how to pass the wonderlic basic skills test

How To Pass The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test [2024 Guide]

The Wonderlic Basic Skills test evaluates the test taker's verbal and math skills. Read on to know how to pass the Wonderlic basic skills test in 2022.

Updated at May 15, 2022

The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test is designed to evaluate the test taker’s verbal and math skills. The exam is largely used by corporations to determine an individual’s ability to adapt, learn, and solve problems. It is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor as a predictor of basic skills knowledge. The advantage of using this exam for a corporation is that it can be administered quickly and the results are immediately available. The Basic Skills Test is also used by training programs, colleges, and schools to help build student learning plans. Read on to know how to pass the Wonderlic basic skills test in 2022.

What Is The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test?

The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (WBST) is categorized as Ability-to-Benefits, or ATB, testing.  ATB testing is used to determine whether or not a candidate has the necessary aptitude to participate in postsecondary school training programs.

The WBST is a basic skills test, as the names suggest. It includes questions on basic high school mathematics and verbal reasoning skills. While the test is timed, the time limit is reasonable, and most people will have enough time to read through all of the questions before the clock stops.

Unlike many other Wonderlic psychometric exams, the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test is straightforward and to the point.

The WBST, which is typically given to prospective employees during the hiring process or to eager students as part of the college application process, assists institutions in determining whether applicants have the necessary skills to perform well in an office or to engage in more intensive training in the pursuit of a particular career path.

Who Needs the WBST?

how to pass the wonderlic basic skills test

The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test is taken by students and professionals from all around the United States for a variety of reasons. While the test is commonly used to fill entry-level positions, it is also used in various ways.

Many nursing and nurse’s assistant programs, for example, require applicants to take the WBST. Anyone working in a hospital with patients must be able to perform calculations quickly and accurately in their minds.

While the Wonderlic SLE or Wonderlic Personnel Test is required by many nursing programs, other institutions prefer the basic skills assessment because this test is more straightforward and provides colleges with a very detailed report explaining exactly where a candidate compares academically to his or her peers.

The WBST is also provided to anyone who wants to create a Subway franchise, which may surprise you. While the restaurant’s employees are paid minimum wage, running a fast-food restaurant is difficult. Subway hopes that asking businessmen to take the WBST will discourage any applicants who cannot balance a checkbook or manage their finances in general.

Finally, each student applying for ATB status must take the test or a very similar version of the test. The Ability to Benefit program is a federal initiative that assists individuals without a high school diploma or comparable certification in obtaining a post-secondary degree and applying for federal aid.

Wonderlic Basic Skills Test Design

The WBST consists of two sections: the Verbal Skills Test and the Quantitative Skills Test. The WBST is available in both verbal and quantitative forms, and both can be used interchangeably. The US Department of Education has approved the following forms of the test for use in ATB testing:

  • Verbal – Forms Verbal Skills-1 and Verbal Skills-2
  • Quantitative – Forms Quantitative Skills-1 and Quantitative Skills-2

The Test of Verbal Skills and the Test of Quantitative Skills must be taken in order to identify ATB. When conducting the WBST, the verbal section should come first, followed by the quantitative section. Because applicants use their verbal skills on a daily basis, starting with the verbal section should reduce overall test anxiety.

ATB determination requires a passing test score on both the verbal and quantitative sections in the same administration.

Wonderlic Basic Skills Test Administration Time

The demographic sections of the machine-readable ATB answer sheet will take about 10 minutes to complete prior to testing. Each section of the test includes practice items that take around 3-5 minutes to complete, followed by a 20-minute timed testing period. It may be suitable to administer the test untimed in some circumstances.

WBST Test of Verbal Skills

The WBST Verbal Skills Test has questions in three different formats: explicit questions, applied questions, and interpretive questions.

  • Explicit questions require a comprehensive understanding of word meanings, grammar, and sentence structure.
  • Applied questions involve general reading comprehension and knowledge of word meanings, grammar, and sentence structures in the context of passages involving practical applications. 
  • Interpretive questions require the understanding and use of information in diagrams, tables, charts, and graphs. 

