The Ultimate Guide to the Myers-Briggs Test

Created by the mother-daughter duo of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers and based on Carl Jung’s theories, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) has historically been used to measure strengths and weaknesses in the workplace, but in recent years has become popular online for personal use. You’ve probably heard of it and have likely taken it, but there’s so much more to it than being able to recite four letters if someone asks for your type! The Myers-Briggs classification is based on four spectrums: Introverted/Extroverted, Sensing/Intuitive, Feeling/Thinking, and Judging/Perceiving.

I’ve seen the full range of reactions to the MBTI over the years, from disdain to mild curiosity to infatuation. Some people are critical of being forced into a static (unscientific) box, others just like to know what characters match their type, and some (like me) have made everyone they know take the test. You don’t have to believe in the test as a perfect, immutable measure of the human psyche to have fun using it, and you don’t have to fit into one category for the rest of your life. At the very least, the test can help you think about the ways your life has been shaped by your personality (and vice versa), as well as the connections between the people who have shaped you.

Find Your Type

Take the test

The sites I have primarily used are 16personalities and Human Metrics, since the tests are thorough and also provide useful info on the types. After some research, I also found John’s Personality Test, which is less time-consuming, and Keys 2 Cognition, which uses the cognitive function method I describe later in this article. I recommend spacing retakes on the same site by six months, or once over the school year and once over the summer annually, since your lifestyle and mental state would be different and you would have enough time to forget how you last responded to the questions.

 

Understanding the results

The latest results from my account on 16personalities

 

Don’t try to force yourself into thinking the result is accurate, nor into getting the same result as previous times you’ve taken the test. You should be able to tell if you have been matched correctly based on the number of times you think “Wow, that’s so me” while reading the description for your result. Even with those moments, there may be another more spot-on type out there for you, so don’t commit quite yet. Additionally, if you find something that describes you but you don’t like that aspect of yourself, don’t worry! Be in tune with what’s true and what’s not true more than what is good or bad.

 

Cross-examine types

It’s likely that for at least one of the four categories, you are skewed less than 60% to one side. For example, if you got ENFP and the “Perceiving” is 58%, while E, N, and F are over 70%, you should also look at the ENFJ type. If you are in-between for multiple categories, you should take the quiz on other sites to see if the pattern continues. This would help you get a sense for the traits that are more set in stone than others. For instance, I am an INTJ who almost always gets Introverted + Thinking, but Judging/Perceiving can change based on the test, and a couple times Intuitive/Sensing has changed based on my mindset going into a test. There is a possibility my type could be different in the future, but since it has stayed the same for 6 years and reflects how I was as a child, it would not be a drastic shift. Your personal philosophy on the ability of people to change, the ways events in your life have affected you, and your perception of yourself will affect how temporary this label is in describing you.

 

Reasons you may have received a different result

Division of the types into the four temperaments

 

Many people find their type fluctuates over months or years. If you’re in a period of change, have a high-intensity schedule, experience depression, or are in another situation that has affected your behavior, your responses may differ from when your environment and life is in a more “neutral” or ideal state. If this may be the case, watch for the “Introverted/Extroverted” and “Thinking/Feeling” categories, as they are more affected by highs and lows and how you may adjust to your social situation at a given time. Consider how you would act, feel, and think in a more content state as well as how your behavior has been historically.

Similarly, you are bound to base your responses on a standard that is unique to your friends and environment. For example, you may feel introverted if you have a group of extremely social friends, or extroverted if you are better at connecting to other people than your friends are. Note the letters that changed from the last time you took the test, and be more careful about which of the pairs you choose to identify with more.

