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What the Wonderlic Test Measures

The WPT is a short test of general cognitive ability. Often referred to as general intelligence, or cognitive ability, it is a term that is used to describe the level at which an individual learns, understands instructions and solves problems. It provides quantitative insight into how easily individuals can be trained, how well they can adjust and solve problems on the job and how well-satisfied they are likely to be with the demands of the job. Higher scoring individuals will not only gain more from formalized training, but they are also more likely to learn effectively from on-the-job experience. Modest scoring individuals will need more detailed instruction, hands on practice, more time and repetition and close supervision.

Test scores on the Wonderlic have a high correlation to much longer tests such as the Wechler Adult Intelligence Scale (Dodrill, 1981, Hawkins et. Al, 1990), the cognitive or “Aptitude G” scale of the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB Manual, 1970), and the “Academic” scale of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (Hunter, 1989).

What the Wonderlic Test does Not Measure

The Wonderlic Test measures general mental ability, but not how well a person will employ their ability. It is often true that a person of lower ability, but stronger determination, will out perform the higher ability person. This means, of course, that many elements of a person’s abilities, personal characteristics, learned skills and background experience will all contribute to successful performance. It is all too easy to allow an exceptionally high test score to mask deficiencies in other areas.



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