How exactly does the sorting quiz work on Pottermore?

I am aware of the basic qualities the Sorting Hat looks for when it has to sort a witch/wizard, but, any info in terms of an algorithm or a logical flow of thought based on the answers we give (in the quiz on Pottermore), would be appreciated.

Has J K Rowling ever said anything about this?

  • 1
    yeah....not sure how on topic this is, Pottermore has canon aspects to it and supposedly JKR wrote all or portions of the quiz so that could cause it land here, but....the question as asked is really asking a functional question about a website. But I'm uncertain either way so I won't vote to close or downvote. Just pondering and maybe somebody else has good thoughts about it
    – NKCampbell
    Apr 27, 2017 at 21:05
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    sendspace.com/file/awkdgu @ibid made a file that maps all the questions for the patronuses :) Apr 27, 2017 at 21:09
  • @CandiedMango Interesting! So, something similar to this exists for the sorting quiz as well right..
    – arista
    Apr 27, 2017 at 22:16
  • I've been planning on doing a self-answer about the differenced between the quizzes of the old Pm and the new one for a while by now. Maybe I should take the time now to answer this.
    – ibid
    Apr 28, 2017 at 6:48
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    @Voronwë why did you delete your answer? It wasn't bad at all.
    – SQB
    Apr 28, 2017 at 8:27

2 Answers 2


How exactly does the sorting quiz work on Pottermore?

Each answer is associated with one or more houses and weighted differently. After answering the eight randomly chosen questions, one is sorted into the house that their answer's most closely aligned to.

The first major attempt at cracking the Sorting Hat quiz was done on the old Pottermore by tumblr user BronzeDragon113. She collected about 2,600 different trials and then analysed the results, largely determining which house(s) each answer corresponded to. Later, reddit user /u/n1fller wrote a script to take the new pottermore's quiz 10,000 times and was able to achive 98% accuracy using neural networks. Later still, /u/n1fller repeated the experiment with 100,000 trials and fully cracked the algorithm.

The quiz consisted of eight questions.

  • Question One had four different versions, each with four answer choices.
  • Question Two had five different versions, each with four answer choices.
  • Question Three had three different versions, each with five or six answer choices.
  • Question Four had three different versions, each with six or seven answer choices.
  • Question Five had six different versions, each with four answer choices.
  • Question Six had three different versions each with two answer choices.
  • Question Seven had three different versions each with two answer choices.
  • To make the quiz harder to crack, the user's pet was secretly factored in as well.

Note: When Pottermore relaunched the quiz in 2016, the question order was randomized (#6,#1-5,pets,#7), and the pet factor was no longer as subtle.

The questions with four answer choices (#1,#2,#5) all functioned as one would think, with each giving one point to a corresponding to each house.

The questions with two answer choices (#6 and #7) would have each answer choice give a point to two houses.

The questions with more than four answer choices (#3 and #4) would have each answer choice give a point one house and often also a point or a half-point to a different house.

The pet questions would give full, half, and/or quarter points to two or three houses.

To list out the results of each of the 28 questions and their 100+ answer choices would be well beyond the scope of this answer. That information can all be found in /u/n1ffler's weight table.

If a user's score was tied between two or more houses, than they were given a choice which one to go to (Pottermore called this a "hatstall".) In the new Pottermore this was choice was removed with the quiz selecting based on the ordering Gryffindor > Hufflepuff > Ravenclaw > Slytherin. (This change kind of highlights my feeling with the people who run the new Pottermore.)

You can see an interactive version of how every answer choice affects your outcome by using this interactive tool.

It should also be noted that the Ilvermorny quiz is a carbon-copy of the Sorting Hat quiz with question text changed and the weights simplified so there are no half or quarter points (thus resulting in a staggering 28% chance of getting a tie).

Has J K Rowling ever said anything about this?

