Online Memory Tests You Can Trust (extensive guide)

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Last updated March 6, 2024.
Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC. Written by Deane Alban.

Legitimate, science-based memory tests deliver meaningful results. If your long or short-term memory is a concern, a quality test for memory loss is a must.

If your memory isn’t working as well as you’d like, taking an online memory test can help you know where you stand.

But there’s an overwhelming number of memory loss tests available online … where to begin?

Not all memory tests are created equal.

Some are designed by neuroscientists in conjunction with major universities or brain health organizations.

But most are designed by people with no brain expertise whatsoever.

We’ll help you sort the trustworthy do-it-yourself tests from the scams.

Why You Should Choose a Memory Test Carefully

Do an online search for “memory test” and you’ll find loads of websites that offer free tests.

Most of these tests are ineffective at best, and they can be intentionally misleading and even predatory. 

Some are designed to use your test results to scare you into buying a product or service.

One popular test gave everyone who took it a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

Many of these tests are used to gather your data which can be used for a variety of unscrupulous purposes.

" Any legitimate memory test will clearly state its affiliation with a university, group of neuroscientists, or nonprofit organization. This will help ensure that the test is supported by science and will not misuse your information.

Most commonly, your information is used to create targeted online ads and is sold to companies who mine data. 

Medical-based information can be sold to your insurance company or employer, or even fall into the hands of criminals.

Not all questionable memory tests are online.

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A few years ago, the Rite Aid drugstore chain drew fire from both doctors and Alzheimer’s organizations for offering free memory tests.

cartoon depicting a worried brain
Beware of inaccurate and alarming memory tests. (Image courtesy of DanWoodger.com)

Apparently, the personnel administering the tests did not have the required expertise to administer these tests.

Test results were inaccurate, causing customers unnecessary alarm. 

Finding a Reputable Memory Test: What to Look For

Once you’ve found a memory test online, do the following before you start taking it.

First, browse around the website.

Look at the top and bottom of any site page for an “about us” page and contact information.

You want to see evidence that there is a credible organization or person behind the test.

Any legitimate memory test will clearly state its affiliation with a university, hospital, group of neuroscientists, or nonprofit organization.

This will help ensure that the test is supported by science and will not misuse your information.

Next, look for things like terms of use, disclosures, and privacy notices.

Not having these on any website is a red flag.

If you aren’t sure who is behind the test and how your information will be used, we recommend you skip it.

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Legitimate Memory Tests You Can Take Yourself

We’ve done much of the homework for you here by reviewing the most popular online tests and researching many more.

Below is a list of our top picks — memory tests offered by reputable organizations you can trust.

These tests are both safe and secure and yield meaningful information.

Several of these tests are actually used by clinics as screening tools, but you can do them at home.

Some you can take online, while others need to be downloaded and printed.

Some will tabulate a score for you immediately, others you will have to grade yourself or have someone else do this for you.

There is no cost to take any of these tests.

Memory Tests Used by Healthcare Professionals

This first group of tests includes those used by clinicians to diagnose memory loss and other cognitive impairments.

But they are also available for you to do on your own for free.

Note: If you take any of these tests and your results are suspicious, we urge you to talk to your doctor. They may want to repeat the test in their office or see you for a cognitive check-up.

If you are a US senior covered by Medicare, you can receive a routine cognitive impairment assessment as part of your annual check-up.

1. Saint Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS) Exam

This test measures 11 cognitive categories including short-term memory, calculations, and recognition of geometric figures.

It takes about 7 minutes to complete.

You can learn more about this test on the Saint Louis University website.

You can download the mental status exam in PDF format directly from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

This memory test is available in a dozen or so languages besides English.

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2. Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE)

The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) is the most commonly used test for complaints of memory loss or when a diagnosis of dementia is being considered.

The test is typically administered by a healthcare professional, but the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing provides the actual MMSE test as a PDF so you can take it at home.

3. Six-Item Cognitive Impairment Test (6CIT)

The Six-Item Cognitive Impairment Test (6CIT) is a dementia screening tool often used in Europe.

It consists of six simple, culturally-neutral questions.

You can take the test here.

4. Test Your Memory (TYM) Exam

The Test Your Memory (TYM) exam is considered an accurate tool for Alzheimer’s screening. 

Research published in the prestigious British Medical Journal concluded that this self-administered cognitive screening test “is a powerful and valid screening test for the detection of Alzheimer’s disease.” 

