Monday, 15 October 2007


Ever seen one of those "How high is your IQ?" or similar questions on the Net? Ever done one? After which, upon completing the multiple-choice questions in the test, you'd get what is termed as an "IQ score"?
Of course.

Tickle provides a free "PhD-certified IQ Test", containing about 40 questions. And this is how a sample result would show up:

So what does a 136 mean? What's the full mark?
There's no perfect score here, buddy. No such thing as a full mark.

That's right. Each person usually gets a score between 55 and 145 (lower and higher scores are possible too). If you are familiar with a normal distribution, then IQ score is one example of such a distribution. The average is 100 while the standard deviation (s.d.) varies, but is usually 15, 16 or 24.

This diagram might help visualize it.

And the diagram says?
...That very low and very high IQ scores are rarer - in fact, much, much rarer - than scores near the average.

The blue area looks biggest...
Precisely. About 68% of IQ scores fall in the blue area, that is, between 85 and 115 (within 1 s.d. from the mean).

Well, I for one used to overemphasize the importance of a high IQ about a year ago. While researching for my extended essay, which was on short-term memory, I came upon the topic of psychometrics (within which intelligence testing falls). Since then, I was reading every readable material on Mensa, TOPS, etc., up until Mega society and Giga society, where even an IQ of 150 (more than three s.d.'s above the mean) doesn't qualify entry. I pondered what this group of people - commonly labeled "gifted" in intelligence terms - had in their minds as they went on their daily tasks... Are they all 3-step thinkers (3 next steps and their implication, e.g. in chess)?

At one point, I even considered the possibility of raising one's IQ score by being very acquainted with test questions. I think some questions/solutions can be practiced, and will lead to up to a 10-point increase in the IQ score. A futile increase though. While very good intelligence questions can't be practiced at all.

So is it nature or nurture? I take a rather balanced stand. But I don't think it's 50-50. It's more like 60-40 or 70-30, with the greater weight on nature (a.k.a. genes).

And what now? IQ is a scale. Similar to height and weight. Only less absolute. That means, if my IQ score is reported as 112 and my brother's as 110, I'm not absolutely 2 points more intelligent than he is. This scale gives some knowledge on mental ability (again, not absolute knowledge), and this knowledge could help me decide 'where to go' and 'how to go' there.

But it's just another scale. 'Where to go' - direction in life - is influenced by so many other factors. There's passion, interests, discipline, calling... just to name a few. IQ can't predict those.

IQ and Real-life Functioning (Paul Cooijmans)
A Legacy of Logical Art (Jonathan Wai)



Stuart said...

Hey!!! I got 133 for mine!!! 3 marks lower than u ah...Ouch.... but when it comes to UKCAT, OUCHHHHHHHHH

Creski said...

It's so natural to assume that I obtained the 136 up there, isn't it?

Anyway, I like to try out the UKCAT provided the test availability, and funds.

And try matching my ISAT.


Stuart said...

I'll figure that out after IB... now, its TOK, EE, IA and LAB REPORT!!...haha
i will b bck at Sabah on the 7th of December. NIGHTMARE!!!