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I Took the Wonderlic Test

This week is a big week for anyone interested in the NFL draft. The league’s annual Scouting Combine started on Sunday and runs through this coming Sunday at 7 pm.



I know that blogs, podcasts, and articles are being written all over America about what the scouting combine is, which players and fans should be keeping their eyes on as well as a host of other things. I decided to peel the curtain back, take a deep dive, and become a participant. No, I’m not going to be running the short shuttle or the 40 yd dash. I’m not going to be attempting to bench press 225 lbs. Nor will I see how high I can jump. I decided to do something that I can accomplish that won’t kill me. I took the Wonderlic test.

What is the Wonderlic Test?

Some of you are probably saying “the wonder licking what?” The Wonderlic Test was invented in 1936 by Eldon F. Wonderlic. The test is described as a “quick IQ” test. It has 50 questions that get progressively harder. A person taking the test has 12 minutes to complete as many questions as possible.

The test is now maintained by Wonderlic, INC, and they make sure that the questions are modern and not the original ones from 1936.  It may seem laughable that they need to make sure the questions are “modern,” but I took the Wonderlic test used in 1982, and let me tell you that a lot of the words used in the questions are words we don’t use in the USA in 2020. Although the test has gotten its reputation from being used by the NFL, it is or has been used in normal everyday life to test the productivity of potential workers in numerous job fields ranging from Janitors to Computer Programmers. 

Why does the NFL use it?

While it is an IQ test, the NFL claims it is a predictor of future success, even though two independent studies have found no correlation between a player’s score and their performance on the field.  The league has certain benchmarks for scores based on position. For instance, many teams say that they won’t draft a QB who scores less than 21. On the other side of the spectrum, some teams won’t draft a player with a high score, fearing the player is “too smart.”

Teams are afraid those guys will challenge authority too much. There is even a story about Joe Thuney, the Patriots guard, skipping questions, so he didn’t look “too smart.” The top five scores ever recorded were Pat McInally who scored a 50 in 1975, Mike Mamula scored a 49, Ben Watson and Ryan Fitzpatrick (obviously, In case you didn’t know Fitzpatrick did go to Harvard) both recorded a 48, and Matt Birk registered a 46. On the low side, Darren Davis and Morris Claiborne both scored a 4, Mario Manningham and Frank Gore scored a 6. 

The Test itself & my score

As I mentioned, you have 12 minutes to answer 50 questions, and those 50 questions get progressively harder. Here are questions 2, 4, and 17 from the test I took:

  • Which identical three-letter word, when placed in front of the following words, forms a new word? BOY, HIDE, LICK, POKE, HAND
  • What is the missing number? 28, 29, 57, 86, __, 229
  • Casey needed to move 23 huge boxes from his truck to the loading dock. His forklift could only hold three boxes at once. How many times did Casey have to visit the loading dock?

Now that I’ve given you a sample of the questions, I can tell you that I scored a 27, which put me in the 54th percentile. What does that mean? I have no idea, but I’m sure I’m not in the “too smart” category. Does this mean I’m ready for the NFL? Only if I grow eight inches and learn how to run fast, jump high and left heavy things. No need to worry though. I’m already at the weight required to play Defensive End.  

After the scouting combine is over, some of the scores will begin to be leaked. It will only be the very high ones and the very low ones, which unfortunately for the players that get low scores, seems to be an obvious attempt to embarrass them. Before you jump on social media to make any assumptions about the players whose scores get leaked, I would encourage you to go the link below and take the test for yourself. Do you have what it takes to play in the NFL or are you “too smart?”