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How to Study And Ace the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (WBST)?

Many employers will conduct a series of tests to determine whether prospective employees are likely to be a good fit for a job or not. Many of these tests will assess your cognitive thinking abilities along with your personality traits and character type.

One such test is called the Wonderlic test. There are many different types of Wonderlic tests created by the company Wonderlic, the most common of these being the basic skills test or cognitive ability test.

In this article, we will explore each of these tests in turn and discover ways in which you can be well prepared. We highly recommend using practice resources from Job Test Prep. Taking practice tests is easily the most effective way to gain the best possible results and secure your chosen position.

What Are the Wonderlic Tests?

There are three different Wonderlic assessments that your future employer may administer, and these include:

  1. The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test
  2. The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test or Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT)
  3. The Wonderlic Personality Test
  4. The Wonderlic Motivation Test

The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (WBST)

Within this test, there are two sections:

  1. Verbal Skills test
  2. Quantitative Skills test

Both of these carry equal weighting, and both should be delivered in sequence.

The verbal skills section should be delivered before the quantitative section. It is thought that because candidates use verbal skills on a daily basis, beginning with this test should help to ease them into the test and therefore help to alleviate the usual test nerves.

The level of language and maths skills needed to pass the WBST is around the same level as for a high school student. A pass will tell future employers that the applicant will be able to adequately cope with the written and computational requirements of an entry-level job or career training program.

Verbal Skills Test Questions

There are three categories of questions for this part of the WBST which are:

  • Explicit – these questions require knowledge of word definitions, grammar, and basic sentence construction
  • Applied – in this part of the test, you will be given general reading comprehension questions, knowledge, or grammar and word meanings within a given passage, along with knowledge of sentence construction
  • Interpretive – these questions will ask you to understand and analyze information given in charts, tables, graphs, and diagrams

Within the verbal test, there will be 50 questions designed to measure a broad range of language skills, including:

  • Locating, using, and understanding given information
  • Recognizing word meanings by their definition or in context
  • Identifying correct grammar and sentence construction
  • Understanding and using instructions
  • Completing a sentence with an appropriate word
  • Recognizing the meanings of unfamiliar words in context
  • Completing compound and complex sentences
  • Recognizing grammatical errors

Quantitative Skills Test Questions

This section of questions will also comprise the categories of explicit, applied, and interpretive questions.

  • Explicit questions – direct maths computation, algebra, and quantitative evaluation
  • Applied problems – to identify and undertake the appropriate maths operation to solve practical problems
  • Interpretive problems – to evaluate information presented in the form of diagrams, tables, charts, and graphs

In the quantitative section, there are 45 questions designed to assess a broad range of mathematical skills:

Questions you are likely to encounter will include:

  • The four basic maths operations
  • Computing rates, proportions, and percentages
  • Solving variable equations
  • Fractions and decimals
  • Rounding numbers and averages
  • Basic geometry

How Long Is the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (WBST)?

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Within each section of the WBST, there are practice questions that can be answered in around 3 – 5 minutes. Then there is a formal testing period of 20 minutes for each test section.

In both sections of the WBST, candidates are given around 20 seconds to answer each individual question. The use of calculators is not permitted. This time pressure can add real stress to the process and this is one of several reasons why it is so important for test-takers to be adequately prepared and well-practiced.

Other Wonderlic Tests

The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test

This test was first created by E.F Wonderlic in 1936 and is primarily a basic IQ test giving employers information about a candidate’s cognitive ability in maths, vocabulary, and reasoning. This test is designed to get applicants using their initiative, thinking quickly, and being adaptable.

The test itself is broken down into the following parts and subsequent ratios:

  • English knowledge – 38%
  • Maths – 24%
  • Logic – 20%
  • General knowledge – 18%

The Wonderlic Personality Test

In this test, you will be assessed for how well you may fit into a future job or organization and your likely job behaviors. You will be measured against five main areas:

  • Co-operation
  • Dependability
  • Stress tolerance
  • Sociability
  • Open-mindedness

It is perhaps not surprising that there are no right or wrong answers for these questions. They should be answered as honestly as possible as each individual is obviously different. However, it is good to bear in mind company values and ethics when providing your answers.

