Wonderlic Tests: Read Our Guide + Sample Questions + Explanations + Get Top Scores
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The Wonderlic tests are a popular range of cognitive assessments used early in the recruitment process to reduce a large number of applicants down to the most suitable candidates for the job.
The most commonly used Wonderlic test is the Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT-R) which has three sections: cognitive, personality and motivation. The most up-to-date version of this test is the cloud-based WonScore.
Created by Wonderlic Inc., the test assesses factors such as:
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- How well the candidate’s personality and general behaviour are suited to a specific job
- What motivates the candidate
The Wonderlic test is administered online, supervised and taken at an approved site, such as an assessment center. Test fees are paid by the employer.
Wonderlic tests are regularly used by the US military and the National Football League (NFL).
Find out more about aptitude tests.
Should you face a Wonderlic test as part of the recruitment process, this will generally be the WPT-R which consists of three sections: cognitive, personality and motivation.
The three tests in combination will arrive at an overall score for each candidate that reflects their suitability for the job they have applied for.
The cognitive section of the WPT-R consists of 50 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 12 minutes.
There is also a shortened version, the QuickTest (WPT-Q), consisting of 30 questions and an eight-minute time limit.
This section measures whether you have the correct level of mental ability to effectively carry out a specific job. For instance, your basic math, problem-solving skills, language comprehension and how well you work under pressure will be assessed.
Scoring is not based only on right and wrong answers, but also considers your response pattern and the level of difficulty of each question.
The personality section features 150 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately an hour and a half to finish.
This section measures whether your personality, behaviours and predicted performance are a good match for the job you have applied for.
This assessment is carried out using the Five Factor Model which considers:
- Cooperation (whether you are trusting or suspicious of others)
- Dependability (how reliable and conscientious you are)
- Stress tolerance (how well you work under pressure and stress)
- Sociability (how you interact with others; extraversion or introversion)
- Open-mindedness (how open you are to experiencing the world around you)
Learn why employers are interested in who you are as a person in the article, Personality Tests.
The motivation section consists of 58 questions and generally takes 20 minutes to finish.
This section uses the six RIASEC model characteristics to assess the type of work the candidate prefers to do and thus what their motivating factors are:
It should be noted that, while there are definite correct answers for questions in the cognitive section, questions in the personality and motivation sections do not have a right or wrong response.
Instead, you should answer honestly, and without exaggeration or modesty.
1. Identify the two missing numbers in the following sequence:
1 – ? – 15 – 22 – ?
a) 9 and 23
b) 8 and 29
c) 10 and 30
d) 8 and 25
e) 6 and 29
2. DOG is to KENNEL as HUMAN is to ?
5. Which of these three tasks would you prefer to do?
a) Make a piece of jewellery
b) Research how to make a piece of jewellery
c) Design a piece of jewellery
6. Which of these three tasks would you prefer to do?
a) Take minutes at a meeting
b) Lead a meeting
c) Contribute to a meeting
The first factor you should consider is that there is no overall top score for every Wonderlic test taken.
What qualifies as a top score will depend on the specific job that you have applied for.
For instance, the top score (including cognitive ability, personality aspects and motivating factors) for an accountant will be very different to the top score for a graphic designer.
The best way to do well on the day is to prepare beforehand with the following six methods.
Familiarity with the type of questions you will face can improve both your confidence and your performance.
There are plenty of Wonderlic test practice resources available online. Some are free online tests and sample questions, while you will have to pay for others either as a one-off purchase or via a subscription model.
The vast majority of practice resources are for the cognitive section of the test. This is actually to your advantage, as that section of the test is the most challenging, with its short time limit and variety of question types.
Practice tests and sample questions can be sourced from the following websites:
- Beat The Wonderlic – Free and paid for
- Job Test Prep – Free and paid for
- Job Assessment Help – Paid for
- Wonderlic Test Practice – Free
Familiarity with the format of the test questions will be a great help, but you should also use timed practice to understand how best to manage your time during the Wonderlic test.
Some online practice resources provide a timed element, but taking a sample test at home under the restraint of the stopwatch app on your phone can be just as helpful.
Timed practice will not only help you manage your time more effectively, but it will build your confidence too.
For instance, you might excel at the cognitive ability questions but find that your performance is hampered by the time limit. Your weakness is working at speed and under pressure. Timed practice will help with that.
