One of the most common psychological tests used today is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, more commonly known as the MMPI exam. Although it has recently been updated into a second version, called the MMPI-2, both versions are basically similar in purpose and format. The MMPI is most frequently used to evaluate a candidate’s mental stability during pre-employment processing, usually for positions that involve a high degree of pressure or prolonged stress. The military, law enforcement, and even air traffic controllers regularly use the MMPI exam to pre-screen their candidates.
While the MMPI is not a particularly difficult exam, most test-takers are challenged by the format of the test itself. The most recent version of the MMPI-2 consists of 567 questions, all of which can be answered with either “True” or “False.” It’s also important to know that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Each individual question is more like a simple statement, and the test-taker simply notes if the statement accurately describes him or not. When I last took the exam, some of the True/False statements were: “T/F: I enjoy reading mechanics magazines” or “T/F: I would enjoy the work of a librarian.” Occasionally, an oddball question would be tossed in there like “T/F: My television talks to me.”
Now that you’ve got an idea of the format used for the MMPI, it’s important to develop a test-taking strategy beforehand. Because of the length of the test, I recommend splitting your answers up into blocks of 50 or 100. Take a short rest to stand or stretch after each block, and only resume when you’re rested. This isn’t a timed test, so feel free to take as long as you need. Also, it’s very important that you focus only on the question that you’re currently reading, without thinking back to the previous answers that you’ve provided. You should avoid trying to “game” the test by being consistent with your previous answers, since the MMPI is designed to show the examiner if you haven’t answered truthfully.
Most people have no problem with the MMPI exam, although having a large amount of stress in your life can sometimes impact your success. In my experience, veterans making the transition to civilian life have one of the highest failures rates, most likely due to the life transition they’re going through. If you have any kind of doubts about successfully passing the MMPI exam, it might help you to download and review one of several test guides which are available on the Internet. Particularly when it comes to your career, there’s no such thing as over-preparing. Good luck!