Just how much help can online quizzes offer in terms of self-improvement? AILEEN LALOR finds out.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Just how much help can online quizzes offer in terms of self-improvement? AILEEN LALOR finds out.

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“The quiz made me think about whether my authoritarian approach is actually modelling bad behaviour.”


Parenting Style Test (

Created by US magazine Psychology Today, the 25-minute quiz identifies your parenting style based on US clinical psychologist Diana Baumrind’s classification.

Find out if you are authoritative (you expect your children to be mature, and are focused on teaching self-control and autonomy); authoritarian (you are restrictive and believe in punishment); permissive (you are very involved and have few restrictions on your children), or uninvolved (you are cold, unresponsive, undemanding and fulfil only basic needs).

After the quiz, you’re given a short summary of your parenting style. A detailed analysis is available for US$6.95 (S$10). She tried it! “The quiz made me think about whether my authoritarian approach is actually modelling bad behaviour.

The questions and responses refiected the real-life parenting dilemmas I face, and a few even gave me pause for thought, like the one on picky eaters, as I am aware that the way a parent approaches family mealtimes can affect a child’s future relationship with food. “The questionnaire clarified the way I think about the role of parents, which is to help their kids make good moral choices and to teach them social and practical skills that will serve them well in adulthood.”

– Jane Francis, 35, clerical assistant.


Johari Window (

Created by two American psychologists in the 1950s, this is designed to help you understand yourself better and lets you see how others view you.

Choose five or six adjectives from a list of 56 – options include idealistic, powerful, self-assertive and kind. Then, invite friends, family and colleagues to choose adjectives from the same list, without them knowing what you have selected.

Eventually, you end up with a grid with four windows: Arena (the qualities known to you and others), Blind Spot (known to others but not yourself), Facade (known to you but not to others) and Unknown (qualities that neither you nor others believe you have). This is aimed at helping you improve your relationships and make them more intimate, open and trusting.

She tried it! “I read all the adjectives first so I had a clear idea of my options, then selected the ones that described me best. It was difficult to choose because there were so many similar words, like loving and caring, or giving and kind. I also wondered why there were no negative words.

“I sent the quiz to my family, who were very consistent in their choices – picking words like kind, loving and sympathetic. However, the one word I picked that didn’t appear in their responses was ‘silly’ – I think I’m quite a frivolous person, but they don’t see me that way. My husband picked sensible! I’m sure if I had asked my two- and four-year-old granddaughters, they’d have said I was silly because I’m very playful with them – perhaps I need to show that side of me to more people.”

– Juliet Tan, 56, homemaker.

“There were also questions that made me aware of things I don’t usually notice, such as ‘What have you been avoiding out of fear?’”


16 personalities (

A simplified version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, this psychological test analyses how you perceive the world and make decisions.

It takes around 15 minutes to complete and you’ll get questions like “In a discussion, truth should be more important than people’s sensitivities” and “An interesting book or a video game is often better than a social event”. These are designed to glean your preferences in categories like introversion/extroversion, intuition/sensing, thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving.

At the end of it, you’re given a detailed analysis of your personality, including strengths and weaknesses, career preferences and how you behave in a relationship. A more detailed 167-page analysis is available at US$32.99.

She tried it! “I’ve always been cynical about these kinds of tests as I don’t believe a few online questions will tell me anything about my personality. So I was surprised at how accurate this was: It identified me as a Mediator and was spot-on about my tendency to avoid conflict, my need for alone time and even my childhood career ambition. While I already knew these things about myself, it was good to get insights into how I could manage my weaknesses and make the most of my strengths.”

– Wendy Lee, 42, marketing manager.

100 Questions That Will Transform Your Life (

Created by US lifestyle website Mindbodygreen, this list is supposed to prompt you to think about your life as you seek a deeper purpose. There’s nothing to fill in – you simply consider questions such as “What concerns am I willing to release?” and “How is life asking me to grow right now?”

She tried it! “The questions were easy to understand but not to answer. Most seemed to require me to get out of my comfort zone and do something. Many are things I know I need to work on but just haven’t done so, like ‘What new habit can you start?’.

There were also questions that made me aware of things I don’t usually notice, such as ‘What have you been avoiding out of fear?’ “These seemingly simple questions were pretty insightful and evoked strong emotions in me. As you go through them, you’ll feel inspired and motivated, but once you’re done, life goes on. And 100 questions is really a lot to get through; I was bored by the end of it.”

– Calista Wong, 30, assistant human resource manager.

Lumosity (

Created by Lumosity, one of the best-known online brain-training sites, this is a 30-minute quiz that assesses your abilities in five categories: memory, problem-solving skills, mental  exibility, speed and attention.

After the initial Fit Test, you can sign up for daily brain-training exercises. Subscribe to the site for US$5 a month to receive personalised training plans and unlimited access to games and tests.

Brain training is especially helpful for maintaining cognitive function as you get older, though neuroscientists are undecided as to much such online programmes can help.

She tried it! “My Fit Test comprised three games: Speed Match, Train of Thought and Memory Matrix. They start out as ‘no-brainers’, but become harder as you progress, making them challenging and fun.

“My cousin and mum walked into my room in the middle of my test and wondered aloud when I had started getting into online games! That made me lose focus. At the end of the three tests, you’re told how well you performed compared with other people. The results reinforced what I already know – I have a good memory but am easily distracted.”

– Jacqueline Tan, 43, freelance writer.