Taking part in the NFL combine in Indianapolis are over 300 of what are considered to be the best NFL prospects for the upcoming draft. The combine can offer a chance for fringe players to increase their draft value or in some cases, for prospects draft value to drop. No matter what the prospect’s situation is, the combine is the place to try and strut their stuff. But did you know that during the combine, along with the physical tests those players in attendance will also undergo something called the Wonderlic Personnel Test?
What is the Wonderlic Personnel Test? Glad you asked. ‘The Wonderlic’ (as it is known) is a 12 minute mental obstacle course. The test starts off somewhat simple but it quickly becomes more difficult as it moves along. It is designed to test your mental agility because there are traps planted all over the place. Some of those who have gone through the 12 minute ordeal have called it the strangest test they have ever experienced. It is a mix of speed and decision making with questions that are phrased in such a way that they appear to be quite simple. If you are taking the test, that assumption could be your biggest mistake.
What does the Wonderlic do and why does the NFL put so much weight behind it? The National Scouting Combine collects this statistic because in the National Football League, being mentally quick is just as important as being physically quick. Being quick means adapting quickly to the unexpected and making fewer mistakes on the field. Organizations like to uses it because it is quick way to evaluate large pool of applicants so it makes sense why the NFL uses it to screen the 300+ prospects in attendance. However, the organizations that use the Wonderlic to screen is, if you can’t make the minimum score, they have a reason to cut you from the list. Such is the case with the NFL as well. Teams in the NFL have been using the Wonderlic as a tool to assess players for about 30 years.
The test itself consists of 50 questions that the participant is allowed 12 minutes to answer. The resulting number of correct answers corresponds to an intelligence quotient. The average score is 21 which is equivalent to the average IQ of 100. Higher scoring applicants are supposed to learn more rapidly, master more complex material, and exercise better judgment while lower scoring applicants tend to require more time, detailed task instruction, and less challenging job routines. 25 is the average score for quarterbacks and offensive linemen. Other positions average about a 20. But this test is not always an accurate predictor of an NFL career. For example, look at future Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino. When he went through his combine prior to the 1983 draft, he scored a 16 on his Wonderlic. Imagine this, the Dolphins almost passed on the Pitt standout because of the unimpressive score.
While many of us fans will not have the opportunity to take the Wonderlic under the same pressures of the prospects at the combine in Indianapolis, you can still take the test. In fact, many employers do offer this as a part of their interviewing process. If that is not an option either, then you can take a sample Wonderlic that follows. But as you are watching the draft unfold and seeing players taken lower that expected, just think that the reason for that could be those dreaded 12 minutes known as ‘the Wonderlic”.
Click here for a sample wonderlic test.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Les Barnhart