Dave Evangelisti By: Dave Evangelisti
NFL Wonderlic Test

Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to be a professional football player? Well, there is a real exam that was used by the NFL since 1970 until its eradication in 2022. That test is known as the Wonderlic test NFL.

The NFL Wonderlic Test was used by the NFL to determine a player’s mental aptitude—some considering it an NFL IQ test—but it has also been used by various industries, including Fortune 500 companies and even the US military.

The Wonderlic has been a source of controversy in the NFL as many believe that its results do not prove anything about the player’s performance on the field.

Summary: Utilize our NFL Wonderlic test below. For more general information on the Wonderlic, visit our Wonderlic test online.

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The Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability test was developed in the 1930s by E.F. Wonderlic, as a collection of intelligence tests that determined one’s capability and aptitude in problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Today, it is used for many different purposes and industries, and is even available in 12 languages across the globe.

The NFL used the Wonderlic during scouting for Combine. It was administered to prospective players in order to gauge their cognitive abilities, and first used by Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry to predict his players’ performance on the field.

Soon, it caught on with the rest of the league, but the Wonderlic NFL test has been questioned for its accuracy—leading to its elimination in 2022.

In the roughly 50 years of the NFL utilizing the test, the average score among players is around 24 out of a perfect 50. Runningbacks have the lowest average at 16, whereas offensive tackles have the highest average at 26.

The Wonderlic test consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, to be answered in twelve minutes or less. Every question correctly answered adds one point to the test-taker’s final Wonderlic test score. The questions become progressively challenging as one moves through the examination.

Test-takers are not expected to finish the exam, although some do finish in the allotted time. Unanswered questions are scored as zeros.

Here is a breakdown of Wonderlic NFL test scores:

Score Classification
<20 Literate
20 Average
25-49 Good/Above Average
50 Perfect

It is said that E.F. Wonderlic himself scored a 20 on the exam, as do most people who take the Wonderlic. However, there is a huge range of scores that NFL players have historically earned---from perfect to way below average.

NFL players tend to score differently on the exam depending on their position, with offensive tackles scoring the highest and half-backs scoring the lowest, on average.

Position Average Score
Offensive Tackle 26
Center 25
Quarterback 24
Guard 23
Tight-End 22
Safety 19
Linebacker 19
Corner-back 18
Wide-Receiver 17
Full-back 17
Half-back 16

Many NFL players have scored far above average on the NFL test, but there is only one player in NFL history to have received a perfect 50: Pat McInally, a Harvard alum and punter for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Here’s a list of the top ten Wonderlic-scoring NFL players and their alma mater:

Player Position Wonderlic Score College Notes
Pat McInally Punter/Wide Receiver 50 Harvard fifth-round pick in the 1975 NFL Draft
Mike Mamula Linebacker 49 Boston College first-round pick in the 1995 NFL Draft
Ben Watson Tight End 48 Georgia first-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft
Ryan Fitzpatrick Quarterback 48 Harvard seventh-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft
Matt Birk Center 46 Harvard sixth-round pick in the 1998 NFL Draft
John Urschel Guard/Center 43 Penn State fifth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft
Greg McElroy Quarterback 43 Alabama seventh-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft
Eric Decker Wide Receiver 43 Univ of Minnesota third-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft
Gardner Minshew Quarterback 42 East Carolina/Washington State sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft
Blaine Gabbert Quarterback 42 Missouri first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft

As you’ll notice, a player’s Wonderlic score does not determine their ability to play pro football. Every player on this list was either a first, second, or third-round draft pick. These are the ten worst Wonderlic scores in NFL history:

Player Position Wonderlic Score College Notes
Morris Claiborne Cornerback 4 LSU first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft
Mario Manningham Wide Receiver 6 Michigan third-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft
Frank Gore Running Back 6 Univ. of Miami third-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft
Vince Young Quarterback 6 Univ. of Texas third overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft
Tavon Austin Wide Receiver 7 West Virginia first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft
Terrelle Pryor Wide Receiver 7 Ohio State third-round pick in the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft
Carlos Hyde Running Back 9 Ohio State second round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft
Travis Henry Running Back 9 Tennessee second-round pick in the 2001 NFL Draft
Sebastian Janikowski Kicker 9 Florida State first round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft
Charles Rogers Wide Receiver 10 Michigan State second overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft

The NFL Wonderlic test consists of three main areas: verbal, math, and spatial. Your score is also reflective of how well you are able to follow simple instructions.

The Verbal section consists of:

  • Matching vocabulary with definitions
  • Rearranging sentences into the correct order
  • Reading and making inferences

The Math section consists of:

  • Solving equations
  • Fractions and decimals
  • Pattern continuation

The Spatial section consists of:

  • Imagination and geometrical visualization
  • Following directions to reach a destination
  • Analyzing geometric shapes

The 3 Sections of the Wonderlic

(click on image to enlarge)

This exam’s usage as an NFL intelligence test has been the subject of much debate and controversy. Many people say that the scores are irrelevant, which is proven by the charts above. An NFL IQ test does not determine how the player will perform on the field. If you are interested in your IQ, check out our IQ test.

However, there is an argument that this NFL test served as a decent quarterback test. Cognitive ability may be more important for quarterbacks than any other position, as they must memorize opposing defensive players and multiple strategies, all while knowing and executing their own offensive plan.

The NFL Wonderlic test is as much about thinking quickly as it is about problem-solving, so it may not have been unreasonable to ask potential quarterbacks to take the exam.

Over the past eight-plus decades, the Wonderlic test has, despite its controversy within the NFL, revealed itself to be an effective assessment tool to evaluate potential job candidates, and is still used by organizations, government agencies, and businesses worldwide.

Testing potential employees with this exam has been proven to:

  • Increase employee productivity
  • Increase employee satisfaction
  • Reduce employee retention rates (turnover)

The Wonderlic is categorized within the subclasses of Organization & Industrial Psychology, and is supported by the American Psychological Association (APA). When used for the right purposes, the Wonderlic can be an excellent predictor of how employees will perform.

If you are being asked by a potential employer to take a Wonderlic exam, don’t panic! The Wonderlic is not a test of your self-worth or value—it’s only an assessment of problem-solving skills under pressure.

That being said, proper preparation is key to go in with confidence. BoostPrep offers a Wonderlic prep course that contains all the information you need to ace the exam, from timed practice tests to study guides and explanations.

Who has the lowest Wonderlic score in the NFL?

Morris Claiborne, first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys, scored the lowest on the NFL test with a total score of 4.

What did Tom Brady score on the Wonderlic test?

Tom Brady reportedly scored a 33 on the Wonderlic test, an above-average score both overall and for a quarterback.

What did Patrick Mahomes get on the Wonderlic test?

Patrick Mahomes scored a 24 on the NFL Wonderlic test before becoming one of the top quarterbacks in the 2017 draft for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Does the NFL use the Wonderlic test?

The NFL used the Wonderlic from 1970 until January of 2022 when it was eliminated from the draft process.