What is the Wonderlic Test?

The Wonderlic Test, which is also known as the Wonderlic Personnel Test, is a widely-used psychometric test that is utilized as an assessment tool by companies, academic institutions, and even sports organizations such as the NFL, in order to determine a prospective employee, student, or athlete’s aptitude and problem-solving skills in the shortest amount of time possible.



Originally, the Wonderlic was designed by Eldon Wonderlic back in 1939 as a short-form cognitive abilities test while he was a graduate psychology student at Northwestern University to screen prospective employees for certain jobs within a short amount of time like a quick IQ test so to speak.

However, as time goes by, companies and other organizations caused it to evolve as an assessment tool, so one could now technically consider it as the Wonderlic assessment test.

What does the Wonderlic Test measure

As the Wonderlic Test is a form of an IQ test, it aims to measure the test taker’s general cognitive ability in the subjects of math, vocabulary, and reasoning.

Although the Wonderlic was first created in order to assist companies in improving its employee selection process, through the years it has been developed and modified to fit the needs of the United States Armed Forces and the National Football League (NFL).

Not long after, even the United States Navy also began to use its version of the Wonderlic Personnel Test to select candidates for its pilot and navigation training.

Versions specific for college entrance exams, nursing positions, and other industries soon followed after and the questions have been modified and updated to keep up with the change of the times.

Are there Other Types or Versions of the Wonderlic Test?

Other versions of the Wonderlic include the Wonderlic Perceptual Ability Tests, Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam (SLE), Wonderlic Basic Skills Test and the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, to name a few, and that the test is currently available in at least 12 languages.

How Does the Wonderlic Work?

The Wonderlic Test is comprised of 50 multiple-choice questions revolving around the areas of math, reasoning, general knowledge, and logic.

Although the questions themselves and the related material isn’t that particularly difficult and can be answered if given enough thought and consideration, what makes it challenging is the mere 12-minute time limit that every test taker is given to answer all these questions in a single sitting.

To make things worse, some of the questions in the test are intentionally formulated or made become ‘time traps’ in order for the candidate to lose precious time by focusing on that particular question, thus preventing them from going over easier questions that could be solved at a much faster pace.

This time factor is one of the reasons why people find the Wonderlic challenging despite containing a number of ‘easy’ questions.

Alternatively, the addition of these ‘time trap questions’ is intentional as it seeks to determine two crucial skills of the candidate: their time management and critical thinking skills.

What is the Validity of the Wonderlic

According to an article written in Psychological Reports, T. Matthews and Kerry Lassiter stated the Wonderlic test “was most strongly associated with overall intellectual functioning”.

Additionally, it was found that the Wonderlic test has shown high correlations with aptitude tests such as the General Aptitude Test Battery in academic testing.

How to Prepare For the Wonderlic

Since the main goal of the Wonderlic is to get as many correct answers as possible within the allotted 12-minute time limit, knowing when to skip a question in order to prioritize the easier ones will be the test taker’s most valuable ability.

The reason behind this? Whether it’s a simple ‘spot the difference’ or a ‘calculate the profit of an organization for the last three years if x caused y every other month’ question, these questions equally give you one point if you managed to answer them correctly.

In other words, the 3 minutes that you spent calculating or solving one problem could have been used to answer 5 or 6, or even 10, questions that only needed a few seconds to find the correct answer. 

From this, we now know that the entirety of the Wonderlic is a race against the clock to answer as many questions as efficiently as possible and that knowing when to skip a question if you think it will eat up your precious time would be a crucial skill.

Click here for a more in-depth guide on how to prepare for the Wonderlic test.

What is a Good Wonderlic Test Score?

As the Wonderlic test is highly flexible to suit the needs of a particular company, organization, or academic institution, what is deemed as a ‘good’ or a ‘passing’ score varies from company to company, organization to organization, and even industry to industry.

According to Wonderlic, Inc., however, it claims that a person that has a Wonderlic score of 10 suggests that they are at least literate. 

Furthermore, some employers or organizations will instead utilize a shorter version of the Wonderlic test, known as the Wonderlic Personnel Quick Test (WPT-Q), where the candidate only has to answer 30 questions but with an 8-minute time limit.

Whether you pass or fail on the Wonderlic test depends on the company or school administering the test and the scores of your competitors.

Many employers and schools set a minimum acceptable score, but as stated above, that score varies by company, the type of job, and other factors.

While the general average score across all industries hovers around the score of 20-25, this isn’t set in stone as companies may increase or decrease the threshold for applicants depending on how urgent it is for them to fill the position or how many positions are available at the time.

Suffice to say, if a company wants to take as many applicants as possible, it will lower the mark so that it ends up with the appropriate number. On the other hand, a company that only has a few positions will only consider people who score highly.

If you want a general overview of what are the average Wonderlic scores by profession, look at the figure below as it showcases data provided by the Wonderlic group to show the scores according to the profession:

Average Wonderlic Scores by Profession

According to the Wonderlic group, the following are the average scores for the different profession

As stated at the beginning of this page, the NFL also utilizes the Wonderlic test and so we have provided the general average of each NFL player position:

Additionally, if you are interested, you may also want to find out the Wonderlic percentiles which can help you understand how you rank in human intelligence when compared to other groups in a population.

If your percentile rank is 98 or above, you qualify for Mensa membership. This is a high IQ society and a person who has been accepted in it can make contributions to the intellectual world.

How to Pass the Wonderlic Test

Here at Wonderlic Test Prep, we believe that anyone should be able to succeed on the Wonderlic. Though the exam is notorious for its severe time limit and very low scores, you shouldn’t worry. With our simple guide, you’ll learn how to pass the Wonderlic test and ultimately land the job of your dreams.

Head over to our ‘How to Pass the Wonderlic’ page for WTP’s guide on how to pass the Wonderlic Test.

Sample Questions

In order to help you know what sort of questions you are going to face in the Wonderlic, we have provided you with a few sample questions that show the different question types that a test taker will encounter on the test.

To check the rest of the sample questions, you may visit our Wonderlic Test Practice Questions page which contains 50 questions that you can freely use to prepare yourself for the Wonderlic.

If you are interested, those features are available at the Rapid Wonderlic Mastery Course where you get in-depth guides written by industry experts in addition to informative tutorial videos to further help you take on the Wonderlic Test.

  • Emma and Anna went to the market to buy 25 fruits. Emma got a few apples that cost $2 each, and Anna bought some oranges which cost $3 each. If their combined total is $60, how many oranges did Anna get?
    1. 5
    2. 10
    3. 15
    4. 20
    5. 25

Correct Answer: 2 = 10

  • The words GAWKY and MALADROIT have __?__ meanings.
    1. Similar
    2. Contradictory
    3. Unrelated

Correct Answer: 1. = Similar
Over a 4-month period, two students borrowed the following number of books:
Student 1: 20, 15, 17, 18
Student 2: 18, 20, 15, 12
Which graph best illustrates the data of both students?

    1. A
    2. B
    3. C
    4. D
    5. E

Correct Answer: 1 = A

  • After folding these squares into a closed cube, which shaded corner would touch corner “X”?

    1. A
    2. B
    3. C
    4. D
    5. E

Correct Answer: 5 = E