Is IQ Testing a Valid Measure of Intelligence

The IQ test is often portrayed as a valid measure of our mental capabilities. However, recent research shows that while some basic concepts of IQ tests are accurate, they have a wide margin of error and cannot predict how well someone will perform at higher levels of intellectual function. Furthermore, IQ tests do not take into account factors such as environment, culture, and education, which play a major role in determining who succeeds at school and what type of career path an individual chooses to pursue.

The most important thing to remember about the IQ test is that it measures only one aspect of human intelligence: verbal ability. It does not measure other aspects of intelligence such as spatial reasoning or visual perception. This means that if you score poorly on this test, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your overall intelligence level is low. Many people with high scores on the IQ test have below-average general intelligence.


There is no single IQ score that accurately predicts success across any area of life. In addition, people vary greatly in their abilities — we each develop differently, use different strategies, and learn in unique ways.

So if IQ does not actually reveal much about our potential, then what should we focus on instead? When it comes to the question of academic achievement, many researchers believe that the best predictor may be self-confidence, motivation, effort, perseverance, curiosity, and persistence. These qualities tend to correlate strongly with future success. And contrary to popular belief, these attributes are not inborn, rather, they are learned behaviors. As humans mature, they become increasingly confident, motivated, curious, and persistent. So while IQ scores may not tell us anything meaningful about potential, behaviors related to confidence, motivation, etc, could help guide students toward successful careers, schools, and lives. If you are interested out of curiosity and want to find out what percentage of intelligence you possess, then we highly recommend that you immediately take a quick test at and find out the answer to this question.

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IQ tests have been around since the 1920s. Today we know IQ scores do not correlate well with success in school, job performance, income, family stability, etc, but they are still considered the best indicator of cognitive function. Most people think IQ tests are dumbed-down versions of more complicated standardized tests that require years of study to pass. But what if I told you that many schools across America use only the first half or the verbal part of the test? That would mean a lot of students who fail these tests could actually perform at grade level in the academic world. What if I said that it takes 8 months for children to reach their full potential academically, but it takes just 2 weeks to recover after being knocked out with a concussion?


A big problem with IQ tests is that they focus on verbal abilities rather than non-language skills. These kinds of skills are often overlooked in popular culture and may play a role in academic achievement. And yet, they could be more predictive than IQ scores. A few examples of these types of skills include:

  • Memory – Remembering names, dates, phone numbers, addresses, directions.
  • Math – Number recognition, understanding fractions, calculations, patterns, time.
  • Spatial – Recognizing where things go, spatial reasoning, identifying objects.

The Verbal section of the SAT includes questions that test memory (words), math (numbers), and reading comprehension. While these are good indicators of academic achievement, they are not necessarily indicative of intelligence. If a person lacks any of these skills, then they are going to struggle in school regardless of how intelligent they might seem on paper. People with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, traumatic brain injury, developmental disorders, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, physical challenges, poor impulse control, social challenges, emotional challenges, etc. are all known to score poorly on IQ tests. Because these individuals have deficits in some or all of the above-listed areas, they often fall short of the expectations set by society. As a result, they are given less opportunity to develop the skills necessary for higher education and employment.

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There is no doubt that intelligence plays a role in academics and success. However, IQ tests tell us nothing about a person’s ability to learn new information or adapt to change over time. Children need opportunities to acquire knowledge, practice these skills, and build confidence. No matter their age, everyone deserves access to education and opportunities to succeed.


There are a few more things you should know:

1. IQ testing isn’t reliable at all

One study in 1978 by Dr. Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray showed that IQ scores were not effective predictors of future success and income. What they did find was that those who performed well on standardized tests had higher incomes than people who didn’t do well on these exams. This indicates that IQ tests may have some predictive value but only if you’re looking at performance in school. The same study also found that IQ scores don’t correlate well with other measures of intelligence such as creativity, empathy, and leadership.

2. Intelligence differs across cultures

IQ tests aren’t designed to account for cultural differences. For instance, the average IQ of Asian Americans is slightly lower than European Americans, despite being raised under similar circumstances. A few studies suggest that this might be due to differing levels of education or exposure to Western culture (e.g. the internet) between groups. One study found that African American children scored significantly lower on an IQ test than white children even though both groups attended schools with comparable resources and teachers.

3. Your IQ increases throughout childhood

As a child grows, his or her intelligence tends to increase. There’s evidence that IQ grows rapidly in the first 4 years of life, and continues to rise until puberty. After that, however, IQ appears to level off or decrease as a person enters adulthood. While researchers don’t agree on why this happens, they suspect that it might be related to cognitive changes brought on by puberty and adolescence.

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4. It doesn’t matter what your IQ is

The most important thing when it comes to intelligence is motivation. Someone can have a high IQ and still fail to achieve anything because he or she has little interest in doing so. Conversely, someone with a low IQ can become successful through sheer determination and hard work.

We know that IQ tests are imperfect, but we use them anyway because they provide useful information. They help us understand where students stand relative to others in their class and allow us to make decisions based on objective data. IQ tests are not perfect, but they’re better than relying solely on subjective impressions.