The WBST Verbal Form includes 50 questions that assess a broad range of language skills across the three primary content domains listed below.

Verbal Skills DomainSkills    
Locate, comprehend, and apply information in Multiple FormatsLocate specified information in a variety of formats.

Understand and use the “how-to” instructions.

Use literature and other written materials.
Recognize Word Meanings by Context or DefinitionComplete a sentence with a contextually appropriate word.

Recognize the word meanings.

Recognize the multiple meanings of the words used in context.

Recognize the meanings of unfamiliar words used in context.
Recognize and Identify Proper Grammar and Sentence StructureDetermine a complete sentence.

Determine agreement of verb and subject.

Recognize the standard sentence structure.

Complete compound sentences and complex sentences.

Recognize grammatical errors in compound sentences and complex sentences.

WBST Test of Quantitative Skills

The WBST Quantitative Skills Test includes questions in three different formats: explicit questions, applied questions, and interpretive questions.

  • Explicit questions require direct math computation, quantitative evaluation, and algebra. 
  • Applied questions involve determining and performing appropriate math operations in the context of practical applications. 
  • Interpretive questions require the evaluation and use of quantities presented in diagrams, tables, graphs, and charts. 

The WBST Quantitative Form includes 45 questions that evaluate a broad variety of mathematic skills across the three primary content domains listed below.

Quantitative Skills DomainSkills    
Basic Math ComputationAddition, subtraction, and division

Whole numbers;

Whole monetary units;

Whole units of measure including English and metric units of weight, length, time, and distance
Quantitative Evaluation and Basic Math ComputationAddition, subtraction, multiplication, and division

Proper and improper fractions and mixed numbers;

Fractional monetary units;

Fractional units of measure including units of time and English and metric units of weight, length, and distance

Computation of rates, percentages, and proportions

Evaluation and interpretation of bar, line, or pie graphs

Comparisons of fractional magnitudes
Geometry and AlgebraComputation of rates, percentages, and proportions

Evaluation, simplification, and solving of variable expressions, and equations

Computation of length, area angle, or volume involving plane and solid geometric figures

Understanding and use of the Pythagorean Theorem

Wonderlic Basic Skills Test Passing Score

how to pass the wonderlic basic skills test

Both the verbal and quantitative sections of the WBST will receive separate scores. Both tests are scored out of 500 points, and the grade and GED level equivalent for both subjects will be included at the top of the document. To qualify for ATB status, you must have at least:

  • Wonderlic Basic Skills Test of Verbal Skills: 200
  • Wonderlic Basic Skills Test of Quantitative Skills: 210

The passing score accepted by the school to which you’re applying is usually listed on its website. If the exam is used as a general admissions exam, the school should give different scores to different programs based on the difficulty level.

It’s difficult to generalize because each school is unique. What may be a good grade at one school will be rejected at another. As a result, you should double-check the websites of your preferred schools. Even if you pass the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test on your first attempt, you can retake it three times before submitting your application.

If you’re applying for work, you won’t be able to ask the interviewer what score he wants from you, but you can get a general idea by looking at this sample score report.

What to Expect on Test Day

The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test is a standardized test, meaning it is administered in the same way each time. You will receive the same instructions and time limit as other test-takers, and your answer sheet will be scored in the same way. The testing environment, which may be a school, library, or other location deemed appropriate, may differ slightly from applicant to applicant; however since the environment has been shown to have a significant impact on how an applicant scores on the exam, each location will remain essentially the same for administration purposes.

Before you begin the WBST, you’ll need the following materials. The exam administrator will provide these:

  • Two No. 2 pencils
  • WBST test booklets
  • One ATB answer sheet

Each test section will be timed using a clock or timer that will be monitored by the test administrator.

The ATB answer sheet is a bubble form that is machine-readable. In addition to the demographics section of the WBST, you will use the same answer sheet to respond to questions on the Verbal and Quantitative Tests. Practice putting in your responses in the demographics section at the start of the test. On the answer sheet, you will have to use a No. 2 pencil.

