The Wonderlic Test is a 50 question cognitive ability test, used by employers and educators to evaluate a person’s ability to think on their feet and solve problems. Most often this is used as part of an admissions process or as a component of the hiring process for businesses. The Wonderlic Test was developed by Eldon Wonderlic while a graduate student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The test questions are multiple choice and test takers have 12 minutes to complete the questions. One point is awarded for a correct answer, so the maximum possible score is 50 and the lowest is a zero. The average score on the Wonderlic is a 20.

More about Wonderlic Scoring

People are often curious about what constitutes a “good” score on the Wonderlic, but given the subjective nature of that term, it might be easier to understand scoring in the context of the distribution of Wonderlic test scores.

wonderlic score distribution

As mentioned above, the average score is a 20. It’s been stated that a score of ten is roughly the minimum for someone who is literate. To reach the 99th percentile of scores, you’ll need to score a 37 or better. That may seem low considering the maximum score of 50, but the truth is that only a few percent of people actually finish the entire test. The bottom percentile is inhabited by those who score 5% or lower. Learn more about Wonderlic test scores.

Take a Wonderlic Practice Test

If you’re curious how you’d score on the test, you’ve come to the right place. We have a sample Wonderlic test that you can take below, with the same types of questions you’ll find on the real test.

This is a 50-question sample Wonderlic® Quiz which provides questions similar to that of the real test.  You will have 12 minutes (720 seconds) to answer 50 questions.  You score 1 point for each correct answer.  Your time will start as soon as the next page loads.  Good luck!

History of the Wonderlic Test

Eldon Wonderlic made the first version of the test, the Wonderlic Personnel Test, in 1936. His goal was to create a quick test to assess someone’s cognitive abilities in the areas of vocabulary, math and reasoning. The time limit was added with the intent that only two to five percent of people would be able to finish within the allotted 12 minutes.

Many organizations have found the results useful in their selection of candidates, including:

  • The U.S. military. The Navy used used the test during World War II to assess who would make a good candidate for a pilot.
  • The NFL. Professional football has been using the Wonderlic since the 1970s and it’s a longstanding component of the NFL combine before each year’s rendition of the NFL draft.

Versions of the Wonderlic Test

After the initial version of the Wonderlic was developed in 1936 there have been constant updates and new iterations developed to improve the test’s reliability and focus on more specific items. Here are a few of the different variations of the Wonderlic cognitive ability tests:

  • Wonderlic Personnel Test. This variation of the Wonderlic Test is designed for businesses to better understand a job applicant’s ability to understand and follow instructions, as well as their ability to learn and adapt.
  • Wonderlic Basic Skills Test. The Basic Skills Test focuses on gaining an understanding of the verbal and math skills of a test taker. This is often used as a screener for entry level positions to make sure the person has the necessary level of math and language skills to do the job.
  • Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam. The Wonderlic SLE test is most commonly used by academic institutions to aid in their enrollment decisions. This test is used to assess students’ ability to succeed in the program, and is often viewed through a lens of correlation between their Wonderlic SLE score and potential future grade point average.
  • Wonderlic Perceptual Ability Tests. This test varies largely from the other tests listed above, as the Perceptual Ability Test (previously known as the Hay Aptitude Test Battery) is more job specific as it’s used to test bookkeepers and data entry professionals on their ability to pay close attention to detail, critical in those types of positions.

In total there are over 30 tests available through Wonderlic, Inc. designed to measure learning and problem solving for a variety of audiences.