The NFL Combine's Toughest Test

The combine officially started on Wednesday, with the arrival of the day one participants. Today, some of them are being subjected to the toughest test they'll face at the combine, the Wonderlic Test, or what the NFL euphemistically likes to call the 'psych test'.

The Wonderlic test is a fifty question, twelve minute test designed to measure a person's ability to learn and solve problems. It uses open response and multiple choice questions which increase in difficulty as the test progresses. The test gained notoriety through the NFL, but is broadly used by employers across many industries.

The test is explained in detail here and you can do a 15-question sample test here or a 20-question test here. You could also try your hand at a timed test that gives you three minutes and 36 seconds to answer 15 questions, or take a 10-question sample with a 2:26 timer. Watch yourself break out in a cold sweat when the clock ticks down to one minute and you still have more than half the questions to go. After the break, find out what the Wonderlic results mean.

The Wonderlic score is calculated as the number of correct answers given to the 50 questions within the allotted time frame. The highest score is therefore obviously a 50, while a score of 20 is considered an average score. The Wonderlic score is sometimes used to approximate an intelligence quotient, or IQ, by multiplying the Wonderlic score by two and then adding 60:

IQ = Wonderlic Score * 2 + 60.

The average score for an NFL player (regardless of position) is reportedly 20. Very broadly, a score over 30 suggests a superior intelligence, 20 is about average (and is roughly equivalent to an IQ of 100). 15 is the equivalent of an unskilled worker, while anything below 10 is an indication of a literacy problem or learning disability.

In Paul Zimmerman's book titled, "The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football" he listed the average Wonderlic scores by position. The table below summarizes those values and compares them to average scores from various professions.

Football Position Test Score Regular Profession
31 Chemist
29 Programmer
Offensive Tackle 26 Journalist
Center 25
Quarterback 24 Salesman
Guard 23
Tight End 22 Bank Teller
Safety 19
Linebacker 19
Cornerback 18
Wide Receiver 17 Security Guard
Fullback 17
Running Back 16
14 Warehouse worker

In 2006, the press worked itself into a frenzy when word leaked that Vince Young had allegedly scored a woefully low six points in the Wonderlic. Young was allowed to retake the test and reportedly improved to 16. Only conspiracy theorists would think anything of the fact that this number miraculously corresponded to Dan Marino's score from 1983. Only conspiracy theorists would think that the NFL had its hand in this fortunate turn of events.

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