Escape and Evasion in Standardized Testing, by Autistic Prepper

A Little Background

The very word “test” is enough to make us cringe. Spelling tests, math tests—every school day brought another test. And then there were the “achievement tests”, which were supposed to find out how much we’d learned that year.

The Tests that Really Mattered in Our Lives

From high school, many of us went on to college. Here tests were crucial as we labored through the ACT, SAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, et cetera. Our scores helped determine whether we would get into the college and profession we wanted.

Okay, So I’m a Rebel

I tried hard on all the standardized tests I had to take, but before the actual ACT began I had an interesting experience. We were given a page that wasn’t part of the test; the questions had to do with my parents’ occupation, income, and education level. None of this information, in my opinion, was relevant to my scholastic abilities. I knew what they were after; they wanted to connect my test grade to other life factors. At 17 I was already an accomplished rebel, so I lied on every personal family question.

Note to other rebels: I also don’t believe present-day schools have a right to know parental occupation, educational level, or income. But it’s your decision about whether to provide that information to an institution that will put it into a computer and send it all over the world.

I have also rebelled against giving the expected liberal answer if I believed it was incorrect. When I took the national teacher exam, one of the first questions asked whether intelligence was determined primarily by genetics or upbringing. I marked “genetics” even though I knew it would be counted wrong. Liberals insist environment is the determining factor for intelligence. It has to be, or people might figure out that all the tax money being poured into preschool programs is a complete waste. Follow the money.

I was proven right years later by the Minnesota Twin Study, which studied identical twins who were separated at birth. The study found a strong correlation between genetics and intelligence. But when did liberals ever listen to facts?

Escape and Evasion in Testing

Today I’m not concerned with the tests mentioned above. I want to discuss a much more sinister and invasive form of testing: tests that claim they can determine your personality or determine if you have psychological problems. They’re used by lazy psychologists who don’t know how to do real analysis and, more and more frequently, by corporations and law enforcement. They are also ignorant about true mental assessment.

The psychology/testing industry has convinced corporations that they should know as much as possible about the minds of those they hire in order to eliminate applicants who might be dishonest, have emotional problems, or whose personality may be considered a poor fit with the job. Presumably law enforcement believes it can pick up criminal characteristics.

It’s a Business

The testing companies have been very successful in promoting their products; it’s currently a $2-to-$4 Billion Dollar per year industry. That gives them several billion good reasons to convince buyers that their product is effective. Like I said, Follow the money.

Any Rebels Here?

With the rising use of these tests, you may be asked or required to take one of these tests as a condition of employment. My opinion of these tests is negative for two reasons. First, I don’t believe they produce accurate conclusions; second, I don’t believe anyone has the right to probe your mind without your free consent.

My Purpose—Teaching Test and Evasion

I want to explain some methods of taking these tests yet evading them. It’s not hard at all.

The “Forced” Test

There are three basic formats for personality tests. The first is called a “forced” test because the taker is forced to make a choice between one of two answers. Usually this is “yes” or “no”. For instance, a test may say:

Yes No
I admire my father. O O
My mother is my friend. O O
Most days are I’m happy. O O
Bad dreams often bother me. O O

These tests try to prevent fake answers by asking the same question, with different wording, repeatedly. They assume that there are two possibilities about your test taking: (1) you’re carefully reading and trying to choose the answer that will please them, or (2) you’re being honest about your feelings. The test also claims it can determine which strategy you are using.

The simplest way to avoid giving psychologically revealing answers on such tests is to make an arbitrary, simple rule for how each question will be answered. For example, you might decide that questions with an even number of words will be marked “yes”, and those with an odd number of words will be marked “no”. This means you do admire your father (four words) but your mother isn’t your friend. This will prevent any chance of your true beliefs being reflected in your answers.

The Strategies Are Endless

The number of words is only the beginning. You might also try looking at the fourth letter in the sentence. If it’s a vowel, mark “yes”. If it’s a consonant, mark “no”. Or use the fifth letter. Or the last letter. You could even use different strategies for different parts of the test.

