You know you’re good at the arts – but now what? Knowing our specific skills both within and outside of the arts is crucial for artists to understand their calling. Once you can identify your skills, you can start to match them to your dreams and make art that is meaningful to both you and others. But not all personality tests are created equally. Below we’ve compiled a list of three of the most popular personality tests, examining their strengths and weaknesses:
1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Chances are you’ve heard of Myer’s-Briggs. According to their website, this test can help you understand where you direct your attention (extraversion vs. introversion), how you process information (sensing vs. intuition), how you make decisions (thinking vs. feeling), and how you interact with the world in general (judging vs. perceiving). These results are then shared as a four-letter “type” along with percentage results for each of the letters.
- Covers a wide range of personality areas
- Comprehensive test showing 16 different personality types
- Percentages provide more detailed feedback (EX: a 53% introvert result will show that you are only slightly more introverted than extraverted, in general)
- Costs $49.95 (but if you’re a university student, you can probably take it for free! Check with your career center.)
- Takes about 30 minutes to complete (or more if you’re like me and can’t decide how you should answer…)
- Not scientifically backed
2. The Enneagram Test
The Enneagram describes 9 personality types which are presented as 9 points of a circle: the reformer, the helper, the achiever, the individualist, the investigator, the loyalist, the enthusiast, the challenger, and the peacemaker.
- Arguably easier to look at the descriptions of personality types and judge for yourself without paying for a test
- Specifically addresses strengths and weaknesses
- Reveals another personality type that you are close to
- Visual component makes it easier to understand
- Only $12 (again, check with your university career center first before you pay!)
- Only 9 main personality types
- Not scientifically backed
3. Big Five Personality Test
The “big five” here refer to openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (acronym: OCEAN). Like Myers-Briggs, each trait is presented as a continuum between two poles (for example, extraversion vs. introversion). Also like Myers-Briggs, your score tells you how close you are to either of these poles.
- Scientific backing
- Short (about 3-8 minutes long)
- Free online
- Scores provide more detailed feedback
- Short length means each question “counts” for more (less intensive?)
In the end, each personality test can be valuable and tell you different things about yourself, so don’t be afraid to take more than one! But if you only have time for one, we highly recommend the Enneagram, though the Big Five Test is a close second. The Enneagram’s visual layout makes it particularly well-suited for artists, and it engages our uniquely reflective minds in a powerful way. It also helps us understand more directly both our strengths and our weaknesses so that we can not only understand what we’re good at, but what we’re not good at. While it’s not specifically scientifically backed, it’s a great way to start brainstorming how your skills might connect with your dreams.
But of course, don’t forget to use your intuition! Tests can only take you so far and are the most useful when they serve as a jumping-off point for self-reflection.
Have you taken the Enneagram or any of these other personality tests? Which do you like the most? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
Photo credits: Vishnu R Nair on Unsplash; Wikimedia Commons; Wikimedia Commons; Wikimedia Commons; Cesira Alvarado on Unsplash