Enneagram tests are not unlike the classic Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test that you've probably taken (or have at least likely heard of) before. In short, an Enneagram helps you find the specific traits that make up your personality type.
Sure, none of these sorts of personality quizzes are 100 percent accurate, but gaining a better understanding on your personality traits (your strengths, weakness, tendencies, likes and dislikes) can help you to improve your relationships both at work and in your personal life.
According to the Enneagram Institute, there are nine Enneagram types and “it is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself." The one that stands out is "your basic personality type.”
So what are the nine types?
- The Reformer — the rational and idealistic type
- The Helper — the caring and interpersonal type
- The Achiever (sometimes referred to as the Motivator) — the success-oriented and pragmatic type
- The Creative (sometimes referred to as the Individualist) — the sensitive and withdrawn type
- The Investigator (sometimes referred to as the Thinker) — the intense and cerebral type
- The Loyalist (sometimes referred to as the Skeptic) — the committed and security-oriented type
- The Enthusiast (sometimes referred to as the Generalist) — the extroverted and spontaneous type
- The Challenger (sometimes referred to as the Leader) — the powerful and dominating type
- The Peacemaker — the easygoing and self-effacing type
One can also have a wing type. "Usually one has characteristics of one of the types that lie adjacent to one's own that are more prominent — this is called the wing," according to Electric Energies. "So someone who is a type 5, might have a 4 wing or a 6 wing. This may be abbreviated to '5w4' and '5w6.' If one doesn't have a dominant wing, it is said that the wings are balanced."
There are so many Enneagram tests on the internet promising to tell you your personality type. So how do you know which ones are legitimate and which ones are just a bunch of hocus?
Well, I've done the legwork for you by testing out five of the most commonly referenced Enneagram tests out there. Here's how well they worked for me, in order of worst to best.
My results from this test: Mostly Type 1 and Type 4 (equally), followed by Type 8 and then immediately followed by Type 2, Type 3 and Type 7
This is a multiple-choice quiz with 36 questions that took me about five minutes to complete. It was rather quick and easy to follow, though some of the questions were weirdly worded. The result of this test was the only one not to suggest that I'm a Type 2 (a Helper), unlike every other test on this list. Rather, this one suggests that I'm, first and foremost, a Type 1 and Type 4 (a Reformist and Artist, which would mean I'm equal parts rational and sensitive, which feels contradicting though possibly true...). Then I am a Type 8 (a Challenger), followed by a Type 2 (the Helper), Type 3 (the Achiever) and Type 7 (the Enthusiast).
If I'm honest, there are a lot of types here to comprehend. Of course, I can relate to all of these types — anyone could! But I'm not confident in the accuracy of this test since, on a scale of 1-20, I scored a 20 in two types, a 19 in one type and an 18 in three types. Those are all very high scores in very different types, which makes me question just how well it actually got to know me. I also, certainly, question the fact that, of the five tests on this list, this is the only one not to put Type 2 (the Helper) first.
My results from this test: Mostly a Type 2 but, taking wings into account 2w3
I enjoyed taking this test, which consisted of 14 pages of 126 multiple-choice questions, and I believe that the results are rather accurate. I do feel like I am the helper type and I have a strong will to succeed as I consider myself rather career-oriented.
That said, what I didn't love about this test is the lack of context on the results page. The results simply suggest that I seem to be a "2w3" without any explanation as to what exactly that says about me. For a test so long, I was hoping for a little more detail by the end of it.
My results from this test: Mostly Type 2 and Type 4, followed by Type 7
This test presents a list of characteristics for each Enneagram type. All you have to do is rate each characteristic as to how well it fits or doesn't fit for you. It took me about 10 minutes to complete before showing me my results at the end: mostly Type 2, a Helper, and Type 4, an Individualist, followed closely by Type 7, the Enthusiast. These results feel rather accurate and align with the results I've received from other tests. I also liked how the questions in this test seemed to be lumped together in themes, so I felt as though I knew how to best answer them.
Though, again, I wasn't thrilled that there were no explanations on the types — especially following so many questions. I am unsure just how many questions I actually answered, as the questions weren't numbered.
My results from this test: Top Three Types: Type 2, Type 6 and Type 4
As of the time that I took this test, a reported 2,464,348 people had already taken it, making it a rather popular Enneagram test on the internet. This one consists of 36 questions that you can finish in just about five minutes. All you have to do is answer which of the two statements in each has been the truest for most of your life. Then it takes exactly one minute for your results to appear. Mine proved to be rather accurate.
What I liked more about this test is that it told me not only my type but also my top three types (again, the Helper, the Loyalist and the Individualist), all of which resonate with me. It also gave me broken-down explanations of each type so I could learn more about them — how to get along with me, how to deal with me in intimate relationships, what I like about being that type and what's hard about being that type. This is seriously useful information when communicating my personality type (and my needs, strengths and weaknesses) with others to build better relationships. And, truthfully, everything written in this section was scarily on point.
That said, what I didn't like as much about this test is the nature of the questions — I found it often quite difficult to choose between the two options. For a few of them, I ended up making uncertain decisions. Likewise, while learning about my top three types was interested, I still would have preferred to be given a primary type with wings to really narrow it down.
1. Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) (Sample)
My results from this test: Type 2 and Type 7 (equally)
I took the sample RHETI test, which is just 38 questions and takes about five to 10 minutes to complete, on average. The full test, which is available for $10 at the Enneagram Institute, is actually 144 questions, however. In either, you can skip questions that don't apply to you, but you shouldn't avoid questions just because they're difficult to answer. I did my best to answer every single one, answering which of the two clauses best completes each statement.
Again, my result read Type 2, the Helper. And, this time, I also equally scored as a Type 7, the enthusiast. And given that I'm a solo traveler living out of a backpack and freelance writing about women's rights issues around the world, I'd say that these results are easily the most spot on.
The downside to this test is that you have to pay for the full thing. Otherwise, I'd argue that this is the most accurate one that I'd taken.
About the Career Expert:
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist for a gamut of both online and print publications, as well as an adventure aficionado and travel blogger at HerReport.org. She covers all things women's empowerment — from navigating the workplace to navigating the world. She writes about everything from gender issues in the workforce to gender issues all across the globe.