Misconceptions About IQ Tests

With IQ tests such as the Stanford-Binet or Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, it is possible to get a good idea of where someone lies along the intelligence spectrum, but given the inherent variety within human character and human expression, one type of test might not be the best at predicting performance across various groups of people. People possess many different forms of I Q, from logical IQ to emotional IQ, there are many ways for someone’s most appropriate intelligence to come to light, and that might not always be highlighted in standard IQ tests that focus more on the logical, spatial, and verbal portions of human intelligence.

What’s more, standard IQ tests have a very difficult time in assessing the uniquely brilliant minds of people with autism. Because people can express themselves in many ways, and communicate in different ways, it is often difficult to use a standard IQ test to measure the capabilities of people who communicate in a non-standard way.

While some people are more logical than others, and some might be more emotionally tuned than their neighbors, and others are wonderful with words and patterns, there are many ways to express and assess intelligence. What is most important with an IQ test is for the test taker to find the best way of using the skills that they have to navigate the test. Practice is the most important tool for getting ready for an IQ test, but scoring beneath your expected ranking is nothing to fear or be ashamed of, all it means is there is probably a better way for you to express your mental capacities.

Pros and Cons of IQ Tests


  • Can predict future individual performance in the way of work or education, allowing for a more tailored approach in resolving issues with respect to performance and education.

  • IQ tests can offer insight as to where one needs to improve, or practice. If a test indicates that someone has great verbal and reasoning skills, but struggles with the logical and numerical portions of the test, there might be a way to better their understanding, and ultimately their performance in those fields.

  • Can provide valuable data on entire cohorts, allowing scientists to see how the brain functions, how it processes and makes decisions, as well as the nuances in human cognitive function.

  • IQ testing can help identify those with higher than average capabilities, which can help develop new curriculum for those who might be bored, or find themselves underserved by standard classes. With that, it can also help schools identify new ways of helping students with learning disabilities by allowing for the development of unique methods for teaching.


  • Tests can be biased. In some settings, if English is not someone’s first language and they embark on an IQ test, they might find that they scored far beneath their expected placement, and situations like that can make the mistake of poorly predicting one’s performance, making someone think they’re capable of far less than they realistically are.

  • Labelling can prove detrimental sometimes. Telling someone at a young age that they are “gifted” or “below-average” can do harm to their self-esteem. For instance, someone who believes themselves to be gifted might not see the value in studying because they expect things to be easy, while someone who believes themselves “below-average” might not see the value in studying because they think they’ll never be good in school. In both cases, it can be harmful to label people, especially based on a test that is susceptible to bias and is constantly being improved for heightened accuracy.

  • As previously noted, because IQ tests measure only a few types of cognitive abilities, they do not account for the vast array of intelligence types. Human expression is varied and broad, and so is the spectrum of intelligence, which is why one test might not describe all people equally well. That said, one number is never a perfect indicator for how someone will perform in life. Persistence, tenacity, and education are all key components to success, possessing a high IQ might make learning new things easier, but it won’t solve every puzzle life throws your way.