introverted, but it also makes sense because I do like social interactions,” Smith said, “I do try and see the bright side of things.”


The Clifton Strengths assessment developed by Gallup was first introduced to the Marian community during the 2021-2022 school year. While the test will take each student through a series of questions similar to the other kinds of personality tests on the market, Clifton Strengths was designed to present the student with a list of their top five strengths, not necessarily their personality.

Sarah Egan ’26

There are four big categories with around nine specific strengths listed under each. The green category corresponds to the strategic thinking strengths, such as analytical or futuristic. The blue category corresponds to the relationship building strengths, such as empathy and includer. The orange category corresponds to the influencing strengths, such as activator and woo. Finally, the purple category corresponds with the executing traits, such as deliberative and responsibility.

According to Clifton Strengths, these words are just a way to describe the things people are naturally the best at and the things that they might need to work on. They believe in presenting people with the things that they’re already good at, instead of trying to fix their weaknesses.

“I do think there is value in taking the test because it can really make you think more about how you are towards yourself or others,” freshman Sophia Losole said. 

“I think it gave me time to look back on what my strengths are. This test motivated me to honor my strengths,” freshman Sarah Egan said.

There are countless reasons why it is beneficial to take these kinds of tests. Not only do they help you understand more about yourself, they also help you to figure out how these traits may influence the way you interact with those around you.

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