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Wonderlic Test

The Wonderlic Personnel Test (also referred to as the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test) was created in 1936 by E.F. Wonderlic, who was at the time a graduate student at Northwestern University. The test was originally designed to test the overall aptitude of employees for certain jobs or tasks. The test is sometimes called a “quick IQ test” because of the short 12-minute time limit placed on the test. While it is not the same as an IQ test, it does focus on determining overall cognitive abilities in the areas of math, vocabulary, and reasoning.

While the original test has undergone many changes, including a revision in 2007 to update the questions to those more relevant to the 21st century – the main aim and the format of the test has remained largely unchanged. A number of different versions of the test have been developed to ascertain a wide range of qualities, such as personal traits, skills, cognitive ability, personality and even behavioral liability.

How smart are you? Try our quick IQ test!

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Quick Practice Test

Our quick sample test is a 25-question multiple-choice test to help you prepare for a Wonderlic test. An official Wonderlic test will contain 50 questions, so this can be a helpful tool as you prepare to take an official test. You will have 6 minutes to answer the 25 questions and you will get one point for every correct answer. There is no penalty for an incorrect answer, so as you practice, be aware of the timer so you can answer as many questions as possible to give yourself the best chance for a high score. When you are ready to begin your Wonderlic practice test, click the "Start" button below.

1 / 25

A football field is 100 yards and also includes two endzones that are 10 yards long each. How many feet long is a football field including the endzones?

2 / 25

If the location you want to go is 270 miles away and you want to get there in 4.5 hours, at what constant speed do you need to drive?

3 / 25

The square footage of a room is 1400 feet. If the one side is 25 ft long, what is the length of the other side?

4 / 25

If the first two statements are true, is the last statement true as well? Marcia only drinks sweet tea in the summer. Marcia has a sweet tea with her dinner. It is summer.

5 / 25

A marathon is 26.2 miles. If Sally ran a marathon in 3 hours and 3 minutes, what was her approximate pace?

6 / 25

Are the following two words similar, contradictory, or not related?

Fault   Break

7 / 25

Over the course of two weeks, Al spent $105.00 on lunch. What was the average cost per day?

8 / 25

On Tuesday and Wednesday, cab fare cost $7.75 total. On Monday and Thursday, cab fare cost $6.30 on each day. On Friday, cab fare cost $7.00. What was the average daily cost?

9 / 25

If the first two statements are true, is the last statement true as well? When it rains Julie wears a yellow coat. Julie has on a yellow coat. It is raining.

10 / 25

If the first two statements are true, is the last statement true as well? Orange butterflies head to the south for the winter. Derek is a butterfly. Derek will head south for the winter.

11 / 25

Which of the following is not a whole number followed by its square?

12 / 25

REDACT, REACT – Do these words:

13 / 25

Are the following two words similar, contradictory, or not related?

Legend   Key

14 / 25

There are 4 times as many used cars in the car dealership lot as there as new cars. There are 120 cars total in the dealership lot. How many new cars are in the car dealership lot?

15 / 25

Cow is to milk as orange is to:

16 / 25

Massive is similar to:

17 / 25

Reduce the fraction 21/49 to its lowest terms.

18 / 25

The 6th month of the year is

19 / 25

Mark got a 20% raise for his salary. If this salary was $1,800, what is his new salary?

20 / 25

From the list below, select all of the quadruped mammals that might be found as a pet in a typical American family home.

21 / 25

The declaration of Independence was signed in:

22 / 25

A copy machine repairman makes $12.50 per hour plus $4 for every service call he performs. Last week he worked 34 hours and made 6 service calls. How much money did he make?

23 / 25

An oven can cook 3 thin crust pizzas in an hour or 1 deep dish pizza in a hour. If you have one oven, how much time do you need to make 12 thin crust pizzas and 4 deep dish pizzas?

24 / 25

The tenth month of the year is:

25 / 25

What number best completes the analogy; 144:12 1369:

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Two of the more notable organizations that regularly use some version of the Wonderlic Personnel Test are the US Military and the NFL. During WWII, the US Navy began using the Wonderlic test to identify individuals possessing the right traits and skill sets to be pilots and navigators. In the 1970’s, Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry began to use the Wonderlic test to help evaluate player performance and the test is still used today as a part of the NFL combine. In fact, a simplified version of the Wonderlic test is also included in more recent versions of the Madden NFL video games.

Check out our huge list of NFL Wonderlic scores.

How does the Wonderlic test work?

Test subjects have 12 minutes to answer a series of 50 multiple choice questions that get subsequently more difficult as the test progresses. Both the limited time frame and the increasing difficulty of the questions help to determine how well a person performs and makes decisions under stress.

What is a Wonderlic score?

The Wonderlic test score is calculated very simply. For each of the 50 questions answered correctly within the allotted 12 minutes, the test taker receives one point. So, if 26 questions are answered correctly, the test taker would receive a score of 26 out of 50.

What is a good score on the Wonderlic? What is the average Wonderlic score?

20 correct answers out of 50 in the allotted time of 12 minutes is generally perceived to be the average score for the Wonerlic test. While “good” is a subjective term, to be above average one would have to score a 21 or greater on the test.