Likert-type Scale

The second commonly used test format employs a Likert-type scale in which you indicate your level of agreement or disagreement with a statement. These present a sliding Likert scale such as this:

Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree
o  ———— o  ————— o —————— o —————- o

…and they will ask you to respond to statements such as:

  • I am assertive when I know I’m right.
  • Challenges don’t scare me.
  • I get along well with my wife.
  • I genuinely like most people.
  • Shy people don’t get ahead.

This test form is more difficult because you must have five strategies for choosing a random answer. Some possibilities include:

  • For every question which begins with a vowel and has an odd number of words, mark “strongly agree”.
  • For any question which begins with a vowel and has an even number of words, mark “strongly disagree”.
  • For any question with a contraction, mark “agree”.
  • For any sentence which begins with a consonant and has an odd number of words, mark “neutral”.
  • For any sentence which begins with a vowel and has an even number of words, mark “disagree”.
The Result of Using These Strategies

If you follow a system such as this, your answers will have no relation to your true feelings. Try to make your system as simple and easy to remember as possible. The Lickert scale questions are harder to plot than simple “yes-no”, but much more fun.

Projective Tests

A Blot is a Blot is a Blot

The third kind of personality test is called a projective test. There is no real answer, but your personality, conflicts, and emotional stability are supposed to be revealed by how you see something which is really nothing.

The best example of such a test is the Rorschach. This test consists of—literally—random ink blots which someone made. The blots don’t resemble anything; what you imagine them to resemble is supposed to reveal your emotional state.

Remember Armageddon?

Needless to say, I don’t believe the test reveals anything. One of my favorite movie scenes is from the movie Armageddon where the unlikely astronauts are being tested physically and mentally. One of them, seeing the assorted blots, responds to them something like, “Woman with large breasts. Woman with small breasts. Woman with medium breasts.” That’s a great example of how useful this test is.

Your best strategy, if faced with a compulsory Rorschach, is to be very, very creative. The test comes with an interpretive book which lists many common answers and what they supposedly signify. Forget ordinary; go creative.

“This is a Chinese woman who’s been abandoned by her lover and is about to jump off the top of a large Buddha statue. She’ll be reborn as a snail.”


“This is a triceratops mama defending her nest of eggs from little mammals that, in 70 million years, will turn into us.”


“This is a raincoat hanging off the Eiffel Tower on a windy day.”

If you have a crazy bone hiding in yourself somewhere, use it.

Tests That Are Relevant

The tests I’ve described are completely different from tests designed to actually determine your competency to do a job.

For instance, I worked as a secretary in college and every job required a typing test. This makes perfect sense; the ability to type was crucial to doing the job well. Side Note: My fastest time, on a Selectric II, was 119 wpm. Yes, I got hired.

Today, secretaries need far more knowledge; they need to know all about spreadsheets, word processing, faxing, etc. Companies are completely justified in testing for these competencies.

If You Do Choose to Evade a Personality Test…

Forced answer and Likert tests are usually scored by machines. Your answers are then evaluated by the machine to produce a personality type. A psychologist looks at the results, says “Hum” with great gravity, and declares what kind of personality you have.

If you use the methods I’ve described to evade the test, I have no idea what your test results may be. More than likely the examiner will also be confused because there probably will not have a discernible pattern. Even if the machine can find a pattern, if you’ve used these strategies it will be a false pattern which tells nothing about your true personality. This may or may not affect your chances of employment. It’s a decision you have to make.

Real Psychiatry vs. an Industry

Please don’t take this article as a condemnation of the very real science of the human mind. I have great respect for the medical specialty of psychiatry; I’ve seen psychiatrists, as needed, for many years. None of them used the tests I’ve described. They have all been intelligent, kind, and incredibly perceptive. Their ability to see things about me, and help me see them as well (after hours and hours of discussion), has given me great insight into myself and has helped me find peace with my own differences.

