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What is the NFL Wonderlic Test?

Every year, a throng of NFL hopefuls heads to NFL Scouting Combine to be poked, prodded, and drilled in front of coaches and scouts in the hopes of impressing them enough to get a shot at the big time. Before they go through the workouts, these aspiring players will take an exam called the Wonderlic Test. Football fans have likely heard of the Wonderlic before, but what exactly is this test?

Wonderlic Test

The Wonderlic Test (or Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test) is a 50 question / 12 minute exam designed to test aptitude and cognitive ability. Each question is worth 1 point with 50 being a perfect score. A score of 20 would rate about average intelligence. The test was created by E.F. Wonderlic and is used by thousands of companies, not just the NFL, to test prospective employees.

Sample Wonderlic Tests

Want to see how you stack up against the rest of the NFL? Here are a couple of shortened Wonderlic example tests.

ESPN’s Page 2 Wonderlic Test – This is a 15 question quiz with a 4 minute time limit.

Vandalay Solutions – A 10 question quiz with a time limit of just under 2 1/2 minutes.

NFL Player Wonderlic Scores

Scores aren’t officially released publicly, but nonetheless, some players scores have leaked out. Whether or not they are actually true is another story…

Pat McInally, a Bengals Tight End & Punter (Yes, you read that correctly) from 1976-1985, is reported to have scored the only recorded perfect score of 50. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that McInally was also a Harvard grad.

Another Harvard alum, Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, reportedly scored a 48 and finished the exam in only 9 minutes.

Kevin Curtis, a Utah St. alum and WR for the Rams and Eagles, reportedly scored a near-perfect 49.

Ben Watson supposedly scored a 48 and former Eagles DE Mike Mamula a 49. Mamula is widely credited with being the first player to train specifically for the drills tested at the NFL Combine. His impressive performance at the 1995 combine vaulted him into the top 10 of the NFL Draft. The Eagles selected him with the 7th overall pick.

Notable QB Wonderlic Scores

Alex Smith: 40

Eli Manning: 39

Tony Romo: 37

Sam Bradford: 36

Phillip Rivers: 30

Peyton Manning: 28

Drew Brees: 28

Jay Cutler: 26

Brett Favre: 22

Tim Tebow: 22

Michael Vick: 20

Dan Marino: 16

Donovan McNabb:14

Vince Young: widely reported to have scored a 6 in his first attempt, but supposedly re-took the exam at scored a 16.

Average Scores per Position

These average scores are as reported by Paul Zimmerman in his book The New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football (via Wikipedia)

Tackle – 26

Center – 25

QB – 24

Guard – 23

Tight End – 22

Safety – 19

Linebacker – 19

Cornerback – 18

WR  – 17

Running Back – 16

The NFL and the Wonderlic Test

Want to know even more about the Wonderlic Test? Check out their website at

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