We performed a characterization of the shock wave loading on the response of the specimen representing a simplified head model. A polycarbonate cylinder (2-in. outer diameter, wall thickness: 0.06 or 0.12 in.) was filled with two fluids: pure de-ionized water and 40% glycerol in water, which differ only slightly in their constitutive material properties. These two fluids were selected to represent the cerebrospinal fluid and cerebral blood, using their high strain rate viscosity as a primary selection criterion. The model specimen was exposed to a single shock wave with two nominal intensities: 70 and 130 kPa overpressure. The response of the model was measured using three strain gauges and three pressure sensors, one mounted on the front face of the cylinder and two embedded in the cylinder to measure the pressure inside of the fluid. We noted several discriminant characteristics in the collected data, which indicate that the type of fluid is strongly influencing the response. The vibrations of the cylinder walls are strongly correlated with the fluid kind. The similarity analysis via the Pearson coefficient indicated that the pressure waveforms in the fluid are only moderately correlated, and these results were further corroborated by Euclidean distance analysis. Continuous wavelet transform of pressure waveforms revealed that the frequency response is strongly correlated with the properties of the fluid. The observed differences in strain and pressure modalities stem from relatively small differences in the properties of the fluids used in this study.