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How to Pass an IQ test and Get a High Score

Updated on August 11, 2016
TessSchlesinger profile image

Globetrotter, author, and thinker with interests in environment, minimalism, health, dancing, architecture, décor, politics, and science.

Only use data given
Use all data given
Increase your vocabulary
Know your grammar
Practice in conversation
Practice doing logical puzzles

I Q stand for Intelligence Quotient. There are many different kinds of intelligence, but IQ is specifically measuring the ability of someone to solve logical problems. That’s all it is. You could be a great artist, a major Olympic star, a rock around the clock musician, an honest politician, or an awesome person. However, none of that has anything to do with your problem solving ability. Nor will the degree of your problem solving ability determine the measure of success in your life.

It's also good to know that IQ tests use math and logic, and if you have never been taught (or understood) the methodologies, you are going to be at a disadvantage. The belief system is that if you can't understand the math, you're not intelligent. Not true. You might simply never have been taught it properly (or not).

IQ tests are puzzles. The better you are at puzzles, the better you will do at an IQ test.
IQ tests are puzzles. The better you are at puzzles, the better you will do at an IQ test.

Understand exactly what is being asked

I woke up this morning to a misunderstanding about my arrival date at a friend.

“The date of my arrival will depend on the arrival of my luggage as it was shipped separately and I need to be there when it arrives. So I have to time my arrival with the date of the arrival of my luggage. I will also need to talk to Anne as to when she can give me a ride to your place (She’s currently at the dentist – ugh). I will get back to you as soon as I know.

Here’s a breakdown of the information I gave to Margaret.

  1. The date on which I could travel to Margaret was dependent upon the date my luggage arrived.

  2. Because I did not have the exact date of my luggage arriving, I couldn’t specify the date of my journey to Margaret.

  3. I state that I would also need to speak to Anne as to when it was convenient for me to get a ride to Margaret.

  4. Therefore there are two things I need to know. The first is when my luggage is arriving and the second is when Anne is able to give me a ride.

  5. When I had that information, I would inform Margaret.

So why did Margaret think that I said that I would give her the information the next day? Margaret had focused on the fact that Anne was at the dentist, and she assumed that once Anne was back from the dentist (the same day), I would be able to find out the information from her and be able to come back to her at the latest the next day.

Can you see that Margaret missed one of the two pieces of essential information? Anne wouldn't be able to tell me when my luggage would arrive.

We tend to focus on particular pieces of information and don't notice other information given.

Percentages of IQ scores

100 is about average. Countries have average scores for the population as well. The USA has an average of 99 while Japan has an average of 110.
100 is about average. Countries have average scores for the population as well. The USA has an average of 99 while Japan has an average of 110.

Do not make assumptions.

Read the information given to you very carefully. That is the only information that can be used. You cannot jump to conclusions which are not confirmed by the information given to you. If you do that, you have a high statistical chance of giving the wrong answer.

If you’ve ever been party to a discussion, you will notice that quite a few assumptions are made about what is being said. For example, if somebody states that they support the view that rapid climate change is man-made, the assumption is often that the person must be a liberal. However, while it’s statistically likely that they will probably be a liberal, there are actually conservatives who support the view that rapid climate change is man-made.

When writing an IQ test, information upon which you make deductions must be exact – not statistical.

If it isn't said literally, don't draw a deduction based on your own belief system. Focus only on the information given.

Assumptions influence us without our even being aware of it.

Psychiatrists and psychologists will often give patients a list of words and ask what the associated thought is. So, for instance, if the doctor says rose, the patient will often reply red. That’s because people are accustomed to hearing the phrase the two words associated, i.e. red rose. In reality, there is no evidence whatsoever that the rose is red. The rose could be black, yellow, white, pink, or any other colour. The higher someone’s IQ, the less they assume something. They use only given, factual information.

In order to hone your skill to look only at given information in an IQ test, start practicing in real life. More than anything else, it’s a bad habit that most of us get into because we’ve never been taught not to do that.

Practice responding to the exact question asked.

Have you ever asked a sales associate a question at a store and the sales associate gives you an answer unrelated to what you have asked?

For example, you ask a sales associate for the price of something. The sales associate responds with the a list of the features and benefits of the product.

This is an avoidance technique because an accurate answer to the question would mean a loss of sale.

Most people don't notice because they are quickly diverted, but someone either trained in avoidance technique (politicians come to mind) or someone with a high intelligence quotient would notice immediately.

The thing is that we all use avoidance techniques because they save us giving answers we don't want to give.

The problem with avoidance techniques is that we become so accustomed to them that our reasoning begins to be affected by them, and when we have to focus on only the actual information given, we find it difficult to do.

IQ tests are not trying to trick you. They are trying to ascertain how accurately you understand and utilize information. As much as IQ tests are measuring your ability to apply logic in order to arrive at correct answers, they also testing your ability to deduce which information is accurate.

