Judge Wanted: Must Be Able to Read, Tell Time

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A recent order from the Supreme Court of South Carolina (thanks, Anonymous) has updated the initial eligibility requirements for those who would like to be magistrate judges in that state. All applicants must now take and pass both the Wonderlic Personnel Test and the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. I'm not sure about the latter, but here's how the court describes the former:

Because this is a test of general intelligence, it does not lend itself to a study aid or other preparatory materials.  However, successful examinees will need at least a sixth grade reading level, knowledge of basic mathematics, how to tell time, days of the week and months of the year, and a basic knowledge of the U. S. monetary units and the U. S. Customary System of weights and measures.

I hasten to add that these are minimum requirements, or as the court puts it, the requirements to become a "successful examinee." Successful applicants, it goes on to say, "will not only demonstrate a suitable level of learning ability, but also a mastery of fundamental basic skills." So this should not be interpreted as a suggestion that, say, just being able to make change for a dollar would cut it if you wanted to be a magistrate judge in South Carolina. You would probably need to be able to make change for bills of several different denominations, at a minimum.

I don't actually have a dim view of judges in South Carolina or anywhere else, I also hasten to add. It's more that the minimum standards seem nonsensically low. I mean, I question why you'd need the Wonderlic Personnel Test or anything like it to make sure people meet the minimum standards described above. Wouldn't they have demonstrated that just by showing up at the test site to begin with? They read the flyer, understood where they needed to be and when, and managed to get there either in a personally managed vehicle or via public transit. Might need to require them to use their own car to be sure they know what "gallons" are, but otherwise that really seems to cover it. You make it into the right parking lot on the right day—boom, you're a candidate.

Anyway, the order includes this link to 50 sample questions that are said to be similar to those on the Wonderlic test. You have 12 minutes to answer, and I think it takes 34 correct answers to pass. If that doesn't go so well, you might try another test at that site which is described as the "Sample NFL Wonderlic Test." It seems to be even easier. For example, the first of those sample questions asks which of the six numbers that follow is the smallest. That's it—which is the smallest number. To be fair, there are decimals involved. Still, if you make it into the NFL, you can hire someone to move decimal points for you, so again I don't know what this is for.

Good luck.