A personality test is a tool used to measure a person’s personality construct. They are used to understand the characteristics and patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that people exhibit across various situations. Countless personality tests can be used to validate a clinical diagnosis (such as paranoia, schizophrenia, or compulsive disorders), screen candidates for employment or college, or predict how a person can react and respond in various situations.

We informally assess and describe our personality daily when we talk about ourselves or others. When doing this, we refer to different personality characteristics and traits. Psychologists typically do the same thing when analyzing personalities and take a professional, systematic and scientific approach. 

Personality testing can be done using different questionnaires, with some having similar features in common. When taking a test, you read a series of questions and parameters that describe various facets of a person’s personality.  Once you complete your test, you will receive a personality type that categorizes your answers and explains your results. There are no right or wrong answers when taking the test. 

There are over 2,500 personality tests in the United States. Every test is developed for various purposes. The most common personality tests include and are not limited to:  

  • Enneagram test
  • Big Five Inventory 
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire
  • HEXACO Personality Inventory-Revised
  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

Every personality test reviews primary characteristics based on different psychological beliefs, theories, and studies. It would be best to take a comprehensive personality test that helps you discover your inner self and strengths and weaknesses. Test questions can be as short as ten or as long as hundreds. For best results, take more extended tests since they tend to give more reliable results. Avoid taking a personality test that measures only one specific dimension; instead, go for one that predicts a combination of personality scales.

Types of Personality Tests

There are two basic types of personality types:

Self-Report Inventories

Self-report inventories involve a kind of objective test to assess an individual’s personality. They use multiple-choice items or numbered scales ranging from 1 to 5 (strongly disagree and strongly agree, respectively). They are called Likert scales, named after their developer Rensis Likert. It involves reading the questions and rating how well the statements apply to you. The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is the most common self-report inventory. The MMPI was first published in 1943, with over 500 true or false questions. It was originally developed to help diagnose psychological disorders. Today, it is also used to screen occupations such as law enforcement, marital counseling, college, and various careers.

Projective Tests

Projective tests rely on one of the defense mechanisms to assess unconscious processes. During the trial, you will be presented with a series of vague scenes, objects, or scenarios, then encouraged to project your feelings, desires, and impulses of the test items.

Some projective tests examples include the Rorschach Inkblot Test, Contemporized-Themes Concerning Blacks test, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), Rotter Incomplete Sentence Blank (RISB), and TEMAS (Tell-Me-A-Story).

Tests can either be administered online, scored by a computer, or on a test paper and then evaluated by a test administrator. 

Personality Tests Uses

Personality tests can be used for various purposes, such as: 

  • Looking at changes in personality
  • Screening job candidates
  • Assessing theories
  • Diagnosing psychological problems
  • Evaluating theory effectiveness 

Other areas personality tests can be used include child custody disputes, forensic settings for risk assessment, competency establishment, school psychology, employment testing, clinical psychology, or relationship counseling.

How to Take a Personality Test

There are really no measures or special preparations you need to take when you want to take a personality test. Be yourself and ensure your answers are a reflection of who you indeed are. Other tips to ensure that your results are the best reflection of your personality include the following: 

Read Instructions Carefully 

Every test has its own guidelines to follow, and your prospects are evaluated according to the rules. If you do not read instructions keenly, you might answer incorrectly and get misleading results or an inaccurate reflection of yourself.

Be Honest and Truthful to Yourself

Whether the test is for college or employment purposes, it is crucial to answer it in a way that genuinely reflects who you are and how you feel. If you are taking the test for recruiting purposes, being honest shows, you are dependable and trustworthy in your work ethic. It would be best to answer in a way that can genuinely impact the hiring committee.

Avoid Trying to “Beat The Test”

With personality tests, there are no wrong or correct answers, so avoid trying to guess what you think is the best or ideal answer or what may be the wrong answer. Additionally, be careful not to be influenced by someone else’s opinion. Simply be honest. Interestingly, most initial responses are usually solid.

Avoid Distractions

It would be best to take the test when your mind is free of personal thoughts, overwhelming emotions, and life events or when you are not preoccupied with things in your immediate environment. Remain focused, take your time and be calm.

Avoid Being Indecisive

While taking a personality test, you may be tempted to give vague answers to remain on the safer side. However, this can make you appear non-committal, indecisive, and lacking conviction, especially when applying for jobs. It would be best if you had a middle ground for some traits. The best thing is to try and reflect on your true self as best as possible.

Do Not Be Overly Decisive

While it is excellent to be decisive, strongly disagreeing or agreeing to everything does not help. You may come off as overly opinionated or aggressive. Always aim for balance while being careful not to overdo it. 

Let Majority Rule

When taking a personality test of any nature, it would be best to base your answers on what is actually applicable to your life and situation most of the time. If you have two options that both seem relevant in your life, try and choose the one that you would be more comfortable sticking with forever.

Benefits of Personality Testing

Personality tests are more than having fun. They provide invaluable insight into your weaknesses and strengths and enrich your outlook on things. It can lead you toward the best version of yourself and which habits or behaviors you should work on. Some benefits of personality testing may include the following:

  • Personality tests help boost your personal growth and capabilities
  • Personality testing helps promote intrapersonal (communication with yourself) and extra-personal communication (communication with other people) 
  • Testing can help you discover like-minded people
  • Personality testing can help you identify and use your strengths to shape your future
  • Personality testing can help you learn to practice acceptance
  • It can help you cope with and develop a better understanding of other people with whom you interact with
  • Personality testing can help you find new life goals