The original Wonderlic Personnel Test was developed in the 1930s as a screening tool for hiring managers; it promised to deliver reliable information that, unlike a full-scale IQ test, could be accurately interpreted by a company's office staff. Over 200 million people have taken the Wonderlic Personnel Test, and it's been used by over 75,000 companies. The company has expanded its offerings by designing tests to measure a variety of specific aspects of personality, such as motivation and integrity. Today, Wonderlic offers over 100 tests and has expanded its offerings to include tests for adult and higher education.

Wonderlic Company History

Company founder E.F. Wonderlic was a graduate student when he began distributing the Wonderlic Personnel Test in the 1930s. Two high-profile early clients were the U.S. Navy, which used Wonderlic testing prior to World War II to identify candidates for pilot and navigation training, and hiring managers at Douglas Aircraft. In the 1970s, the NFL adopted Wonderlic testing as part of its pre-draft screening, and validity studies were released that led to approval by the U.S. Department of Education and the American Council on Education. Wonderlic is still a family-held company, run by E.F.'s grandson.

Types of Wonderlic Employment Tests

Wonderlic has developed a battery of tests that hiring managers can mix and match to suit their needs. There are cognitive ability tests; motivation potential assessments designed to measure enthusiasm; knowledge and skills tests that measure competence in basic skills and on computer software; personality and integrity tests designed to separate high-risk and low-risk prospects; and pre-screening and interview questionnaires designed to complement a company's hiring process. Wonderlic tests can be administered online or with paper and pencil; the tests are also available in Braille, large print and audio versions.

Types of Wonderlic Academic Tests

Wonderlic offers a 90-minute assessment of basic skills called GAIN, the General Assessment of Instructional Needs, that includes a pretest, progress test and final evaluation. The GAIN is designed for adult and youth basic education programs. Wonderlic also designs and provides admissions, placement, prior learning, course and program mastery assessments, and certification exam pre-tests for colleges.

Taking the Wonderlic Test

Basic Wonderlic tests are 12 minutes long and contain 50 questions that get increasingly more difficult. The basic personnel test requires a sixth grade reading level; questions are designed to test logic, verbal and math skills. Actual test questions are closely guarded and distributed only to the testing organizations, but you will find practice tests online designed to closely resemble Wonderlic tests. Try one of these to get the idea, get enough rest, eat a good breakfast and breathe deeply.

Wonderlic Test Scores

People in different occupations tend to achieve very different average Wonderlic scores, calculated by the number of correct answers out of 50. For example, security guards average 17, while chemists average 31. The company sets recommended minimums to guide hiring managers' decisions, and some companies have disqualified candidates based on scores considered "too high" for a particular occupation, a practice testing experts criticize as unsupported by evidence.

Studies of the Wonderlic Test

An individual's Wonderlic score will usually be very close to his score on a longer and more formal assessment, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, and to scores on the General Aptitude Test Battery vocational assessments. A 2001 study found that high Wonderlic scores did seem to have a connection to educational and career success. Questions have been raised about its fairness to non-native English speakers, to people who have learning disabilities or mental illnesses, and to anyone outside the middle-class mainstream. The practice of having the tests administered by non-experts who then use a single score to make major decisions about the subject's future has come under scrutiny, but the Wonderlic remains widely used.