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Wonderlic fun

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The Wonderlic is a simple intelligence test widely administered to job candidates, most famously by the NFL in its annual draft. Try this sample test and report your score in the comments 🙂

Note: actual test is 50 problems over 12 minutes, so ESPN is probably incorrect to give 5 minutes for 15 questions. Give yourself 3.6 minutes and multiply your score by 50/15 = 3.33 to get a Wonderlic score, W. Wikipedia estimates: (very roughly) IQ = 2*W + 60

ESPN: …Each year, about 2.5 million job applicants, in every line of work, take the Wonderlic. The average NFL combiner scores about the same as the average applicant for any other job, a 21. A 20 indicates the test-taker has an IQ of 100, which is average.

Some people disagree with the whole idea of IQ testing because they believe the tests are culturally biased and inaccurate. But Charlie Wonderlic doesn’t make grand claims for the score derived from his test. “What the score does is help match training methods with a player’s ability,” he says. “It could be a playbook — what is the best way to teach a player a play? On the field, the higher the IQ, the greater the ability to understand and handle contingencies and make sound decisions on the fly.”

Yes, we know painfully well how “discredited” IQ tests are. But, evidently, many employers and virtually all universities, not to mention NFL franchises, think that your IQ score has some predictive validity…

The diagram below illustrates how scores vary by position (created by Ben Fry). Note even the “brainy” O-lineman fall short of the average score for college graduates, 28. The overall US average is 21, implying 1 SD is something like 7 Wonderlic points, so the spread between halfback and left tackle is about 1.5 SD.

From Wonderlic.com: Every year, around the time of the NFL draft, there is a sudden surge of interest in the Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT). The Dallas Cowboys first used the WPT for the selection of football players in the 1960’s. Today, it is one of the standard measures used by the combine and NFL teams when considering draft picks.

Although Wonderlic does not score the WPT for the combine, nor does it receive score reports, there are several sources that publish all of the draft statistics, including Wonderlic scores.

The average WPT score for player positions in the NFL are the same type of scores used by employers when hiring people for specific jobs. In his book Paul Zimmerman’s “The New Thinking man’s Guide to Pro Football,” Paul Zimmerman has published what he believes to be the average scores for NFL players by position.

NFL Position / Wonderlic Score / Job Title

Offensive Tackle / 26 / Marketing Executive
Center / 25 / Claims Examiner
Quarterback / 24 / Computer Operator
Tight End / 22 / Police Officer
Safety / 19 / Butcher
Middle Linebacker / 19 / Hospital Orderly
Cornerback / 18 / Machine Operator
Wide Receiver / 17 / Laboratory Assistant
Fullback / 17 / Dock Hand
Halfback / 16 / Material Handler

Of course, the average score by player position is a group statistic. An employer would use an individual player’s score to determine potential job success. As a point of reference, the average score across the United States is 21, while the average for college graduates is about 28.

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Written by infoproc

July 18, 2008 at 8:35 pm

12 Responses

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  1. How many points do you get for correctly scaling the sample test score to the Wonderlic? (Hint: You actually have less than five minutes if you want a direct score comparison.)

    Just eyeballing that position chart, it looks to me like test results correlate with the frequency and ferocity with which a player at that position gets hit. Which way does the causal arrow point there, I wonder? Maybe it’s another case of small initial differences in IQ compounding over time….

    tim

    July 18, 2008 at 9:58 pm

  2. Wow, that was hard. Giving myself exactly five minutes, I missed 5 of 15.

    Thras

    July 18, 2008 at 11:12 pm

  3. 15/15. Took me about 3 minutes.

    Dog of Justice

    July 19, 2008 at 6:09 am

  4. Those were the easy questions. I think.

    David

    July 19, 2008 at 2:12 pm

  5. i got 13 out of 15

    made a logical mis assumption about introductions in question 14…thinking if it wasnt said it didnt happen

    i was able to set up the simultaneous equations in 11 ok then repeatedly made math mistakes and ran out of time

    im not very bright

    my saving grace is i know it and compensate

    mock turtle

    July 19, 2008 at 4:54 pm

  6. 13/15. Missed an ‘easy’ one with the names not seeing the “ie” inversion. Missed the publishing question due to running out of time.

    Anonymous

    July 19, 2008 at 7:04 pm

  7. 15/15, 5 minutes

    I barely got #13 – spent about 45 seconds doing the math very quickly and didn’t have time to double check (luckily I’d made no mistakes). Is there nice shortcut for it like there is for #11?

    L Kolb

    July 21, 2008 at 2:28 am

  8. I did not set the clock, and got 15/15 but it took 6.5 min. Under time pressure, I would have skipped 11 and 13. “I kolb”, what was your shortcut for #11?

    DB

    July 21, 2008 at 7:07 pm

  9. 11 goes fast if you reduce the numbers to 3,4, and 80.

    Anonymous

    July 21, 2008 at 9:09 pm

  10. 7/15 in 3.6 minutes. Ouch!

    Anonymous

    July 22, 2008 at 3:12 am

  11. I took a Wonderlic last night via a friend of mine. 38/50. Two varieties of questions that my brain locked on were:
    Lists of five words where I had to pick three with similar meanings.
    Given the truth of the following statements, is the third one true?

    The answers for the latter were Yes, No, Uncertain. I had what seemed like an inordinate number of ‘Uncertains’.

    One of the last questions was:
    You bought a stock for $20/share. You sold it later for $40/share, and made a $2000 profit. How many shares did you buy?

    Somehow, the first time through, I picked 200, but realized it was wrong two questions later and fixed it. Don’t know how many brainfarts I had like that.

    They recommended that you have scratch paper but none of the arithmetic questions were hard, per se. The hardest part was parsing the semantics.

    Yields the lowest IQ estimate of my life, but within the covariance of the IQ = 2*W + 60 relationship.

    David

    September 3, 2008 at 8:35 pm

  12. #12 could be any of the months have the same daylight and darkness hours for people who live at the equator, right?

    Anonymous

    September 5, 2008 at 11:21 pm


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