How To Assess Your Interests and Aptitudes Before Choosing A Degree

Published on: June 28, 2024

Choosing your degree is one of the most important choices you can make as it impacts your career and future. Some people know from a young age exactly what career path they want to follow, which makes it easy to select the best degree options for entering that field. However, many other people are unsure about what to choose and are concerned that making the wrong choice could lose them a lot of time and money. Several interest and aptitude tests have been developed to help individuals like this identify their strengths and preferences. These tests make it easier to gain some clarity about what type of personality you have and what kind of careers best suit your aptitudes. Most of these tests can be accessed online or via career counseling services, so here's a quick look at a few of the most widely recognized ones.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely used assessment tool that enhances self-awareness and enables individuals to apply their personality insights to improve personal and professional effectiveness. It is commonly employed for personal growth, communication, team development, leadership development, and stress management. The MBTI categorizes individuals into one of 16 personality types, each with its unique strengths and preferences, providing a comprehensive understanding of one's personality. Each of these types serves as an indicator of how the person naturally makes decisions, approaches the outside world, and directs and receives energy. 

Strong Interest Inventory (SII)

The Strong Interest Inventory (SII) is an assessment individuals can use to identify their interests and work preferences. It was designed to help people explore potential careers and discover what educational pathways would most align with their interests. This, in turn, would help them make more informed decisions that could lead to successful and fulfilling careers. It is commonly employed for career exploration, college major selection, career development, and workforce reintegration. The assessment breaks interest into six categories: realistic, artistic, investigative, social, enterprising, and conventional. These categories can then be further broken down into fields of study and careers. 


CliftonStrengths, formerly known as the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, was invented by Don Clifton to help people identify the ways in which they most naturally think, feel, and behave. It is divided into 34 themes and identifies individuals' top strengths in these themes. Users who complete the assessment are shown the five strength areas in which they scored highest and how these can be applied in their lives. 


CareerExplorer by Sokanu for helping individuals understand their strengths and what jobs they might be suited for. The assessment is designed for people to reflect on their past experiences and future goals to learn what it is that makes them unique. Based on their strengths, interests, and personality, the assessment can then match them with potential careers and degrees. This can be useful for students trying to figure out what to study, college students wondering what career paths to follow, and people thinking about making career changes. 

The Birkman Method

The Birkman Method was developed by an American organizational psychologist named Roger Winfred Birkman. This online assessment consists of ten scales for occupational preferences, eleven for effective behaviors, and eleven for interpersonal and environmental expectations. The goal is to help people better understand themselves and others, figure out what they enjoy doing, identify their natural workstyles, and more. 

DiSC Assessment

The DiSC assessment is a personality assessment that can help individuals see which of the four main personality reference styles matches them. DiSC is an acronym for these personalities and consists of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. These personality styles show whether a person likes accomplishing bottom-line results, likes influencing or persuading others, likes cooperating, or places an emphasis on expertise and competency, amongst other things. The assessment consists of about 80 questions that reveal your behavioral style, strategies for engaging with others, as well as your needs and preferred environment. 

Keirsey Temperament Sorter

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter was developed by an American psychologist named David Keirsey. The assessment divides people into four temperaments: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rational. Each of these has two categories, further divided into two types, for a total of sixteen types, similar to the personality types of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter can help students with insights into career preferences, communication styles, and personal development strategies.


Interest and aptitude tests can be a great tool for identifying your strengths and weaknesses, but most are open to interpretation, and the results should not be treated as set in stone. These tests can provide you with information about yourself and help you increase your self-awareness. However, it is also important to watch out for scams that don't provide accurate results. Using an interest and aptitude test can help you gain some clarity about what degree to choose, but for the best results, it is advisable to speak to a career counselor for some guidance. Thankfully, most colleges and universities have career offices dedicated to helping students. The tests listed above are some of the most trusted, but there are also free alternatives available that can help students with their academic choices.

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