How to take a personality test?

There are lots of tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which places you in one of 16 personality groups, and the Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ), which tests your personality to check that it fits with the job.

You’ll usually be presented with statements describing various ways of feeling or acting, and asked to record how much you agree on a two, five or seven-point scale. There are no right or wrong answers - this, plus the fact that enforced pressure reduces accuracy and discourages honesty, means that personality tests aren’t typically completed under exam conditions.

While there’s generally no time limit, you should expect to spend between 15 and 30 minutes answering anything from 50 to 200 questions, usually online. The best way to prepare is to practise personality tests so that you’re familiar with their format and the questions they ask. Make sure you’ve read the job description, know what the employer is looking for and how the test you’re taking will measure this.

When taking a personality test, make sure that you:

  • take the test in a quiet, familiar environment
  • read the instructions carefully, paying close attention to what you’re being asked
  • stay calm by breathing slowly and deeply
  • work briskly and accurately, omitting any questions that you don’t understand
  • are honest and consistent in your responses
  • trust your initial reactions, and don’t simply try to guess the ‘best’ answer.