Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test

Many large companies require applicants to take the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test as part of the hiring process. The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test is a basic intelligence test business use to evaluate the potential of incoming employees.


If you’re here, then you might have been out of school for a while, or maybe you’re just not sure your math skills are up to par. In any case, you’ve been asked to take the Wonderlic, and you’re not quite sure that you’re ready.

Perhaps you’re fresh out of high school, but you’re a terrible test taker. You learn new skills easily, but when that piece of paper is staring you down, you panic. Whatever it may be, this degree is really important to you.

It’s the first step in launching a new career, and you’d hate to let a silly test stand in your way.

Thankfully, the Wonderlic isn’t actually that difficult… that is, if you know what you’re doing.

Below, we’ll explain exactly what you should expect from the exam, and give you some exclusive tips and tricks you can use to boost your score immediately.

What is the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test?

The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, also called the Wonderlic Personnel Test and even the Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam, is a psychometric assessment modeled off of the standardized I.Q. test. Designed to measure general intelligence, it helps colleges and academic institutions assess how well people approach difficult problems while under pressure.

The test contains a total of 50 multiple-choice questions, and you have no more than 12 minutes to complete the exam. Though the test is online, it is proctored, so you’ll have to go to an official assessment center to take it. You’ll be tested on your knowledge of vocabulary, basic mathematics, and logic, and you’ll have to answer the questions quickly if you want to beat the clock.

While the test is online, it is a proctored exam, and you’ll have to go to an assessment center to complete it.

Why Do I Need to Take It?

Eldon Wonderlic created the exam back in the 1930’s in Chicago, and he originally distributed the assessment from his home. A psychology student at Northwestern, Wonderlic believed in the power of intelligence, and he wanted to bring his expertise to the professional world.

According to psychological research, intelligence is one of the best predictors of success. Though you won’t go very far if you’re not diligent and committed, cognitive ability, as they like to refer to it, is important.

After all, employers want to know that you’ll be able to grapple with complex issues in unique, creative ways whether or not you’re ready. They also want to know you’ll be able to handle the everyday stressors you’ll encounter while on the job. While not perfect, this simple evaluation shows them what your resume can not -a glimpse into your psychological world.

How Should I Prepare for the Exam?

Too many students assume that, because the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test is so short, or maybe because it’s so abstract, that they don’t need to study for it.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

You can and should study for the Wonderlic.

Just like the SAT and the ACT, the Wonderlic is a standardized test. It’s predictable and repetitive, and if you know what to expect, you’ll breeze through the questions easily.

While you do need to have reached a basic level in mathematics, you won’t need advanced algebra or trigonometry. Chances are, as long as you graduated from high school, you know more than enough to pass the test.

The key, when studying for the Wonderlic, is really just to practice.

Seem simple?

It is. There are only 24 different kinds of questions on Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, and if you’re familiar with one of them, then you can answer any of them.

In our online course, we take you by the hand and go through each question type in detail explaining exactly how you can answer the question as quickly as possible. We show you how test writers try to trick you, and how you can avoid making common mistakes.

We want you to start practicing right away though. That’s why we’re offering you a free Wonderlic practice test. The diagnostic was written by our Wonderlic professionals, and all of the questions are based off of actual questions. Better yet, you can watch four test prep modules completely free of charge.

Click the button below to start the exam now


1. What’s the Difference Between the Wonderlic & Wonderlic Quicktest?

Okay, so there are actually two Wonderlic exams. Besides the standard exam, you also have the Quicktest. The Quicktest contains only 30 questions and lasts 8 minutes.

While these two exams contain the same material, they are slightly different. The Quicktest does contain a few short response math questions, and because there are fewer questions, each one is worth more points. That being said, they contain the same material.

2. What’s on the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test?

There are four basic subjects tested on the Cognitive Ability Exam:

A. Vocabulary:- The Wonderlic will evaluate your grasp of the English language (though it can be taken in other languages!). You’ll be tested on your knowledge of vocabulary and your ability to construct sentences properly.

  • Reordering Sentences
  • Defining Vocabulary
  • Comparing Words

B. Mathematics:- Your employer will want to know that you can manipulate figures and use basic numerical reasoning. While you won’t have to perform advanced calculations, you will have to prove you know how to use all four operations and solve everyday mathematical problems.

  • Arithmetic
  • Word Problems
  • Ratios & Proportions

C. Logic:- These questions will assess your ability to form coherent arguments and connect similar ideas.

  • Analogies
  • Deductive Logic
  • Geometric Puzzles

D. General Knowledge:- These questions will mainly ask you about dates and the calendar year as a whole. You should have learned this information growing up. Make sure to look for these questions on the test because they’ll give you a few easy points!

3. Can I Use a Calculator?

No, you cannot use a calculator, but you will be given a sheet of scrap paper to use as you’d like.

4. How is the Wonderlic Scored?

Each question on the Wonderlic is worth one point with a maximum score of 50 points. No points are deducted for wrong answers, so you should definitely answer every single question even if you need to guess.

5. What is a Good Score for the Wonderlic?

The average overall score for the Wonderlic, including the professional version of the test, is about 20-21. However, there is no official passing score for the exam. While some businesses accept 14, others want applicants to receive over 27. There really is no standard. Typically, employers have a number in mind, but they won’t tell you.

If you’re not sure, you should shoot for a 30. 30 is a very good score, and it should be more than sufficient for almost any employer.

6. What if I Fail the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test?

Actually, many people fail the Wonderlic on their first try. Because it’s such a unique test, even highly intelligent people find that they’re unprepared. In fact, only 2% of test takers even finish all of the questions.

Unfortunately, your employer will not let you retake the test.

If you want to make sure you’ll succeed, then you’ll want to take the time to prepare. While you can just wing it, you might be taking some serious risks. Since the questions are designed to trick you, and you only have a few seconds to answer each one of them, you’ll need to go in armed with a few strategies.

4. How is the Wonderlic Scored?

No, you cannot use a calculator, but you will be given a sheet of scrap paper to use as you’d like.

Practice Questions:

  1. 1. The following two words are:

    1. Similar
    2. Contradictory
    3. Unrelated
  2. Answer: A

    Though hysterics is a noun and hysterical is an adjective, they both derive from the same root. While hysterics refers to an exaggerated, emotional reaction, and hysterical usually means very funny, both words are related to the psychological condition of hysteria.

  3. 2. Jeanie is double Andy’s age, and Andy is only 11. How old will Jeanie be when Andy is 26?
    1. 38
    2. 52
    3. 36
    4. 37
    5. 13
  4. Answer: D

    If Jeanie is double Andy’s age, she must be 11 years older than him. So, when Andy is 26, she’ll still be 11 years older than him. Don’t assume that just because she’s double Andy’s age now, she’ll be double Andy’s age 15 years from now. That’s how test writers intend to trick you.

  5. 3. If the following two statements are true, the third is:
    Nili has a degree in nursing.
    Nili works in a hospital.
    Nili is a nurse.

    1. True
    2. False
    3. Uncertain
  6. Answer: C

    While Nili probably works in the hospital as a nurse, we have no way of knowing for sure only given the first two pieces of information. It’s possible that she went back to school to become a physician. We can’t know for sure, so we have to answer C.