 

After you find your type

Cognitive Functions: Type in Mind

This site is necessary to getting a more useful description of your type, though complicated at first. I actually found it to be more eerily accurate at summarizing than 16personalities. Rather than thinking of your Myers-Briggs as the four letters you have and the four you don’t have, this site and those similar to it structure the types by determining your top two cognitive functions. The method associates Judging with Thinking/Feeling and Perceiving with Intuitive/Sensing, then assigning Intuitive, Sensing, Thinking, and Feeling either “e” for Extroverted or “i” for Introverted and arranging them by dominance depending on your corresponding MBTI type. I have listed this step first because it will help you make sure your type is accurate and because many resources use the dominant/secondary function methodology to deconstruct the types.

 

Internet forum

Though measured on the gender binary, the distribution of types can help you understand the MBTI and gender

 

Chances are, there is a forum or blog post through the lens of your type out there that will have advice in the area you need more specific to how you think. By searching online for “ISFJ finding a job,” a ton of results will come up from publications, blogs, forums, and even colleges about how your interests can align with a fulfilling career. Relationship advice is another popular topic, especially if you find yourself falling into the same patterns and want to understand why. For those whose type is more common in men, forums can be particularly helpful because having masculine-coded personality traits can be isolating and frustrating. Reddit is a helpful resource for forums of all topics based on your type, and most discussions use the cognitive functions method, so be sure to understand it before going in.

 

Animal personality type/Patronus

Your type can be summed up simply by the few animals most closely associated with the type’s traits. This article is my favorite so far on animal assignments, and reflects many of the typical picks for each type, without any less appealing creatures (I’ve seen some lists with a bee as an option).

 

“Who you usually go for” vs. “Who you should go for”

Thought catalog is a consistently unique platform for fun Myers-Briggs analysis. This piece is one of my favorites to send to friends because it ends up being true, whether they realized so at the time or not. The “who you usually go for” refers to the type of person you tend to be attracted to that doesn’t always work out. The “who you should go for” refers to the sort of person who would be a better match—the traits are similar, but the differences between them matter.

 

Primary and secondary Hogwarts House

This chart offers an alternative to the article I discuss

 

I have yet to find a better jumping off point for figuring out your Hogwarts House than your MBTI. Both are measures of generalized disposition and are criticized by some for lumping dissimilar people together, while loved by some for that reason. Based on the cognitive function chart in this blog post, you have a primary House and secondary House based on your primary and secondary cognitive functions.

 

Female characters of Disney

This “unofficial Disney princesses” chart has great descriptions that explain why each character fits with each type. 13/16 of the types are represented, most notably missing INTJ and INTP, which are common male villain/anti-hero types (ENFJ isn’t covered either but many of ESFJ/ENFP characters are close to ENFJ). A common reason Myers-Briggs character assignments miss the mark is that they strive to force each main character into a unique type in order to fill the 16 assignments. It is often passable because writers design characters to be improbably different, but the assignments are still based on character traits relative to each other rather than following the types more accurately.

 

Harry Potter characters

In the future, I’ll dedicate an article to my ideas about Harry Potter characters and Myers-Briggs. But for now, I found a blog post that matches my theories for Hermione (ISTJ), Snape (INTJ), and Luna (INFP), while also convincing me to reconsider some of my long-held assumptions about other characters.

 

What now?

Get your friends and family to take the test

The Myers-Briggs can be more than an exploration of the self, helping you better understand others. For instance, my friends all share “N” for Intuitive and are majority “F” for Feeling, while have a greater mix of Extroverted/Introverted and Perceiving/Judging. Knowing the commonalities and differences between me and my friends has helped understand the types of people I’m drawn to as well as the reasons certain people within my group of friends get along better than others. Finding the Myers-Briggs of close family members can help explain familial conflicts, and how you inherited certain qualities from your family as you grew up. It has really helped me understand and embrace difference in personality rather than resist it.

In the future, a better assessment of disposition will eclipse the Myers-Briggs in popularity. But for now, it’s the prevalence of the test that makes it truly the queen of all personality tests. You’re sure to meet others who share your type and will begin to understand the relationships between people from different parts of your life. Keep an open mind and have fun with it, there’s so much to explore! If you’d like to take more essential personality quizzes, check out my article that features seven more.

 

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