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Battle of the Assessments

Choosing between the MSCEIT and EQ-i 2.0

Picture this. You have decided to focus on emotional intelligence. You want a reliable and validated assessment. You discover two popular emotional intelligence tests: the EQ-i 2.0 and the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT)*. How do you decide between them?

The EQ-i 2.0 is a self-report assessment of emotional intelligence and measures how frequently people use different emotional skills. The MSCEIT is an ability-based measure that assesses people’s ability to perceive, use, understand and manage emotions through their performance on 8 different tasks.

The question remains. Which one do you choose?

The honest answer? It depends.

Beyond practical considerations, such as the length of the assessment (the EQ-i 2.0 is the shorter of the two), your choice also depends on why the test is being used.

In a developmental context, the EQ-i 2.0 may be more appropriate. This is because it identifies areas for development and strategies for action. In contrast, the MSCEIT focuses on managing weaknesses rather than developing them. However, the MSCEIT may be a more suitable choice than the EQ-i 2.0 in situations where people want to make themselves look better, such as in a recruitment or selection context*. This is because it is difficult for people to fake or alter responses when they complete an ability-based measure**.

Your choice of assessment may also depend on what you are attempting to measure. The EQ-i 2.0 measures other factors alongside emotional intelligence, such as social skills and well-being. This is therefore more suitable for those interested in measuring a wider combination of traits and skills. The MSCEIT may be a better option if you want to focus solely on a person’s emotional intelligence.

Alternatively, you could consider using the MSCEIT in conjunction with the EQ-i 2.0*. For example, the combination of these results would allow you to compare a person’s actual and perceived levels of emotional intelligence. This would be particularly useful in situations where there are not enough raters to administer a 360 assessment or when someone believes they do not need to develop their emotional intelligence.

So, which one do you choose? Ultimately, there is no right answer. The EQ-i 2.0 and the MSCEIT are both reliable and valid measures of emotional intelligence and can be used in a variety of contexts. Consider what best suits your needs and everything else should fall into place.

Learn more about the MSCEIT and the EQ-i 2.0.

*Lin, I. (n.d.). EQ-i 2.0 vs. MSCEIT Part 2. Talent Assessment Blog. Retrieved from:

**O'Connor, P. J., Hill, A., Kaya, M., & Martin, B. (2019). The measurement of emotional intelligence: A critical review of the literature and recommendations for researchers and practitioners. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1-19.

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