A Guide to the Wonderlic Test: Examples & Tips
Updated November 18, 2023
While no test is 100% accurate in assessing a candidate’s full capabilities, the Wonderlic test gives recruiters a good insight into a candidate’s ability to perform certain roles.
Since the Wonderlic test can be what stands between you and your dream job, you need to prepare to perform as best as you can.
The Wonderlic test (fomerly the Wonderlic Personnel Test) was developed by Wonderlic Inc., and is designed to determine your basic IQ.
The original Wonderlic test is one of the oldest-standing IQ tests out there.
Its producers have said the test measures ‘general mental ability'.
Therefore, it assesses a wide range of skills such as understanding language and word problems, determining abstract patterns and using logic to determine facts.
Many employers use the Wonderlic test to help them find the best candidate for the job advertised.
It saves them time and ensures they only progress those who possess the necessary skills for the job they applied for.
The test is out of a possible 50 points, and the pass mark is determined by the skill level required to perform a specific job.
For example, an engineer requires a score of 29, while someone working in a warehouse requires a score of 15.
You’ll often be asked to do this test in the recruitment process before the interview stage.
Employers don’t want to waste their time interviewing people who don’t have the necessary skills for the job.
For employers, the test aims to whittle down the candidates. However, it is also helpful for candidates to not waste their time on an interview they’re not suited for.
Wonderlic tests are often administered for graduate entry-level roles, but they may be required for lower or higher-level jobs, especially if there are many candidates.
In addition to the cognitive ability test, Wonderlic also offers Wonderlic personality tests, a Wonderlic math test and motivation assessments.
The Wonderlic test has four main categories:
- Vocabulary and verbal reasoning
- General knowledge
- Word problems
There are different types of questions for each of the four categories, so you must make yourself aware of these before doing the test.
It’s important to remember that the Wonderlic test does not assess your knowledge on any topic, so don’t feel intimidated if you’re early in your career.
The test measures your aptitude and abilities in a certain job role.
You should also note that practice is the best way to get a good score on the Wonderlic test.
While the actual questions will change for each test, the style of questions and the general skills they’re assessing do not change, so you can be prepared for the test by answering Wonderlic practice questions.
The Wonderlic test usually consists of 50 questions, or 30 questions if you’ve been asked to complete the quick test, which has 30 questions.
The biggest challenge to the Wonderlic test is the timing. You only have 12 minutes to complete the 50 questions, or eight minutes to complete the 30-question quick test.
Only 2% of people who take the test can complete the whole test, so don’t panic too much if you’re unable to finish it all.
The test may be administered online at the start of the recruitment process, or you may be invited to an assessment center to take the test.
However, it will almost always be taken before you progress to the interview stage.
Once you’ve been notified that you’ll need to do the test, you can start your Wonderlic test prep.
The best way to prepare is by getting familiar with the questions and practicing the skills it will assess.
Here’s what each category of the test is assessing:
- Vocabulary and verbal reasoning – Measures your language ability and assesses how you read and interpret different words
- Problem-solving – Assesses your ability to solve numerical and word-based problems. Identifies how well you approach problems in a timed setting
- General knowledge – Measures your level of general knowledge and ability to use that knowledge to answer problems
- Word problems – Assesses your ability to understand the problem presented and use logic to come to an answer
You’re not permitted to use a calculator during the test, but you can use a pen and paper.
This can be helpful to write down maths equations or help identify and choose the next sequence in a pattern if you’re more visual.
However, keep the time limit in mind, as you won’t have time to write down everything.
Practicing your mental arithmetic will help you quickly answer the Wonderlic test questions.
1. Rearrange the words to form a complete sentence and then answer the question.
Is it true or false? A legs four dog
b) Cannot form a sentence
2. 'Wild' is the opposite of ?
When folded into a cube, which of the following corners would touch corner 'a'?
Which of the following dates is the earliest:
b) January 1st, 2019
d) 4th of May, 2019
Tina earns $3,000 a month. She puts 15% in savings each month. After a year, she should have how much in savings?
Try to answer these questions without a calculator. You’ll improve the more you practice.
