Thomas International PPA (Guide and Tips)

It is becoming increasingly common for employers to ask potential new employees to complete a variety of assessments as part of their recruitment processes. 

One example of this is the Thomas International PPA assessment, which is a personality test commonly used by employers who are looking for individuals with specific personality types or strengths in defined areas. 

In this article, you’ll learn what the Thomas International PPA Test is, what you can expect if you are asked to take the assessment and how your test will be scored.

We have also included plenty of helpful tips and free Thomas International PPA sample test questions to help you prepare ahead of taking the Thomas PPA assessment

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What Is the Thomas International PPA Test?

The Thomas International Personality Profile Analysis (or PPA) Test is a computerised assessment, available worldwide with 56 different translations. 

It is commonly used within recruitment processes. Applicants are asked to complete the Thomas International personality test to give recruiters insight into their personalities. This insight can then be used to decide whether a potential candidate is likely to be able to fulfil the requirements of the role they have applied for. 

The assessment was originally developed in the early 1960s by Dr. Thomas Hendrickson to understand the behaviour of individuals within the workplace. It used principles that were originally developed by William Moulton Marston to build on the DISC Theory principle. 

What Is the Thomas International PPA Test Used For?

Predominantly, the Thomas International PPA assessment is used within the recruitment process. By asking applicants to complete the test, employers can assess whether someone is likely to exhibit the personality traits that they require. It can also offer insight into someone’s approach to work in a broader sense. 

The Thomas International PPA Test can also be required of existing employees. This is often the case when employers are looking to evaluate the progress of staff members and can help to identify strengths and weaknesses within teams. 

What Does the Thomas International PPA Test Measure?

The Thomas PPA Test is used to measure four separate factors: dominance, compliance, influence and steadiness. 

These have been identified as core areas of personality and where you score for each one will tell employers about your approach to work and other work-related traits.

What Is the Thomas International PPA Test Format?

There are 24 questions in total that need to be answered. For each question, individuals will be shown four words. 

They must select the one which they feel best describes them, as well as the one which is least relevant to them. Each answer has a point value, which is then plotted to determine how well a specific individual relates to each of the core personality factors. 

There is no time limit for the Thomas International PPA Test, although most people are able to complete the assessment in less than 10 minutes. 

What Does the Thomas International PPA Test Assess?

As previously mentioned, the Thomas PPA test looks to evaluate an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to their approach to work. This is done by plotting the point value of the answers given against the four core personality traits set out by Dr. Thomas Hendrickson. 


This describes individuals who are likely to take charge in group situations. Individuals who score highly for dominance are likely to take a more direct approach and be more assertive within the workplace. 

They may be considered to be direct in the way that they deal with others and can sometimes seem aggressive in their working style. 


Someone who scores highly for compliance is likely to avoid situations where they have to decide for others. It is likely that these individuals will be very good at listening to input from others and are happiest when following instructions. 

They are also likely to be conscientious in their approach to work, working in a methodical and organised manner. 


Those who score highly for influence are likely to be outspoken and motivational individuals within the workplace. They are able to influence and direct others in a way that helps to reach goals and are often considered to be outgoing. 


When an individual receives a high steadiness score, it is likely to reflect their ability to remain calm under pressure as well as helping to calm others. These employees are able to prioritise and maintain control no matter what might happen. 

Get practice tests from JobTestPrep


Thomas International PPA Test Questions

One of the best ways to familiarise yourself with an assessment is by looking at sample questions. In addition to the Thomas PPA test example questions below, there are a number of websites that offer paid for and free PPA assessment sample tests, example questions, along with Thomas International PPA test answers.

For each set of questions, candidates are asked to select which word they feel describes them best and which one describes them worst. 

Example One

Most Like: Trusting | Respectful | Brave | Agreeable

Least Like: Trusting | Respectful | Brave | Agreeable

Example Two

Most Like: Reflective | Reasoning | Empathetic | Outgoing

Least Like: Reflective | Reasoning | Empathetic | Outgoing

Example Three

Most Like: Persuasive | Compliant | Vocal | Humble

Least Like: Persuasive | Compliant | Vocal | Humble

Example Four

Most Like: Dominant | Submissive | Gentle | Forceful

Least Like: Dominant | Submissive | Gentle | Forceful

Example Five

Most Like: Orderly | Conscientious | Pragmatic | Perfectionist

Least Like: Orderly | Conscientious | Pragmatic | Perfectionist

Example Six

Most Like: Practical | Theory-driven | Hands-on | Adaptable

Least Like: Practical | Theory-driven | Hands-on | Adaptable

Example Seven

Most Like: Organised | Methodical | Impulsive | Observant

Least Like: Organised | Methodical | Impulsive | Observant

How Is the Thomas International PPA Test Scored?

Each word listed within the questions will have a point value. This value is then used to calculate an overall score, as well as scores for the areas which are marked ‘most like’ and ‘least like’. 

This three-pronged approach provides employers with a profile report which offers a comprehensive overview of each individual candidate. 

In situations where the Thomas International PPA Test is used to evaluate current employees, reports can be compared to previous results. This gives insight as to the progress of individuals, as well as any areas which may have weakened. 

