Projects photo
Photo Credit: KF via Wikimedia Commons

Project: Ghent University’s Literacy Test

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, you’ve seen them: those ridiculous quizzes. Depending on what pops up in your news feed, you can find out which Doctor Who character you most resemble, which country in the world you should be living in based on your personality, and whether you’re truly a dog or a cat person. Of course, none of these quizzes are actually “real,” as they’re written by entertainment sites, and are designed for fun (and maybe bragging rights if you happen to agree with the results.)

Today though, you can spend your quiz time on something that will help researchers learn more about literacy. The University of Ghent, in Belgium, is running an online vocabulary test. The purpose of the test is to find out how many words you know, and if you can tell the difference between real words and made up nonwords. The test takes about four minutes to complete; before you begin, you’re asked to provide some basic and anonymous background information (e.g., your age, your handedness, and so on) that will help the researchers to chart the knowledge of English vocabulary throughout the world.

To take the test, head over to The master list for the test includes 60,469 words and 304,275 nonwords; your test will include a random sample of 70 words and 30 nonwords.

When you’re done, you’ll be able to share your score on social media with the hashtag: #wordornot. Good luck!

Chandra Clarke is a Webby Honoree-winning blogger, a successful entrepreneur, and an author. Her book Be the Change: Saving the World with Citizen Science is available at Amazon. You can connect with her on Twitter @chandraclarke.