WONDERLIC & FOOTBALL
The Wonderlic Test is a written examination many NFL prospects are asked to take in the scouting evaluation process. The Wonderlic Test is used to measure a player's aptitude for processing information and problem solving. Generally, speaking, many NFL Scouts feel that the Wonderlic Test is most important for NFL Quarterbacks due to the fact that they mus process massive amounts of information with precision in fractions of a second.
The Wonderlic Test is a 50 question exmamination with a 12 minute time limit. With NFL Draft Prospects, the exam is given in a classroom of several other draft prospects. And each examinee is given a different exam in order to prevent cheating.
According to Mike Florio, "Scoring too high can be as much of a problem as scoring too low," Florio wrote. "Football coaches want to command the locker room. Being smarter than the individual players makes that easier. Having a guy in the locker room who may be smarter than every member of the coaching staff can be viewed as a problem -- or at a minimum as a threat to the egos of the men who hope to be able when necessary to outsmart the players, especially when trying in some way to manipulate them.”
Wonderlic Test Scores are basically the number of correct questions. The average person gets around a 20. And some people believe that a score of 20 on the Wonderlic Test roughly equates to an IQ of around 100.
The Wonderlic Test is taking on increased importance. The significance of the Wonderlic Test can be seen by the number of times many NFL players re-take it. For instance, in the case of Eli Manning, quarterback of the New York Giants, his highest score of 39 is out of three exams. His first two scores were 25 and 31 respectively. That being said, many scouts and general managers place the most importance on the first test, rather than subsequent tests. And there have been serious questions and concerns about cheating, which is why large improvements between exams tend to raise eyebrows.
Some NFL players are becoming increasingly competitive and defensive about Wonderlic Test scores. When asked about his Wonderlic Test score, Eli Manning seemingly fibbed by saying that he scored a 41 or 40, even though published reports indicate his highest was a 39. And asked about his brother Peytong Manning's performance, Eli smiled and competitively bragged that Peyton's was a 28. Smiling, Eli said that his brother's score was "above average".
Some players have been dogged by low performance on the Wonderlic Test score. Although Donovan McNabb is arguably the best quarterback in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles franchise, his Wonderlic Test score of 16 has dogged him throughout his career.
Certainly, the Wonderlic Test is hardly a precise measurement of intelligence. This can be seen from Chad Pennington's pedestrian score on the Wonderlic Test of 25. Chad Pennington was once a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. Whereas, Ryan Leaf, an ex-NFL quarterback posted a score of 27. This anomaly is made even more questionable in that most NFL fans would hardly consider Ryan Leaf to be a rocket scientist.
One NFL General Manager said that when it comes to evaluating intelligence, scouts and GM's basically look at three things:
1.) the first Wonderlic Test
2.) what college coaches say about their players, and whether the player needs extensive training or reps on the field,
3.) their performance on the field: if they look confused on tape; if they are not lined up properly, and overall football intelligence.
Also, some scouts and GM's may disregard a low Wonderlic score if their coaches say that the player is smart and is a dilligent student of the game. The Wonderlic takes on the most significance when there is no re-assurance or other off-field questions about the player.
The Wonderlic Test can be confusing to first-time test takers who may be puzzled at many of the questions on the exam. Some questions, which are so basic, may strike some test-takers to be trick questions. And those people who do not have a basic strategy with regards to the Wonderlic Test will not fare as well as they can.
A good strategy for taking the Wonderlic Test and performing well is to take several practice exams under exam conditions. After several practice runs, examinees can get a better feel for timing, and how many they need to average in a minute to perform well. For instance, most people should aim for 3 questions per minute, or about 20 seconds per question. More difficult questions requiring more advance problem solving should be skipped initially in favor of some of the "lay-ups".
Another deficiency to the Wonderlic Test is that it obviously does not test the most important type of intelligence for NFL Players: kinesthetic intelligence. Kinesthetic intelligence is a person's aptitude for moving his or her body in an optimum fashion for great athletic performance. Kinesthetic intelligence is a completely different subset of intelligence from the type of information-processing and problem-solving intelligence measured by the Wonderlic Test. One good example of kinesthetic intelligence is wide receiver Antonio Bryant, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who displays excellent body control and movement despite an average 40 yard time of 4.57.
One good example of kinesthetic intelligence is boxer Manny Pacquiao, who possesses the acute kinesthetic intelligence to move, counter, slide, and punch at a diverse range of angles. This type of intelligence is not teachable.
To date, the only confirmed perfect score on the Wonderlic Test by an NFL player is Pat McInally, who played wide receiver and punter for the Cincinatti Bengals between 1976-1985.
Another Harvard University graduate, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Quarterback for the Buffalo Bills scored a near perfect 48. Ryan finished his Wonderlic Test in an astonishing 9 minutes which has been confirmed.
Ryan shares the highest score by all active NFL Players with wide receiver Kevin Curtis, of the Philadelphia Eagles. Curtis, along with his Wonderlic Test score of 48 also burned up the 40 time with a hand-timed score of 4.21.
Here is a breakdown of average scores as per positions in the NFL:
Typical Wonderlic Test Scores for other Professions:
-Registered Nurse: 26
-Bank Teller: 22
-Clerical Worker: 21
-Police Officer: 21
-Security Guard: 17
-Warehouse Worker: 15
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