Wonderlic Basic Skills Test Review

What Is The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test?

The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (WBST) is one of the leading standardized exams for identifying math and English skills levels. It is a popular way to measure students’ aptitudes against the requirements of certain jobs or educational programs and, as such, it is a critical test for many prospective employees and others seeking new opportunity. Strong performance on the WBST is a clear indicator of the ability to use verbal and math skills in real-world working environments.

What Topics Are Covered In The WBST?

The WBST consists of two sections. The verbal section consists of 50 questions and the quantitative section consists of 45 questions. Test takers are given 20 minutes to complete each section.

The WBST’s verbal evaluations include questions on word knowledge, sentence construction and information retrieval. There are three categories of verbal questions, including “applied” questions that test reading comprehension, sentence construction, grammar and the meanings of words; “explicit” questions on the meaning of words, grammar and the construction of sentences; and “interpretive” questions, testing the use of diagrams, charts, tables and graphs.

Furthermore, the verbal content falls into three primary domains. There are questions that ask test takers to identify and interpret information in various formats, like long-form literature and instructional lists. There is a domain that asks test takers to accurately indicate the meaning of a word within a context by choosing the word from a set of options to complete a provided sentence. Lastly, there is a domain meant to test grammar skills by asking the test taker to complete sentences or recognize errors in sentences.

Wonderlic Test - Basic Skills

On the math side, test takers are quizzed on their explicit quantitative skills (including algebra and direct computation), applied quantitative skills (the practical application of math operations) and interpretive quantitative skills (such as the use of charts, tables and graphs).

Just like with the verbal section, there are three primary domains for WBST’s math section. Questions fall into either the “basic computation” domain, where questions require basic addition, subtraction and division; the “basic computation and quantitative evaluation” domain, in which test takers are asked to conduct addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as well as computing rates and percentages and interpreting basic graphs; and the “algebra and geometry” domain, which ask participants to compute rates, proportions and percentages as well as solve variable expressions and calculate the length, angle, area and/or volume of certain shapes.

The verbal evaluation and quantitative evaluation can be taken individually or the complete test can be administered all at once, depending on the administrator’s needs.

What Is The WBST “Ability-to-Benefit” Test?

The WBST’s Ability-to-Benefits (ATB) Test is designed to test students on whether or not they have the basic math and verbal skills needed for a postsecondary school training program (post high school), even if they don’t have a high school diploma. The “ATB” qualifier is significant, as qualified ATB students are eligible for Title IV funding, the reserved federal funds meant for educational financial aid.

Because of their connection to federal funds, the ATB tests have been approved by the Secretary of Education, though they are administered through Wonderlic, Inc. Those students who have not received a high school diploma or an equivalent are required to pass the WBST ATB test for postsecondary schools participating in the Wonderlic Program to be eligible for Title IV funding, per the Higher Education Technical Amendments of 1991.

For ABT determination, both the verbal and math sections must be completed in the same session, with the verbal skills section first.

Where Can I Take The WBST And How Is It Administered?

The WBST is offered as an online test, with digital scoring and reporting available on-site from any computer connected to the internet, administered individually or by a group. It is also offered as a standard, paper-and-pencil test on an individual or group basis.

As a standardized test, the WBST should be administered similarly, regardless of the environment in which it was taken. The instructions, time allotment and answer sheet scoring should be consistent. Test takers will need two No. 2 pencils, WBST test booklets and an answer sheet, which will be a machine-readable bubble form for recording answers to both test sections.

The administrator will time the test, which begins with a 10-minute long demographics section before the two 20-minute sections on verbal and math skills. The use of a calculator is not permitted during the test.

How Can I Do Well On The WBST?

As with any math and verbal aptitude test, the key to performing well on the WBST is to practice. A comprehensive study guide will contain a WBST practice test to help gauge your performance and what areas you should focus on improving, as well as tutorial help to improve in those areas. WBST flash cards are also an easy-to-use and effective tool for mastering the types of questions that will appear on the test.

The WBST is often the first step in better employment and opportunity for those who take it. If adequately prepared, it can be your next step as well.


*Wonderlic and Wonderlic Basic Skills Test are registered trademarks of the Wonderlic, Inc., which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

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Last Updated: 06/15/2018


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