The best way to test your IQ is to take an assessment administered by a professional (like a psychologist or trained administrator). Although IQ tests are usually a measurement of your raw ability, taking practice tests and practicing stress-relief tactics can help you prepare for the test. Once your IQ has been assessed, research what the scores mean to best interpret your IQ score.
EditChoosing an IQ Test
- Take the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) to test your verbal and performance-based IQ. The WAIS is an appropriate IQ assessment for individuals over the age of 16. This is the primary assessment used to measure cognitive ability by professionals. Currently, the test involves IQ measurement on four scales: verbal comprehension, perpetual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed.
- The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) is available for children ages 6-16, and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI) is an accurate IQ assessment for children ages 2-7.
- The WAIS is not considered an accurate IQ measurement for extremely high or low IQs (above 160 or below 40).
- Take the Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scale if you are a child or adolescent. Although the Stanford-Binet test can be used for adults, this IQ assessment was initially developed for children. The age-determined questions are best suited for young children, adolescents, and young adults.
- It is not uncommon for preschoolers to receive a low score on the Stanford-Binet assessment, not because of their intelligence but their unwillingness to cooperate.
- Take the Mensa admissions test if you’re on a budget. Mensa International offers membership to their community for those with high IQs as recorded on their own or other authorized IQ tests. The Mensa admissions test is one of the most widely-available IQ measurements as well as the most affordable. The test is administered at set times during the year and costs $40 USD.
- Generally, the Mensa assessment takes around two hours.
- Make sure you take an accredited IQ test. Besides the WAIS, Stanford-Binet, and Mensa admissions tests, other authentic IQ tests exist. For the most trusted tests, go to a licensed psychologist who can either proctor the test for you or direct you to an official testing center.
- Take online tests for a fun but unreliable score. Official IQ tests, like the WAIS or the Stanford-Binet scale, are scientific measurements of intelligence. Unauthorized tests online are usually free and cheaper, but they are highly inaccurate. Most will give you an inflated or randomized score.
EditPreparing for the Test
- Take online practice tests to assess your weaknesses. Studying for an IQ test can be tough, especially because most are meant to measure your raw intellectual potential. Familiarizing yourself with sample questions and the different sections of the IQ test, however, could help you do your best.
- Mensa International offers a free “Practice Workout” online.
- Use positive visualization to imagine yourself doing well on the test. Healthy mindsets go a long way when preparing for a test. If you’re feeling nervous in the days leading up to the test, visualize yourself taking the IQ test while calm and well-rested. Picture yourself doing the best you can do and feeling satisfied. Visualization can give you the confidence you need to do your best.
- Don’t just imagine yourself doing well without working for it. Make your imagination a reality by practicing and preparing as best as you can.
- Practice stress-relief techniques. You will do best on the IQ test if you feel relaxed and trust your mental capabilities. Relieving yourself of unnecessary stress can help you do that. Different people find stress relief in different ways, so discover what works for you before the test. Meditation, breathing techniques, and reframing negative thoughts are all great ways to stay calm.
- Avoid drinking caffeine the day of your IQ test, as this can cause agitation.
- A little stress can be positive, as it’s the body’s way of telling you to focus. Excessive stress, however, is detrimental and can limit your cognitive functioning.
- Give yourself a 24-hour break before the test. Over-studying right before the exam could exhaust your brain. Preserve your energy the day before. Turn on an entertaining movie or go on a walk to clear your mind. If you have to study, make some flash cards beforehand and practice casually with some healthy snacks.
- Rest well the night before your exam. Pulling an all nighter studying practice tests will most likely lower your testing performance. Get a full night’s sleep (7-8 hours) the night before so you can enter the testing location ready to perform well. If you can’t sleep from nerves, try a stress-relief technique.
- Eat a nutritious breakfast before you leave. What you eat on the day of a test can help you reach mental alertness. Have a protein-rich breakfast: eggs, yogurt, nuts, and raw vegetables are all great choices. Avoid foods made from white flour or refined sugar, which take more energy to digest.
- Stay hydrated, too. Drink plenty of water before the exam, and bring a water bottle with you to drink before you enter the testing room.
EditTaking the Assessment
- Wear comfortable clothes to the test. Itchy sweaters, a shirt tag poking against your skin, or uncomfortable shoes could distract you from the questions. Avoid wearing new or overly formal clothes to your IQ test. Save your Sunday best for dances or job interviews, and wear clothes you enjoy to the assessment.
- Showing up in your pajamas may seem enticing, but opt for a balance of comfort and style. Flattering clothes can help you feel confident and ready to do your best.
- Arrive early. Plan to arrive around 10-20 minutes before the test begins. Allow time for traffic if you’re driving so you don’t arrive to the assessment in a rush. Avoiding needless stress will help clear your mind and begin the test feeling positive.
- Check the weather reports for your exam day several days beforehand.
- Run a practice drive to the testing location at least one day in advance for an accurate idea of your travel time.
- Focus on yourself to prevent unnecessary worrying. In a stressful situation like taking an IQ test, you may feel intimidated by the people around you. If people seem to finish before you or look more calm as they answer the questions, you may lose your confidence. Keep your attention on yourself to prevent excessive worrying.
- Read the directions carefully. One common mistake people make on IQ assessments is not properly interpreting the directions. Don’t quickly glance over the questions and assume you read them correctly. Pore over each word, and re-read them at least once. Look at every question before answering.
- Use your time wisely. IQ tests are generally timed. If there is a clock in the room, keep an eye on approximately how much time you have left. Pace yourself. If a question is too difficult, move onto the next one and come back if you can.
- If you can choose which questions you answer first, spend your time on the easiest questions. This will build your self-esteem and allow you to answer as many questions as possible.
- Divide your time limit between the questions or sections so you can plan to tackle every question.
EditInterpreting Your Results
- See how your score compares to the average. The average IQ score is approximately 100. Anything below 80 indicates a potential deficiency, and anything above 120 is considered high intelligence. Most IQ scores fall between 85 and 115.
- Scores between the WAIS and the Stanford-Binet scale vary by several points.
- Look at your percentile. An IQ percentile will give you an accurate sense of how your IQ compares to the general population. If your score is in the 70th percentile, for example, this means that you have scored higher than 70% of others in your age demographic.
- Read your score as scaled, not linear. An IQ score of 50, for example, is not half the capabilities of a score of 100.
- Check if you qualify for Mensa International. Mensa is the oldest and largest high IQ society, especially in the United States and England. Scores in the 98th percentile or higher qualify for Mensa. You will need a 130 or higher on the WAIS test or at least a 132 on the Stanford-Binet test.
- Don’t equate your IQ with your potential. Intelligence is much more multi-layered than a single test could measure. IQ tests only measure verbal and academic potential. Intelligence comes in many other facets (such as social or artistic), which cannot be measured by an IQ test. View your IQ test score as a facet of your ability, not the full reflection.
- Accommodations may be available for those with disabilities. Contact your test administrator beforehand if you have a visual, audial, or other disability.
- Mensa International only accepts members within the top 2%. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet the minimum requirement. Intelligence is much more than your IQ score.
- Most IQ tests cost money, and some are more expensive than others. IQ tests that claim they’re free are usually untrustworthy.
- Test can be biased if not in your native language. Take an IQ test in a language you’re fluent in for the most accurate results.