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Explanation of 'best fit' type and information on Step 2

Many of you reading these web pages will be aware of your 'best fit' type as you have encountered the MBTI™ on a course and have had the chance to complete the indicator and verify your preferences as a result of the information you received. Here you can find out more about the process of 'best fitting'. You can also access information on MBTI Step 2 by using the menu on the right.

What does the term 'best fit' actually mean?

This is a term used by type practitioners to refer to the type which seems to best encapsulate an individual’s preferences and hence their personality. Essentially it means that the individual has read the type profile of their type and verified its fit with their sense of themselves as a person. Sometimes individuals identify 100% with what is written in a type profile. More commonly type practitioners believe that a “best fit” has been found when the individual identifies with 90% + of what the profile describes. If you have read a profile on this website or elsewhere which seems to describe you accurately then you can safely say you have found your “best fit” type.

The “best fit” type verified by an individual may, or may not, be how the individual completed the questionnaire. The MBTI more than meets the requirements of reliability and validity expected of psychological tests. But people are complex and there are lots of reasons why an individual’s test result does not accurately represent their preferences.

Why your Indicator result may not actually be accurate for you

You may be doing a job (or undergoing a course of study) which requires you to consciously access you non-preferred functions or attitudes. E.g. you may be a P who is trying hard to be organised and in control as so you may score as a J.

You may be working or living with, someone you are consciously trying to emulate in some way. This may then affect the way you respond when completing the Indicator.
You may be in mid-life when it is common for people to become dissatisfied with their natural preferences and so you may be consciously trying to do things differently.

Some individuals have such strong preferences that they just have to read descriptions of the four preference scales and they know, almost instantly, their MBTI type. Reading that profile then simply corroborates this. 

If you haven’t completed the MBTI before and you kept some notes on your preferences as you read though this booklet but still have found it difficult to find a profile which seems to fit you well, there are a number of things you can now do.

Book a one-to-one session with a qualified MBTI practitioner. They are available in all parts of the UK and you should be able to track one down in your area. Contact the British Association of Psychological Type to get the name of your nearest practitioner. You will probably have to pay around £100 for someone to administer the test for you and give you feedback on your results. This may take between one to two hours.

Try out some of the self-tests in the various MBTI books. (Life types and Type Talk both have mini quizzes). These self-tests have not been statistically verified and are no substitute for the MBTI itself. However, they are cheap and accessible and may enhance your self-awareness.

Go on-line and visit the various MBTI web-sites. We have included a review of some of the best sites in the resources section. Some sites have self-tests which you can complete for free. However, for a cost of £65 plus VAT you can complete the real MBTI on-line.

Note of caution

There really is no substitute for completing the MBTI itself and receiving proper face to face feedback from a qualified practitioner. This can either be on a course, where there is ample time to talk about the instrument and for you to understand the preferences properly, or in a one to one feedback session. Isabel Briggs Myers herself was adamant that her instrument be used responsibly to enhance an individual’s self-awareness. She certainly didn’t want people to feel confused as a result of their involvement with the MBTI.  For her this meant that, on completing the questionnaire, an individual had to receive face to face feedback from a qualified practitioner.  She ruled out telephone or written feedback on results. The internet has, however, changed this and while she would not have welcomed its impersonal nature she may have been realistic enough to see that the type community cannot turn its back on such a huge technological development.

Still confused?

The MBTI is an explanatory framework to help us understand how individuals differ from one another in certain fundamental respect. We believe that if it is seen as a loose explanatory framework then it can be useful for the majority of individuals. But, of course, there will always be individuals who never manage to find a profile with which they are completely comfortable.

Some individuals, even after extensive reading and reflection, remain confused about their preference in one or more of the four preference scales. Indeed there are MBTI practitioners who report themselves across a preference. For example, in a recent MBTI newsletter, a long-standing type practitioner reported his type as E/INTP. 

Many individuals are happy to live with this lack of clarity and can remain enthusiastic about the MBTI, despite the fact they feel they don’t neatly fit its framework. Other individuals feel unhappy that they can’t figure out their preferences and it can be important and cathartic for them to spend some time trying to understand the confusion. It can be cathartic as the lack of clarity may have roots in their childhood when an overzealous parent or teacher tried to mould them in a certain way, masking their true preferences in the process. When this happens the individual may find, even in later life, it difficult for them to uncover their true preferences. 

If you are still unsure of your preferences and think it may be personally beneficial for you to try to work out the source of your confusion then a one-to one session with a qualified practitioner may help. Some of the books outlined in the resources section may also be helpful in your quest.

Split preferences

Another possible source of confusion comes from the instrument itself. Each of the eight preferences aggregate a number of different traits or attitudes under that heading (e.g. feeling).  Sometimes individuals literally split their preference between both sides of a preference scale. For example, they may prefer extraversion on the whole but in some vital respect may prefer to operate as an introvert.  The MBTI Step 1 questionnaire, which is most commonly used by practitioners, does not pick up or help to explain these individual variations. The Step 2 questionnaire is specifically designed to shed more light on strength of preference and split scores within a preference scale.


© Carol Craig

MBTI, Myers-Briggs, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries; OPP Ltd. has exclusive rights to these trademarks in the U.K.

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