The Rice Purity Test is an online self-graded survey that aims to measure an individual’s degree of “innocence” in matters such as sex, drugs, deceit, and other activities considered “impure.” The test originated at Rice University, Houston, with the intent to help incoming students track their experiences throughout college.

Origins and Evolution of the Rice Purity Test

First created in the 1920s, the Rice Purity Test was initially a bonding exercise for freshmen students. It was designed as a checklist of 100 ‘naughty’ things that the average college student might do during their time at school. The test has been updated over the years to reflect the evolving societal norms and experiences.

The test began as a handwritten list, but it has since moved to an online platform. Although it originated at Rice University, the test has gained popularity worldwide. It’s often taken as a fun activity by individuals curious about their ‘purity score,’ and by groups seeking a form of amusement or bonding.

Structure of the Rice Purity Test

The Rice Purity Test consists of 100 yes/no questions. Each question represents an action or experience, such as “Have you ever held hands romantically?” or “Have you ever used a drug stronger than marijuana?” The participant marks off each item they’ve done, and at the end, they receive a score out of 100. A higher score signifies a higher degree of ‘purity,’ while a lower score indicates more experiences related to the test’s themes.

It’s worth noting that the test is completely anonymous and voluntary. It’s designed to provoke self-reflection rather than judgment, and participants are encouraged to approach it with a sense of humor and openness.

Interpreting the Results

Scoring on the Rice Purity Test is straightforward. For each question that the participant answers “yes” to, they subtract one point from the total score of 100. The final score is somewhere between 0 and 100, with 100 being the purest and 0 being the least pure.

However, interpretation of the score is highly subjective and can vary significantly among individuals and cultural contexts. Generally, a score over 70 is considered ‘pure’ or ‘innocent,’ while a score under 70 is considered ‘less pure’ or ‘experienced.’ But these labels are arbitrary and don’t necessarily reflect an individual’s moral character, maturity, or value as a person.

Significance and Criticism of the Rice Purity Test

The Rice Purity Test can be seen as a social tool, a mirror reflecting societal expectations, norms, and taboos. It opens conversations about experiences that might otherwise be considered too personal or taboo to discuss openly. This can facilitate bonding among friends, peers, and even strangers.

However, the test is not without criticism. Some argue that it promotes a binary view of purity and impurity, creating a potential for judgment or shame. The very concept of ‘purity’ is problematic to some, as it can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and stigmas. Additionally, the test may seem biased towards certain cultural norms, experiences, and orientations, thereby not representing the wide spectrum of human experiences.

Moreover, critics argue that the Rice Purity Test oversimplifies complex issues like drug use, sex, and legality. It’s important to remember that the test should not be used as a moral compass or a comprehensive measure of one’s character or experiences.

Relevance in the Modern Age

Despite its criticisms, the Rice Purity Test continues to be relevant in the modern age. It’s a fascinating social artifact that reflects shifting societal norms and values. The test has been modified over the years to reflect changes in societal attitudes and to include experiences relevant to newer generations.

As a self-reflective tool, the Rice Purity Test can provide insight into personal development and growth. It allows individuals to track their experiences over time, seeing how they have changed and grown throughout their college years or beyond.

Furthermore, the Rice Purity Test can act as a catalyst for open discussions about topics that are often considered taboo. It can encourage dialogue about consent, safe sex, substance use, and mental health, to name a few. By creating a safe space for these discussions, the test can contribute to increased awareness and understanding of these critical issues.

Still, it’s essential to approach the test with the understanding that it is not a measure of a person’s worth or morality. An individual’s score on the test does not determine their value or character. Instead, it merely represents a range of experiences that they may or may not have had.

The Test’s Popularity and Uses

The Rice Purity Test has spread far beyond the confines of Rice University, thanks to the power of the internet. It has become a popular activity among high school and college students globally, often serving as an ice-breaker or conversation starter at parties or get-togethers. It has even found its way into online communities, where people share their scores and experiences in forums and social media groups.

The test is also occasionally used in a therapeutic or counseling context. Some therapists use it as a tool to open up discussions with clients about their experiences, attitudes, and beliefs. It can serve as a launching point for exploring issues related to sexuality, peer pressure, substance use, and other relevant topics.

However, it’s important to note that while the Rice Purity Test can be a useful tool for initiating discussions, it should not be used as a diagnostic tool or a substitute for professional psychological assessment.


The Rice Purity Test is more than just a list of questions. It’s a reflection of societal norms, a catalyst for open dialogue, and a tool for self-reflection. While it has its share of criticisms and limitations, it continues to be a relevant social tool in the modern age.

Whether you’re taking the test out of curiosity, for amusement, or as a means of introspection, remember that your score is just a number. It does not define your worth or your character. It’s the experiences behind the score, the lessons learned, and the growth experienced that truly matter.

To conclude, the Rice Purity Test is an interesting and powerful social artifact that opens up conversations, encourages self-reflection, and showcases the evolving norms and values of society. However, it’s essential to approach it with an open mind, a sense of humor, and the understanding that a person’s experiences are their own, unique and not a measure of their value or morality.

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