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.
NFL Wonderlic Test
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NFL Wonderlic Practice Test
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What is the Wonderlic Test NFL
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.
How is the NFL Wonderlic Test Scored?
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:
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.
Average NFL Wonderlic Scores by Position
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.
Highest NFL Wonderlic Scores
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:
|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|
Lowest Wonderlic Scores for the NFL
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:
|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|
What Is Tested On the NFL Wonderlic Test?
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
(click on image to enlarge)
How Accurate is the NFL Wonderlic?
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.
How Do I Prepare for the Wonderlic?
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.
Wonderlic Test NFL FAQs