The Purity Test

The Purity Test at Rice University stands as a pivotal tradition, bridging the gap between Orientation Week and the authentic college experience. It offers students a voluntary chance to strengthen bonds within their O-week cohorts while providing a framework to reflect on their personal growth throughout their collegiate journey.
It’s important to note that the Purity Test diverges sharply from a mere checklist of life experiences. Unlike a bucket list, whose completion may be seen as a mark of achievement, completing all items on this test is humorously cautioned against, as it humorously suggests such feats could prove fatal. The test instead serves as a lighthearted and introspective tool, encouraging students to embrace their evolving identities and experiences during their time at Rice.
The Rice Purity Test, also known as “The Innocence Test,” is a questionnaire comprising 100 questions originally developed at Rice University. This self-assessment tool allows participants to gauge their perceived innocence across a range of worldly activities such as sex, drugs, deceit, and other behaviors often considered vices. Scores typically range on a percentage scale from 0% (least pure) to 100% (purest). Initially used as a voluntary bonding activity among new students, the Rice Purity Test has evolved into a lighthearted, fun tradition in contemporary times.

The Rice Purity Test is an iconic tradition that has transcended its origins at Rice University to become a global phenomenon. Designed as a lighthearted way for students to reflect on their life experiences, it consists of 100 quirky questions covering various topics like relationships, substance use, and more. Despite its popularity and widespread appeal, it’s important to understand that the test is purely for entertainment purposes and should not be used to assess someone’s character or morality.

Understanding the Rice Purity Test:

The test is straightforward: participants answer “Yes” or “No” to each question, and their score is determined by subtracting the number of “Yes” answers from 100. This score supposedly reflects their level of innocence or purity, with higher scores suggesting less exposure to certain life experiences covered in the questions.

Origins and Evolution:

Originating in the early 20th century at Rice University, the test initially served as a bonding activity during Orientation Week. Over the decades, it has evolved significantly, with updates and modifications reflecting changing societal norms and student experiences. The test gained substantial popularity beyond its origins, spreading through online platforms and gaining traction in popular culture, including mentions in TV shows and social media trends.

Cultural Impact and Controversy:

While the Rice Purity Test continues to entertain and engage individuals globally, it has not been without criticism. Some argue that it perpetuates outdated notions of purity and morality, potentially leading to stigma or shame for those with lower scores. It’s crucial to recognize that everyone’s life experiences are unique and influenced by various factors, making it inappropriate to judge based on a simple test.


Ultimately, the Rice Purity Test remains a fun and informal way for individuals to reflect on their experiences and engage with a shared cultural phenomenon. However, it should be approached with a sense of humor and understanding of its limitations. It does not provide a comprehensive measure of one’s character or worth, and its results should not be taken too seriously. Instead, it serves as a reminder of the diversity of human experiences and the cultural contexts that shape them.

What is Rice Purity Test?

The tradition of taking a “purity test” has become a notable trend among newly enrolled students at Rice University. These tests are part of a broader category of assessments designed to gauge personal experiences and lifestyles. The concept of purity tests traces back historically, with documented instances appearing as early as February 8, 1936, as reported by The Indian Express.

Why is it called the Rice Purity Test?

The Purity Test at Rice University serves as a symbolic link between Orientation Week (O-Week) and the actual college experience. Derived from the university’s name, “Rice,” this tradition marks the beginning of students’ immersion into campus life. O-Week itself is a distinctive and memorable initiation period that sets Rice University apart, offering an experience unparalleled by other institutions.