How to Check IQ Level?

Intelligence tests are a measure of the individual differences in terms of cognitive functions and intellectual abilities. The need to measure intelligence arises to trap individual differences in general mental ability for a variety of purposes, such as academic classification, occupational counseling and personnel selection. Intelligence tests can be defined as a test to evaluate general level of cognitive functions and intellectual ability. Some of the intelligence tests theoretically measure a general intellectual ability of an individual and give an integrated intelligence score (IQ), while other tests  measure groups of factors for a variety of mental activities. To explore the concept further, let us first understand the concept of IQ.

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The Concept of IQ

The term IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient. To know about the intelligence quotient (IQ) of an individual, the mental age of the individual is divided by his/her chronological or real age. This is further multiplied by hundred to avoid decimal fractions. 

 IQ = (Mental Age/Chronological Age) X 100

The most important development in the area of intelligence testing was done by adapting Stern’s (1912) concept of an intelligence quotient in the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. Stern put forth the notion of deriving an intelligence quotient (IQ) and Terman incorporated this concept into the Stanford-Binet Scale. The Binet-Simon scale assessed a child’s mental age, which was a measure of their cognitive abilities relative to their chronological age. A child whose mental age matched their chronological age was considered to have average intellectual abilities. If a child’s mental age was below their chronological age, it suggested that they might need additional educational intervention.

This article explores the purpose and process of checking one’s IQ level. It delves into the history and significance of IQ tests, the pioneers who shaped their development, and how IQ testing has evolved. Additionally, towards the end of the article different types of IQ tests and advantages and disadvantages of checking IQ level are discussed. 


The objective of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) levels is to measure and understand how well a person can think, solve problems, learn new things, and use their knowledge. It helps us get an idea of a person’s intellectual abilities. It’s like a tool that can tell us how good someone might be at tasks that involve thinking and learning. However, it’s important to remember that IQ level is just one way to look at a person’s abilities, and it doesn’t tell everything about them, like their personality, emotional intelligence, or other unique qualities. Checking IQ level can help in various ways:

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  • Educational Planning: IQ tests can provide insights into a student’s learning style and abilities, which can inform educational planning and support.
  • Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses: IQ tests can help identify areas where an individual excels and areas where they may need extra help.
  • Career Guidance: Knowing one’s IQ level can offer guidance on suitable career paths and areas where a student might excel professionally.
  • Research and Diagnosis: In some cases, IQ testing is used in research and to diagnose certain conditions or learning disabilities.
  • Psychological Assessment: IQ tests are used in psychological assessments to better understand a person’s overall cognitive functioning.

The History and Purpose of IQ Tests

The first institutional effort on measuring individual differences came from the British biologist Sir Francis Galton. He administered simple tests of visual discrimination, determined highest audible pitch and kinesthetic discrimination. Kinesthetics relate to a person’s awareness of the position and movement of the parts of the body by means of sensory organs. He believed that the ability to discriminate among heat, cold and pain could discriminate between intelligent persons from the mentally retarded ones.  The term ‘mental test’ was used  for the first time in the psychological literature by the American psychologist James McKeen Cattell in the year 1890. However, it was Alfred Binet who developed a series of tasks designed to measure individual differences on the request of the French government. He began to work on the need for a reliable diagnostic system to identify children with mental retardation. Alfred Binet, along with physician Theodore Simon, created the Binet-Simon scale, which was published in 1905. However, the Binet-Simon scale differs greatly from the scale that we use today. The original scale consisted of 30 pass/fail items. The major breakthrough of the Binet-Simon scale was the measurement of the complexity of the tasks and the breadth of mental abilities.

The introduction of IQ testing marked a significant advancement in the fields of psychology and education. It allowed for a more systematic and standardized approach to assessing cognitive abilities and identifying those who might benefit from tailored educational support. Over a period of time, IQ tests have evolved, and various versions and adaptations have been developed for use in different countries and settings.


