NFL Wonderlic Test

The Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test is an examination with proven results that have withstood the test of time. While the Wonderlic Test was initially developed as a cognitive assessment exam for business professionals, it’s precise results have made it so popular that it is now used to determine if a job applicant will be a good fit for the US Military – and even, the National Football League, to name just a few industries. 

So, how would you fare if you took the NFL Wonderlic Test? What football position are you best suited for?

Many assessment gurus and educational pundits consider the Wonderlic Test a quick and accurate glimpse into the intelligence of test-takers; however, this hotly debated issue remains an ongoing conversation at this point.  

Wonderlic, Inc. proudly acknowledges that the time-tested Wonderlic tests enable employers to increase their chances of selecting the right applicant to meet the demands of the job. The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test is delivered across the globe in 12 languages. 

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The Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test – A Primer

In the 1930s, during E. F. Wonderlic’s graduate studies at Northwestern University, he created what is now known worldwide as the Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test. It is for this reason that E. F. Wonderlic is viewed as the father of cognitive ability tests. 

The Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test was developed as a collection of intelligence tests that determined the capability and aptitude in the areas of problem-solving and critical thinking for the business industry. It is now, however, used for many different purposes and industries. 

The latest version offers, for the first time, an online test-taking delivery option as well as the original printed version. 

Over the past eight+ decades, the Wonderlic Test has, time and time again, revealed itself to be a systematic and effective assessment tool that accurately evaluates a potential job candidates’ occupational propensity. The Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test is an effective tool used by organizations, government agencies, and businesses across a multitude of industries. Using the Wonderlic Test been shown to result in –

  • A Reduction in Employee Retention Rates.
  • A Rise in Employee Productivity.
  • An Increase in Employee Satisfaction. 

The Wonderlic Test acts as a Personality, Motivation & Cognitive Performance indicator. The Wonderlic Test provides insightful and valuable information to prospective employers about potential candidates’ abilities and aptitude.  

The Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test is categorized within the subclasses of Organization & Industrial Psychology. The American Psychological Association (APA), an influential psychological professional organization, vocally supports the Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test as a tool to manage personnel issues among the many sectors that choose to use the Wonderlic Test.

The Four Segments of the Wonderlic Test

The Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test is a four-segment examination. Each exam section serves a specific purpose and reveals relevant data. Each section score remarkably and accurately predicts how a potential employment candidate will perform when working at the job position for which they have applied. 

The Skills Segment

The Skills Segment was added to the original version of the Wonderlic Test about 65 years ago, in the mid-20th-century.  The Skills Segment was developed by E.F. Wonderlic’s son, Charles, as another specific Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test. The Skills Segment is designed to assess the test taker's English and Math capabilities, although there are other purposes for which the skills segment can be used. 

The skills section is further broken down into several variations. They include – 

  • The Perceptual Ability Test – assesses a test taker's capacity regarding the accurate processing of alphanumeric talents. 
  • The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test – assesses a test taker's math & verbal skills. 
  • The Wonderlic Software Skills Test - assesses a test taker's capability of the use of software programs.

The Cognitive Ability Segment

The Cognitive Ability segment was added several decades later, during the 1990s. This segment is designed to assess a test taker's ability to problem-solve and to evaluate one’s learning aptitude. The Cognitive Ability segment is delivered using a few formats – 

  • The Quick Exam – Those taking the Quick Exam must try to complete 30 questions with a maximum time limit of eight minutes. 
  • The Personnel Exam - Those taking the Personnel Exam must try to complete 50 with a maximum time limit of twelve minutes. Given that the Personnel Exam requires the completion of almost twice as many questions, this Cognitive Ability provides a more far-reaching, detailed prediction. 
  • The SLE Group – The SLE Group test is designed to use as a part of a medical school or nursing school’s admission processes.  

The Personality Segment

The Personality Segment was another addition to the catalog of Wonderlic Tests in the 1990s, about the same time the Cognitive Ability Segment was added. The Personality Segment is a widely approved test that is used to forecast a test-taker’s potential job performance accurately. The Personality segment has two distinct versions –

The 5 Factor Personality Profile– The 5 Factor Personality Profile evaluates the following personality characteristics of the test taker –

  • How agreeable one is.
  • How conscientiousness one is.
  • One’s Emotional Stability.
  • How open one is. 
  • One’s Extraversion Level.