Your score for the Wonderlic test will be given in points out of 50. All questions in the test carry equal weight.
For the 50-question test, each question is given 1 point. For the 30-question quick test, each question is given 1.66 points.
Since each role will have a certain pass mark, there is no general pass mark for the Wonderlic test.
The producers have said that the average score on the test is 20, which is the necessary mark for a receptionist or clerical worker.
The employer can request a tailor-made test suitable for the position and accurately represents that candidate’s ability to perform the specific role.
However, whether you see your results for the actual test will be down to the employer.
Many employers won’t disclose the test results and will use them to progress candidates that performed well.
You may be able to get your test results if you request them from the employer.
If you don’t achieve the desired score on the Wonderlic test, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to retake the test for that role.
If you’re only a couple of points out, you may still be considered for the job, but it depends on your other experience and the scores of the other talents.
Practice is the best way to prepare for the Wonderlic test. Each test will contain different questions, but the format and the skills being assessed will be the same each time.
So, the more you practice, the better prepared you’ll be. You can find free Wonderlic test prep resources online, as well as a Wonderlic practice test at JobTestPrep.
Make sure you take time to get familiar with the question format. All questions are multiple-choice, and you’ll be timed throughout the test.
The questions won’t be given in order of the category; they’ll be mixed.
Don’t get too comfortable if you feel you’re performing better in a certain part of the test.
Make sure you’re still preparing for the sections of the test you find easy.
The more preparation you do, the more comfortable you’ll be on the day.
Similarly, don’t ignore parts of the test you find difficult.
Everything will improve with practice, so make sure you devote preparation time to the part of the test you need to improve on the most.
Timing is the trickiest part of the Wonderlic Test. If you’re not used to working under time pressure, then you need to practice under timed conditions to perform well on the day.
You’ll hear this tip repeatedly, but it is always worth repeating. You’re unlikely to perform well when you’re sleep-deprived.
You’ll struggle to focus and will be slower in your thinking. Make sure you’re well-rested the night before the test.
If needed, take the evening to relax so you can get a good sleep.
How to Pass the Wonderlic Test
If you’ve been asked to sit the Wonderlic test in person, you don’t want to arrive at the test feeling stressed out if you have rushed to get there.
You’ll feel more relaxed if you turn up early and have time to collect your thoughts and calm down.
With the Wonderlic test, you can skip questions you’re unsure about and return to them later.
The only problem is that you may not be able to return to it due to the time limit.
It’s best that you don’t spend too much time on one question and focus on getting points for the questions you can answer well.
Don’t get too hung up on time since it’ll distract you from the questions. But you should be mindful of the time.
For example, for every 10 questions, it’s good to glance at the time and ensure you’re on track.
Make sure you have thoroughly read and understood the question before choosing an answer.
The questions in the Wonderlic test are not designed to catch you out, but if you read them quickly, you may miss a vital part of the question.
If you’re a slow reader, make sure you practice reading questions in your preparation. Over time, you’ll improve your reading speed.
One of the great things about the Wonderlic test is that you’re not marked down if you answer incorrectly. So, you’re always better to take an educated guess than leave a question blank.
The process of elimination is a useful technique to use in every test.
Here’s an example: If you have a question like 23 x 17, you can quickly work out 3 x 7: 21. You can eliminate any answer that doesn’t end in 1.
If there are a couple of choices, take an educated guess by working out which would be too small or too high to be the correct answer.
This will be much faster than writing out the whole equation.
The timing is the trickiest part of the Wonderlic test.
You’re only given 12 minutes to answer 50 questions or 8 minutes to answer 30 questions for the quick test.
Only 2% of candidates answer all the questions.
You’ll have a higher chance of gaining a high grade by answering more questions.
An employer may ask you to sit the Wonderlic test online, or they may ask you to set it in person at an assessment center.
You can practice for the Wonderlic test online.
The Wonderlic test isn’t impossible, and many people should be able to get a good score.
However, nerves are one of the biggest reasons people underperform on tests.
Since this test could be the gateway to your dream career, you must perform as well as possible.
The best way to overcome nerves and perform to your best ability is to practice ahead of the test.