The history of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of the key developments in the history of IQ testing are as follows:

  • Francis Galton (1822–1911): Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, was one of the early pioneers in the study of intelligence. He conducted research on the heritability of intelligence and proposed the concept of measuring “natural ability.” His work laid the foundation for later developments in intelligence testing.
  • Alfred Binet (1857–1911): Alfred Binet, a French psychologist, is often considered the father of modern IQ testing. In the early 20th century, he developed the Binet-Simon scale, which aimed to measure a child’s mental age. This scale assesses a child’s cognitive abilities relative to their chronological age, providing a way to identify children who might need educational assistance.
  • Lewis Terman (1877–1956): Lewis Terman, an American psychologist, adapted Binet’s intelligence test for use in the United States. He introduced the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales in 1916, which became widely used for measuring intelligence in children and adults.
  • Army Alpha and Army Beta: During World War I, psychologists developed the Army Alpha and Army Beta tests to assess the intelligence of military recruits. The Alpha test was a written exam, while the Beta test was designed for illiterate or non-English-speaking recruits and used nonverbal tasks.
  • David Wechsler (1896–1981): David Wechsler, an American psychologist, made significant contributions to IQ testing. He developed the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale in 1939, which was designed to provide a more comprehensive assessment of adult intelligence. The test later evolved into the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC).
  • Standardization and Norms: Over a period of time, IQ tests underwent standardization and were administered to large, diverse groups to establish norms for different age groups and populations. This allowed for a more precise interpretation of individual scores.
  • Development of Various IQ Tests: Numerous IQ tests have been developed over the years, each with its own focus and methodology. Some well-known IQ tests include the Stanford-Binet, Wechsler tests, Raven’s Progressive Matrices, and the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, among others.

The Process of Checking IQ Level

Checking IQ level typically involves taking an IQ test, which is a standardized assessment designed to measure a person’s cognitive abilities. Here’s how to check the IQ level:

Choose an IQ Test: There are various IQ tests available, both online and through licensed psychologists. It’s essential to select a reputable and validated test for accurate results. Some well-known IQ tests include the Stanford-Binet, Wechsler tests, and Raven’s Progressive Matrices.

Online IQ Tests: Many websites offer free online IQ tests. While these tests can provide a general idea of an individual’s IQ level, they may not be as accurate or comprehensive as professionally administered tests.

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Professional Assessment: For a more accurate and reliable assessment, consider consulting a licensed psychologist or mental health professional who can administer a standardized IQ test in a controlled environment. This is especially important if a student requires an official IQ score for educational or diagnostic purposes.

Follow Test Instructions: Whether a person takes an online test or a professionally administered one, it’s crucial to read and follow the test instructions carefully.  This is important to complete the test in a quiet, distraction-free environment.

Complete the Test: IQ tests typically consist of a series of questions or tasks that assess various cognitive skills, such as problem-solving, reasoning, logical thinking, and pattern recognition. Students will need to answer these questions to the best of their ability within the allocated time.

Receive and Interpret Results: After completing the test, students will receive their IQ score. The interpretation of the score depends on the specific test taken. In many cases, an IQ score of 100 is considered average, with scores above 100 indicating above-average intelligence and scores below 100 indicating below-average intelligence. However, the interpretation can vary based on the test’s scale and norms.

Consider Context: Keep in mind that an IQ score is just one aspect of a person’s abilities and does not measure every aspect of intelligence, creativity, or emotional intelligence. It’s important not to place too much emphasis on a single number.

Consult a Professional (if necessary): If a student is taking an IQ test for educational, vocational, or diagnostic purposes, consult with a qualified professional who can interpret the results and provide guidance based on their specific needs.

Remember that IQ tests should be used as a tool for assessing cognitive abilities and are just one part of a person’s overall capabilities. They don’t define anyones worth or potential in life.

Types of IQ Tests

There are various types of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests available with its own approach and methodology for assessing cognitive abilities. Some of the most well-known types of IQ tests include:

Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales: This test is one of the oldest and most widely used IQ tests. It assesses a wide range of cognitive abilities and is suitable for individuals of all ages, from young children to adults. An example of Stanford-Binet Intelligence test question is as follows:

Types of IQ Tests

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS): The WAIS is designed specifically for adults and measures various cognitive abilities, such as verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. There is also a version for children called the WISC (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children). For instance, the proctor asks the test taker to define a word, and depending on his or her nuanced knowledge, he or she receives a score from zero to two. For illustration, a test taker might be asked to define the word “articulate.”

