Schilling Wonderlic Score (he done good)

Submitted by oriental andrew on March 19th, 2011 at 2:35 PM

So not exactly a seasonal post, but saw it on the yahoo front page in a story about 2 star players who bombed the wonderlic.  First, the relevant Michigan part:   Schilling scored a 35, which is the 6th highest score at the combine this year.  Great job!

Now, the sad part.  Apparently, Patrick Peterson was one of 4 guys who scored in the single digits (ouch) along with kids from South Carolina, Florida, and Oklahoma State.  No, there's no trend there.  Priceless quote:

"Peterson plays like a low-test guy," one NFL decision maker told PFW on the condition he remain anonymous

The other star is Georgia's AJ Green, who scored a 12.  Scouts say a higher score is more important for offensive guys who have to learn sets than for defensive guys (like Peterson) who can just react. 

"He will get it," one evaluator said. "You're going to have to take it slow with him and let him start at one position and let him learn on the run. He's not going to be able to handle learning all three positions. If you ask him to be an X, Y and Z, you're setting him up for failure."


Also on the yahoo front page is a link to an article on the Dagger (yahoo bball blog) about Michigan beating UT while scoring no FT's.



Fresh Meat

March 19th, 2011 at 2:52 PM ^

A lot of these kids who score poorly aren't necessarily dumb, they just don't have to do anything in school.  They never learned a thing from high school to college because they were start athletes.  They often times are smart enough to pick up football schemes, they just didn't learn algebra.  (not that there is algebra on the wonderlic I'm jus sayin)


March 19th, 2011 at 3:09 PM ^

While I agree with you in theory, there is no reason why these kids shouldn't do better on the Wonderlic. These athletes know they have to take this test at the combine. It's not sprung on them by surprise. Put in 30 minutes a day from the end of the season until the combine practicing Wonderlic questions, and you can easily score more than 15 out of 50 on the test. It's pathetic that they score single digits.

Blue Bunny Friday

March 19th, 2011 at 5:03 PM ^

What the fuck did Dan Marino ever win? He played forever and threw a lot. He led the NFL in a lot of categories (good and bad). I think he actually scored a 15 on it (link).  He's one dude. I hate your argument.

I don't care how much stock you take in the score. It's difficult to quantify those other things you mentioned.


March 19th, 2011 at 3:17 PM ^

We give the Wonderlic to every prospective employee we look at before we invest 5 minutes interviewing them.  20 is the mark under which they are an automatic no starter because they just will NOT be able to retain fairly simple concepts and function as we would expect them to. 

Trust me - if you've ever taken the test you know that these are NOT terribly diffiicult questions to answer correctly.  If you score under 18 you are intellectually challenged.  If you score under 10 you have borderline severe learning disabilities.

From the Wikepedia page:

Use in the NFL Combine

Though used in a variety of institutions, the Wonderlic test has become best known for its use in the NFL pre-draft assessments of prospective football players.

This assessment roughly corresponds to examples from Paul Zimmerman's The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football. According to Zimmerman, examples of average scores for each position are:

Mitch Cumstein

March 19th, 2011 at 3:33 PM ^

Having me Schilling, who is an intelligent, humble and overall nice person, this doesn't surprise me at all.  Congrats to him on the great score, hopefully that bumps him up even higher in the draft.


March 19th, 2011 at 4:10 PM ^

"Amukamara, who registered the top score for a cornerback, improved by 21 points from the 14 he recorded last fall, and teams that have interviewed him have said the 14 score is a closer indicator of his intelligence."


March 19th, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

He went from a 14 to a 35?  That's impossible.  The questions get progressively harder as you move from question 1 to question 50 and they increase in difficulty somewhat like the richter scale in terms of the increase from question to question.

Typical early question:

Paper sells for 21 cents per pad. What will 5 pads cost?

Typical midrange question:

Three individuals form a partnership and agree to divide the profits equally. X invests
 $9,000, Y invests $7,000, Z invests $4,000. If the profits are $4,800, how much less
 does x receive compared to having the profits divided in proportion to the amounts
 invested by X, Y, and Z?

The last questions are extremely difficult and require a comprehensive understand of calc.

Increased score from 14 -35?  No way in Hell.




Not a Blue Fan

March 19th, 2011 at 4:27 PM ^

It's not a hard test. Like the GRE, it's no harder than the kind of questions you can answer with a reasonable high school education. Then again, having tutored college athletes before, it's not the least bit surprisng that people bomb it. America is, by and large, a pretty stupid country.


March 19th, 2011 at 4:59 PM ^

I've taken the Wonderlic before and got a 43.  It's mostly a reasoning test with some basic logic questions and some simple math.  It seemed to be much like an IQ test that I took in high school psychology.  I'm a fairly intelligent person, but I'm no Einstein.  It's really just not that hard.


March 19th, 2011 at 7:25 PM ^

In all due respect Magnus if you scored a 43 you are VERY bright - not above average.  I have the scores for all 256 of our employees (highest is a 42) and we require two years of college be completed as a qualification.  I have the test scores for over 500 applicants we did not accept (for a variety of reasons - not just the Wonderlic) and the highest score in that group was a 38.

Only one person in the history of the combine has scored a perfect 50 and he went to Harvard I believe.  The test is an extremely accurate measurement of a persons capacity to learn and retain information.  It is not race biased - it is intellegence biased - and anyone scoring over 40 is in the top 1% of those taking the test.



March 19th, 2011 at 6:23 PM ^

I've never understood why what amounts to an IQ test would be the best measure of football intelligence.  From my brief experience as a player, bandwidth (i.e., ability to assimilate information) would seem to be more important than computational speed (which would be important ... just not as much).

I don't much care that (say) Ryan Mallet can add 2+2.  I'd rather have a guy who can watch South Carolina's film and instantly recognize all their defenses.  The same guy would be able to memorize all the plays in his own playbook.

For a test, why not tear a page out of the Ann Arbor phone book, give them a map of Ann Arbor, come back in thirty minutes, take the items from them, and have them locate as many addresses as they can in proper position on a whiteboard?

Would any coaches care to comment on this?


March 19th, 2011 at 9:47 PM ^

For one of my interviews a few months ago I had to take the Wonderlic.  Like Magnus said, I didn't think it was terribly hard.  I barely answered all 50 and would say with confidence I got, at a minimum, 35 right.  The only problem is I'll never know - the company I interviewed with never tells you, even if you get hired (which woohoo I did).  I'll always wonder (pun intended).

/cool story bro

One thing I never did figure out is whether or not the test is adaptive like the GMAT.  


March 19th, 2011 at 10:17 PM ^

Back when I graduated from college, one company gave me a test like that and wouldn't tell me how I did.  I thought it was rather offensive actually, and I pretty much made up my mind that I would never accept an offer from them because of it.  They did offer me the job and I turned them down, though honestly the other offers I had were so much better that I can't say that was the only reason.

I still think I would find it offensive.  When you take a SAT or ACT or GRE, you find out what your score is.  I don't expect anyone to tell me every detail of how I did in an interview, but if you're going to waste my time giving me some sort of standardized test, you damn well better tell me how I did on it.

I realize I'm extremely lucky that I'm in an industry where I'm always in demand and can pretty much pick and choose who I work for, but I've never understood giving prospective employees tests and then hiding the results from them.  It just seems disrespectful.