Mathematics Study Guide for the Wonderlic Personnel Test

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General Information

We’ve titled this section “Math” in our practice materials, but it could also be called “Word Problems,” and it may be called that in other practice materials. The terms mean the same: this section involves reading a simple “word problem” in “math” and solving it. A significant number of the questions on the Wonderlic test are of this type. You’ll want to see which ones of them are the quickest and easiest to solve so you don’t waste precious time reading them over and over and doing lengthy calculations during the actual test.

Remember that you cannot use a calculator during the Wonderlic test, so all problems must be addressed with a pencil and scratch paper. There are some quick tricks for eliminating or reducing the time investment during this process.

You should see about six different types of math word problems on the test. Here they are, along with basic math procedures you may have forgotten and some hints for finding answers quickly.


If you recall your school work with decimal numbers, you should remember how to do operations with them, as well. For adding and subtracting, just be sure to line up the decimals in each number vertically when you write them in a column. There may not be problems on the test that require any addition and subtraction of decimals.

What you will see are problems that involve multiplication and division of decimals. If you’re really quick with these operations, you can go for the regular procedure and jot the problem down on your scratch paper and solve. Things to remember if you do this:


Suppose the question says:

Packages of chili seasoning are $1.79. How much will you have to pay if you buy 6 of them?

Answer choices:


Write the problem as you would for a non-decimal problem, aligning the farthest right numeral places vertically.

\[\begin{array}{r} &1.79\\ \text{x}&6\\ \hline \end{array}\]

Put the decimal point(s) in your notation, but ignore any decimal points for now.
Just multiply as usual, as shown here:

\[\begin{array}{r} &1.79\\ \text{x}&6\\ \hline &1074 \end{array}\]

Now, count the number of decimal places in the entire original problem. There are two, so place the decimal point in the answer, giving the number two decimal places.

\[\begin{array}{r} &1.79\\ \text{x}&6\\ \hline &10.74 \end{array}\]

You would choose the answer choice $10.74.

Quick Trick: If the above type of calculation takes you a long time, and especially if the answer choices end in different numbers, you could try to scope out the correct answer this way:

If the answer choices are:


Figure out what the rightmost digit of the correct answer is, in your head. You know that multiplying 9 by 6 will yield 54. There is only one answer choice ending in 4, so that has to be correct.


If long division is quick and easy for you, do any decimal division problems on your scratch paper. Just remember these rules:

Given the problem:

If Joe can buy one ream of paper for $2.13, how many reams can he buy for $10.65?


You immediately see that you’re going to have to divide 10.65 by 2.13 to get the answer, so you write:

\[\require{enclose} \begin{array}{r} 2.13 \enclose{longdiv}{10.65} \\[-3pt] \end{array}\]

The first thing to do is move the decimal point all the way to the right in the dividend, 10.65, and move the point that many places to the right in the divisor, so the problem becomes:

\[\require{enclose} \begin{array}{r} 213. \enclose{longdiv}{1065.} \\[-3pt] \end{array}\]

Then, divide as usual. The trouble is that this may take longer than you have, so try the following method:

Quick Trick: Try estimating how many times the smaller number will go into the larger one and see if any of the answers work with that estimation. You should, at least, be able to rule out some answers.

Take the whole number in 2.13 (2) and determine how many times you’d have to multiply it to get the 10 in 10.65. The answer is 5, so you can rule out 3 and 4 as answers. To be sure that the correct answer is 5, do a quick multiplication of 5 and 2.13. This is much quicker than the division problem, above, and you’ll find that 5 x 2.13 is exactly 10.65, which makes 5 the correct answer.


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