IQ Test Overview

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.An intelligence quotient (or IQ) test is a way to measure the potential of an individual’s mental capabilities. The test questions span a wide breadth of content; some are visual, and others are verbal and the tests can cover everything from general math to vocabulary to problem solving skills. While many people believe that IQ tests measure actual intelligence, they are more apt to measure someone’s potential for intelligence.

The very first IQ test, the Binet-Simon Test, was designed in 1905 by Alfred Binet, Victor Henri and Theodore Simon. After discovering there were limitations to the Binet-Simon Test, American psychologist Lewis Terman revised the test and it became the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale: the most popular IQ test in the United States for quite some time. Now, there are a myriad of individually administered IQ tests currently in use around the world. At this time, the most common of them all in the United States is still the Stanford-Binet Test and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale (of which there is a version for adults and a separate one for children.)

Your IQ score is tallied from these tests designed to assess potential intelligence. The scoring for the Wechsler classification has several categories: under 70 is considered extremely low and indicates feeble mindedness; 70-79 falls under borderline deficiency; a score of 80-89 is categorized as ”low average” or “Dullness”; 90-109 is where the average population falls; those with scores of 110-119 have superior intelligence; 120-140 indicates very superior intelligence and anything over 140 is in the genius range. If a person happens to fall into the genius IQ range, they would be eligible to join social organizations that limit membership to geniuses only. The most well-known of these groups is Mensa International, but there are others such as the Triple Nine Society and Prometheus Society.

Most public schools in America provide IQ testing for grade schoolers, and adults can get an IQ test professionally administered by their local psychologist. Mensa ( also provides regional testing for a fee. You can expect the standard test to last a couple of hours and include everything from verbal puzzles to pattern recognition questions. There’s nothing you need to do to prepare as IQ tests aren’t something for which you can study. Despite not being able to study, though, there are well known ways that people can raise their IQ scores. Doing puzzles at home, reading a lot, adhering to proper personal health care and teaching yourself new skills have all had proven results when it comes to raising scores.

Although IQ tests aren’t a definitive scale of how intelligence a person is in all areas of life (there are too many types of intelligence – like street smarts- that can’t be measured,) they are still a pretty good indicator of just how smart an individual may be.

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