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California Psychological Inventory (CPI) Test Online Preparation 2024

California Psychological Inventory CPI Test

Being a college graduate, especially from a management course does not necessarily mean that job seekers are cut out for leadership roles. Companies have made changes to their hiring process to account for this, as they try to remain as objective as possible during recruitment. The California Psychological Inventory Test was devised to help with this process.

What Is the California Psychological Inventory Test?

The California Psychological Inventory Test (CPI Test), which is sometimes incorrectly called the California Personality Inventory Test, was first administered in 1956 and further revised in 1987. It is a self-report inventory originally created by Harrison Gough. The CPI test is used as a leadership assessment in the pre-employment screening process by some employers. The test can also be used to assist in leadership development as well as performance improvement in offices, providing candidates with insight into their abilities.

The California Psychological Inventory has two versions that may be administered, the CPI 434 and the CPI 260.

The CPI 434 made up of a total of 434 true-false items of which 194 were taken from the original Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). The test can be completed in approximately 50 minutes. The CPI 434 is typically used in employee selection and individual development. On the other hand, the CPI 260 is made up of 260 items from the CPI 434. The CPI 260 is typically used for individual and leadership development. Both tests are used to test different traits and provide reports based on the data collected.

Aims of the California Psychological Inventory

The objectives of the California Psychological Inventory include:

  • Identifying Talent
  • Highlighting Weaknesses- helping companies and individuals to improve on these
  • Highlighting Strengths- helping companies and individuals to capitalize on these

The CPI Test Scoring Scales

The traits examined on the CPI are measured on scales which can be organized into six categories:

  • Self-Management
  • Personal Characteristics
  • Motivation/Thinking Style
  • Work-Related
  • High Order
  • Social Participation

Below is a list of all the scales measured in the CPI:

  • Dominance (Do)– Refers to an individual’s leadership related traits.
  • Capacity for Status (Cs)– Personal qualities and attributes that underlie and lead to the attainment of status and symbols of success.
  • Sociability (Sy) -Refers to the candidate’s tendency to be outgoing/sociable.
  • Social Presence (Sp)– Refers to the candidate’s confidence during/relating to interpersonal relations.
  • Self-Acceptance (Sa)– Refers to the individual’s sense of worth.
  • Independence (In)– Refers to candidates who are resourceful and can operate independently/without affiliates.
  • Empathy (Em)– Refers to an individual’s capacity to relate to other people’s feelings by envisioning the situation from another perspective.
  • Responsibility (Re)– Refers to an individual’s level of dependability.
  • Socialization (So)– The degree of social maturity, integrity, and rectitude that the individual has attained.
  • Self-Control (Sc)– Refers to the extent to which an individual is free from impulsivity.
  • Good Impression (Gi)– Used as a validity indicator, it refers to an individual’s ability to create a favorable impression.
  • Communality (Cm)– Refers to how a candidate’s response measures up to the mode response established for the assessment.
  • Sense of Well Being (Wb)– Helps to identify persons who have minimal self-doubt.
    It is also used as a validity indicator.
  • Tolerance (To)– Refers to persons who take a non-judgemental attitude towards others and their beliefs.
  • Achievement via Conformance (Ac)– The candidate’s ability to identify factors which lead to success through means of conformity.
  • Achievement via Independence (Al)– The candidate’s ability to identify factors which lead to success through means of independence.
  • Intellectual Efficiency (le)– An assessment of the intellectual efficiency a person has attained.
  • Psychological – Mindedness (Py)– Degree to which a person is interested in the inner needs of others.
  • Flexibility (Fx)– Refers to the degree to which a person can adapt to changes.
  • Femininity/Masculinity (F/M)– Measures a person’s sensitivity.
  • Managerial Potential (Mp) – This is an assessment of how well a person is suited for supervisory and managerial
  • Work Orientation (Wo) – This is an assessment of one’s dedication and work ethic.
  • Creative Temperament (Ct) – This is a scale which evaluates an individual’s creative potential.
  • Leadership Potential (Lp) – To assess individuals for traits associated with leadership.
  • Amicability (Ami) – Scale used to measure how friendly /cooperative an individual is.
  • Law Enforcement Orientation (Leo) – Scale used to identify individuals whose traits are skewed towards law enforcement related work.
  • Tough-Mindedness (Tm) – To identify independent thinking individuals.

Understanding each trait in detail can help you prepare better and know what each score indicates about your personality.


“Dominance is not just about taking charge but also about influencing and motivating others. A dominant person in a sales role might excel by persuasively presenting products and closing deals, while in a managerial role, this trait helps in directing teams and making critical decisions under pressure.”


Advanced Interpretation of CPI Results

Understanding CPI results goes beyond just looking at the scores. Advanced interpretation involves examining how combinations of traits influence behavior in various contexts. For instance, a high score in both ‘Dominance’ and ‘Empathy’ suggests a leadership style that is both assertive and considerate, beneficial in roles requiring negotiation and team management. Providing real-world examples and case studies can help illustrate these complex interactions. 


How to Pass the California Psychological Inventory Test?

These psychometric assessments can be difficult to prepare for, as there is no right or wrong answers. Preparing yourself is still key, as it helps you to familiarize yourself with the material, which helps to provide much-needed confidence prior to sitting for the exam.

While there isn’t necessarily a study guide for this assessment, you can get information online about methods in which to best optimize your responses. While on the subject of optimizing your responses, one key tip you can take is to direct your preparation to a single trait at a time. This practice helps you to optimize your responses to help bolster the characteristics which you deem to be your weakest. While focusing on your trait of choosing, doing practice questions and reviewing answers will help with the overall preparation process.

Check out this video from the Myers-Briggs Company official site:

CPI Test Preparation Strategies

While basic preparation is important, advanced strategies can significantly enhance your readiness for the CPI. Understanding how trait combinations work can give you a strategic edge.


  • Understand the Trait Combinations: For example, a combination of high ‘Self-Control’ and ‘Leadership’ scores indicates suitability for high-stress managerial roles.
  • Practice with Real Scenarios: Engage in scenarios that mimic your target work environment. This helps reflect your personality traits accurately.


To prepare for a management role, practice decision-making scenarios where you balance assertiveness with empathy. This will help you reflect your leadership style more accurately during the test.


There is a saying, if you fail to plan, then plan to fail. Quite similarly if you fail to prepare for the CPI test, prepare to fail, it is an as simple as that. Maintain your focus, and employ the tips provided above and you may just be in line for that dream job. All the best in the job market!