So, developing these vast pool of questions that are randomly selected for a user – so you won't get the same questions as your friend necessarily – I thought it was quite important that people didn’t get to second guess what meant Gryffindor, for example.
J.K. Rowling, Pottermore Press Conference, June 23, 2011

We had an amazing team working on it, we really did. And I’ve been so involved. In fact, you saw a hint of what’s really fun. You get your wand, you get Sorted into your House, and I think that’s been really popular with users. I devised all of that. I had so much fun with that. I think there are 30,000 and something wand combinations you can get, so you get a really personalized wand.

Devising the definitive questions for the different Houses was a lot of fun. Because there have been so many pale imitations online. It was time for me to do it.
J.K. Rowling, Scholastic webchat, Harry Potter Book Club, November 8th, 2012

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    It would have been cool to have the hatstall component even in the new Pottermore, and the ordering seems pretty biased. In case of a tie, shouldn't questions #3 and #4 be considered to determine which house the person belongs to, since they are weighted the highest?
    – arista
    Apr 28, 2017 at 18:35
  • 1
    Each question has a specific weight. Using any of them to tie break is essentially changing Rowling's algorithm. That said I'm disgusted that Pottermore thinks Hufflepuff and Slytherin are "bad" houses. They should have just selected randomly (like the Patronus test does regarding the animal's gender).
    – ibid
    Apr 28, 2017 at 22:42
  • @ibid It's amazing that JKR hasn't done anything to counter 'Gryffindorism' on Pottermore. After all, didn't her daughter say that all of us must want to be Hufflepuffs? Nov 23, 2017 at 9:47
  • @HarryWeasley - She seems to be a lot less involved (read: not involved at all) in the day to day operations of the new Pottermore.
    – ibid
    Nov 23, 2017 at 15:19

Basically, the answers that you give determines your house.

An example from Pottermore:

You and two friends need to cross a bridge guarded by a river troll who insists on fighting one of you before he will let all of you pass. Do you: 1) Volunteer to fight? 2) Suggest that all three of you should fight 3) Attempt to confuse the troll into letting all three of you pass without fighting? 4) Suggest drawing lots to decide which of you will fight?

If you choose 1), it shows that you are, in a way, brave- which is a Gryffindor characteristic. If you do all the questions with a majority of 'Gryffindor-like' answers, you'll most probably go into that house.



Good - Hufflepuff Great - Slytherin Wise - Ravenclaw Bold - Gryffindor Selfish - Hufflepuff Ordinary - Slytherin Ignorant - Ravenclaw Cowardly - Gryffindor Love - Hufflepuff Power - Slytherin Wisdom - Ravenclaw Glory - Gryffindor Miss me and smile - Hufflepuff Opinion matters when alive - Slytherin Think of achievements - Ravenclaw Think of adventures - Gryffindor


Home - Hufflepuff Sea - Slytherin Parchment - Ravenclaw Log Fire - Gryffindor Tortoiseshell box with squeaking animal - Hufflepuff Merlin’s box with rune - Slytherin Ornate golden box with unbearable temptation - Ravenclaw Pewter box for worthy - Gryffindor Trumpet - Hufflepuff Violin - Slytherin Piano - Ravenclaw Drums - Gryffindor Plums and chocolate - Hufflepuff Inky visions goblet - Slytherin Silvery glittery potion - Ravenclaw Golden sunspots potion - Gryffindor Talking toadstools - Hufflepuff Luminous pool - Slytherin Silver tree, golden apples - Ravenclaw Statue - Gryffindor

Q3: (Note that Q3 and 4 receive higher overall weight than any other, at least in regards to the primary answer.)

  1. Cure 2. Book 3. Records - Gryffindor primary, Ravenclaw secondary
  2. Cure 2. Records 3. Book - Hufflepuff primary, Gryffindor secondary
  3. Book 2. Cure 3. Records - Ravenclaw primary, Slytherin secondary
  4. Book 2. Records 3. Cure - Slytherin primary, Ravenclaw secondary
  5. Records 2. Cure 3. Book - Hufflepuff primary, Slytherin secondary
  6. Records 2. Book 3. Cure - Slytherin primary, Hufflepuff secondary

