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16 Personality Factor (16PF) Test Preparation – 2024

Solving Aptitude Tests

The 16 Personality Factor Test or 16PF was developed by Dr. Raymond Cattell after several decades of research and development. There are different versions of the 16PF designed for different purposes. It is used for a number of reasons. It is not only a widely used tool in the world of pre-employment testing it is also used as a promotional test for people trying to advance within their company,  and is often used in clinical situations to help determine the best course of therapy for patients.


What Is The 16 PF Test?

The 16PF is based on the 16 traits that Dr. Cattrell postulated make up an individual’s personality. These factors are:

  1. Warmth
  2. Reasoning
  3. Emotional Stability
  4. Dominance
  5. Liveliness
  6. Rule-Consciousness
  7. Social boldness
  8. Sensitivity
  9. Vigilance
  10. Abstractedness
  11. Privateness
  12. Apprehensiveness
  13. Openness to change
  14. Self-reliance
  15. Perfectionism
  16. Tension

 These factors are ranked on a scale, which is then compared to a profile of the ideal traits for the position you have applied for. The test will give some idea of how well suited you are for things such as interpersonal relations, coping skills, and work style. The specific career-related traits the 16PF is measuring are:

  • Organizing
  • Helping
  • Creating
  • Analyzing
  • Producing
  • Adventuring


What to Expect on the 16PF?

This test is made up of 185 multiple-choice questions. It can be used to pre-screen people from a number of educational backgrounds because it is written at a 5th-grade reading level. The test is untimed, so you will be able to carefully consider your answers. Some employers may still offer the 16PF as a paper and pencil test. Given in this format it generally takes between 35-50 minutes to complete. Since most employers are more digitized these days, the most common format for this test is online. The online version of the test takes an average of 30 minutes to complete.


Preparing for the 16PF?

While studying for a personality test is impossible, you can prepare yourself by making sure you are familiar with the basic content of the test, and the way the questions are structured. If you do this you will not be caught off guard by the test format, and you have a chance to become comfortable with the style of questions before you take the real test.


On the 16PF you will be asked situational questions or questions about your personality traits. The questions you are asked may look a little like this:

  • “I will continue to work on something until it is perfect”
  • “I prefer to see concrete results.”
  • “I prefer others to make decisions.”
  • “I enjoy being around other people.”

Each 16PF is styled for the career field it is being used in, and the questions will be more targeted to identify the best people for that field.

When taking the 16PF do not be tempted to try and “cheat” the test. Give considered answers but be honest. This test will not only let the company you are applying with know if you are right for the job it also lets you know if the job is right for you.



The 16PF is a tried and true method of psychometric testing. If you have been in the workforce for a while, chances are you have seen this test or something similar. Personality tests are becoming more mainstream as the job market becomes saturated. Make yourself comfortable with the idea of them now, and you should have no problem showing your future employers just how well you will fill any role.