The Definitive Practice Test Guide for the Wonderlic Personnel Test
- About the Wonderlic Test
- Sections of the Wonderlic Personnel Test
- What to Expect on Test Day
- Best Ways to Study for the Wonderlic
- Wonderlic Tips and Tricks
- Wonderlic FAQ:
About the Wonderlic Test
The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test™, also called the Wonderlic Personnel Test™, is a common pre-employment cognitive abilities test. The test was developed by Wonderlic, Inc. It consists of 50 multiple-choice questions that cover general knowledge in English and math, as well as your ability to use logic and reasoning. It is similar to an IQ test, but also tests your ability to “think on your feet.”
The Wonderlic is used by prospective employers to identify ideal candidates for certain positions. It is a timed exam, and examinees only have 12 minutes to complete as many of the 50 questions as possible. There is a shorter version, in which the exam only has 30 questions and examinees have eight minutes to complete as many of the questions as possible.
The exam covers four basic areas, although it is unknown ahead of time how many questions will be devoted to each area on a specific exam, so it is best to have a good study plan for all of the areas. The areas included are Facts and Figures, Logic, Verbal Skills, and Math. The Math section is all word problems that the examinees must solve.
Sections of the Wonderlic Personnel Test
Facts and Figures
These questions are about things you would generally know just by being aware and having a reasonably good background in useful facts, like the order of the months of the year and the typical number assigned to each one. These are usually shorter, more quickly answered questions, but they can trick you if you don’t use some sort of system to be sure your answer is correct. There are some math-related questions that fall into this category, so make sure to check out our study guides to cover all sorts of necessary preparation.
Note: On the actual Wonderlic® test, there will be five answer choices for this type of question. Our system only provides for four choices, but you will practice the same skills as you answer our questions.
The trick in answering logic questions on the Wonderlic is to use what you know, but not too much of it. This is to say that you have to use your reasoning ability without inserting any information that is not stated in the question. Sound tricky? Consult our study guides to see what you need to practice and use the practice questions and flashcards to test your skill.
These questions are sometimes referred to as “Word Problems” on the Wonderlic. The issue here is not so much the calculations (although they are important) as it is about knowing what to do with the numbers in the question. The math problems will not be laid out for you. Instead, you must take the given information and make your own problem, then quickly solve it—without the use of a calculator.
Note: On the actual Wonderlic test, there will be five answer choices for this type of question. Our system only provides for four choices, but you will practice the same skills as you answer our questions.
The verbal (sometimes referred to as “English”) questions on the Wonderlic are all about the English language and how it works, including assessing some pretty common vocabulary and grammar skills. We’ll help you see how much you know and remember in our practice questions. Understand the full story by using our study guides and get extra practice with quick skills by using our flashcards.
Notes: On the actual Wonderlic test, there will be five answer choices for some questions. Our system only provides for four choices, but you will practice the same skills as you answer our questions. Also, some of the questions on the actual Wonderlic test have only three answer choices. We have accommodated that difference in these questions by inserting a fourth choice of “XXX” Please ignore that choice as you answer the questions.
What to Expect on Test Day
The Wonderlic can make almost any examinee nervous—even the most seasoned exam-takers may be thrown off their game given the short amount of time allowed and the nature of the questions being asked. The Wonderlic doesn’t rely on knowledge as much as many other exams; it is focused on how you solve problems. This can make it a difficult exam to prepare for, and one that induces a lot of anxiety. But it is always helpful to feel prepared by studying in the ways that you can and by understanding what to expect when you take the exam.
The Wonderlic is administered by prospective employers. The company you are applying to will send you details about the exam, such as where and when to arrive and what you will need to bring with you. Some companies have applicants take the short version of the exam first and only invite those who have scored well enough on that exam to take the longer version. Generally, the test is administered on a PC with someone monitoring you while you take it. However, some companies still use a paper-and-pencil version of the exam.