Ruji is a writer who started doing comics to rid herself of depression. Here's what she felt about IQ tests and their importance.
Ruji is a writer who started doing comics to rid herself of depression. Here's what she felt about IQ tests and their importance. | Source

Tools for doing well on an IQ test

  1. A certain level of education is required. If you've never studied math or some other logical methodology, you may struggle.
  2. Spend time doing puzzles and learning how to do them. This will increase your ability to work logically. Spotting the differences in spatial drawings are also good way to practice.
  3. Increase your vocabulary. IQ tests test your knowledge of the meaning of words. For instance, do you know the difference between concur and agree? Do you know the difference between attractive and beautiful?
  4. Learn your grammar. Grammar is a tool to provide differentiation if meaning. If you are not good at grammar, you will struggle in an IQ test.

For what it’s worth, all skills or academic qualifications can be attained with a maximum IQ of 119. It’s also true that even those with lower scores can be taught virtually anything through repetition and consistent explanation and practice. This is evidenced by the results of schools in Finland where, despite different IQ scores, all students generally graduate at about the same level. Finland, incidentally, has the best educated people in the world.

Would you feel better if you had a higher IQ?

See results

Purpose of IQ tests

Personally, I’ve had numerous IQ tests in my life, and I have had no benefit in having them. Generally these tests were conducted for the following reasons.

  1. Career guidance: after the test I was told that I could do anything I liked which was no guidance at all.

  2. To ascertain why I was struggling to do anything: there was no issue with the level of my intelligence, but they still couldn’t figure out why I was struggling.

  3. To assess me for a job: I was turned down on the basis that I had the highest creativity score the company had seen in their 30 years of existence, and they thought I would be bored within three months.

  4. University acceptance: I never did figure that one out as entry was determined either upon age or exam results dependent on which country I was in.

Be aware, though, that IQ beats EQ (Emotional Intelligence) in jobs every single time. The best performers are the people with high IQ not the people with high EQ. Emotional Intelligence is overrated.

At this stage of my life (I’m in my dotage), I sincerely believe that the only thing an IQ test determines is if you have the ability to do math/s. And if you can’t, it’s not an issue. There are a thousand other things that need doing in this world, and there’s space for everyone.

© 2015 Tessa Schlesinger


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    • TessSchlesinger profile imageAUTHOR

      Tessa Schlesinger 

      2 years ago from South Africa

      Shadow,there is a correlation between high IQ and a large vocab. There is also a correlation between understanding what words mean in the context that the sentence is used. So I assume that is why tests use vocab.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I'm very good at problem solving, thinking outside the box, and spotting patterns. However, I'm a english person, not a math person, so I find that very irritating. Also, I've seen them use words most don't use, so they may not have even heard. This may be okay if used in a sentence where you can deduce the meaning, but alone that's a bit faulty. I think it can certainly be improved.

    • TessSchlesinger profile imageAUTHOR

      Tessa Schlesinger 

      3 years ago from South Africa

      jpcmc, I suspect that what you are trying to say is that high intelligence does not make one superior or is not the only route to success in life. You're saying that people who have compassion for others, thereby getting along well with others do better than those with high I.Q.

      Well that's not what the studies say.

      Also, it was just someone's idea that great dexterity and sport was a type of intelligence and so was an artistic ability. This is playing with words. The people who come up with these type of concepts, however much hype they get, aren't particularly logical or bright.

      I'm not sure which sentence, exactly, you don't agree with in my article, but I don't believe I said that high IQ was a guarantee of success in life. To succeed financially and attain high status, one requires the following...

      1. Either a family with money that provides the right education and environment to do well later on or a willingness to cheat and do whatever it takes.

      2. Be born in a country that is not at war and can provide in safety the kind of education and skills necessary in the modern world.

      3. A variety of innate abilities that are compatible with the world one lives in. For example, while dexterity in hunting and surviving in the bush might serve one well in Africa or the Amazon, it's unlikely to be of much help in the heart of New York. Crocodile Dundee apart, that is. :)

      That said, please read Daniel Goleman's book about EQ. As per the article above, it contributes less than 1% to success in business (or life). Social intelligence, on the other hand, goes far. That's why so many people at the very top in business and politics are sociopaths. They have fantastic social skills, no EQ, but they are incredibly successful because they don't care about trampling on people and lying, cheating, etc.

    • TessSchlesinger profile imageAUTHOR

      Tessa Schlesinger 

      3 years ago from South Africa

      Dr. Billy Kid. You cannot improve your IQ because intelligence is genetic. However, you can improve your IQ score by learning the skills attached to doing an IQ test. For instance, Once I did an IQ test when I was the age of 18 and told someone about a particular type of question I couldn't answer. He explained to me that they were spatial questions and how they were done. Once I understood the methodology to solving them (and it only took a minute), it was easy to get 100% after that.