I also know many of you tough guys wouldn’t touch a psychiatrist with a ten-foot bump stock. You believe getting psychiatric help indicates weakness, or that you haven’t got enough inner strength to prevail over whatever is distressing you. Or you may believe, as my dear Hubby does, that a psychiatrist can take one look at you and know everything about you. I mentioned this belief to a psychiatrist once and she laughed, “If only!”

Think of it this way: if something goes wrong with your heart, you’d go to a cardiologist. A misbehaving appendix will send you to a surgeon. A broken leg will call for an orthopedist.

The mind can also do things we don’t understand or that make us uncomfortable. If you believe you have an emotional problem, visit a professional—a psychiatrist who has been through medical school, internship, residency, and also has years of experience helping every problem a human mind can have.

Even yours.


    1. Great article, good food for thought, much thanks. It is also fun when taking a drug screening test to ask if they test for halucenagens (most do not). Then tell them Awesome!, I’m good then and hand hand them the sample.

  1. I really hate standardized tests. They assume that there is a certain body of knowledge that needs to be poured into each person. It is simply not the case, because each person doesn’t live the exact same life, and so we won’t have the same experiences. To assume that we each need the same body of knowledge is pure communism.

    I also take issue with the genetics vs environment debate in intelligence. Genetics determine things like, hair color, bone size, etc. It doesn’t determine intelligence. But neither does environment. The concept that there is a certain standard by which to measure intelligence is, in and of itself, communism. Again, there isn’t a certain body of knowledge that each person needs to have. To assume that genetics has any impact on intelligence is a belief in evolution. One day I got to thinking about genetics. I was thinking about it in relation to our health, since it’s often assumed that things like diabetes is genetic. God made it very clear to me that that view is absolutely false and anti-God. Our life is a gift from God, and so he gave us what we need to live to our full potential. To blame a weakness on genetics is to say that he didn’t give us what we need to live to our full potential. It makes him less God. That is simply not the case.

  2. While this is interesting, I do not see how it’s related to prepping. How does evading & escaping standardized testing equip people to become better prepping? I hope someone here can enlighten me.

    1. Chris

      Isn’t prepping aquring general life and living skills as well ? is reading an article on breeding German Shepards about prepping ? or can it be applied to general living as well ? I had friends who applied for jobs at a big dept store picking up customer shoppings carts and taking them back in the store, they had to do idiotic BM test’s and psychometric test’s ( they failed ), they needed money to put in the bank to feed themselves, this article would have helped them to get the job !, again isn’t that survival ? is for them, I assure you, I don’t know if you are being critical for the sake of being mean ( I hope not ), I for one have no problem with the article, you didn’t need to read it did you ????.

  3. “genetics or upbringing”
    Their god of evolution is a phony. And their priests of science as some sort of god leads a people to Psychology and Psychiatry, that are of the devil and psychologists and psychiatrists are the modern day witch doctors of shamanism.

    There is a book that teaches a man all he needs to know about how to live here on earth, in it is life, all else is death.

    God is God, Science is the discovery of His creation and created order. Science is not a god. You can not systematize knowing the heart of a man, as you’ve proven here. If you want to know a man, go to his church, be that church a TV, or shopping mall, or a bar, or cabin in the woods, or house of God. This is how you know a man.

    Psychology and especially Psychiatry aren’t even science. Nothing it does is provable and repeatable with proper controls in an isolated (laboratory) environment. It’s hockus pockus. Ooga booga throw your first born virgins into the volcano to appease the gods of science. The paganism of science as god is how you end up with 70 million dead babies, er, lumps of flesh all killed by ‘psychologically sound’ people and approved by ‘psychologically sound’ politicians.

    Look at all of the ‘well-adjusted’ mass murderers running the white house administrations of the past 150 years. Yeah, sure, they’re ‘healthy’.

    Evil is real, God is real, and Science is either the discovery of the facts of creation or it’s a religion come death cult.

    1. Mental disease is as real as diabetes, atherosclerosis or a fractured rib. There are doctors that are gifted healers and there are some just follow the recommended treatment for a given symptom. Some patients respond well to a given treatment regimen and others who succumb to the proper treatment course.