Alternatively, you may find it easy to work at speed and under pressure, but your math ability needs attention.
Consider what your strengths and weaknesses might be before you begin practice tests, then cross-reference those thoughts with your practice test results.
Then, reassess. Work on your weaknesses. Take another practice test to see if you have improved.
Familiarity with the type of questions you will face in the Wonderlic test provides you with the opportunity to develop shortcuts and strategies to speed up your response rate.
For instance, in a vocabulary-related question, use a process of elimination to quickly cut the number of likely answers.
Learn how to identify the key points of a question to avoid silly mistakes, such as answering what you think the question has asked for instead of what it actually wants to know.
You are not allowed to use a calculator in the test, so practice your mental math and use a paper and pen for calculations.
If the answer to any of the cognitive questions evades you, move on to the next. You are allowed to go back to unanswered questions within the test time limit.
Research the job you have applied for to discover what skills, experience and behavioural aspects are suitable.
Even though it is never recommended that you lie, exaggerate or downplay your response in the personality and motivation sections of the test, it will be of value to you to know how these questions relate to the job you have applied for.
Research the company too, specifically the company culture and what they value in an employee.
To provide yourself with the best chance possible of a good test performance, make sure you look after yourself in the run up to the day.
Get enough sleep, even some early nights. Maintain a nutritionally healthy diet and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Do things that relax and de-stress you to combat any pre-test nerves.
Once the day of the Wonderlic test arrives, you can further support your chance of a good test performance by:
- Making sure you arrive in good time with everything you need
- Reading each question carefully
- Moving on from questions you cannot answer – you can always return to that question later
- Ensuring you answer the questions in the personality and motivation sections honestly
Beyond recruitment, Wonderlic also provides tests to help educational establishments with their student admission process.
In the same way that the Wonderlic personnel test can be used to pinpoint the best candidates to take forward to interview, the student admissions tests can reduce the number of course applicants by choosing those most likely to succeed in their studies.
There are four Wonderlic tests relevant to student admissions:
The Scholastic Level Exam assesses the student’s cognitive abilities. It comes in both a standard and shortened version.
The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test assesses whether the student has the basic levels of English and math needed for an entry level job.
The Wonderlic Ability-to-Benefit Test is aimed at students who do not have a high school diploma and assesses whether they have the basic skills needed to succeed on the course.
The General Assessment of Instructional Needs evaluates the student’s levels of English and math before admission, but can also be used as a progress tool to discover how the student’s skills have developed and what their ongoing educational needs are.
Wonderlic tests and IQ tests are similar because they are both used by potential employers to assess candidates’ intelligence, skills and capabilities, aptitude, and whether they are the right person for the job.
However, an IQ test is far more intensive and often needs the input of a psychologist to analyze the results of each candidate.
Therefore, the Wonderlic test is much quicker to administer and analyze the results and is a more cost-effective option.
With just 12 minutes to answer 50 questions, it is recommended that you should participate in practice tests so you can give yourself the best chance of success.
Practicing Wonderlic tests online will help you identify your timings, and it will also help you become acquainted with the style of questioning.
There are many free Wonderlic tests available online, but we recommend the prep course available from JobTestPrep.
Many websites promise to offer Wonderlic practice tests for free. However, do your due diligence on these sites to confirm the validity of their practice tests.
Some may only offer sample questions based on the style that you could expect to find. Others may not have as many questions in the same timescale as the Wonderlic test.
The free options may also be out of date, so it’s crucial that if you are relying on these to prepare for a Wonderlic test, you use a variety of resources to help you.
The NFL has successfully used the Wonderlic test to test how an individual could cope under pressure. They chose the Wonderlic test rather than an IQ test because very few people manage to complete an entire Wonderlic test in the allocated time. And of those who do manage to complete it, even fewer manage to get a good score.
The complexity of understanding how to react to questions and choose the best course of action in just a few seconds is what many NFL teams look for when making their draft picks. In addition, they can use the results to see how a potential player may react when forced to make decisions under extreme pressure.
Tom Brady is known to have achieved a score of 33 on the Wonderlic test.
The scoring is remarkably simple. For each correct answer, you receive a point. The highest score available is 50. Average scores are usually around 20 to 21.
Different employers will have different pass requirements for the Wonderlic test. This will depend on the complexity of the job role and the seniority of the position.
