IQ Scales: What Is a Genius IQ Score?
What Is an IQ Scale?
IQ stands for intelligence quotient, and there are several IQ tests available that aim to measure intelligence.
They are among the most commonly administered psychological tests.
IQ tests are used in a few situations, including:
- Assessment for educational placement
- Cognitive research
- Job candidate evaluation
- Diagnosis of intellectual disability
The IQ scale is the range of potential scores that can be achieved in an IQ test.
When you have completed the test, you will receive a score based on the scale, which is compared to a norm group to reveal your IQ level.
What Are the Score Ranges?
IQ scores start at 1, and there is potentially no upper limit for IQ scores.
There are many publishers of IQ tests for adults and for children, and plenty of free online IQ tests that you can take to see where you fit.
The usual presentation of the IQ scale is as follows:
- 1–69: Suggests mental disability
- 70–84: Borderline mental disability
- 85–114: Average intelligence
- 115–129: Above-average intelligence
- 130–144: Moderately gifted
- 145–159: Highly gifted
- 160–179: Exceptionally gifted
- 180+: Profoundly gifted
The score is calculated using a norm group that is representative of your age range in a global population.
This norm group has a mean of 100, a standard deviation of 15, and is presented as a bell graph.
Mean – This is the average score: a number that is achieved by taking the total scores attained and dividing by the number of people that have taken the test. In the IQ scales, the mean IQ score is 100.
Standard deviation – The standard deviation is a measure of how spread out a range of numbers are. In the case of IQ scales, the standard deviation is 15, which means that most results lie within one standard deviation of the mean. Here, 68% of the norm group score between 85–115, which is usually given as the average IQ scale. 95% of the norm group score within two standard deviations.
Bell graph – The graphic representation of the IQ scales is a bell graph. When the possible scores are plotted along the horizontal axis, and the number of results is on the vertical axis, the plotted points resemble a bell (hence the name). The number of test-takers that got each score increases up to the mean and then decreases again past the mean.
What Is an Average IQ Score?
IQ score average ranges have been increasing through modern times.
The first IQ test was devised by French psychologist Alfred Binet to assess school children who needed extra educational support in the early 1900s. It became more widespread (and standardized) in the 1930s.
The increase in scores is known as the Flynn effect, named after researcher James R Flynn, who commented on the studies that show a significant and sustained increase.
This increase in average scores might be because of more educational opportunities.
However, it could also be because early test-takers needed to consider the here and now, whereas modern life encourages people to consider hypothetical and abstract ideals.
Today, the average IQ score is 100, and the average range is anywhere between 85 to 115.
In general terms, anything less than 70 might indicate a learning disability or developmental problem, whereas IQ scores over 130 are considered gifted.
Scoring the average range equates you with 68% of the population; therefore, average is not a negative.
Only 2% of the population have the very lowest or very highest scores.
What Is a Genius IQ Score?
Although there is no empirical evidence for this, it is noted that Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking had an IQ of 160.
Elon Musk is believed to possess an IQ of 155, while writer Marilyn von Savant is reported to have an IQ of 228.
Evangeline Katsoulis, a Greek psychiatrist, has the highest tested IQ in the world, with a score of 198.
Ainan Cawley, a former child genius, is projected to possess an IQ of 263.
The minimum score range of 1–14 is almost statistically insignificant when considering only 2% of the population score below 70.
What Your IQ Does and Does Not Indicate
When looking at your results from an IQ test, there are several things to consider.
First, an IQ test is created to measure your abilities in solving puzzles, making rapid connections and reasoning.
It measures your crystallized intelligence (things that you have learned) and your fluid intelligence (your ability to make sense of abstract information and apply that to reasoning and problem-solving).
Your IQ score indicates your language skills, memory, reasoning abilities, mathematic abilities, visual and spatial processing skills and processing speed.
A high IQ score could indicate better academic performance, and a low IQ score might indicate an intellectual disability. IQ scores are not necessarily an indicator of success in life, however.
IQ test results are scrutinized regularly for one particular reason: there are many tests available, all of which can provide different results for the same candidate.
This lack of a standard definition for intelligence calls into question the legitimacy of assessing human intelligence in this single-minded way.
In addition to this, there is no consideration for two other factors known to make up human intelligence: social and emotional intelligence.
Research suggests that a person’s EQ (emotional quotient) could be more important in determining overall success.
There are other factors of successful people that are important and overlooked by IQ tests, including:
- Character and personality
- Life experience
Successful people can often find themselves in the right place at the right time, or they simply have good old-fashioned luck on their side.
Can You Improve Your IQ?
There is little evidence to suggest that you can improve your IQ.
To be considered a valid test, any assessment of IQ should produce the same results when taken by the same person multiple times.
This suggests that there is not much that can be done to change the result.
However, research suggests you can give yourself the best chance by making cognitive training part of a lifelong learning strategy.
Practice improving your concentration, your memory and your imagination.
To ensure that you perform at your best in an IQ test, read widely and find different ways to stimulate your brain, like puzzles and word searches.
IQ is just one facet of what makes up what is known as human intelligence.
While it might be a reliable indicator of educational success, it does not have much bearing on whether a candidate will be successful in wider life situations.
IQ results should be viewed as a comparison to a population norm. 68% of test-takers scoring between 85–115; therefore, there is a wide IQ scale that constitutes as 'average'.
However, there is little difference between what is considered average and what is considered genius.
IQ is not the only measure of intelligence, and evidence suggests that emotional and social intelligence might be more critical to predicting future success outside of the classroom.