The information gathered can then help employers to decide whether employees need to undertake further training or be given additional responsibilities relating to their personality strengths. 

What Is the Pass Mark for the Thomas International PPA Test?

There is no specific pass mark. Instead, employers will set their own target marks depending on the role being applied for. 

This inevitably means that it can be very difficult to know exactly what sort of Thomas Personal Profile Analysis answers an employer is looking for, so it is best to answer questions honestly, rather than assuming that you know which traits are desirable. 

How to Prepare for the Thomas International PPA Test

While it is challenging to prepare for a test that assesses your personality, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that you are feeling comfortable and happy on the day. Being confident will help you to answer the questions to the best of your ability, quickly and thoroughly. 

Familiarise Yourself With the Question Format

The questions are designed to make you think about your personality, your strengths and your weaknesses. 

You will find that there are four possible options for each question, but you are only allowed to choose one which most describes you and one which least describes you. 

Getting used to the format of the test will help you to answer questions quickly and honestly when you take the assessment. 

Practice Using Sample Questions or Similar Tests

There are no right and wrong answers, but looking at Thomas PPA sample questions and taking practice tests can help you to understand your strengths and weaknesses, as well as offer insight as to how the test works. 

There are a number of websites that offer Thomas PPA assessment sample questions and paid for or free Thomas PPA practice test options. 

Consider Your Personality and Your Approach to Problem Solving

It can sometimes help to think about what you are like as a person before taking a personality test

This way, you might already have an idea of where some of your strengths may be and what personality traits you may have. 

Thinking about these things, as well as words that could be used to describe you, ahead of time can give you confidence when it comes to answering questions during the real Thomas PPA assessment

Be Honest and Authentic

At its core, this is a personality test. Employers want to know that they are hiring individuals who have the strengths and skills needed to do well in the role they are hiring for. 

As such, honesty is important. You could try answering questions in a way which reflects what you think employers want, but this won’t be an accurate reflection of who you are as a person. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Thomas International PPA Test is a 24-question personality assessment predominantly used by employers to assess personality traits in relation to approach to work. 

In most cases, completing the Thomas PPA Test is done as part of a recruitment process, although it can be used at any time. 

There are a number of websites that will allow you to prepare for the Thomas International PPA Test. 

Practice4Me and JobsTestPrep are two of the most popular options.

Here, you will find information about the assessment along with practice tests. 

There are 24 questions in total. You will be shown four adjectives for each question and will be required to select the ones which are most and least relevant to you. 

The Thomas PPA Test isn’t timed. Most people are able to answer all of the questions in less than 10 minutes. 

You will be presented with a total of 24 questions. Each question follows the same format. 

You will be shown a selection of four words and will need to choose the one which is ‘most like’ you and one which you feel is ‘least like’ your personality. 

It isn’t really a case of passing or failing. The Thomas PPA assessment is designed to provide insight into your personality. 

It shows the areas which are stronger and weaker within your personality and the approach that you are likely to have to work. 

As such, it is difficult to predict what traits an employer might be looking for. It is more important to be yourself and answer questions honestly. 

You will find a number of PPA test example questions in the article above. There are also a number of websites such as Assessment Central HQ and JobTestPrep that offer sample tests and questions to help you prepare for the Thomas PPA assessment itself. 

Each recruiter will set their own targets depending on the role and the type of person they are looking to employ. Because of this, it isn’t really possible to say what a ‘good score’ would look like. 

Employers ask potential employees and existing staff members to take the Thomas International PPA Test when they are looking for specific personality types or strengths within individuals. 

It can also be used to evaluate how well an individual is progressing in specific areas. For example, a team leader might be asked to complete the test on a semi-regular basis to check that they are developing the skills needed to be an effective leader. 

This will entirely depend on the reason for taking the test. If you have taken the assessment as part of a recruitment process, your scores will be analysed before potential employers decide which individuals will move to the next stage of the interview process. 

If you haven’t shown the required personality traits, then you are likely to be told that you have been unsuccessful. 

If you are taking the Thomas PPA assessment as part of an ongoing employee evaluation process, the results can be used to help better target any training which may be required, as well as potentially highlighting areas of a business which might be a better fit for you. 

There is a lot of information about the Thomas International PPA assessment in the article above. You will find more information and practice tests on websites like JobsTestPrep, Practice4Me and Assessment Centre HQ. 

There is no need to study for the assessment as it is a personality test, so it is more important to answer honestly and be authentic to yourself. 

Any company can use the Thomas PPA Test. It is available throughout the world, with more than 50 different language options. 

Some of the companies which require candidates to complete the test include: UK Thames Valley Police Force, Specsavers, Siemens, Harvey Nash and Yellow Pages Group. 

Final Thoughts

The Thomas International PPA Test is a widely used personality test that is commonly used in recruitment processes. 

With more than 50 different translations, it can be used across the world to provide insight into the personality of potential applicants. 

It looks at strengths and weaknesses in a way that can help employers to identify those individuals who are best suited to the roles they are looking to fill. It can also be used to track progress and areas of strength within existing staff members. 

If you have never been asked to take a personality test or other form of psychometric testing as part of the recruitment process, then you may feel anxious at the prospect. However, understanding what to expect can help you to feel more comfortable when it comes to sitting the assessment. 

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