Wonderlic 101: What It Is and How to Beat It

If you are reading this article, then you have probably been informed by a hiring manager at your dream job that you will be required to take, and pass, a Wonderlic test to progress through the interview process. Your head is likely buzzing with thoughts:

"Wait ... the Wonder ... what?"

"I haven't been in school for years, and I am not a good test-taker as it is!"

"What is on the Wonderlic, and how do I prepare for it?"

"Is this test going to keep me from getting a job I know I am qualified for?"

If this is how you feel, there is some good news for you: the Wonderlic is beatable (even if you have been out of school for years), and you can prepare for it.

What Is the Wonderlic, Anyway?

The Wonderlic Personnel Test (also known as the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, but most often simply referred to as "the Wonderlic") is a popular 50-question pre-employment assessment. The Wonderlic is challenging because test-takers receive only 12 minutes to complete the exam. According to Wonderlic, Inc., roughly two percent of test-takers finish the test in the time allotted, and the average score is less than 50 percent. Hiring managers use Wonderlic scores to determine whether a candidate passes through to the next phase of the interview.

The Wonderlic intimidates many job candidates, but you can prepare for your Wonderlic test and improve your score easily. Here are five things you can do now to immediately boost your score:

1. Understand How Wonderlic Scores Its Tests

You are awarded one point for every question answered correctly. You do not incur any penalty for guessing. Your final score is the number of questions you answered correctly out of the possible 50 questions. If you do not know the answer to a question, you should guess and move on.

2. Review Fractions

There are several types of questions on the Wonderlic covering a variety of categories including logic, spatial recognition, and verbal reasoning. However, a significant portion of the exam is composed of mathematical word problems. A chunk of these word problems tests your skill with fractions. You should note that you will not be allowed to use a calculator on the exam, so reviewing fraction operations is worth your time.

Here is an example of a fraction-based question you would see on a Wonderlic assessment:

A high-speed train travels 25 feet in 1/3 second. In 4 seconds, the train will have traveled __?__ feet.

A. 210

B. 240

C. 270

D. 300

E. 350

The Wonderlic loves ratio problems, and this is quite similar to ones that pop up on the exam rather frequently. Prepare for these by reviewing how to multiply and divide fractions. Also, these questions become much easier if you use a "get to one" strategy, which helps to simplify problem solving in the shortest amount of time.

Example Solution: If a train travels 25 feet in 1/3 second, then it must travel 3 times that far in 1 whole second: 25 feet x 3 = 75.

75 feet x 4 (seconds) = 300 (answer D)

3. Review Analogies

Another common Wonderlic question requires you to complete an analogy by filling in the blank. Here is an example:

PHOTOGRAPH is to BLURRY as KNIFE is to ___?___.






Analogies tend to scare test-takers, but if you can build what we call "relationship sentences" with the words provided, then these problems become much easier. Relationship sentences help you solve analogies by establishing a relationship with the first group of words and then finding the word that copies that relationship in the second group. The answer to the question above is D.

4. Review Proverbs

The Wonderlic's proverb questions are some of the test's trickiest. A proverb is a pithy statement that tries to impart some bit of advice on the listener. Some questions on the Wonderlic will give you a list of five proverbs and ask which two have similar meanings.

Here is an example:

Two of the following proverbs have similar meanings. Which ones are they?

A. Rome wasn't built in a day.

B. Fortune favors the bold.

C. Birds of a feather flock together.

D. When in Rome, do as the Romans.

E. Hitch you wagon to a star.

Familiarizing yourself with English proverbs will help you attack these questions; however, if you encounter one or more proverbs that you are unfamiliar with, try to translate each proverb to a more common saying. For example, "Hitch your wagon to a star" sounds similar to "reach for the stars."

The correct answer to this question is B and E.

5. Take as Many Practice Tests as You can

Familiarizing yourself with the exam and giving yourself as many opportunities to practice are essential to improving your score. Most people come away disappointed with their results because they did not prepare for the time constraint. Practicing will allow you to get familiar with the content of the exam and also get into a good rhythm so you can maximize your score.

Alexander Hollis is the founder of BeatTheWonderlic.com,the leader in Wonderlic test preparation. For more information and a free Wonderlic practice test, click here.