What is IQ?

High Range IQ Testing

IQ is an acronym which stands for ‘intelligence quotient’. Your intelligence quotient is a number-based score which attempts to estimate your overall intelligence. Intelligence is, however, a very abstract concept to define making your IQ score a broad measure of your intellectual capabilities. IQ scoring represents an individual’s reasoning capabilities across various faculties of cognition and mental processing, as compared to a statistical average.

What does my IQ score mean?

Your IQ score falls into one of seven different classifications, assuming the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale is used. The basic classifications their and deviations are:

  • 130 and above – Very Superior
  • 120 to 129 – Superior
  • 109 to 119 – High Average
  • 90 to 109 – Average
  • 80 to 89 – Low Average
  • 70 to 79 – Borderline
  • 69 and below – Extremely Low
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Approximately 95% of the populace has an IQ falling between 70 and 130, leaving 2.5% below 70 and 2.5% scoring 130 and above. There are very few people who score in the upper regions of the scale. For example, Mensa is a society which only accepts people in the top 2% of all test takers. This means that only 1 in 400 people stand to potentially make the cut with the minimum IQ falling between 140 and 145.

How Important is IQ?

IQ tests are very important for specific assessments such as those used to diagnose intellectual disabilities, the effect of illnesses, placement & suitability within a work environment, or the potential for growth within a company or enterprise. IQ testing is just one means of measuring intelligence and should not be relied on a measure of your own overall potential and self-worth. Your IQ score should give you a better idea of whether your affinity lies in academics or other areas requiring alternate facets of your personality such as emotional intelligence or vibrant enthusiasm.

What is an IQ Test?

Meaning of IQ Tests

The IQ score derives from standardized tests, designed to assess human intelligence. Multiple IQ tests have been developed by several researchers which aim to measure intelligence, focusing on various related skills and attributes, such as verbal skills, mathematical understanding, visual skills, short-term memory, pattern recognition, analytical thinking, and spatial orientation.

French psychologist Alfred Binet, together with psychologists Théodore Simon and Victor Henri, were the first to publish an IQ test in 1905, (Binet-Simon test). It was designed to measure a child’s intelligence and compare it to what his/her intelligence “should be”, related to the child’s actual age.

Since then, a variety of individually administered IQ tests have been developed and being constantly updated. Researchers on intelligence have stated that IQ Tests are among the most accurate (in technical terms, reliable and valid) of all psychological tests and assessments

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IQ Tests History

The original formula used for IQ testing involved a ratio whereby your mental age was first calculated using a series of multiple choice and word-base tests. Once obtained, your mental age was then divided by your physical age, and then multiplied by 100 granting your IQ. Using this basic formula, as long as the individual scored on par with their chronological age, they’d attain the mean of 100. Modern intelligence tests have disregarded this archaic formula and testing methodology in lure of more accurate procedures which asses a broader range of intelligence capability factors.

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What IQ Test Measure?

IQ testing measures your crystallized and fluid intelligence, forming your general intelligence when seen as a whole. Crystallized intelligence is defined as intelligence which has been amassed from past learning and experiences. It is intelligence which supplies us with knowledge and understanding rooted in facts derived from physical encounters. The more crystallized experience we have the better we are at comprehending what we read and learn from academic sources. Fluid intelligence refers to our ability to apply acquired information and knowledge to rational problem solving and reasoning. It is a measure of our perceptual capabilities, showing our overall capacity to reason, adapt and learn new things independent of facts other forms of crystallized intelligence.

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How Accurate are IQ Tests?

IQ tests are extremely accurate despite outside factors such as extreme stress and predisposed thoughts having a slight effect. There is also a slight variation between scores relative to age, with younger test subjects having the higher volatility and degree for error. Essentially all IQ scores are not an exact measure but rather give you a relative range. Different IQ tests all target different evaluations which is why your IQ score rather distinguishes between the scope of your intelligence on average. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale is designed to have a mean of 100 allowing a standard deviation of 15 with the scores forming a bell curve when graphed. As you can see, at just a 15 point spread there is little margin for error.

IQ Calculation

Distinct similarities can be found across the foundations of each testing system. Each IQ test is based on a specific scale with the most commonly used test being the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence in its fourth edition since 2008 (WAIS-IV). This test is used to estimate the intellectual functioning of people between the ages of 16 and 90. WAIS-IV is composed of ten core subtests and five supplemental subtests. Your score is a total representing four components of intelligence, namely the Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI), Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI), Working Memory Index (WMI) and Processing Speed Index (PSI).

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IQ and Success

One cannot take an IQ score and directly translate it into a measure of potential success. An individual’s ability to succeed hinges upon far more factors than any range of intellectual tests can accurately measure. Yet, there is a connection between IQ results and academic success. The determined that while those with a high IQ do fair better at academic testing in a school environment, personality traits still have the greatest influence on success in life. This being said, some of the highest earners and most powerful forces in society have scored high on their IQ tests. Donald Trump is known to have an exceptionally high IQ. Certain Nobel prize winners such as Kurt Godel (estimated at 240) have very high IQs, while most Nobel laureates have IQs over 160.

Can IQ be Increased?

Your IQ changes gradually as you age, gaining stability over a score from a younger period of life. IQ test scores show higher volatility at younger ages but even though stability is found over time, most people’s test scores stay approximately the same. Both crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence can potentially be improved through conscious decision making, amassed knowledge and education, but it is whether that knowledge is applied to your daily thought processes that normally puts a stable buffer on your IQ score. Nonetheless, studies show that there are ways to increase your IQ, from cardiovascular training to mental exercises, regular puzzle games, and even journaling, there are many possible methods which are backed by hard science.