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An intelligence test (IQ test) is, by definition, any test that purports to measure intelligence. Generally such tests consist of a series of tasks, each of which has been standardized with a large representative population of individuals. Such procedure establishes the average IQ as 100.

IQ tests are part of what is generally referred to as Psychological Testing. Such test content may be addressed to almost any aspect of our intellectual or emotional make-up, including personality, feelings, attitude and intelligence.

It is generally accepted that a person's IQ rating is a hereditary characteristic which barely changes throughout life in adults. In childhood, mental age remains fairly constant in development to about the age of 13, after which it is shown to slow up, and beyond the age of 18 little or no improvement is found.

When measuring the IQ of a child, the subject will attempt an IQ test which has been standardized with an average score recorded for each age group. Thus a child of 10 years of age who scored the results expected of a child of 12 would have an IQ of 120, calculated as follows:

mental age (12) chronological age (10)X 100 = 120 IQ

However, because in adulthood little or no improvement in IQ rating is found, adults have to be judged on an IQ test whose average score is 100 and their results graded above and below this norm according to known scores.

This chapter consists of two separate IQ tests, each of 40 questions. Within each of these tests are four sub-tests, each of 10 questions, in four different disciplines: spatial ability, logical thought processes, verbal ability and numerical ability. It is these disciplines that are most common in IQ testing.

Because these tests have been specially compiled for this book and have not, therefore, been standardized, an actual IQ rating cannot be given. We do, however, give a performance rating for each test of 10 questions to enable you to identify your own strengths or weaknesses and we also give an overall rating for each complete test of forty questions. It is this overall rating which is the best guide to your IQ rating.

10-question test: (time limit 30 minutes)







very good





40-question test (time limit 2 hours)

36-40 exceptional

31-35 excellent

25-30 very good

19-24 good

14-18 average

The first modern intelligence test was devised in 1905 by the French psychologists Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon. The pair developed a 30-item test with the purpose of ensuring that no child be denied admittance to the Paris school system without formal examination.

In 1916 the American psychologist Lewis Terman revised the Binet-Simon scale to provide comparison standards for Americans from age 3 to adulthood. Terman devised the term intelligence quotient and developed the so-called Stanford-Binet intelligence test to measure IQ after joining the faculty of Stanford University as Professor of Education. Since revised on a number of occasions, the Stanford-Binet test is today one of the most widely used of all the various intelligence tests in use throughout the world.

While it is generally agreed that IQ is hereditary and remains fairly constant throughout life, it is possible to improve your own performance on IQ tests by regularly practising the different types of tests and questions you are likely to encounter.

An IQ test is set and used on the assumption that those taking the test have little or no knowledge of the testing method itself and that they know very little about the question methods within these tests. It follows, therefore, that if you are able to learn something about this form of testing and know how to approach the different kinds of questions, you can improve your performance on the tests themselves.

In the past 25-30 years IQ tests have been put to widespread use in industry and commerce because of the need by employers to ensure they place the right person in the right job from the outset. One of the main reasons for this is the high cost of errors in today's world of tight budgets and reduced profit margins. To recruit a new member of staff an employer has to advertise, consider each application, reduce the applicants to a short list, interview and then train the successful applicant. If the wrong choice has been made, then the whole expensive and time-consuming process has to be repeated.

Employers also use tests to identify suitable jobs for people within an organization. These tests can be helpful to both the employer and employee in identifying strengths and weaknesses and thus help find the job for which a person is most suited, and can also identify candidates for possible promotion.

Such tests are designed to give an objective assessment of the candidate's abilities in a number of disciplines, for example, in verbal understanding, numeracy, logic and spatial, or diagrammatic, reasoning skills. Unlike personality tests, which are used in conjunction with IQ tests by employers, IQ tests are marked and may have a cut-off point above which you pass, and below which you fail.

Because they are so widely used by employers, improving your IQ rating by a few vital points could mean the difference between success and failure when attending a job interview that includes taking such a test.

Additionally, practice on the type of questions that follow in this section also gives the brain a much needed work-out. Despite the huge capacity of the human brain, we only use, on average, 2 per cent of our potential brainpower. There is, therefore, enormous potential for us to expand our brainpower considerably and regular testing is one of the key methods of doing just that.

IQ test one

Spatial ability test (Answers, see pp. 215-16)

Read the instruction to each question and study each set of diagrams carefully.

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