Raven’s Progressive Matrices: This non-verbal IQ test is based on pattern recognition and requires participants to complete visual patterns or matrices. It’s often used to assess fluid intelligence and is less dependent on language skills. For example:

Raven's Progressive Matrices

Cattell Culture Fair Intelligence Test: This test is designed to minimize cultural bias, making it suitable for individuals from diverse backgrounds. It measures fluid intelligence and consists of non-verbal items. Fluid reasoning requires the ability to solve novel figural problems and identify sequences of pictured objects or matrix-type figural and geometric patterns.

All of the questions on the Cattell Culture Fair test are visual in nature.An example can be seen below, where the test taker would select the object from the multiple choice options that would best complete the pattern on the space with a question mark.

Cattell Culture Fair Intelligence Test

Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities: It is an outstanding intelligence and cognitive ability measurement tool, which assesses an individual’s various cognitive abilities, including memory, reasoning, and processing speed. It is often used in educational and clinical settings. Sample question is as follows:

Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities

Differential Ability Scales (DAS): The DAS is designed to assess cognitive abilities in children and adolescents. It measures verbal and non-verbal reasoning, as well as working memory and processing speed. There are two versions of the DAS-II – Early Years (for those between 2 years and 6 months to 6 years and 11 months) and School Age.

Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC): This test is designed for children and assesses both verbal and non-verbal abilities, with a focus on learning and problem-solving.

Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT): This test is commonly used to assess the cognitive abilities of school-age children, particularly for gifted and talented programmes or educational placement. An example of OLSAT question is as follows:

Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT)

Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT): The NNAT is a non-verbal test designed for children and is often used for gifted and talented programmes or to assess potential learning disabilities. Which of these answer choices goes here?

Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT)

Culture-Specific IQ Tests: Some IQ tests are designed for specific cultural or linguistic groups to minimize bias, such as the Raven’s Progressive Matrices for Indigenous populations.

These are just a few examples of IQ tests, and there are many more available. It’s important to note that IQ tests have been subject to criticism due to potential cultural and socioeconomic biases, and they may not fully capture the complexity of human intelligence. Additionally, there are multiple versions and revisions of these tests, and the field of psychometrics continues to evolve with ongoing research and development.

IQ Testing: Strengths and Weaknesses

Checking one’s IQ level can provide valuable insights into a person’s cognitive abilities, but it also comes with certain benefits and limitations. Here’s an overview of both:

Benefits of Checking IQ Level:

  • Self-Awareness: IQ tests can help individuals gain a better understanding of their cognitive strengths and weaknesses. This self-awareness can be valuable for personal development and decision-making.
  • Educational Planning: For students, knowing their IQ level can inform educational planning. It can help educators tailor teaching methods to match a student’s learning styles and abilities, ensuring a more effective education.
  • Career Guidance: IQ tests can offer guidance on suitable career paths. They can help individuals identify areas where they might excel professionally, making it easier to choose a career that aligns with their cognitive strengths.
  • Identifying Giftedness: High IQ scores can indicate giftedness in certain areas, such as mathematics, music, or art. Recognizing giftedness early can lead to more specialized educational opportunities.
  • Research and Diagnosis: IQ tests are used in research to better understand human intelligence and its various aspects. In clinical settings, they can aid in the diagnosis of conditions like intellectual disabilities and learning disorders.
  • Psychological Assessment: Psychologists use IQ tests in psychological assessments to assess a person’s overall cognitive functioning. This information can be crucial for developing personalized treatment plans.

Limitations of Checking IQ Level:

  • Narrow Focus: IQ tests primarily measure cognitive abilities related to logical reasoning, problem-solving, and pattern recognition. They do not assess other critical aspects of a person, such as emotional intelligence, creativity, or practical skills.
  • Cultural and Language Bias: Some IQ tests may be culturally or linguistically biased, leading to unfair results for individuals from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds.
  • Static Measurement: IQ tests provide a snapshot of cognitive abilities at a specific point in time. They do not account for a person’s potential for growth or change over time.
  • Stress and Anxiety: Taking an IQ test, especially in a high-stakes situation, can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. This stress can impact a person’s performance and result in an inaccurate score.
  • Solely Cognitive: IQ tests focus solely on cognitive abilities and do not assess social skills, adaptability, or practical knowledge, which are crucial for success in real-world situations.
  • Overemphasis on Numbers: Relying too heavily on an IQ score can lead to an overemphasis on numbers and create unrealistic expectations or judgments about a person’s abilities.