Wonderlic test score percentiles

While the Wonderlic test is not an IQ test, its results can be charted similarly to common IQ tests like the Stanford-Binet or Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Wonderlic results can be scored on a bell curve, with the highest and lowest scores representing the highest and lowest percentiles, with the middle representing the majority of scores.

A score of 16 or below represents roughly the lowest 25th percentile, a score between 17 and 26 represents roughly the middle 50th percentile and a score of 27 or higher represents the top 25th percentile, with a score of 40 or higher representing the top 1%.

A rough breakdown of scoring ranges for the Wonderlic exam could look like this

  • Extremely Low: 0 to 8
  • Low: 9 to 19
  • Average: 20
  • High: 25 to 40
  • Genius: 40 to 50 correct

While it may seem like the most sought-after individuals are those with the highest Wonderlic scores, this is not always the case. In fact, it has been said that some organizations in the NFL often look specifically for players with a score towards the 50th percentile. The idea behind this being that they want players that will follow directions and be a team player, not necessarily those that will think too much for themselves. A higher Wonderlic score is perceived as being indicative of the type of intelligence that makes a player think too independently.

The exception to this rule seems to be at the position of Quarterback, where the ability to think independently seems to be of greater advantage. Several of the first round draft picks and highest producing quarterbacks in the last several years have all scored exceptionally high on the Wonderlic assessment. These include Aaron Rodgers, Sam Bradford, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, Carson Wentz and Blaine Gabbert, who all scored a 35 or above.

Conversely, a number of other industries also have a target score that is considered most optimal for that profession. Here are a few of the median scores for these industries or professions:

  • Systems analyst – 32
  • Accountant – 28
  • Executive – 28
  • Teacher – 28
  • Librarian – 27
  • Electronics Technician – 26
  • Salesperson – 25
  • Secretary – 24
  • Electrician – 23
  • Nurse – 23
  • Cashier – 21
  • Firefighter – 21
  • Receptionist – 21
  • Security guard – 17
  • Warehouse worker – 15
  • Janitor – 14

Validity of the Wonderlic test

Validity is measured in two ways in standardized testing. This includes reliability over time and reliability of prediction of outcomes. To determine the reliability over time, a sample pool of individuals can be tested over a period of time. If their scores remain largely unchanged regardless of changes in life circumstances and increased education then it shows the testing is being conducted in regards to traits that do not change over time.

In 1982, a study was done of 57 adults who took the Wonderlic twice over a five-year period. the test-retest reliability was reported as being 94%. In terms of overall validity, a 1989 article in Psychological Reports gave the Wonderlic a correlation coefficient of r=.87 in comparison to the similar Pearson test which scored r=.21.

A more recent article from Psychological Reports, however, showed that the Wonderlic was highly accurate at testing overall intellectual functioning, but is not as accurate at determining levels of fluid or crystallized intelligence. In other words, it is great at identifying sharp, quick-witted concrete thinkers, but not so great at measuring the intelligence of “outside-the-box” thinkers.

Where to Take the Test

Wonderlic tests have to be taken at an approved site given by a proctor. Official score copies will be administered once the test is graded. If the test is being taken for a specific job, the employer will pay the fees for the test. Fees can range from $50 to $200 depending on where the test is taken.

Practicing for the Wonderlic

What to Expect During Testing

The test taker will be asked to provide an ID to take the test and obtain their results. The test is administered and it is timed so the proctor will tell those taking the test when to begin and when to stop. The takers have 12 minutes to answer as many of the 50 questions as they can correctly. Any unanswered questions will be counted as incorrect.

What are the Wonderlic Test Types?

There are several available tests provided by Wonderlic, which are primarily administered to students or job seekers. While there are many tests provided by Wonderlic, here are several of the most popular versions.

For Students

Scholastic Level Exam

The Scholastic Level Exam (SLE) is used by schools and universities to assist with predicting academic outcomes for prospective or current students. This helps supplement other student body outcome statistics like GPA, transfer rates, student loan defaults, job placement rates, and graduation rates.

The test can be administered either as the traditional Scholastic Level Exam (50 questions in 12 minutes) or as the Quicktest version (30 questions in 8 minutes). The quicktest is not proctored and can be taken from any location, while the traditional version is proctored.

Test questions are comprised of mathematical reasoning, reading comprehension, word matching, and spatial comprehension questions.

For Job Seekers

Personnel Test

The Wonderlic Personnel test is typically administered to prospective employees during the application process. The test provides the employer with information about a job candidate’s ability to learn, apply knowledge, understand instructions, and solve problems. The test also measures their perceived future satisfaction with a specific job, which helps a company avoid mis-hires.

Questions are administered online and the candidate has 12 minutes to complete the 50 question test. Test questions are comprised of mathematic reasoning, reading comprehension, word matching, and spatial comprehension questions.

For Both

Basic Skills Test

The Basic Skills Test is offered to both job seekers and students as a longer than typical version of the traditional Wonderlic test. It is designed for students and job seekers that will require communication and mathematical skills on an ongoing basis to succeed.

The Basic Skills test focuses on assessing math and verbal knowledge, and divides the test into 45 math and 50 verbal questions. 20 minutes is given to complete each section of the test.

Test questions are comprised of information retrieval, word knowledge, and sentence construction questions.

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