You can print this 2-page memory test here.

(This test was designed in the UK, so feel free to replace the term “prime minister” with “president” in question #3 if you live in the US.)

5. Mini-Cog Test

The Mini-Cog is a very simple screening test you can use if you’re concerned about mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.

You will need to have a friend or family member help you take this test.

You’ll find a PDF version of this test and learn how to interpret test results at Mini-Cog.com.

6. Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is a brief cognitive test developed at McGill University.

It is used by healthcare professionals to identify cognitive problems in people with dementia, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and Parkinson’s disease.

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You’ll find information on taking MoCA at MocaCognition.com.

There you’ll find access to both the digital test and the paper version. 

7. Ohio State University Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE)

The SAGE test is designed to detect early signs of memory loss and other cognitive impairments.

This is a serious test used by medical professionals.

You won’t get a score when you’ve finished.

You’ll need to take your completed test to your doctor to evaluate the results for you.

If you think your memory loss could be serious, SAGE is the most insightful test to take. 

Memory Tests That Also Contribute to Research

The memory tests in this next group are offered by organizations that use the data collected to advance scientific research.

Some tests offer you an added benefit — they allow you to do personal research.

For instance, you can track how your brain changes with time or as you make changes to your lifestyle.

Before you take these kinds of tests, read their terms of agreement carefully to be sure you understand your rights and responsibilities.

1. Food for the Brain Cognitive Function Test

Food for the Brain is a nonprofit educational organization based in the United Kingdom.

Their Cognitive Function Test was developed by a group of nutritional therapists, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers, and scientists.

Your test results will indicate whether your cognitive skills are within normal range.

This test can help you determine your level of cognitive impairment and potential risk for Alzheimer’s.

You are encouraged to retake it over time to track how your brain functions change.

2. MindCrowd

MindCrowd is a collaborative effort between several major universities and the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

This research study offers a free memory test and uses the results to understand how genetics influences how the human brain remembers and how memory changes with age.

MindCrowd’s ultimate goal is to better understand the changes that occur in people with brain diseases that affect memory, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

So far, nearly half a million people have taken this test. 

If you take this test, you may be asked to take the test again at a later date, but you are under no obligation to do so.

3. BrainLabs

BrainLabs offers a suite of tests that allows you to evaluate several aspects of cognitive performance.

When you join the BrainLabs community, you’re taking part in one of the largest online scientific experiments ever conducted.

Over seven million tests have been taken so far.

You can use their tests to “track your hack” — to see how your brain responds, both positively and negatively, to changes you make in the areas of sleep, exercise, stress, caffeine, alcohol, meditation, and nootropic brain supplements.

You can view a sample brain report, then sign up for a free account or choose an upgraded version which allows you to take unlimited tests and receive unlimited reports for a low monthly cost.

4. Cogniciti’s Brain Health Assessment

Cogniciti’s Brain Health Assessment is a memory test provided by Baycrest, Canada’s largest geriatric healthcare institute and a world leader in memory and aging research.

The test takes about 20 minutes to complete online.

After you’ve taken the test, you’ll receive a personalized action plan.

If your results warrant a doctor’s visit, you’ll also receive a report for your doctor to help make your consultation a productive one.

5. TestMyBrain

TestMyBrain is a not-for-profit research initiative that began at Harvard University.

This organization provides high-quality neurocognitive tests to further their understanding of the human brain.

You’ll find tests for cognitive speed, emotion recognition, pattern recognition, and more.

Over 1.7 million participants, so-called “citizen scientists,” have taken their tests.

After you’ve taken a test, you’ll receive personalized feedback about your unique brain profile.

6. Cleveland Clinic Brain Check-Up

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit, academic medical center that is consistently rated as one of the best hospitals in the US. 

The Cleveland Clinic Brain Check-Up is an online self-assessment that tests your memory and assesses how brain-healthy your lifestyle is. 

You can take their assessment online at HealthyBrains.org or use their mobile app (available for Android and iOS).

7. BrainGuide

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is a nonprofit advocacy group with the goal of conquering Alzheimer’s disease.

Their new platform, BrainGuide, offers confidential memory questionnaires that can be taken online or by phone in either English or Spanish.

They offer two versions of a memory test — one to take yourself and another to be completed by caregivers. 

Once you have evaluated your completed questionnaire, you may use resources on BrainGuide that are tailored to your situation.

