So you have to take a Wonderlic Test.
Just a short while ago, my sister was applying to jobs in the Public Relations/Communications space. She was happy at her job but wanted to move from New York City back to Boston where she grew up.
My sister has an impeccable resume and excellent credentials; she had experience at some of the most respected agencies in the business and a Rolodex of valuable contacts. Former clients swore allegiance to her regardless of what company she worked at; she had a portfolio of exemplary work that would make most job applicants throw in the towel had they been given the chance to review it. But, something was standing in her way of gaining that offer letter she so desired - her recruiter told her that she had to take a Wonderlic test.
Now, although my sister is quite brilliant and more than capable of becoming a star at the company she was applying to there is one thing she is not: a good test taker. This test was going to punch holes in her candidacy, and she knew it. So, knowing that her brother lives in the test prep world, she called me.
"Hey, I am applying for this job in Boston, and they are making me take some test called a Wonderlic. I have to take one that is 30 questions and then another that is 50 questions if I pass that first one. What the hell is this test?"
Just what is the Wonderlic test? A brief history and some context.
The first Wonderlic test was created back in the 1930's by a Psychology student named E.F. Wonderlic in an attempt at creating a short-form cognitive ability test that could be used by businesses to vet potential employees. The original exam was 12 minutes and tested a candidate's math, reasoning, and verbal skills.
Since that time, Wonderlic, Inc has grown to produce a battery of cognitive ability, personality, and skills exams. This host of exams a lot of confusion. Despite there now being multiple Wonderlic tests, all are colloquially referred to as simply "The Wonderlic", putting test-takers in the precarious position of not knowing with confidence which variation of the test for which they need to prepare. This uncertainty is undoubtedly overwhelming to job and student applicants alike.
Let's demystify this a bit by breaking down the most common Wonderlic tests:
What Wonderlic test am I taking? The most common Wonderlic tests.
The Wonderlic Personnel Test - Quicktest (WPT-Q): The Wonderlic Personnel Test - Quicktest (WPT-Q) is an 8-minute, 30-question exam given to professionals during the interview process. The WPT-Q tests an applicant's logic, math, and verbal reasoning skills. The exam is taken on your computer off-site, is not proctored, and is typically administered before you come in for an onsite interview.
The average score on the exam is below 50%, and less than 2% of test-takers finish the exam before time is up.
Our Wonderlic Personnel Test Study Guide covers everything on the WPT-Q and is the ebook you want to use to prepare for this test if you have to take it. You can also try our free, full-length WPT practice test here.
The Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT-R): A contemporary variation of Wonderlic's first test, this exam is a 12-minute, 50-question cognitive ability test; hence why it is also often referred to as the "Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test."This test is administered on site (usually at the office during your interview) and is proctored. Like the WPT-Q, the WPT-R tests your logic, math, and verbal reasoning skills. Job applicants typically take the WPT-R after having already taken (and passed) the WPT-Q.
The average score on the exam is below 50%, and only about 1% of test takers finish all of the questions before time runs out.
Our Wonderlic Personnel Test Study Guide covers everything on the WPT-R and is the ebook you want to use to prepare for this test if you have to take it.
The Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam - Quicktest (SLE-Q): The Wonderlic SLE-Q is very similar to the WPT-Q - it is an 8-minute, 30-question exam that tests logic, math, and verbal reasoning. The main difference with this test is that it is administered to college applicants or those applying to special academic programs. The SLE-Q is not proctored and is taken offsite.
Most academic programs will tell you in advance what they require for a minimum score to gain acceptance into their program.
Our Wonderlic SLE Study Guide covers everything on the SLE-Q and is the ebook you want to use to prepare for this test.
The Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam (SLE): The Wonderlic SLE is a 12-minute, 50-question exam that tests logic, math, and verbal reasoning and is administered as an admissions test for students applying to several colleges and academic programs. The SLE is taken onsite and is proctored.
Like the SLE-Q, most academic programs will tell you in advance what they require for a minimum score to gain acceptance into their program.
Our Wonderlic SLE Study Guide covers everything on the SLE and is the ebook you want to use to prepare for this test.
The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (WBST): The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test consists of two sections. The first section is a 45-question, 20-minute math exam covering everything from operations with fractions to solving linear equations and multi-step word problems. The second part of the test is a 50-question, 20-minute verbal reasoning exam that tests your English grammar and reading comprehension. The WBST is administered to both professionals and students.
How my sister passed her Wonderlic test
When my sister called me, she had the same questions many people have:
A) What is the Wonderlic?
B) OK, which one am I taking?
C) Cool. Now how do I study for it?
We talked for a short while, and it was clear she was being asked to take the WPT-Q (30 questions, 8 minutes) first, at home on her computer. If she were to do well on that test, she would be invited into the office to take the longer version of that same test the WPT-R (50 questions, 12 minutes).
Being the good brother that I am, I gave her a free copy of our Wonderlic Personnel Test Study Guide since it covers both tests she had to take. She read it from cover to cover that evening, took every practice test in the book, then woke up the next morning to conquer the real exam. She passed.
Your next steps
I want to make sure that our blog posts are actionable. Here is what you should do next:
1. Confirm which test(s) you will be taking. In many cases, your recruiter will just say "you are taking a Wonderlic." It is OK to ask questions. Ask for them to clarify which test you will be taking. If you cannot do that (or the recruiter honestly does not know the official name of the exam), read through our "What Wonderlic Am I Taking?" blog post here. In it, we outline a variety of scenarios and give the correct test to study given that set of circumstances. If you still have questions, please reach out to our experts at any time. We always get back to you within 24 hours.
2. Familiarize yourself with that exam. After you confirm which test you will be taking, familiarize yourself with the exam. Read more about your Wonderlic test in our Free Resources section. Also, try a free practice test (you will also find this in the Free Resources Section. The more familiar you are with the exam, the more you will get out of studying for it.
3. Study. The Wonderlic is intimidating to many people and rightly so - it is a test that determines whether you get a job offer or gain admission into an academic program. However, it is beatable if you study. A lot of people make the mistake of just trying to brush up on some English and math. This is a mistake because the Wonderlic does not really test how proficient you are in English or math - it tests how well you can take the Wonderlic, and the only way to know how to defeat the Wonderlic is by studying.
There are a lot of study guides out there, but we take pride in knowing that ours are built off of real Wonderlic tests - they prepare you for the real thing. Our study guides also teach you Wonderlic-specific test-taking strategies that immediately improve your score. We are so confident that our study guide will help you on your test that we offer a 100% money back guarantee! If you don't feel 100% prepared, you will get 100% of your money back. Our goal is simple: to help you get your dream job or into your academic program.
Check out our prep materials here. We promise you will not be disappointed.