What Exactly is an IQ…?

Interesting fact: IQ’s across most countries have been increasing since the early 1900’s at a rate of 3 points per decade. Meaning that if you scored a 100 on your IQ test today, and then took a standard IQ test from 1930 you would theoretically score about a 124. Pretty cool huh? This phenomenon is known as The Flynn Effect.


So what exactly is an IQ you ask? Well I’ll tell ya!

The acronym stands for “Intelligence Quotient”. The term can be used to reference a plethora of standardized tests, used historically, to measure a certain range of categories of intelligence of an individual in relation to the population at large.

Generally, a modern IQ test measures intelligence in areas of information processing, and general understanding of ideas, however, there are many areas such as creative ability and emotional acuteness that standard IQ tests cannot measure. Because of this limitation other methods like the emotional intelligence or “EI” test have been developed.

So where did the IQ test come from? Well…

In 605 AD, in the time of the Sui Dynasty reign in Imperial China, the Imperial System was established and used to determine the educational merit of participants. This is thought to be the first standardized cognitive test implemented on a large scale.  The results fed into decisions on what administrative office each participant would be suited for in the Imperial government.

As far as the history of the modern IQ test goes, it’s believed to have started with Sir Frances Galton in England in the late 1800’s. Galton believed intelligence to be inherited and developed his testing method on the basis of reaction time, and sensory motor tests in order to predict academic achievement.

Next, Frenchmen, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon, who believed practical awareness would be a more accurate determinant of intelligence in academia, created the Binet-Simon Intelligence Test in 1905. The test more closely resembles standardized and IQ tests we’re familiar with in today’s age.

Lewis Terman who was an American psychologist then took a translated version of the publication (thanks to Henry Goddard, another American psychologist who translated the Binet-Simon Intelligence Test in 1910) and revised it, creating the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. This test is where the term “Intelligence Quotient” comes from. The mental age of the participant (which was determined by their performance on the test) would be divided by his or her actual age and multiplied by 100 to determine intelligence score.  Modern IQ tests are very similar to this, only the score is not an actually quotient of mental and actual age, but a standard deviation (how much difference there is from the average score either above or below) of 100 as the median.

As you can see IQ tests are far from perfect and are continually reevaluated to adjust for the times as well as to improve upon the process. Additionally, we now have so many new methods for measuring brain function that span across all areas of the brain. Creative potential, emotional awareness and sensitivity etc. are all now measurable in some way, whether it be through a standardized test or high tech ultra specific brain scans.

So, I suggest taking an IQ test for a quick and general assessment of your intelligence level, but don’t consider it the end all be all by any means. You CAN improve your IQ with lifestyle changes, and mental exercises. You can test for free at http://www.intelligencetest.com

Btw, don’t retake an IQ exam over and over in hopes of higher results. This is a great way to teach your mind how to take that specific type of exam, but your results will not be reflective of your actual intelligence as familiarity with the test or general testing method increases. This however, is a GREAT way to prep for the SAT’s and other standardized tests.

Have fun! And post your results in the comments section. No need to be embarrassed if they’re a little lower than you’d like either, because we’re all here to learn how to increase concentration! These scores are going to improve with better diet, exercise and supplmentation! The brain’s function is a work in progress, not something carved in stone!



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