Focused Diverse Women Studying For Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam

Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam (SLE) – How To Prepare?

Last Updated on August 18, 2022

Are you faced with taking the Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam, WSLE? Important for passing college classes or accessing certain job roles, the WSLE can be daunting. But with the right preparation, there is no reason you can’t pass the WSLE with flying colors.

Read on to learn all about the test and how to prepare for it.

What is the Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam?

The Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam — WSLE — is a cognitive ability test that assists academic institutions in the selection process for their different programs. It is the equivalent to the Wonderlic Personnel Test — WPT — which is also used for pre-employment testing.

There are currently two versions of the WSLE, and these are:

  1. Quicktest – This version of the test presents 30 questions within an 8-minute time frame to be taken online early in the selection process. You may still be asked to take the full SLE later on in the selection process.
  2. Wonderlic SLE full version – This version presents 50 questions within a 12-minute timeframe. This test will also be taken online, but you will be expected to take it on the premises of the institute to which you are applying.

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Who Uses the WSLE?

The Wonderlic SLE cognitive abilities test. It is the leading admission test for career colleges across the United States. The test aims to determine your problem-solving skills and ability to learn, understand and follow instructions.

As such, this test is favored by institutions such as the police force and nursing colleges to evaluate the suitability of candidates for their programs.

What Does the WSLE Look Like?

Several different question types are used on the Wonderlic SLE in order to assess cognitive ability.

These may include:

  • Word comparisons
  • Antonyms
  • Dates and times
  • Folding boxes
  • Graphs
  • Number comparisons
  • Simple math
  • Sentence forming
  • Rotational series
  • Syllogisms

All of these question types can be categorized under several broad headings, which are:

  • Verbal
  • Quantitative
  • Abstract
  • Logical Reasoning

These categories are further subdivided to contain the following question types as outlined above:

  • Verbal reasoning – word comparisons, antonyms, sentence formation, syllogisms, and proverbs
  • Abstract and spatial reasoning – folding boxes and rotational series
  • Numerical reasoning – graphs, number comparisons, simple math, word problems, and number series
  • General knowledge – dates, times, and popular science

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Sample Questions

Sample questions might include something like the following:

Word comparisons:


These words are:

a. Similar b. Contradictory c. Neither similar nor contradictory

Word math problem:

Anne is 5 years older than Greg. Greg is 15 years old. Sam is half Anne’s age. How old will Sam be when Greg is 40?

a. 45  b. 50  c. 40  d.  37  e. 35

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What is the Format of the WSLE?

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The WSLE is not divided into separate sections or topic areas. But instead, all of the question types are mixed together randomly. However, the questions are organized in order of difficulty, meaning that the questions will get harder as you go through the test.

Because of the nature of the test — multiple quick-fire questions in a very limited time frame — you are unlikely to complete all of the questions during the session.

Therefore, it is advisable to skip any that you find challenging; answer the easiest ones first and come back to the others if you have time.

You are allowed to use a scrap piece of paper to make any jottings or mathematical calculations, but you are not allowed to use a calculator.

There is one more similar kind of test you can give- Wonscore Test

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What is the Pass Mark for the WSLE?

Often, the WSLE will be used when the GPA of a student is below a certain threshold; typically 2.5 or 2.4. However, the test can simply be administered as part of an institution’s general selection process.

The pass mark will depend wholly on the institution’s criteria. It is a good idea to find out what the pass score for your chosen program is prior to taking your SLE test.

Every question is worth one point in itself. Since you will not be penalized for any incorrect answers, it is well worth taking a guess at any answers that you are not totally sure about.

Irrespective of how many of the questions you manage to complete in the allotted time, your score will simply be how many answers you got right.

Typically the pass score ranges from 16 – 20 out of 50. If you take the quick SLE test, even though there are only 30 questions, your score will still be out of 50 as each question in this test is actually worth 1.66 points. A score above 10 is deemed to indicate that you are literate, whilst a score below 10 may indicate illiteracy.

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How Can I Prepare for the Wonderlic SLE Test?

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Tests such as the WSLE can seem particularly daunting, especially when there is such a tight timeframe. Answering questions under pressure can cause the test taker additional stress, which can result in careless mistakes.