      Some people with mental illness respond well to treatment (a gifted healer being an important adjunct), and are able to live a relatively normal, healthy life. Others just can’t be helped – it could be the physician or the patient.

      Blanket statements should always be viewed with suspicion. I agree that much of the psychology/psychiatry field has been infected with political overtones, but there are good doctors out there.

  4. I covet privacy and abhor pack mentality as much as anyone. That sad as an employer I have a different take on personality tests. I have done a lot of hiring for both white collar and blue collar entry level jobs. References are great if applicant have experience but with all the legality issues today few previous employers will dare give references. One of my next-preferred tools was the Myer Briggs personality type indicator. It works if you know what personalities you are looking for. Trust me, the best suited personalities for an accountant is typically much different that those of a car sales person. Some personalities and job requirements are mutually exclusive.

    Rebels are great in my book. They are free to exercise their liberties to start their own businesses, many of which require more mentoring than formal education. Today that’s the route I take.

    1. Montana Guy, I also took the Myer Briggs personality type in college as part of an RA leadership class, & then when I began seminary, & a counseling prof reviewed it w/ me. THen my wife & I both took it in preparing for a clergy marriage conference/retreat we went to, & a counselor/leader reviewed it w/ me. So it seems to me that personality tests can be used for good or bad.

      1. Chris, you probably hit the big issue in your last sentence “personality tests can be used for good or bad.” All of our managers were well trained in using the MG type indicator. And it was always voluntary. Demographics might make a difference. Our company was in rural Maine and had about 70 people. It was a peaceful place to work.

        1. Montana Guy

          Most of us, do not have the luxury of living in rural areas, I live in a big city, because most jobs are in the city, I don’t live here because I want to, too many jobs use these ” test’s ” to filter out good people, the test’s never can test for morality, honesty, diligence, ethic’s, every year people in LE or any of the so called public services ( fire dept etc ) are kicked out for theft, anger,drug issues etc, so how did the test’s filter out these people ? short answer is it didn’t ! did it ?

          If they work for you , good on you, for most of us, it’s just another scam.

          1. Tom, the test Chris and I are referring to are designed to help identify personality type indicators. In the case of Myer Briggs there are 16 indicators. If someone told you they identified behavioral characteristics then yes, you were scammed.

            One reason we sacrificed higher paying jobs and conveniences of a big city was to avoid the inordinate number of scammers, and criminals.

  5. Ok, can anyone, whether Autistic Prepper, JWR, or HJL or a reader, please explain how this is related to prepping??
    This seems to fit w/ the privacy concern & not trusting authorities worldview of some or many preppers. Is that now part of the mission of this site, to shape the worldview of prepper-readers?

    1. I read the About Us tab on this site. I typed Precepts in the search function & read the some of the columns by JWR about his precepts, beliefs & survivalist philosophy. But I don’t see how this column on escaping & evading standardized tests fit into what survivalblog is about. This has been my favorite prepping site for almost as long as I’ve been prepping, & I have most of JWR’s books & have learned so much from other writers here. So I’m very grateful for JWR & HDL. I’m not asking this in a critical way; I’m here to learn with an open mind. I would greatly appreciate if someone could explain how this topic fits w/ a survivalist philosophy or worldview.

    2. If something you read doesn’t apply to you or your world view, don’t read it and move on.

      Just because this article doesn’t fit your view of what “prepping” is, doesn’t mean someone else won’t find value in it.

  6. Chris, until the US experiences a re-birth of freedom, and a return to privacy of our personal lives, we have to mostly operate within the parameters set by the statists lording it over us. It’s the rendering to Caesar thing, from Christ, in one of His greatest lessons. So, knowing how to make your way through all the statist and wrong things you have to put up with, gets you a job, and with the earnings of that job you fight back against this kind of tyranny, any way you morally can. Next, with wise and judicious use of those funds, you buy things to prepare you for the inevitable slam into the bottom, and also to train yourself and your family for it. If the job requires you to violate your beliefs, or requires you operate outside morality, then you go find another. This was a good post by the author, and a wrinkle in the plans of not just surviving, but thriving in spite of events.

