California Psychological Inventory Test Alternative

Help your team members work better together by creating an integrated analysis of all your team personality types


In the vast universe of personality assessments, the CPI Test emerges as a beacon of clarity and depth. Ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery?

The CPI test is an incredible assessment that can help you truly understand your personality. It can impact virtually every aspect of your life, from your relationships to even your career.

With this psychological assessment, you can unlock your next level of performance in the workplace. But, many people are unaware of this test, and miss out on these excellent insights.

The Origins and Evolution of the CPI Test

Although many people overlook this assessment, the CPI test has a great history and scientific backing supporting it.

Below, we provide you with a brief overview of the history of the CPI test, as well as how it has changed over the years.

Brief Overview

The test now known as the California Psychological Inventory was originally developed by psychologist Dr. Harrison G. Gough.

It was developed on the idea that through assessing how individuals respond to certain questions, their leadership style, interpersonal behaviors, and other traits can be evaluated.

The first assessment was published in 1956. Dr. Gough wanted to ensure his test’s results could be understood by the general public. So, unlike more clinical tests like the MMPI, he created his test with folk concepts (the way average people reflect their behavior) in mind.

The Test’s Progressive Journey

Although the first iteration of the assessment was already a powerful tool, the CPI has been refined and improved over the years.

Many CPI assessments available online condense the test (which originally has 434 questions) into 200-260. They still contain enough queries to understand everything from your leadership abilities to your thinking style, but they are simply more time-effective.

Key Features of the CPI Test

The CPI assessment is a very comprehensive test. Its insights can be applied to many roles, whether you are an executive or a new hire. It can even be beneficial for your personal life.

Just a few of the excellent features included in the CPI test

Comprehensive Analysis

The CPI test consists of many insightful components, each of which helps you understand your unique personality. The test is sectioned off into 4 categories, which are:

  • your self-evaluation: control over emotions, confidence, self-assurance, and interpersonal adequacy.
  • how you interact with others: socialization, communication, interpersonal values, and character.
  • success-related analysis: potential for achievement and intellectual abilities.
  • your core interests and motivators (intellectually, spiritually, and socially).

Each of these components helps the test create a more cohesive and comprehensive personality test.

Help your team members work better together by creating an integrated analysis of all your team personality types

The Process of Taking The CPI Test

The CPI test experience is routinely called excellent by its thousands of customers. Both psychological practitioners and everyday test-takers alike praise the test.

Test Blueprint

The test covers an immense amount of subjects relating to your personality.

For instance, it will discuss your leadership competencies and how much of a leader you are. Generally, you will learn about how you interact with others and the role you play in your organization.

Other questions will test your perception, or how you view yourself and others. Still others test skills such as communication and motivation – as well as what specifically motivates you.

The test is highly comprehensive, with the original version containing 434 true-false queries. It is a self-assessment, meaning there are no right or wrong answers, as long as you answer honestly.

Deciphering the Outcomes

The true magic of the CPI test comes after you receive your results. Now, it is time to analyze them, and draw conclusions to benefit your future.

The test will score how you responded to the true/false questions and put you into one of 4 groups based on whether you favor rules or question them, and whether you take action or focus on ideas.

From there, you can find what sorts of positions are right for you in your career. You can also find which tasks you excel most in by searching for tasks that align with your preferences.

Practical Implications of the CPI Test

The CPI test is an immensely important test that has significant practical benefits to virtually every aspect of your life.

Some of the practical applications of the CPI test you can gain after analyzing your results are:

Personal Development

By taking the CPI assessment, you can learn more about yourself, including what motivates you, how you interact with others, and so much more.

The test is a valuable tool for boosting your self-awareness, as it covers both positive and negative personal qualities.

However, this test does not only benefit you. It can also benefit your relationships (both at work and in your personal life). You will learn what qualities you need to watch out for to improve your relationships (such as, if you tend to be too strict with rules, you can start finding ways to relax in your relationships).

Career Guidance

The CPI test is also highly useful when it comes to career guidance. This test will help you understand which workplace settings you work best in, so you can find companies that align with your interests.

Additionally, you will learn with roles you work well in. Are you more of a leader, or a follower? Do you thrive on structure, or unpredictability? The test will answer these questions and more, which will be highly useful when searching for a career.

This assessment can help you during numerous parts of your career. Whether you are trying to find your first job, or simply improve your existing career, the CPI can help you optimize your work.