Trusted - Hufflepuff primary, Gryffindor secondary Liked - Hufflepuff Praised - Gryffindor primary, Slytherin secondary Imitated - Ravenclaw Envied - Slytherin Hunger - Hufflepuff primary, Ravenclaw secondary Cold - Slytherin primary, Hufflepuff secondary Loneliness - Hufflepuff primary, Gryffindor secondary Being Ignored - Slytherin primary, Ravenclaw secondary Boredom - Gryffindor primary, Slytherin secondary


Every area of magic - Ravenclaw primary, Slytherin secondary Apparition/Disapparition - Slytherin primary, Gryffindor secondary Hexes and Jinxes - Slytherin Magical Creatures - Hufflepuff Castle secrets - Gryffindor Broom Flying - Gryffindor primary, Hufflepuff secondary Transfiguration - Ravenclaw

Change the past - Slytherin primary, Gryffindor secondary Change appearance - Slytherin primary, Ravenclaw secondary Read minds - Ravenclaw primary, Slytherin secondary Invisibility - Gryffindor Talk to animals - Hufflepuff primary, Ravenclaw secondary Superstrength - Hufflepuff

Ghosts - Gryffindor primary, Ravenclaw secondary Centaurs - Ravenclaw primary, Gryffindor secondary Werewolves - Hufflepuff primary, Gryffindor secondary Merpeople - Slytherin Vampires - Slytherin primary, Hufflepuff secondary Goblins - Slytherin primary, Ravenclaw secondary Trolls - Hufflepuff


Lie and say you don’t know - Hufflepuff Tell before the test - Slytherin Tell Flitwick and get points - Ravenclaw Confront classmate - Gryffindor Wide sunny grassy path - Hufflepuff Lantern-lit alley - Slytherin Cobbled ancient buildings path - Ravenclaw Twisting woodsy path - Gryffindor Worried about mental health - Hufflepuff Offer jinx sample - Slytherin Ask why they think so - Ravenclaw Agree and walk away, bluffing - Gryffindor Proceed with caution, concealed wand - Hufflepuff Draw wand, stand ground - Slytherin Withdraw into shadows - Ravenclaw Draw wand, find source - Gryffindor Draw lots - Hufflepuff Suggest all three fight - Slytherin Confuse troll - Ravenclaw Volunteer to fight - Gryffindor No one knows you - Hufflepuff Silly voice - Slytherin Up high, no handholds - Ravenclaw Eye at keyhole - Gryffindor

Q6: Stars - Hufflepuff primary, Gryffindor secondary (*) Moon - Slytherin primary, Ravenclaw secondary

River - Slytherin primary, Hufflepuff secondary Forest - Gryffindor primary, Ravenclaw secondary

Dawn - Ravenclaw primary, Gryffindor secondary Dusk - Hufflepuff primary, Slytherin secondary


Left - Ravenclaw primary, Slytherin secondary Right - Gryffindor primary, Hufflepuff secondary Heads - Ravenclaw primary, Hufflepuff secondary Tails - Gryffindor primary, Slytherin secondary

Link to the site: http://pottermoreanalysis.tumblr.com/post/35873379539/as-promised-a-quick-and-dirty-sorting-hat-guide BronzeDragon made this list herself and therefore it is slightly bias, but will still yield close-enough results.

  • That would still be answered in my question. The link pretty much sums up the combination.
    – Voronwé
    Apr 28, 2017 at 8:22
  • You appear to be basing your analysis on BronzeDragon's. While incredibly useful, you should be aware that she was working from a very biased set. Her data often indicates what the people from each house are likely to choose, not what values Pottermore sorts people with. She also didn't factor the pets question.
    – ibid
    Apr 28, 2017 at 8:57
  • Yep. I will try to find if there are any Hogwarts House Sorting spreadsheets lying around and better improve this answer.
    – Voronwé
    Apr 28, 2017 at 9:10
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    I'm unsure how relevant the last point is. The question is how the quiz works, not how to force a specific result.
    – ibid
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:13
  • 2
    Nice work, could do with some formatting, but seems like a better answer, now.
    – Gnemlock
    Apr 28, 2017 at 11:10

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