Adequate preparation through the use of practice tests such as those available from TestPrep-Online can really make a difference to your chances of success. Here are some ways in which you can prepare for your SLE.

Evaluate Your Studying Process

Once you have completed a free practice test, such as those provided by TestPrep-Online, you will have a much better idea of the areas that you found to be the most challenging. In this way, you will be able to prioritize those topics which you will need more time to cover and those which you found easy and that need little or additional study time.

Adjust Your Study Timetable

There have been many studies conducted that have produced results regarding a student’s ‘best’ study times. It is argued that our brains are most alert in the first half of the day as opposed to the afternoon or evening.

Therefore, it is advisable to study those topics which present challenges or difficulty before the afternoon. However, it should also be noted that every individual’s body clock is unique. You should choose a time that suits both your learning style and life commitments.

Take Frequent Breaks

Just as an athlete will allow the body to recover after exertion, so should we allow our brain to recharge after periods of intense concentration. When our brain is tired or overloaded, it stands to reason that we are not able to absorb or process as much information as when we are fresh and well rested.

Taking frequent short breaks in between topics will allow you to focus on each new task with the same energy and motivation as the first.

Nutrition and Hydration

Staying well hydrated and well-nourished will help you to stay alert and focused. Eat healthy snacks such as fruits and nuts; sugary treats may give an instant buzz, but they are ‘empty calories’, and the burst of energy that they may bring will pass quickly.

This does not provide maintainable brain power. It is also essential to drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated or sugary drinks for similar reasons as for sweet treats.

Keep Moving

This may feel like contradictory advice for someone trying to study for an exam but your physical health will also play a crucial role in your ability to process information. Taking regular physical breaks such as a short walk in the fresh air will really help to improve your concentration and focus overall.

Plan Your Study Area

Sitting Woman Reading Book in Library

Choose a quiet, uncluttered area, preferably by a window so that you have some natural light and fresh air. You should be comfortable and undisturbed for the best possible studying conditions.

Having said that, sometimes a change of scenery can be a great way to kick-start the brain, especially for challenging topics. Try studying in a library or a quiet cafe to prevent lethargy during your studying period.

Finally, the single best way to make sure that you give yourself the very best chance of success, is to practice, practice, and practice a bit more! The practice tests from TestPrep-Online are a great way to ensure that you are well-prepared for your test on the day.

Of course, the practice tests will not give you the exact questions, but they will give you an idea of the format and presentation of the questions. Each test will incorporate the same categories and subcategories of questions under the headings that we discussed earlier in this article and therefore, practicing the same range of questions under these headings will greatly improve your confidence and your ability to answer accurately and efficiently.

Nerves can do funny things to the brain, so it stands to reason that the less anxious you feel, the better you are likely to perform on the day.

Practicing under timed conditions will also enable you to understand the amount of time you have for each question – about 14 seconds – and what this will feel like under exam conditions.

If you have managed to find out the required pass mark for your chosen institution as suggested and you have been able to achieve at least that mark or higher during your practice tests, then you will be able to approach the real test with much more well-placed confidence.

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About the Wonderlic Tests

The Wonderlic tests are assessments designed to measure general cognitive ability in the fields of math, vocabulary, and reasoning. Its overall aim is to screen job candidates in the shortest possible time.

The original Wonderlic test was created in 1936 by Eldon F. Wonderlic and began as the Wonderlic Personnel Test. It was originally designed as a quick IQ test, the test time limit being just 12 minutes, with only 2-5% of average groups being able to complete the test within the allotted time frame.

Whilst the test is continually being updated with the repeated evaluation of its questions, it remains true to its original purpose. The test has been widely used to select pilots during WWII, for the National Football League, and for a whole range of additional occupations. Originally the test was provided for free as the data collected was so useful to Wonderlic for research purposes.

The tests are now divided into three different sections:

  • Cognitive ability
  • Personality
  • Motivation

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Next Steps

Online Assessment

The purpose of the WSLE is to ascertain whether or not a potential candidate has the cognitive ability to qualify for a specific program. But it can also be a valuable indication of whether that candidate will be able to perform well academically within that program moving forward.

TestPrep-Online is committed to providing the very best resources to make sure that you are well-prepared and ready to ace your test and move forward with your chosen career!

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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.