For example, a chemist will be expected to achieve at least 30 to 31, whereas a cashier should achieve an average score of 20 to 21.
Many people feel overwhelmed at the prospect of taking a Wonderlic test.
It’s important to remember that the Wonderlic test isn’t necessarily looking to find out how smart you are. Instead, it’s looking to see if you can understand how to respond and react to questions in a time-pressured manner quickly and easily.
Unfortunately, many highly intelligent people have scored poorly on the Wonderlic test because they haven’t been able to react quickly to the questions.
Only 2 to 3% of people manage to complete the entire 50 questions within 12 minutes. Therefore, it’s more important to try and answer each question, even if you are unsure if it’s the right answer.
To improve your chance for success, you need to be aware of the baseline score for your preferred job. That way, you know roughly what to aim for.
Wonderlic tests are typically looking to measure cognitive ability and problem-solving capabilities. However, the test also looks at your personality and your motivation.
This allows employers to gain an idea of how well suited you are to a specific job and indicate how you could adapt under pressure.
So, how do Wonderlic tests work?
First, they are a standardized test that allows employers to directly compare and contrast candidates for a start. Setting a predefined barometer of expected scores makes it easy for recruiters to swiftly filter through the candidates who haven’t achieved that score.
Second, by looking at the correct answers, employers can understand a candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.
Not necessarily. Many highly intelligent people have performed badly on a Wonderlic test because they couldn’t get to grips with the tight timescales.
As a result, they may struggle to answer all of the questions or find it difficult to react and make tough decisions while under pressure.
It may help to think of Wonderlic tests as a game. If you can practice them in advance, you can start to figure out strategies that allow you to answer as many questions as possible, improving your likelihood of getting a good score.
Official Wonderlic tests are available from Wonderlic.com.
The Wonderlic tests are more about predictive behaviors than monitoring existing behaviors. Therefore, employers are more likely to use these as part of the recruitment process rather than through a monitoring process.
It’s a test designed to look for the potential in a person. However, it’s important to remember that not everyone who scores highly on the test is the perfect candidate.
After all, there could still be issues relating to cultural fit within the company. Therefore, it’s important to use Wonderlic tests as just one tool within the recruitment process.
Different industries have different pass marks for Wonderlic tests. If you do not achieve the required pass mark for your job sector, you will be removed from contention for the hiring position.
Wonderlic tests provide an efficient way for recruiters to filter through their pool of candidates.
Many people are overwhelmed by the stressful nature of the Wonderlic test. To help you reduce any stress, you need to take the time to prepare in full ahead of the assessment day.
This means you should look to establish what your base score line needs to be, what types of questions could be asked, and how you plan to answer as many questions as possible in such a short timeframe.
The more preparation you do, the easier the Wonderlic test will become.
No, you are not allowed to use calculators. However, you may use a scrap piece of paper and a pencil to help you create answers to the math questions.
Yes. You will have 12 minutes to answer 50 questions. Unfortunately, most people do not finish the Wonderlic test in this timescale. Only 2 to 3% of all participants will finish a Wonderlic test in the allotted timeframe.
This is surprisingly common. The Wonderlic test can fluster many people thanks to its high intensity.
It’s a test designed to assess your reaction times and your ability to make decisions under pressure. Therefore, even if you are extremely intelligent, if you struggle to make quick decisions, you could find yourself achieving a low score.
This depends on the sector that you wish to work in. Different jobs have different pass requirements, depending on the complexity of the job role itself. So while the average score on a Wonderlic test is 20 to 21, you may find that you need a much higher score for certain roles.
Here are some suggested scores for different professions.
- Janitor (14)
- Security guard (17)
- Receptionist (21)
- Electrician (23)
- Salesperson (25)
- Teacher (28)
- Accountant (28)
- Electrical engineer (30)
- Systems Analyst (32)
The Wonderlic personnel test is a popular choice among employers to identify which candidates have the best potential for succeeding in a specific role with the company.
With the tight time limit of the cognitive section and the extensive number of questions in the accompanying personality and motivation sections, the Wonderlic test can be challenging for any candidate.
However, with the right preparation, you can improve your chances of a successful performance on the day by:
- Doing practice tests
- Using timed practice
- Identifying shortcuts and strategies
- Researching the role and employer
- Practicing self-care