Test Your Culture is a quiz which measures your English-speaking cultural knowledge. It tests you on a selection of randomly-chosen cultural items drawn from celebrities and other famous people, books, movies, TV shows, musical artists, albums, songs, and more.

This produces a final “cultural IQ” score, which is the estimated number of cultural items you know out of the top 10,000 (as measured by popularity among English speakers worldwide). You can compare your score to see how it stacks up against your friends, as well as against the general American population aged 18+.

And Test Your Culture is more than just a fun quiz — it’s also a research project to map patterns of cultural knowledge. As we gather data, we’ll be running statistical analyses on it and writing blog posts on what we find out.

Our story

Back in 2010, we were interested in how people’s vocabulary sizes compared — how did vocabulary sizes grow with age, and how did native speakers compare with people who learned English as a second language? There was no large-scale study of this in the world, so we launched Test Your Vocab. It quickly became the world’s most popular English-language vocabulary test (taken over 10 million times), and allowed us to publish lots of fascinating findings.

A few years later, we had the idea of doing the same thing — only for culture instead. While there have long been tests for general intelligence (IQ) and specific aptitudes (SAT), there has never been a tool to rigorously and scientifically measure cultural knowledge. So we worked out the math, figured out the data, and built Test Your Culture. And now we’re excited to do the same kinds of data analysis we’ve done on vocabulary sizes to see what kinds of cultural knowledge patterns we can find, and share them with you in our blog.

How it works

Every month we import all cultural items from the English-language Wikipedia and calculate their popularity rankings based on page traffic to each article. Our quiz is formed from the resulting top 10,000 items.

When you take the quiz, we randomly sample items to show from these top 10,000, ranging from very popular to less popular. You mark cultural items you know, and from the marked and unmarked items we calculate a final estimate of how many total items you know out of the top 10,000.

To make the test as accurate as possible, we actually separate it into a beginning step and three further adaptive steps, which means the level of difficulty in each step depends on your answers to previous steps. If you know fewer items overall you’ll get an ‘easier’ quiz, while if you check a lot of boxes you’ll get a ‘harder’ one. This allows us to ‘zero in’ on your knowledge level and produce accurate estimates at all levels of knowledge, from low to high.

Finally, we include an optional short demographic survey at the end so we can produce result breakdowns by age, educational level, and other factors.


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