Myers and Briggs' system of 16 personality types is extremely popular, with over 2 million people completing the official MBTI® assessment each year—and probably millions more taking tests and quizzes based on their theory. The most common way to figure out your own personality type is by taking a personality test, but there are some things you should know before getting started.

Why Take the MBTI® Personality Assessment?

Although there are challenges to Myers & Briggs' theory of personality types, the major advantage of this system is its high profile. Especially in the corporate sector, it is one of the most well known and used personality tools in the world. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator® assessment, which was developed by Isabel Briggs Myers, has been translated into more than 30 languages. It is used widely in team building, decision making, personal development, career coaching, and leadership development.

In many organizations, Myers and Briggs' personality type theory has become a common language to discuss differences in work style, communication, and conflict negotiation. Learning about your personality type can help you to articulate your strengths and weaknesses, preferred tasks and projects, and how you relate to others in the workplace. During the job search process, having such self awareness can help you to both identify a company culture that is a good fit for you, and "sell yourself" accurately to interviewers.

MBTI assessment can also be helpful in the career planning process. One of the major benefits of using Myers and Briggs' typing when you are searching for the right career is that extensive research has been done on the careers that are typically chosen by each of the sixteen types. Although your personality type can't predict exactly which career will suit you, it can serve to help you narrow down your options and validate your hunches.

More broadly, learning about your personality type helps you understand how you perceive the world and interact with it, giving you insights into your motives and a understanding of your natural behaviors. Learning more about all sixteen of the personality types will help you to better understand your colleagues and your loved ones, better anticipate their reactions and adapt your behavior accordingly. Finding your personality type provides a solid basis for working on personal development, which often results in more effectiveness in work and in life.

How to Find Your Personality Type

The most common way to figure out your personality type is by taking a personality test. There are many personality assessments based on the theories of Myers and Briggs, including the original MBTI® assessment developed by Isabel Myers herself.

Many people try to find their type by taking a free online quiz. Unfortunately, most free tests have not been properly researched and validated, and may give inaccurate results. Do not depend on free online quizzes to accurately determine your type. To get accurate results from a personality type assessment, ensure you are taking one that has been developed in a professional manner.

It is also possible to discover your personality type simply by reading about the different types. Often, you will find that some type descriptions resonate deeply with you, while others sound nothing like you. Reading about different types can also help to clarify confusing or conflicting personality test results.

Which Personality Test is Best?

A good personality assessment should be developed by professionals with expertise in the field, and researched thoroughly to ensure it is accurate. High quality personality assessments should pass tests of reliability (does the test produce consistent results?) and validity (does the test measure what it is supposed to?).

There is an enormous range of free personality tests available online, but unfortunately most of them are unreliable. Most free tests are created by writers with no special expertise in psychology who just want to make a fun quiz to attract visitors and keep people entertained. These sorts of tests may be interesting but are unlikely to provide useful or reliable feedback.

The best personality test to accurately determine your type is one that has been extensively researched and tested to ensure it is both reliable and valid. For instance, the official MBTI® instrument was thoroughly researched by both its creators, Briggs and Myers, as well as the psychologists employed by its publisher. There are also well-researched alternative assessments available.

Following are some options for learning about your personality type

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator® Assessment

The official Myers Briggs Type Indicator is the original assessment developed by Isabel Briggs Myers. The publisher of the assessment, The Myers Briggs Company, offers a variety of assessments and reports based on Briggs Myers' work. The most basic and easiest to access is the MBTI® Online. More in-depth reports are sold only through qualified consultants, meaning that you must find a coach or counselor who is certified in MBTI® administration in order to take them.

The MBTI® assessment is one of the more costly ways to explore your personality type. The MBTI® Online is typically the most affordable option, at $49. Taking an MBTI® assessment through a qualified consultant typically costs a few hundred dollars or more.

The TypeFinder® Personality Test

The TypeFinder personality test was developed independently by California-based online test publisher Truity Psychometrics and has been thoroughly researched for reliability and validity. It is primarily based on the theories of Myers and Briggs, along with study of other personality frameworks, including the Big Five. It is designed as an electronic assessment and is only available online. In contrast with the MBTI assessment, the TypeFinder is available directly to the public through the Truity website and does not require any special skill to use or interpret.

There is no cost to take the TypeFinder and view a summary report of your results. For users who require more depth, a premium report is available for purchase for $29.

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter®

Developed by venerable type expert and author David Keirsey, the KTS builds on Myers and Briggs' theory with a focus on temperaments, broader categories of types that point to fundamental themes in thinking and behavior. The KTS can be taken online by the general public, however, registration is required to view a basic overview of your temperament type. More detailed reports are available for purchase for $25-60, and can be tailored to the user's needs.

The Majors PTI™

The Majors Personality Type Indicator was developed by Dr. Mark Majors and is published by the Breckenridge Institute. It is based more heavily on Jungian personality psychology rather than Myers and Briggs' theory, however it reports results in the same format of a four-letter personality type code. The Majors PTI requires a training course to use, and can only be taken through coaches and counselors who have completed the course or equivalent education.

The NERIS Type Explorer®

The NERIS Type Explorer is available for free through the website 16Personalities.com. It is based primarily on the theories of Myers and Briggs, however it uses new terminology for the four preferences and adds a fifth letter to the type code, signifying an individual's response to stress. Because the framework for the NERIS Type Explorer has been somewhat reinvented, it is not clear to what extent the type results are consistent with those from the MBTI® assessment or other tests based on the theory. 

The NERIS Type Explorer does not offer a detailed technical report like some of the more established assessments above, but it does claim basic reliability and validity

Jung Typology Test™

Offered for free through the popular website Humanmetrics.com, the Jung Typology Test is reportedly based on both Jung's theories and those of Myers and Briggs. Although this assessment is available at no cost, the information about its reliability and validity is very limited, and we do not recommend relying on the accuracy of the results. 

About the Author

Molly Owens is the CEO of Truity and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She founded Truity in 2012, with the goal of making quality personality tests more affordable and accessible to the general public. She has led the development of assessments based on the Big Five, Myers and Briggs' personality types, Holland Codes, DISC, and the Enneagram. She is an ENTP, a tireless brainstormer, and a wildly messy chef. Find Molly on Twitter at @MollyROwens.