About the Big Five Model of Personality

The Big Five Model is a model based on descriptors of personality. It is referred to as the Big Five personality traits and the five-factor model (FFM). Psychologists use these five personality traits to define a person's personality type. There are multiple personality tests that have modeled their tests after the Big Five Model.

Who Uses Big Five Personality Tests?

Many companies use personality tests during their hiring processes. The purpose of personality tests is to compare an applicant's traits against traits required by the position to which he or she is applying. Employers may also use personality tests to evaluate their employees or change group dynamics.

Popular Big 5 Personality Tests

There are many personality tests that use the Big Five personality traits. Below is a list of personality tests that use the five-factor model.

  • NEO – The NEO-PI-R contains 240 items and has a 35–45 minute timeframe.
  • IPIP – The IPIP contains 300 items and takes 30–40 minutes to complete.
  • TIPI & FIPI – This test contains 10 or 5 items
  • 16PF – The 16PF contains 185 items and has a 30–50 minute time frame.
  • Hogan – This test takes about 15–20 minutes to complete.
  • Wonderlic – Wonderlic offers three different personality tests consisting of 88–150 questions. Depending on the test, it can take between 15–30 minutes to complete.

What Is the Big Five Model?

The Big Five Model is comprised of five basic dimensions of personality, often referred to as the "Big 5" personality traits. These five personality traits are extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

What Are the Big Five Personality Traits?

The big five traits are referred to as "OCEAN"—Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion/Introversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.

Big Five Model

Openness to Experience

This refers to a person likely to show an appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, intellectual curiosity, creativity, and variety of experience. A person may also show traits of imagination or independence. Additionally, this trait depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine.

High Score – High scorers can be perceived as unpredictable or having a lack of focus. In addition, a person with a high score in openness is more likely to engage in activities like skydiving, living abroad, or gambling.

Low Score – Low scores tend to gain fulfillment through perseverance, and they are characterized as pragmatic and data-driven. Sometimes they are perceived to be closed-minded.


  • I have excellent ideas.
  • I am quick to understand things.
  • I am full of ideas.
  • I am not interested in abstractions. (reversed)
  • I do not have a good imagination. (reversed)


This refers to a tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior.

High Score – High scorers are often perceived as stubborn and obsessive.

Low Score – Low scorers display flexibility and spontaneity, but they can be perceived as sloppy and unreliable.


  • I am always prepared.
  • I pay attention to details.
  • I like order.
  • I follow a schedule.
  • I leave my belongings strewn around. (reversed)


This trait reflects energy, positive emotions, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness.

Introverts have lower social engagement and energy levels than extroverts. They tend to appear quiet, low-key, deliberate, and less involved in the social world. Introverts need less stimulation than extroverts and more time alone.

High Score – High scores are often perceived as attention-seeking and domineering.

Low Score – Low scorers display a reserved, reflective personality, which can be perceived as aloof or self-absorbed.


  • I don't mind being the center of attention.
  • I feel comfortable around people.
  • I start conversations.
  • I don't talk a lot. (reversed)
  • I don't like to draw attention to myself. (reversed)


This reflects a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic toward others. It is also a measure of one's trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well-tempered or not.

High Score – High scorers are often seen as naive or submissive.

Low Score – Low scorers are often competitive or challenging people, which can be viewed as argumentative or untrustworthy.


  • I sympathize with others' feelings.
  • I take time out for others.
  • I make people feel at ease.
  • I am not interested in other people's problems. (reversed)
  • I feel little concern for others. (reversed)


This refers to a tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability. It also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control, which is why it is sometimes referred to by its low pole, "emotional stability".

High Score – High scorers display a need for stability and a calm personality, but they can be seen as uninspiring and unconcerned.

Low Score – Low scorers display a need for stability, which causes a reactive and excitable personality. These people are often seen as very dynamic individuals, but they can be perceived as unstable or insecure.


  • I get stressed out easily.
  • I get upset easily.
  • I worry about things.
  • I am relaxed most of the time. (reversed)
  • I seldom feel blue. (reversed)

People who don't show any specific characteristics from the Big Five are considered adaptable, moderate, and reasonable personalities, but they can also be perceived as unprincipled, inscrutable, and calculating.

Each of the Big Five personality traits contains two separate, but correlated, aspects reflecting a level of personality. The aspects are labeled as follows: Volatility and Withdrawal for Neuroticism; Enthusiasm and Assertiveness for Extraversion; Intellect and Openness for Openness/Intellect; Industriousness and Orderliness for Conscientiousness; and Compassion and Politeness for Agreeableness.

The Big Five Personality Inventory

Though this test is called the Big Five Inventory, it should not be confused with the Big Five Model. They are two separate things. The Big Five Personality Inventory is a type of personality test. It contains 44 items that use the Big Five traits to determine a person's personality. The test not only uses the Big Five factors but further divides them into personality facets to give a more detailed personality assessment.

Free Big Five Personality Test

We offer free sample personality questions to prepare you for any Big Five personality test. Start practicing now.

Prepare for Big Five Personality Tests with JobTestPrep

JobTestPrep offers a Personality Test PrepPack™ to prepare you for any type of personality test. Our pack includes a practice test, answer explanations, and a detailed score report. It also includes study guides to help you gain a better understanding of the different personality traits. One of the study guides is a professions study guide with which you can compare your results to traits that are desired for a specific profession. Start practicing today with our PrepPack™ so that you can succeed on the test.

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