What to Bring
You will want to ask the prospective employer what you should bring with you when taking the Wonderlic. Many employers have job applicants take the exam as part of their interview process, and if this is the case for you, you will want to have copies of your resume and cover letter, as well as any other materials you would need for the interview. For the exam itself, you will not need to bring any study aids or testing equipment; everything you need will be furnished by the employer.
What Not to Bring
You should not bring a calculator with you for the exam. Examinees are not allowed to use calculators, although they can use scratch paper and pencils. These should be provided by the employer prior to beginning the test. You should also leave any electronics or personal items in your vehicle.
Best Ways to Study for the Wonderlic
Take Practice Tests for the Wonderlic
The questions that you will encounter on the Wonderlic will likely be unlike questions you’ve seen on any other standardized test. The best way to get a feel for the types of questions you will be asked is by taking Wonderlic practice tests. Practice tests for the Wonderlic can give you an idea of where your strengths and weaknesses are. Then, you can develop a study plan and practice questions in your weakest areas so that you get the best score possible on the day of the exam.
Use Alternative Study Methods
The Wonderlic has a multitude of different types and formats for the questions. Some examinees find that they are able to better prepare if they vary their preparation by incorporating alternative study methods in addition to the practice tests for the Wonderlic. Flashcards for the Wonderlic and study guides for the Wonderlic can give you a more complete studying experience and ensure that you cover all of the types of questions you will see on the Wonderlic.
Simulate the Testing Experience
Simulating the actual conditions of the Wonderlic is especially important for this exam. There are many questions that must be answered in a very short amount of time—12 minutes to be exact. Your nerves are also likely to be on edge since the test is often monitored. If you can, have someone in the room with you while you try to get through a 50-question practice test in 12 minutes. This will give you an idea of how you perform under pressure and how much time you can allow for each question.
Wonderlic Tips and Tricks
Narrow down Your Answers Quickly
To get a good score on the Wonderlic, you have to move from question to question quickly. Often, the right answer won’t be obvious, but you can learn to quickly eliminate the obviously wrong ones. For instance, on a math problem that involves complex multiplication, look at the last numbers and multiply just those. This will tell you what the last number of the correct answer is and you can eliminate options that don’t have this as a last number. This will improve your odds for guessing and help you get through the questions more quickly.
Maintain a Clear Head
It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the anxiety of the test. Your performance during these 12 minutes can greatly increase or decrease the likelihood of getting a job you want. And if you encounter an especially hard question, it’s easy to panic and let your nerves get the best of you. It’s a good idea to practice ways to calm yourself beforehand, like doing breathing exercises or meditating before you go in to take the exam.
Ensure You Aren’t Distracted
Performing well on the Wonderlic means that you must be incredibly focused during those 12 minutes. You should do all that you can to make sure your mind is clear and ready to focus. This includes eating a nutritious meal before arriving and getting plenty of sleep. These small actions can greatly enhance your mental wellness throughout the test and help you to perform far better than you might if you are distracted by hunger or fatigue.
1. Does it cost anything to take the Wonderlic?
In nearly all instances, the employer pays the cost for applicants to take the exam. If the employer expects you to cover some of the payment, they will let you know the amount beforehand.
2. What is a good score on the Wonderlic?
Unlike traditional tests, there are no passing or failing thresholds for the Wonderlic. The definition of a good score depends upon the type of position you are seeking and with which company you are applying. However, Wonderlic, Inc. has said that the average score is 21. The company has also published guidelines for different professions. For instance, someone seeking a systems analyst position is expected to have a score of 32 or above, while a score of 15 would be adequate for someone seeking employment in a warehouse.
3. Can I skip a question on the Wonderlic?
Yes, you can, and you should in some instances. If you encounter a question that you believe will take you a long time to answer, you may be able to increase your score substantially if you skip it. The company has said that only approximately 2% of test-takers complete the exam in the time allowed. If you skip a question and are able to answer several others correctly in the time it would have taken you to figure out the one, you will get a much better score.
4. Can I use a calculator?
No. The Wonderlic requires that you complete all math problems either in your head or by using scratch paper.