Your testing session will start with a 10-minute-long demographics section.   Following that, each of the two WBST tests will have 20-minute timed testing periods. Each test will include practice tests that may be completed in about 5 minutes. You must complete both the verbal and quantitative tests in the same test session to qualify for ATB determination, with the WBST Test of Verbal Skills coming before the WBST Test of Quantitative Skills. Test yourself with a WBST practice test and use our Wonderlic Basic Skills study guide to understand content areas where you may not perform as strongly.

Retesting the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test

You may need to retake the WBST test if you believe your testing session was inaccurate or incomplete due to unforeseen circumstances such as a school announcement or fire drill. You may be allowed to retest on the same day as your initial test, or you may need to reschedule. Please contact the test administrator at your testing location if you have any queries about your session.

How To Pass The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test


There is no better way to prepare for a test than to take Wonderlic practice test designed specifically for the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test. Passemall Wonderlic Basic Skills test practice includes everything you need to prepare for the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test. You get four full sets of tests, approximately 200 interactive questions, previous exam questions, immediate online access, study guides, and more. All of the resources are designed to resemble the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test format so you can get a true experience of how the test works.

Guess the answer

Guessing the answer does not imply throwing a dart at the choices and seeing what it falls on. It uses what is known your logical reasoning skills to the test. Many multiple-choice answers cannot be correct, as you will discover through the elimination process. Then you must choose the most likely answer.

You are not permitted to bring a calculator with you, as previously stated. The system does not assume that you have a computer’s brain. It’s more about seeing how versatile you are in situations like this. The majority of the quantitative questions do not necessitate a long calculation process. Once you’ve eliminated the impossible, the only thing left is the answer.

Don’t hesitate to skip some questions

There will be some questions for which you seem to have no answer, no matter how hard you try. Given the time limitations, go over each question at least once and begin with the ones you are certain about. Allow yourself to move on from one question to another. Skip the question and come back to it later when you have more time.

Start with your best department

There are two tests, each of which is divided into sections. You should be able to determine your strengths and weaknesses during your practice tests. To achieve the best scores, begin working on the sections in which you excel. Work your way down to the weakest section.

Think logically

Some questions seem to be impossible to answer without thorough research. It’s a clear sign that they’re trick questions in such case. Don’t be put off by the hard questions. Think in a logical way.   There have been no questions on the test that cannot be answered. If this appears to be the case, consider tackling the question from a different approach.  There must be a way to calculate the answer without using a machine. Pay close attention to the question words.

FAQs – How To Pass The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test

how to pass the wonderlic basic skills test

What is a passing score on the Wonderlic basic skills test?

Passing Score on the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test

To receive ATB status, you must score at least 200 on the verbal section and 210 on the quantitative section.

How hard is it to pass the Wonderlic test?

The Wonderlic is hard since test-takers only have 12 minutes to complete it. According to Wonderlic, Inc., only about 2% of test-takers complete the test in the allotted time, with an average score of less than 50%.

How many questions are on the Wonderlic basic skills test?

The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (WBST) is a 20-minute test with 50 English questions and 45 math questions (approximately 20 seconds per question, and calculators are not allowed). The number of candidates struggles with time restraints.

Can you skip questions on Wonderlic?

On the Wonderlic test, even the computerized version, you can skip questions. Before you submit your answers at the end of the exam, you will have the opportunity to review any questions you skipped. Because you will not be penalized for wrong responses, you should never leave any questions blank!

Are Wonderlic tests timed?

The test is given and timed, so the proctor will inform those who are taking it when to begin and when to end. The competitors have 12 minutes to correctly answer as many of the 50 questions as they can. Any questions that are left unanswered will be labeled as wrong.


We believe that this comprehensive guide help you know how to pass the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test and find your desired job.

Don’t forget to take our free Wonderlic practice test to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the Wonderlic exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!