What is the Average IQ and How to Measure It – 3 Best ways

average iq

You might have often heard the term IQ. Actually it’s the abbreviation for Intelligence Quotient.  

And usually, IQ is used vaguely as a yardstick to measure the intelligence of a person- regardless whether they’re students or working people.

Therefore, let’s start by understanding the meaning of IQ and Average IQ also how it’s important for you.

Understanding Intelligence Quotient

Intelligence Quotient or IQ is basically the score you get after a special kind of psychometric test. These are called IQ tests. 

To give you some historical perspective, the term IQ was made by German psychologist named William Stern. In those days, it was an abbreviation for the German word ‘Intelligenzquotient’.

He publicized the term and it’s abbreviation in a research paper he wrote in 1912 while working at University of Breslau.

In those days, IQ was measured with the help of a special psychometric test and the score was divided by the person’s age.

This fraction was multiplied by 100. That way, Stern would find the mental age or IQ of the person. 

Nowadays, for an IQ tests, the score from these tests is distributed over 100 points and a mean deviation of 15 points is taken. Therefore, the person who administers the test can calculate the IQ.

Importance of Intelligence Quotient

Intelligence Quotient or IQ is generally used to test a student’s aptitude for a specific course while seeking admissions to schools, colleges and universities.

This enables the educational institution to comprehend vaguely whether that student is capable of completing the course and understanding the complex subjects to the maximum possible extent.

Militaries around the world also use IQ during their recruitment process. That’s to ensure that a cadet or conscript has the capabilities necessary in a war zone, to operate weapons, take instant decisions that’ll provide a strategic advantage and so on.

Civilian employers also use IQ tests, though for an altogether different purpose. These tests would normally be administered to a person seeking jobs at high positions.

That’s because employers wish to know whether the jobseeker has a sharp mind, can troubleshoot immediately when some crises arises and respond instantly to the company’s requirements during routine work.

Furthermore, psychologists and sometimes, psychiatrists also administer IQ tests to people suffering from mental disorders.

Through an IQ test, they can gauge the extent of the mental disorder and learn something about the pattern of thinking of the patient.

Often, IQ tests are given to senior citizens suffering from chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease to find out the level of dementia or forgetfulness they suffer.

This helps doctors to chart out a course of palliative treatment with various kinds of medicines to stop further degeneration of brain cells and help the Alzheimer’s victim.

And finally, IQ tests are often taken by all individuals out of sheer curiosity. There’re plenty of IQ tests available online.  

And people take them to assess their own IQ or while preparing for a job interview or an admission interview where an IQ test is likely to figure.

What is Average IQ?

What is average Intelligence Quotient?

This question is very difficult to answer. 

Scientists, psychologists and psychiatrists continue to struggle to find why there’s a vast difference in IQ levels between different nationalities.  

They suspect that it could be genetic factors, education or even the environment or climate that affects IQ levels across the world. 

Till date, all researches to find why IQ levels vary according to countries is hard to understand. 

One of the reasons could also be cultural upbringing. What’s Americans consider as normal remains a taboo in some cultures. Hence, culture might also be affecting IQ levels worldwide.

However, the average IQ of Americans stands at 99, which is one point below the global median. In stark contrast, the lowest IQ level in the world is in Mozambique, where people have a average IQ score of only 64.

Indians are known for their pioneering research and have won accolades worldwide for their knowledge and expertise in IT as well as aerospace and medical industries.

However, the median IQ of an Indian citizen stands only at 82 while countries such as the Philippines have a average IQ score of 86.

However, the Philippines has not contributed anything significant to the world in the spheres of science, technology or maths, which makes the issue of average IQ even more complex.

How to Measure Intelligence Quotient

Honestly speaking, there’re no foolproof tests to measure IQ of a person. 

In the US, iQ testing is done on the basis of various experiments and tests conducted by renowned psychologist, Henry Herbert Goddard.

He arrived at this testing system based upon an IQ test developed by Alfred Binet, one of the famous psychologists from France. In fact, Goddard translated an IQ developed by Binet from French to English.

Binet was using the model, which is now commonly used across USA, to find to find out the basic intellectual function of school students in France.

He was testing them to help schools identify students that have difficulties in learning.  

If you’re interested in testing and getting your IQ scores, try any of these common tests.

  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V)
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Adults (WAIS)
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (SBIS)
  • Differential Ability Scales (DAS)
  • Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT)

Among these, the most common one used in America is the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, which was popularized by Stanford University. 

However, a psychologist or psychiatrist could use any of the five IQ test models, if you want to find your Intelligence Quotient.

1. Online IQ Tests

If you want your IQ to remain a secret, there’re countless websites that offer a series of IQ test online for free.

Generally, they will administer only the basic test for free and email you the scores. Some websites display your IQ tests immediately.

However, there’re no guarantees that the scores shown on an online test actually reflect your IQ.

Because there’re no foolproof IQ testing systems and scores could vary according to your genetic make and other factors. Hence, don’t take these scores seriously.

The paid ones are more professional. However, instead of paying for an IQ test on a website, you could try one through a psychologist in your area, which would cost only slightly more.

2. IQ Test Books

Nowadays, there’re countless books available at bookstores as well as online stores such as Amazon.

There are two kinds of books, broadly speaking. One category of these books contains IQ tests while the other types are those which teach you how to increase your IQ.

You can try these books. Those containing IQ tests are good for pastime and to increase your knowledge. By cracking these tests, you can gradually increase your IQ to the desired level.

Books that train you on how to increase your IQ teach stuff such as how to concentrate better on something and carry various brain exercises.

One of my favourite books on this topic is ‘The Net and the Butterfly,” authored jointly by Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane.

This book teaches you how to gain control of your mind to increase brain power. This book also contains amazing exercises that you can do at home and enjoy.

3. Limited Intelligence

Limited Intelligence is a term that’s broadly used for people that have an IQ score of less than 20 points.

Generally, these are persons suffering from severe learning problems since childhood or due to mental disease or brain injuries sustained during an accident or disaster.

Scientists are trying to find out different ways and means to help such children and adults through medical treatment and counselling where possible. However, much breakthrough in this field is yet to be made.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there’re no ways that can provide you a 100 percent accurate IQ score. Hence, you needn’t worry if a test shows you have low IQ.

In some tests, you might score points that indicate you have more than normal IQ. At the same time, I would recommend you to take these tests and read books if you or your child would have to appear for an IQ test for any reason.

As the old adage goes, “Practice Makes a Person Perfect.” Hence, doing online IQ tests or reading about how to increase your IQ would definitely help. Mensa.com is one such a website that you could try.