      " Nor will the degree of your problem solving ability determine the measure of success in your life." You are correct. That was badly expressed by me. If you have read Malcolm Gladwell's book 'Outliers,' he explains that success in life is not determined by intelligence, but by skills developed as a result of opportunity. He also shows that it takes about 10 years to become a master at something so, for example, kids who have computers at home and a parent/mentor to teach them coding at a relatively young age do much better later on in the computer field that those who weren't given that opportunity early on. One may well solve problems better as a result of high intelligence, but the degree of success is limited by one's environments and opportunities. If one is sitting in Gitmo where one has been put because the USA government thinks one is a terrorist, regardless of one's intelligence level, one cannot get out. Great intelligence only gets one so far. One has to be in an environment where one can apply it.

      There is a difference between EQ and SQ, and you're talking about SQ (Social Intelligence) not EQ. Social Intelligence is the ability to interact socially with others. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to control one's own emotions and recognize the emotions of others. As an INTJ, I know that recognizing other people's emotional responses doesn't mean I have to respond to them. That might be low SQ but it's not low EQ. And I would agree that people with high IQ and low EQ do not do well. In other words, we go back to my first sentence, "Nor will the degree of your problem solving ability determine the measure of success in your life."

      Success in life is determined by a series of things - the economic environment, the safety environment, one's level of skill and education, the presence or absence of mental illness, Social intelligence (sociopaths do very well in life without EQ), etc.

      According to Adam Grant's article which caused quite a stir (and with which I agree), Emotional Intelligence does not play a high part in success. IQ does.

      I'm not quite sure why you don't know how someone can improve their IQ score 'and you've given the test dozens of time.' Well, that's very simple. You learn how to do the questions as I have explained above. If you have never been taught math, and learn math, it automatically gives you the ability to improve your score.

      In the mid 90s, I was turned down for a job because they said I had the highest creativity score they had seen in their 30 year history. I was furious and approached the company owner. He sent me to another doctor to do a test that was designed at Harvard. It was designed for people who didn't have a conventional education. I was given 5 hours to complete it and did it in an hour and a half. I scored off-the-graph. The doctor who gave it to me told me that people who could do that were 'very clever.' That was quite different to my normal score (I'm not going to mention it but it is up there). The difference was that in some tests, I simply don't have the tools because as one gets older one forgets how to do advanced math because one isn't using it anymore.

    • TessSchlesinger profile imageAUTHOR

      Tessa Schlesinger 

      3 years ago from South Africa

      BE WARNED EVERYBODY I THINK I Q TRICK QUESTIONS IS A PHISHING SITE. Do not fill in your email address, etc.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Tess,

      I respect your idea about intelligence but I believe that the domains of intelligence go beyond problem solving skills. Likewise it is too bold an assumption to say that companies do not know what emotional intelligence is. In addition companies don't just look at interpersonal skills. Intrapersonal skills are also important for many companies. But I do agree that intelligence along with other factors will help people get through life.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 

      3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You said, " Nor will the degree of your problem solving ability determine the measure of success in your life." I disagree in some respects.

      Life presents a series of problems to be solved. I've noted at Mensa conferences (high IQ people) they set aside a room with all the latest problem-solving games. Mensans love them because tests were never a problem for them, just a game.

      I also did research comparing young Mensans to "normal" young adults. The people with the high IQs, in general, had a more positive outlook on life and love and living--maybe because life was a game of problems to be solved.

      I've also noted that the family you are raised in has a big affect on your ability to solve life's problems. That's because people with low EQ--emotional intelligence--have a hard time dealing with other people in an effective manner. So a person with a high IQ and a low EQ would generally be a failure in life. (I've seen geniuses who flunked out of college!)

      But overall, I don't know how a person could improve their IQ score, and I've given the test dozens of times.

    • Brenda Reeves profile image

      Brenda Reeves 

      3 years ago

      Great article, Tessa. My ex was given an I.Q test and while he tested very high in IQ his EQ was on the floor. It caused him problems in all his relationships including at work.

    • TessSchlesinger profile imageAUTHOR

      Tessa Schlesinger 

      3 years ago from South Africa

      jpcmc. EQ is a misnomer for intelligence. Intelligence is definitely only problem solving ability. However, human beings have many facets, and a reasonable level of intelligence combined with reasonable levels in other factors will get one through life.

      Companies have no idea what emotional intelligence is. They have obviously never read Goleman's book (I have), otherwise they would know that. They are looking for social intelligence - the ability to get along with others.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Growing up I took lots of IQ tests. I found them fun. However, intelligence is more than just logico-mathematic skills. In fact, many companies now look into E.Q. and other forms of intelligence to assess people.


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