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Wonderlic’s General Assessment of Instructional Needs (GAIN) – A Complete Study Guide with Practice Tests

If you are an adult student looking to take further study, you may be asked to take the Wonderlic test before admission to your course of choice. You may also be asked to take the test as part of the process to land your next job.

Either way, it is important that you do well, as this test could define whether or not you will be able to make your next academic or professional move. This can be an overwhelming prospect, especially when you have no idea what to expect.

Take the Wonderlic Practice Test to improve your score.

But don’t worry. Here, we will explain all and show you how you can prepare for the Wonderlic assessment.

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What Is the Wonderlic General Assessment of Instructional Needs (GAIN)?


The test is used for courses of education at community or vocational colleges or further education under the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program.

Likewise, adults looking for employment opportunities under the Workforce Investment Act program WIA also come across the GAIN test.

GAIN is an aptitude test designed to test the literacy and mathematical ability skills of adult applicants for any of these programs.

The tests are approved by the National Reporting System. They can be used to assess progress people have made within the educational system and monitor what further progress they need to make.

Is the Wonderlic GAIN a Pre-employment Test?

Some employers use GAIN as a means of assessing job applicants’ abilities. It also helps get an indication of how they will perform in the workplace.

Using the test, they can assess the skills the employee is bringing to the workplace and determine which tasks they will be best suited to.

Why Take the Wonderlic Test?

The tests are a means of assessing if applicants to further education or employment schemes have the necessary numeracy and literacy skills to participate in the programs or carry out the tasks related to the job.

Applicants for degree and certificate courses may also be required to take them regardless of what field they are going to be studying.

For a free sample Wonderlic test at this level, go here.

Administrators of college and further education programs and prospective employers will not have the time to pass on those skills to participants. For the effective running of programs and workplaces, they need to be assured that participants have all reached the necessary skills’ levels.

This is so the programs can run at the necessary pace with every attendee having the skills required to participate.

For an employer, it is equally vital that new hires can slot into the workforce and carry out their tasks without the need for time-consuming explanations.

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Is the GAIN Test Hard?

To give a simple answer, yes. All tests are hard, but the advantages to be gained from successfully completing a GAIN test more than make up for the difficulty of the assessment.

As this test allows access to further education and improved employment opportunities, it should be prepared for. The test also guarantees you are being tested on a level playing field with other applicants.

For anyone expecting to do this test, we recommend using the test preparation resources prepared by Job Test Prep, a leading source of test preparation resources.

From them, you can get accurate information about the test as well as test prep packs. Their test prep packs come with sample tests modeled on the real assessments, detailed explanations of the questions, and a means of tracking your scores as you prepare for the tests.

Using their services, you have access to information on the format of the tests as well as the preparation resources they provide. This will guarantee the time you put into preparation is used profitably. You don’t have to carry out time-consuming searches for information.

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What Format Does the GAIN Test Follow?

When doing the GAIN test, you will be assessed on both:

  • Literacy skills
  • Numeracy skills.

So, your test will fall into two separate sections.

The difficulty level of the tests depends on the reason you are doing them. If it is to further your education, expect the educational institution to set the level of difficulty they expect their future students to master.

If it is for employment purposes, expect the employer to decide on the literacy and numeracy levels they expect employees to have reached.

However, leaving employment and further education aside, you can expect the Wonderlic GAIN test to assess you on skills that you may end up using in many aspects of your life. Consider, for example, how you may have to use numeracy skills when serving at a shop counter or doling out medication in a pharmacy.

The tests assess basic literacy and numeracy. There is also a more advanced literacy and numeracy test assessing skills gained through attendance at secondary schools. This level of the test is defined by the NRS’ Educational Functioning Levels.

The Literacy Test

In the literacy test, you will be assessed on:

  • Your English Proficiency
  • Grammar
  • Word Usage

In this section, you are required to answer 80 questions in 45 minutes

To get a feeling for the test, try your hand at the following Verbal test example questions:

1)  Which word would you use to fill the gap in the following sentence?
John — home quickly yesterday.