Organizational Dynamics

The CPI is a fantastic test for individuals seeking to improve their efficiency, self-awareness, and overall career success. However, it is also extremely important to organizations as a whole.

For instance, the test helps individuals with leadership development by finding their unique leadership style. It helps employees understand how they communicate and work with others.

It can also help teams avoid conflict. This is so since teams can be designed with each member being assigned tasks they excel in, making them naturally more productive and focused.

How Long Does the California Psychological Inventory Test Take to Finish?

The California Psychological Inventory test is highly in-depth. Because of this, it is longer than most other personality assessments. Typically, this test will take around 45-60 minutes.

You should be able to finish this assessment in one sitting. Try to delegate some time specifically for the purpose of taking this assessment. Ensure you are focused for the most accurate results.

Can You Use The CPI for Recruitment?

Yes, the CPI assessment is often used for recruitment purposes. It can help hiring managers evaluate how well a candidate would fit into their team. It also helps them understand their main motivators and abilities.

As a result, conflicts could be avoided. And, the team would work more effectively.

Help your team members work better together by creating an integrated analysis of all your team personality types

What is the California Psychological Inventory Test Similar To?

The CPI assessment is a self-evaluation psychological test with a set inventory. It is not a clinical personality test, contrary to how many perceive it.

A few of the assessments that are similar to the CPI in their structure and function include: the DiSC, MMPI, HEXACO, Eysenck Personality Questionnaire, and others.

What is the difference between the CPI and the MMPI?

Although the CPI and MMPI are similar tests, they are not exactly the same. One of the key differences between them is that the MMPI is a clinical assessment.

Clinical assessments seek to diagnose individuals. The CPI does not do that. It was meant to communicate individual’s personalities with ‘folk concepts’ — personality descriptors that everyday people could understand.

Is the CPI Test Scientifically Validated?

One of the primary concerns individuals have with personality tests like the CPI comes down to their validity. Rest assured that the CPI test is accurate and backed by science.

First, the test was developed by was developed through immense research done by a psychologist. It was refined over decades to get it to the current iteration.

Additionally, the test is officially listed in the American Psychological Association dictionary of psychological testing (1). And, numerous studies have also supported the test’s validity and reliability (2).

How Much Does the CPI Cost?

The CPI assessment is often given through companies before you get hired. However, if you would like to take the test in your own, that is also an option.

To take the test yourself, there are various online services you could use. The price varies depending on which one you select. For instance, if you choose to take the assessment through Buros Testing, you will only have to pay $15.

Is the California Psychological Inventory Test Worth the Money?

The CPI test offers a tremendous amount of benefits. From giving you confidence, to boosting your productivity, and even improving your interpersonal relationships. Both your career and personal life can benefit immensely from the insights you gain through the CPI.

Therefore, for most people, the test will be worth the time and money you invest. However, this ultimately depends on what you want out of an assessment, and it varies from person to person.

Pros and Cons of the CPI Assessment

When evaluating the CPI test, it is important to understand the test is imperfect. Like any other assessment, the CPI has both strengths and weaknesses. Ensure you understand both of these sides when deciding if the CPI is the right personality test for you.

Here are the main strengths and limitations you should take into consideration:


  • Backed by science and decades of research (2).
  • Included as an assessment within the American Psychological Association’s directory of tests (accredited by official groups).
  • Very comprehensive. Over 400 questions.
  • All of the questions are multiple choice.
  • Great for recruiting purposes.
  • Questions are straightforward.
  • Used by large and small teams alike.
  • Covers a wide range of insights (from leadership to communication to motivation).
  • Inexpensive versions available.


  • Self-assessment, which can be biased.
  • Not focused on positive psychology (could lead to negative thinking).
  • Not a clinical assessment for diagnosis.
  • Focused mostly on interpersonal behaviors, not specific personality traits.
  • Much longer than many tests (45-60 minutes).
  • Answers lack depth (due to it being true/false).




Help your team members work better together by creating an integrated analysis of all your team personality types

Disclaimer: All trademarks mentioned on this page or any other page on the website are the property of their respective owners. The information as well as sample tests on this page or any other page on the website are provided for informational and illustrative purposes only. They are not meant as substitutes for the original assessments and do not intend to diminish the value of the mentioned companies or their services. The editorial team strives to be accurate in the information presented and to keep it as up-to-date as possible, however, it is possible that some of it is outdated. In such cases, please contact the editorial team with suggested updates or corrections.

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