Stability of IQ 

Of late the stability of IQ has received a great deal of attention from the educational psychologists because of its usefulness in education. There are two points of opinions. First opinion holds  the view that the IQ remains relatively stable over the years changing only very slowly. Second opinion holds that if determined effort is made, a change in IQ can be achieved. There is considerable evidence to indicate that a stability in IQ is not absolute and only a small range of scores would change. Data shows that intelligence test performance is quite stable. Studies have reported high correlations ranging from 0.72 to 0.83 on retest of intelligence scales. 

The instability of IQ may occur as a result of drastic environmental changes. It can increase with stimulation and training on the one hand but can decrease due to prolonged or severe illness, head injury, brain damage, high fevers, epilepsy, meningitis and adverse environmental factors like conflict at home, death of parents, malnutrition etc.

Instability of scores could also occur due to fast or slow development of the child than that of the normative sample population. Generally children in persistently disadvantaged environments tend to lose and those in stimulating environments gain in IQ with age. 

The relationship between IQ, educational attainment, and later occupational achievement is positively correlated. Many highly intelligent people perform disappointingly but at the same time many with average IQ do remarkably well. This is because factors other than intelligence, such as drive, persistence, attention, useful social contacts, and highly developed social skills, are the driving force for securing growth and achievements in the later stages of life.

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In the conclusion part, it is important to stress that IQ level provides valuable insights into cognitive abilities, it comes with its set of advantages and limitations. The benefits include enhancing self-awareness, educational planning, career guidance, the identification of giftedness, research utility, and psychological assessment. It’s crucial to recognize the nuanced nature of intelligence does not define the entirety of an individual’s potential, worth, or capabilities. IQ testing should be employed judiciously, considering its strengths and weaknesses in the context of an individual’s holistic development and specific needs.

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How to Check IQ Level? Frequently Asked Questions

What is a normal IQ level?

A normal or average IQ level is typically considered to be around 100. This is based on the standardization of IQ tests. It’s important to note that IQ is a measure of cognitive abilities and that many factors can influence a person’s score. Additionally, IQ is just one way to assess a person’s abilities, and it doesn’t provide a comprehensive view of an individual’s overall intelligence or potential.

How can a student interpret his or her IQ test results?

Interpreting anyones IQ test results involves understanding where their score falls on the IQ scale. Here’s a brief interpretation:

  • Below 70 – Intellectual Disability
  • 70–85 – Below Average
  • 85–115 – Average (Most People Fall in This Range)
  • 115–130 – Above Average
  • 130 and Above: High Intelligence or Gifted

Can anyone’s IQ change over time, or is it fixed for life?

Anyone’s IQ can change over time. It’s not fixed for life. Factors like education, experience, and learning can influence one’s cognitive abilities and potentially lead to changes in the IQ level. It’s a dynamic measure that can reflect both current abilities and the potential for growth.

How long does it take to complete an IQ test?

The time it takes to complete an IQ test can vary, but most IQ tests are designed to be finished within a specific time frame, usually between 30 minutes and an hour. The exact duration depends on the test’s complexity and the number of questions.

Is it necessary to consult a psychologist for an IQ test?

Consulting a psychologist for an IQ test is not always necessary. While psychologists can provide professionally administered tests, there are also reputable online IQ tests available. The choice depends on the purpose and accuracy required for the test.

What are the potential factors that can affect IQ scores?

IQ scores can be influenced by various factors like genetics, environment, nutrition, health, socioeconomic status, cultural bias, stress and anxiety, test preparation, and age.

How can a student prepare for an IQ test to perform better?

To prepare for an IQ test and improve on the performance outcome, students can engage in activities that stimulate their cognitive skills. These include solving puzzles, practicing math problems, engaging in logic games, and reading relevant study material. Additionally, getting adequate rest, managing stress, and staying physically active can help enhance mental abilities. Familiarizing with the format of the specific IQ test can also be beneficial, as it reduces anxiety and increases confidence. Keep in mind that while some preparation can help, IQ tests are designed to assess one’s innate cognitive abilities, so there’s a limit to how much one can improve their score through preparation.


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