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How to Play Zynga Scramble: Tips to Improve Word IQ and Game Score

Updated on May 4, 2012

Increase Scramble Word IQ

The Word IQ in Scramble is similar to a batting average for baseball players: it represents how well a player performs over time. The exact score formula has not been released by Zynga, but a large part of the Word IQ is calculated by comparing the player’s score to the total number of possible points in a game. The following methods will increase Scramble Word IQ:

  • Don’t play games with a high score potential. Choose to play games with a low score – games with a total possible score under 200 points are likely to raise Word IQ. Games with a high score will lower IQ, so avoid games with a total possible score >500.
  • Play in the “live” scramble game rooms rather than solo. A player is able to pick up on tricks and new vocabulary words faster in this environment.
  • Play the 4x4 games. The 4x4 game boards have a lower total possible score, which will improve Word IQ. The 5x5 game boards will lower a Scramble Word IQ very quickly, because the total possible score is extremely high.

Scramble Word IQ Levels

Word IQ Under 75: These Scramble players are likely beginners, and are best suited to playing in the "beginner's room" in the live game section of Scramble. Once a player gains a high enough Word IQ, the player will be banned from the beginner's room. This is a great place to hone Scramble playing skills for new players.

Word IQ 75-149: These Scramble players are intermediates, and often play in the "classic" Scramble rooms or the "intermediate" Scramble room. Note that the intermediate room has no upper limit, so many expert Scramble players join this room for play. It is not uncommon to see players with scores in excess of 200 playing in the "intermediate" room.

Word IQ 150 and above: These are the Scramble experts. These players play in any room except for the beginner's room, and are the only players allowed in the room labeled "Word IQ's Over 149." A Word IQ over 200 is considered particularly good, though many players artificially inflate their Word IQ by playing low-scoring Scramble boards.

How to Improve Scramble Player Score

There are several tips for improving a Scramble score, including the following:

  1. For those who can touch-type, this is the fastest method for entering words in Scramble. Type like mad and hit enter after each word: a fast typist can beat a person scrolling with a mouse every time.
  2. For those who cannot type, scroll the mouse to highlight entire words. Do not click on each letter individually, as this will take too much time. Scrolling over a word (hold the left mouse button down and roll the mouse over the word) will automatically enter the word in an efficient manner. This will probably not beat a fast typist, but is a good alternative for those who cannot type.
  3. Look for word endings first: the letters “ing,” “s,” and “ed” are particularly helpful. A player might see these endings, then spy the word “play,” for example. This will allow the player to quickly enter the words “play,” “playing,” played,” and “plays.” Instead of only finding one word, the player has entered four! The prefix "out" is common on Scramble boards, so it is wise to be prepared with several words that begin and end with "out" (outplay, outrun, outlay, layout, etc.).
  4. Look for prefixes and suffixes: the letters “er” are extremely helpful in increasing a Scramble game score. This adds an ending (player, for example) and also a beginning (replay). Scan the Scramble board for “er,” “un,” and “pre” before the game begins.
  5. Three-letter freebies: The letters “are” and “eat” are extremely helpful. The word “are” can be rearranged into “era” and “ear” very quickly. “Eat” can be rearranged into “tea,” “eta,” “tae,” and “ate.”
  6. Learn a lot of Q words. The letter Q often shows up on a Scramble board, and it is beneficial to know several Q words to increase the game score. Quite, quiet, quit, queen, queer, quince, quad, equate, equal, etc. are all important vocabulary words for a Scramble player.
  7. Double E words are good to know: lee, tee, pee, see – a Scramble board with a double e is ripe with possibilities. Unfortunately, many “double e” boards have a high potential score, which might devastate word IQ. Still, it is good to be versed on the possibilities of this letter combination. There are so many possible words: “see” can become “seer,” “sere,” “seep,” “steep,” “seem,” or “seed,” depending on the available consonants.
  8. Find rhyming words. If a player sees a word such as "cared," look for consonants that create other words using the same ending letters. For instance, "tared," "stared," and "bared" might be options to score some fast points.

