What you need to know before taking an IQ test


IQ tests have been around for over four decades now, and chances are you’ve already taken one without knowing it. These days, employers include cognitive testing as part of their candidate screening process. Even if you’ve never taken one before, you might one day, so knowing more about the test can help your case if the day comes.

What is an IQ test?

An IQ test is a series of assessments used to assess people’s cognitive abilities. The end goal is to arrive at a score to measure the intellectual ability of the individual. IQ tests are largely psychological, not emotional or physical, and test people’s brain power and fluid intellect.

Scores from an IQ test are standardized and compared to the scores of other test takers who have taken the same test. This is why the scores of a candidate cannot be analyzed in isolation but in relation to the scores of the other candidates.

Now that you know what an IQ test is for, let us reveal five things you need to know before taking one.

1. School attendance affects IQ

Before taking a test, remember that your school attendance will have a significant impact on your performance and your final score. According to research published by James D. Page, applicants with limited access to formal education do not do well on IQ tests. If you haven’t finished high school or you’ve had a staggered education, you may not do very well on the test.

2. Gender Categories

Are you male or female ? Gender matters when it comes to different cognitive categories. Men are known to score higher in spatial awareness, while women scored higher in language development and emotional intelligence tests. So don’t feel disappointed if you seem to be performing poorly or not showing great results in certain sections of a test. It is not due to your lack of effort or your intellectual disability. It’s just your gender that plays a role in your level of performance.

3. It Can’t Measure Your Social or Artistic Skills

IQ tests are not the holy grail of intellectual disentangling as they have their limitations. For example, the test cannot measure your social, artistic or emotional skills. It is only limited to intellectual capacity and nothing more. And we know that emotional, social, creative and artistic intelligence is important for the full development of an individual, not just for intellectual capacity.

That’s why you shouldn’t expect the test to mention your overall intelligence at any level. If you want to know your level of social cognition or artistic expression, you will need to take separate tests for that.

4. Age specific

Did you know that IQ tests are age specific? For example, there is the Wechsler Intelligence for adults and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for children. The first is designed to test the ability of adults, while the second is for children. So if you want to take an IQ test, make sure it’s designed for adults.

IQ tests for adults have higher levels of difficulty than those for children. Another thing to consider is that your score is not determined solely by your performance, but in relation to the scores posted by other people in your age group.

5. IQ tests are culture-blind

There are reviews of the test. The tests are westernized test sets developed using a western concept. It does not take into account cultural values, different stages of development of other cultures, society and communication skills. In the “Geography of Thought by Dr. Richard Nisbett, he argued that there is a difference between Eastern and Western views of intelligence.

So unless you are a westerner or grew up in western society, you might struggle with some of the IQ tests used today.

How to study for an IQ test?

If you want to prepare for an IQ test, do these three things:

Study daily: A few weeks or months before the test, study daily for a few hours and make it a constant habit. The more you study, the sharper your cognitive abilities will become.

Take practice tests: There are IQ tests you can take online to hone your ability to retain and analyze information. To increase your chances if it comes to a job interview, take practice tests similar to the one you are preparing for. This will make the test familiar and reduce anxiety as the day approaches.

Playing cognitive games: Another way to practice for an IQ test is to play cognitive games. There are plenty online that will help you improve your fluid intelligence. You will become better at spotting patterns and using limited information to troubleshoot problems.


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