Wonderlic Motivation Test

Perhaps the simplest of all the tests, this is a fact-finding exercise for your employer to ascertain your interests and motivations. There will be six motivations that form your results, and again these are not a right or wrong type of answer, more an honest example of what motivates you. The six areas on which you will be asked questions include:

  • Practical
  • Investigative
  • Artistic
  • Supportive
  • Enterprising
  • Traditional

Why Do Employers Use the Wonderlic Tests?

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To predict your performance

From an employer’s point of view, their main objective is to gain an idea of how you will perform in a certain job or career and how you will fit into that organization. For example, if you are applying for a job with a strong mathematical base, then your prospective employer would expect you to perform well on the maths questions.

To measure cognitive ability

For jobs without a particular subject focus, the tests will provide an insight into your overall cognitive ability, how you might adapt to the demands of the job, how efficiently you are able to solve problems, how well you learn and follow instructions, and how you might deal with the potential demands of your chosen position.

For nursing and other positions

Nurses and nursing staff, for example, may need to perform basic mental calculations quickly and efficiently. For positions within this sector, it is very likely that you will be asked to take a WBST.

Other organizations that use WBST are fast food restaurant employers and franchisers, where general accounting and balancing of books are crucial skills.

What Is the Pass Mark for the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test?

Unlike other tests, employers are able to set the pass mark for the WBST. This means that the actual pass rate for such a test could vary from company to company and job to job. For those companies with several positions available, they may want to lower the pass rate in order to attract a higher number of successful applicants.

On the other hand, for a company with a very limited number of recruitment opportunities, they may wish to secure only the applicants with the highest exam scores. Whatever the situation, your best chance of success will be to gain the highest mark possible, and this will be made much more likely through adequate preparation.

The actual questions themselves are not difficult. The difficulty lies in the ability to answer all of the questions within the limited time frame.

How Can I Pass the WBST?

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We have already addressed the importance of good preparation and practice. But here are some top tips to help you ace your test, beat your competitors, and secure your dream job.

  • Time management – Being able to effectively manage your time in order to answer as many questions as you can is crucial. Practice tests from Job Test Prep can help you to do this. Be sure to take the tests under exam conditions and by sticking to the time limits.
  • Make sure that you become familiar with the test format and question types so that you do not encounter any unpleasant surprises on the day of your real test. The more your brain is used to the type of difficulty you will face on the day of your test, the more successful you are likely to be.
  • Practice, practice, and practice some more!

Job Test Prep can provide you with six test simulations, a detailed study guide, 34 different tests, and 190 WBST questions online. You will receive separate scores for each section of the WBST, and both are marked out of a total possible score of 500.

A score of at least 200 on the verbal section and 210 on the quantitative section is considered a satisfactory benchmark and particularly if you want to achieve ATB status.

Generally, the organization to which you are applying will list its accepted pass score on its website. If the test is being administered as part of the general admission process for a school or college, then there may be different pass scores listed for the different programs on offer and relative to the difficulty levels of each program.

It is impossible to make a generalization about the pass score as each school will be unique and have unique entry criteria – what may be deemed an outstanding score for one school could well be rejected for another.

It is possible to take the WBST a total of three times before the submission of your application should you fail to secure an adequate grade on your first or second attempts.

Unfortunately, when it comes to job applications, there is no way of finding out or asking the employer what the expected pass score is for your chosen position. But there are sample score reports available that may give you at least some idea.

The job market has never been more competitive. If you are to secure your dream job or school place, you will likely be up against some stiff competition. In order to stand out from the crowd and perform your very best in the WBST or similar Wonderlic Tests, your best chances of success are preparation, practice, and familiarization.

Making sure that you make use of the resources at Job Test Prep is one sure-fire way to achieve success. One of the main obstacles for candidates lies not in the difficulty of the questions but in the pressure applied through the strict time frames and speed at which the questions need to be answered.

Practicing under timed conditions will mean that you are able to answer quickly and efficiently and lessen the chances of dropping precious marks on the day. Once you know what types of questions to expect and how they will be presented, you will waste less time and can get on with the business of answering with skill and confidence.

Job Test Prep prides itself on the quality of its comprehensive resources. It has many years of experience in helping people to secure rewarding and fulfilling positions through practice and preparation. Remember, if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail! Let Job Test Prep make your success a reality!

Written by Karen Stanley

​​Karen is a former teacher of 20 years and ten times published author. She writes content for educational organisations and businesses, nationally and internationally. She coaches new and budding writers through to publication and is passionate about creativity; she runs creative writing workshops in schools and fostering agencies.