More Trustworthy Online Memory Tests

These tests are not used by doctors or for ongoing research but are still worthwhile to consider.

MemTrax Memory Test

The MemTrax memory test was designed by John Wesson Ashford, MD, PhD, a Stanford University psychiatrist and neuroscientist.

He developed MemTrax as a memory screening tool to assist in the detection of learning and short-term memory issues that arise with age-related cognitive decline.

MemTrax measures your brain’s health over time so that you can judge if your forgetfulness is normal or a sign of a serious problem.

You can take the test for free at Cognifit.com.

Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation Memory Quiz

Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation is a registered charitable organization.

They have two quizzes on their website.

The first one is a 15-question Memory Quiz to help you determine if your memory loss might be serious.

This test was developed by the organization’s founder, Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD.

And since stress is a major cause of mental decline, they also have a Stress Assessment Quiz based on your current life situation.

You can tabulate instant results for each.

Psychology Today Memory Test

Psychology Today magazine has been in print since 1967.

They now have the #1 mental health website that gets tens of millions of visits every month.

Among the many self-assessment tools they offer are dozens of cognitive skills tests for functions like attention span, creative problem-solving, mental speed, and concentration.

Their memory test assesses how much your memory loss is affecting your life via a short multiple-choice questionnaire.

After finishing the test, you can elect to receive a detailed, personalized interpretation of your score.

Their memory test is free, but for many of their other online assessments, you’ll need to pay a small fee to see your full test results.

Memory Quizzes, Challenges, and More

Many websites take a lighter approach to testing, offering games and quizzes to test your memory while giving you mental stimulation and exercising your memory skills.

You’ll find memory tests here for people of all ages, from kids to seniors, all offered by credible organizations.

AARP Staying Sharp

AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) is the largest nonprofit organization in the US that represents and empowers Americans 50+ years old.

Staying Sharp is their brain fitness website.

If you are currently an AARP member, you can sign up for free to play their brain games and get their latest articles on brain health.

You can also take their Cognitive Assessment and receive personalized recommendations for living a brain-smart lifestyle.

This test is free for all AARP members.

Predictably, the games you find here are designed with older adults in mind and aren’t too complicated.

AARP realizes that their audience didn’t grow up with video games.

You’ll find memory, word, and problem-solving games designed specifically to keep seniors’ brains sharp.

Fotuhi Brain Fitness Calculator

Neurologist Majid Fotuhi, MD, PhD, is a graduate of both Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

He is the author of Boost Your Brain: The New Art and Science Behind Enhanced Brain Performance.

He created the Fotuhi Brain Fitness Calculator based on his 25 years of research, clinical, and teaching experiences.

This questionnaire does not test your memory per se.

Instead, it assesses your habits to determine how brain-healthy your lifestyle is.

SharpBrains

SharpBrains is a leading market research firm and brain fitness think tank led by a team of neuroscientists.

But they also have a lighter side!

Start with their Brain Teasers, Puzzles and Games for Teens and Adults.

You’ll find memory, attention, language, and logic exercises, plus experiments to illustrate how your brain works.

And once you finish these, you’ll find more brainy challenges here.

University of Washington Short-Term Memory Test

The University of Washington offers a very basic do-it-yourself short-term memory test.

It tests how many letters you can hold in your short-term memory at one time.

This test starts easy but gets hard fast.

There are six rounds, starting with memorizing 2 letters and working up to 12.

You can also check out their Neuroscience for Kids page which contains dozens of memory tests, quizzes, and games for brains of all ages.

Steps to Take If Your Memory Test Results Are Bad

If you perform poorly on any memory test you take, don’t be too alarmed.

First, realize that there is no single test that can diagnose problematic memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s. 

What Your Doctor Can Do

But you may want to talk to your doctor about your results.

They may want to do a physical exam or discuss your current medications.

Many underlying health conditions can contribute to memory loss.

There are also hundreds of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that cause memory loss.

Once these are ruled out, your doctor may want to do her own cognitive assessment.

They may administer the SLUMS, SAGE, MMSE, 6CIT, TYM, or Mini-Cog test in their office.

What You Can Do

At the same time, there is much that you can do to help your brain function at its best.

Check out the brain-healthy lifestyle changes we discuss throughout our website.

Help your brain with the right foods, proper supplementation, stress reduction, and more.

Do brain exercises proven to improve short-term memory and other cognitive skills.

Then, retake the memory test in a few months to see if there is any improvement.

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