Is it Runned, Will run, Ran, or Runs?

2) Click the answer you think is correct to fill the gap in this sentence.

Wire is to electricity as _____ is to water.
A. Cloud B. Lake C. Boiler D. faucet E. Pipe

3) Choose the word that best indicates the meaning of the word in darker print.

The information collected does not pertain to that incident.
A. Influence B. amount C. Relate D. Substitute

Doing these questions, you may find yourself thinking they are not very challenging. But when you factor in the time limits imposed on the test and the mistakes we all tend to make when working under time pressure, you can see how the difficulty level increases.

You need to remember you will be doing 80 of these in 45 minutes, approximately 2 per minute.

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The Numeracy Test

In the numeracy test, you can expect to be tested on the following mathematical skills:

  • Basic Arithmetic
  • Inequalities
  • Numeracy
  • Simple Word Problems

Again you are allowed 45 minutes to complete the questions.

To test your skills with numbers, try these questions:

1)  A bicycle rider has completed 15 miles out of an 86 mile-long route. If he travels at a rate of 14.2 miles per hour, how many hours will it take him to complete the remaining distance?

A. 5 B. 4.3 C. 4.7 D. 7

Now try this one:

2) Jenny runs an ice cream parlor and needs to increase her sales by $450 per week. A recent campaign has shown that for every $25 she spends on advertising, she gets an increase of $100 in business. How much will she have to spend to increase the shop’s income by $450?

Is it $150? $112.50? $75? $50.50?

Test yourself by doing these quickly.

To get an idea of the types of sample questions you can get from Job Test Prep, try a free sample Wonderlic Basic Skills Test here.

Preparing for the Wonderlic Tests

student giving online exam

Your job test prep pack will give you the information you need about the tests.

Having all the information you need to hand as well as your test prep resources, your first task is to put a preparation routine in place:

  • Work to a timetable ensuring you can leave the final day before the tests free for some last-minute reviews and to get a rest in preparation for the tests.
  • Work in a distraction-free place you can call your own for the duration of your preparation.
  • To get the most out of your preparation time, follow recommended study methods. Follow 50 minutes study with 10-minute breaks. This will help you get the optimum out of your brain and retain material more easily.
  • And remember, you need to take care of your physical wellbeing if you want to get the optimum out of your mind. Think of sleep, nutrition, and exercise as essential parts of your test prep arsenal.

Use your sample papers as the backbone of your preparation.

Doing this in every preparation session will ensure:

  1. You become more familiar with the test with each paper you do
  2. You hone your skills from test to test
  3. You can track your progress from test to test. Make sure you are checking your scores and discovering any areas that may be bringing your scores down. Those areas will need a little more of your time.
  4. You learn to work within the time restrictions of the tests.
  5. Doing the tests will become like a continuation of what you are doing on a daily basis.

Related GuideWonderlic Cognitive Ability Test

Doing the Tests

Having done your work, your behavior when doing the tests can still sabotage all that effort.

Bear in mind that you will be working under test conditions for 90 minutes which is quite demanding. To keep alert and function at your best for that length of time, ensure you approach the tests:

  • Well-rested – A decent night’s sleep will serve you better than any late-night study marathon
  • Clear-headed
  • Ready to deal with any last-minute nervousness that may crop up
  • Confident – You have done the work and deserve to ace this.

And finally! Go into those tests and give it all you’ve got.

If you have to do the Wonderlic GAIN assessment, we recommend trying this practice test by clicking on the link below.

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Written by Elizabeth O Mahony

With 25+ years’ experience as a teacher and state examinations corrector, Elizabeth now writes for the education and careers industry. Her experience preparing students for examinations and running an academy for supplementary education give her invaluable insights into what it takes for job seekers and graduates to succeed in assessments.