A Scramble Screenshot (click to enlarge)
A Scramble Screenshot (click to enlarge) | Source

An Example of Scramble Board that Will Increase Word IQ

The Scramble board on the right has a top scoring value of 146 points. This is a good board to play for increasing a player's Scramble Word IQ. Words are more difficult to find in a board with a low scoring potential, but it is more likely to get a higher proportion of the possible words, increasing the player's Word IQ.

Scanning the Scramble board on the right, there are no useful word endings or prefixes which will create longer (and higher scoring) words. It would be wise for a player to type as many 3-letter words as are obvious: the upper left corner contains "spa," "asp," "sap," "sop," and "ops." The lower right corner contains "aft" and "fat."

Four letter words on the on the Scramble board include "pita," "spit," "spot," "tips," and "tops." Always try to reverse a word to see if it forms another word.

Use the letter "s" to an advantage: it creates a plural (tip and tips), a blend (spit and spot), and gives a five-letter word (pitas).

There are many words possible in this Scramble board, even when the first glance seems to show few possibilities. This is the type of Scramble board that will increase Word IQ!

This Scramble board is worth 453 points: it may cause some damage to a Word IQ if the player cannot find enough words in the given time.
This Scramble board is worth 453 points: it may cause some damage to a Word IQ if the player cannot find enough words in the given time. | Source

An Example of a "Medium Scoring" Scramble Board

The Scramble board on the right is worth 453 points. The author of this article has a Word IQ over 200 points, and would play this board. For players who can type quickly and find the big words, this level board is both fun and challenging.

This board has a great prefix set: the word "out" is at the bottom of the Scramble board. This allows words like "outsay" (6 points) and "outsold" (9 points). Finding prefixes like this will greatly improve a player's overall point total.

This board is also full of five letter words (dusty, rusty, lusty, touts, routs). When a player finds one long word, he or she should immediately look for any rhyming words which will add to the point total. After a while, this becomes second nature and the player will score several rhyming words once the first word is found.

This Scramble board has a maximum point value of 713 points. Word IQ is likely to suffer with this level board, even if the player is an "expert."
This Scramble board has a maximum point value of 713 points. Word IQ is likely to suffer with this level board, even if the player is an "expert." | Source

An Example of a High Scoring Scramble Board

The point totals are rather high for the Scramble board on the right. There are many long words and short words which can be created from this board, but the player is limited by the three minute time limit. The ratio of the player's points to the total possible points is not likely to be good, so the player's Word IQ will suffer. These boards are extremely fun to play, however: Word IQ is not the sole purpose of the game!

The highest scoring words on the Scramble board on the right are "spicate," "rattens, "lattens," "pattens," "fattens," and "outrate" (among others). These are all 9 point words. If the player notices the "attens" words, the score is likely to be high due to the large number of rhyming 7-letter words.

When playing live Scramble games, many players with high Word IQ values will "sit out" and resume playing when a lower-scoring board becomes available.


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    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      There is a big difference between boosting score and word IQ! For a higher score, you definitely need a board that is worth more points (hence the 5x5 boards). To increase IQ, you should follow the tactics I outlined above. I am an extremely fast typist, and typing beats out the word-scrollers in the live head-to-head games. For those who cannot touch type at a rapid rate of speed, however, scrolling would be better.

    • profile image

      Stephen Saunders 

      6 years ago

      If you really want to boost your score (not IQ) play 5x5 3-minute solo games that have a maximum score over 1000, and really target the 5-8 letter words. For most players, I doubt that typing is better than scrolling.

      Otherwise, these hints are good. Anything over 300 points is excellent, I think. My best score at 2012 is 403 points, with 30 words of six letters or more. I think you'd almost have to be superhuman to top 500.

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      7 years ago from Western New York

      Sure thing! I'm usually in the intermediate room on the live games - I like playing there. I only play four-by-four games for one-on-one challenges, but they are really fun!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      play me


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