The 7 Factor Personality Profile – The 7 Factor Personality Profile is a more comprehensive examination that evaluates seven distinct personality characteristics.  The 7 Factor Personality Profile seeks to reveal the best job candidates for customer service-related positions – 

  • One’s ability to extend a Positive Impression. 
  • One’s ability to be sensitive to other’s needs and attitudes. 
  • One’s ability to be routinely decisive. 
  • One’s Instinct & Perceptions.
  • One’s ability to Trust.
  • One’s Emotional Intensity. 
  • One’s ability to remain Motivated.

If you are interested in determining the characteristics of your personality, see our list of free personality tests.

The Behavioral Liability Segment

The Wonderlic Test’s Behavioral Liability Segment assesses how each test-taker will choose to behave in a community setting when challenged by commonplace interpersonal trials and challenges. The Behavioral Liability Segment is organized into two sections as follows – 

  • The Behavior Risk Liability Profile – The Behavior Risk Liability Profile section examines the test-taker’s workability, neuroticism, and level of conscientiousness traits.
  • The Behavior Risk Liability Profile+ – The Behavior Risk Liability Profile+ closely resembles the Behavior Risk Liability Profile section noted above, except for the Behavior Risk Liability Profile+ profile includes additional background checks and a variety of questions concerning productivity potentials and aptitudes. 

The NFL Wonderlic Test - Could You Pass It?

The Wonderlic Test measures one’s thoughts and ideas, cognitive processes, and general personality tendencies with remarkable accuracy.  However, it is noted that the Wonderlic Test is not the type of test for which one can study – it is designed to assess one’s tendencies and cumulative knowledge, not specific material. 

Those who will be taking the Wonderlic Test are encouraged, however, to carve out enough time in their schedules to sufficiently prepare by learning the details regarding the specifics of the Wonderlic Test.  A dedicated commitment helps test-takers perform optimally on the Wonderlic Test.

The most prudent way in which to prepare (and to optimize your Wonderlic score) is to utilize the many practice online tests and materials offered at no cost. Proper preparation just might be the key to push your score higher to land your preferred job choice – 

Free Sample Wonderlic Test - from
NFL Wonderlic Preparation - from

The Wonderlic Test’s Scoring Policy

The Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test adheres to an explicit format.

As noted above, the Wonderlic test taker must answer 50 multiple-choice questions in twelve minutes or less. Every question correctly answered adds one point to the test-taker’s final Wonderlic Test score. The Wonderlic Test’s questions become progressively more challenging as one moves through the examination. Test-takers are not expected to finish the exam, although some test-takers do finish in the allotted time. 

Unanswered questions are scored as if they were answered incorrectly, as zero. Those familiar with the Wonderlic Test widely understands the following it– 

  • A score of 20 points represents a Wonderlic test taker of average intelligence - i.e., an IQ of 100. 
  • A score of 10 points represents a test taker who would be considered literate.
  • The highest score is 50 points and would only be available to a test-taker who correctly answered every question in twelve minutes or less. 
  • The lowest score is 0 points and would be the result of a test-taker who did not answer one question correctly in the allotted twelve minutes. 

It is noted that the company or organization that issues the Wonderlic Test is the sole owner of the test-taker’s Wonderlic Test score. The test scores from the Wonderlic Test are kept a secret from the test-taker unless the issuing company provides the release of the score – which is a decision that remains with the issuing company.

See our guide to Wonderlic scores for more information.

Wonderlic Scores for NFL Players

The NFL use of the Wonderlic Test began in the 1970s. It was first introduced into the NFL draft by the renowned Dallas Cowboy coach – Tom Landry. The Wonderlic Test was added to help assess a draft prospect’s personality characteristics and mental acuity. 

The correlation between Wonderlic Scores and a successful NFL career is quite complicated but very real.

Average Wonderlic Scores by NFL Position.

The average Wonderlic score for the varying NFL professional positions, according to Paul Zimmerman -

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

Highest Wonderlic Scores for the NFL

The table below lists some notable high Wonderlic scores for NFL players:  

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

Lowest Wonderlic Scores for the NFL

The table below lists some notable low Wonderlic scores for NFL players:  

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

For your edification, try the free tests and see which NFL position you are best suited for!



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