  7. Environmental is the correct answer because if you took one twin and dropped it off in a Chinese cancer village, the child that was saturated with poisons would measure worse in every metric. The child would certainly be shorter, as well as have a weaker immune system. Developmental neurological problems, if not outright organic brain damage, would be likely.

    Biochemistry does not have a political affiliation.

  8. Chris, you will understand how this is relevant to prepping when the government requires you to undergo mandatory psychological testing before you purchase a gun or ammunition. After all, you could be a potential mass killer. If you are, we sure don’t want you owning a gun. The current laws which allow the government to identify people who “might” do something wrong and remove their firearms is a clear predictor of one anti-gun strategy. This article is to give you a warning of how to handle a situation which will almost certainly happen in the next few years, if Pelosi gets her way.

    1. Autistic Prepper, thanks for your explanation. I live in a GOP state that doesn’t require background checks or gun registration, although I realize that the fed govt can change that. Yes, Big Brother in moving toward trying to predict who will or will not commit a crime. Thanks again for providing the application.

  9. Autistic Prepper-

    Hi, very timely article and also gives me ideas for fooling idiotic psychometric tests, far too many Govt depts and now job agencies use these tests for snooping purposes, recently friends of mine went for a job with a big dept store and they were tested for their job they applied for , you know what the job was ? going out and collecting customer shopping carts left in the carpark by shoppers ! I mean for what $7.00 bucks an hour ?, our friends failed the tests !, I have tried numerous times to get into border protection and customs, but failed numerous efforts, twice the third party Agency hirer asked me if I had anything to say, I did !, I said ” how do these test’s of odd numbers, shapes, colors, if I liked my mother or got angry when confronted test a applicant for honesty, morality, diligence, integrity, ? ” …….the Agency tester had a simple answer …………” we can’t test for those attributes “.

    Needless to say, they didn’t like my reply, I also hate their way’s of trying to snoop into my mind without my consent. I personally hate it!

    Again, great article.

  10. These are serious questions and are not in any sort of agenda seeking angle.

    Have you spent any time in a school classroom?

    Do you know what these standardized test/ state assessments are for?

  11. Within reason it is possible to understate or mask through more purposeful test taking manipulation.

    This can be useful to “grey-out” becoming a sheeple rather than revealing one’s true nature and/or capabilities.

    The training is non-trivial and doesn’t have a uniform uptake across those trained.

    Not very certain it is worth the efforts other than in very specific and special circumstances.

  12. Standardized testing is a very serious challenge to liberty, and thus very relevant to prepping issues. Big government should know very little about you. However, the strategies given for random answers will not work on sophisticated tests. The MMPI, for example, has as I recall, six lie scales. Each scale might have a dozen or so questions. For example, one scale consists of repeat questions throughout the test with slightly different wording. You have to be consistent or they know you are lying.

    A better strategy to beat these tests is to imagine yourself as a character (say a housewife or a dock worker or a zoo keeper) and answer all questions consistent with how that character would feel.

  13. Well, I have run my small business for 34 years and hired off and on. I use one of those tests. It is called Omnia Profiles. They tested me and then evaluate others with the same test in the context of me and my current employees. I have found it extremely foolish to ignore what they have to say. I am troubled at how they seem to be able to look right into your soul. But it works. The test is four columns of words which are identical on two pages. The instructions vary in that the first page asks you to mark words you use to describe yourself. The second page asks you to mark the words others use to describe you. Pay attention to what they have to say, hire the right people and all of you and your employees live happily ever after. Ignore them and have anger, turn over, poorly served customers and other forms of mayhem. I invite you to play games with my test so that I will know you are an asshole up front. I would rather, however, find out you have some integrity with a simple “no thank you.”
    On the government intrusion front, you will not be able to fool them. Just bought some of that collectors break free myself. Make sure you have weapons bought from an FFL in every caliber you own.

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