Personality tests are a fantastic way to learn more about yourself, and taking them can provide numerous benefits. Not only can personality tests give you a greater understanding of your preferences, what drives you, and where your strengths lie, they can also help identify the types of careers you’re likely to excel in.
If you’re interested in learning more about your aptitudes, weaknesses, subjects you might want to study, and occupations you might like to pursue, consider taking a personality test.
What Is a Personality Test?
Personality tests are tools that assess various personality characteristics to increase self-understanding. Tests can gauge how well people think on their feet; whether they’re more introverted or extroverted; whether they’re passive, assertive, or passive-aggressive communicators; and whether they’re likely to work better alone or as part of a team. Most personality tests take less than 20 minutes to complete.
Types of Personality Tests
There are two types of personality tests: projective tests and self-report inventories.
In projective tests, test-takers are presented with various images, words, or hypothetical situations, and instructed to respond with how each makes them feel. Afterward, their responses are analyzed by a psychologist to uncover their subconscious feelings and emotions. The most widely known projective test is the Rorschach inkblot test.
Self-report inventories are available both online and on paper, and consist of various questions and statements about the test-takers’ qualities, behaviors, values, and personal interests. Test-takers are asked to answer using a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “I strongly disagree,” 3 being “I neither agree nor disagree,” and 5 being “I strongly agree.” Paper tests are evaluated by the test administrator, whereas tests administered online are scored by a computer. Sample statements include the following:
- I like spending time alone.
- I feel like no one understands me.
- I have a strong moral compass.
- I am confident in my abilities.
How Are Personality Tests Used?
Self-report inventories can be used to help people gain greater insights and self-understanding about their beliefs, attitudes, implicit biases, and interests. They are widely used by individuals, businesses, and colleges and universities to learn more about test-takers’ attitudes, social traits, and motivations.
For example, if someone is shown to be highly extroverted, they may be more likely to excel in classes such as public speaking, or in job roles such as outside sales, that play upon their strengths. In contrast, someone who is highly extroverted may perform less well in career paths such as accounting and data analytics that would require them to spend most of their time working alone.
Personality tests can also help determine an individual’s work ethic, and can provide insight as to whether someone is likely to be well organized and detail oriented, as opposed to being spontaneous and disorganized. Perhaps not surprisingly, a March 2021 report by NBC News found that more than 75% of large companies use personality and aptitude tests to screen job applicants.
Self-report inventories can also help guide students in choosing a major. For example, someone considering law school who learns they have strong people and communication skills, research skills, and time-management skills, may find their personality traits align well with this career path. On the other hand, someone who learns that they’re more likely to thrive in a low-stress environment where they can work individually may decide to reconsider.
Benefits of Personality Tests
Personality tests aren’t just for fun — they can provide valuable insights into your strengths, interests, and tendencies. For example, a group analysis by Gallup found that people who use their strengths each day, whether in the classroom, workplace, or their personal lives, are more likely to report a high quality of life. The analysis also found that people who use their strengths each day at work not only have higher levels of productivity, but they’re also 15% less likely to quit their jobs.
Tips for Taking Personality Tests
Whether you’re taking a personality test for yourself, your school, or a potential employer, you can maximize your results in several ways. Common test tips include the following:
- Be honest with your answers. Personality tests are designed to pick up on people who try to pick the “correct” answer to each question. Don’t choose your answers based on what you think the test administrator might be looking for. Answering honestly will provide the most reliable information about your personality.
- Be consistent with your responses. Most personality inventories ask the same questions in several different ways. This is done to gauge whether someone is answering truthfully or choosing answers that they think will garner the “best”
- Don’t rush. Most self-assessment tests don’t have a time limit. It’s best to take your time, read each question thoroughly, and provide your best response.
- Take the test when you’re centered and undistracted. If you take a personality test when you’re stressed out, overwhelmed, or scattered, your results may not be accurate. It’s best to take these types of tests when you’re calm and focused.
- Don’t overthink your answers. Don’t try to predict how a certain answer may be interpreted. Just choose the answers that best reflect your thoughts, feelings, and positions.
Online Personality Tests
If you’re interested in taking a personality test, a number of options are available online, such as the CliftonStrengths test, implicit bias tests, tests that gauge your personality type, and emotional intelligence tests.
- CliftonStrenghts. The 30-minute CliftonStrengths assessment helps subjects gauge their ability to think strategically, influence others, execute tasks and ideas, and build relationships. The test also provides insights about an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Project Implicit. Project Implicit was created to help test-takers identify their conscious and unconscious preferences for topics spanning from political issues to sport teams and styles of music.
- 16 Personality Types. This test provides individuals with insights about how they make decisions, process information, and interact with other people. It measures four main personality traits: introversion extroversion, thinking vs. feeling, sensing vs. intuition, and judging vs. perceiving.
- DISC Personality Test. The DISC assessment is centered on measuring four personality traits: dominance, influence, steadiness, and c This assessment is used by companies, organizations, and governmental institutions throughout the world.
- University of California, Berkeley, Emotional Intelligence Test. This online test helps individuals gauge how well they read other people. It consists of numerous photos of people, and test-takers are asked to identify the expression on each person’s face.
Use Your Strengths to Shape Your Future
Aspiring students may find that taking a personality test such as the CliftonStrengths assessment can help them prepare for their educational journey. Are you ready to take the first brave step toward your future? Find out more about Maryville University’s online degree programs and how Maryville uses the CliftonStrengths test to help students discover their natural talents, learn how to develop them into strengths, and find the careers that are best suited for them.