What Are The Psychologist Approved IQ Tests & How To Do Them

May 15, 2024
What Are The Psychologist Approved IQ Tests & How To Do Them

Asking what IQ test do psychologists use leads us to two primary assessments: the Wechsler scales and the Stanford-Binet test. These staples of psychological evaluation provide critical insights into cognitive abilities, guiding important decisions in academic and clinical realms. Join us as we delve into the reasons these tests stand out in the psychologist’s toolkit.

Are You Ready to Know Your IQ?
Discovering your IQ score is just a click away.

Key Takeaways

  • The Wechsler scales (particularly WAIS) and the Stanford-Binet test are the most commonly used and preferred instruments by psychologists for IQ assessment due to their comprehensive evaluation across various cognitive domains, which are crucial for educational guidance and clinical diagnosis.
  • Modern IQ tests aim to measure multiple facets of intelligence, including both fluid and crystallized intelligence, by assessing a breadth of cognitive abilities such as abstract reasoning, spatial perception, and language skills, with standardization playing a key role in ensuring comparability of results.
  • While IQ tests are critical tools in diagnosing learning disabilities and recognizing giftedness, their efficacy in predicting long-term life outcomes can wane, and efforts are being made to enhance assessments by incorporating broader cognitive and non-cognitive skills and addressing cultural biases.

The Preferred Tools of Psychologists for IQ Assessment

A variety of tools are available to psychologists for measuring intelligence, with the Wechsler scales and the Stanford-Binet test being the most commonly used. These IQ tests offer a measure of an individual’s cognitive abilities, and are particularly valuable in educational and clinical settings. They can help identify individuals who may require additional support, making them a crucial tool in the field of psychology.

Recognizing intelligence as a multifaceted concept that encapsulates various cognitive abilities, intelligence tests aim for more than mere mental ability measurement. Their goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s intellectual potential. Now, let’s explore these tests more thoroughly.

The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)

One of the most widely used tools for evaluating adult intelligence is the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS). The test measures cognitive domains such as verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. It assesses various mental abilities. These cognitive domains are critical for understanding an individual’s capability in areas such as understanding oral and written language, solving nonverbal problems, remembering information, and reacting to stimuli with speed.

Developed by psychologist David Wechsler, the WAIS is a comprehensive tool that delivers a thorough analysis of an individual’s cognitive abilities. The test can help identify areas of strength and weakness, providing valuable insights into the individual’s intellectual potential. Serving a wide range of purposes, it’s beneficial for educational guidance and clinical diagnosis.

The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales

The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale is also considered a respected measure of intelligence. It is widely used in psychological assessments. The Stanford-Binet test originated in France in the early 1900s. Later, Stanford University psychologist Lewis Terman adapted it. Despite its rich history and comprehensive nature, it’s not quite as popular as the Wechsler scales in the United States.

Much like the WAIS, the Stanford-Binet test evaluates an individual’s cognitive abilities across various domains. It provides a detailed picture of an individual’s intellectual potential, helping psychologists make informed decisions about education and clinical interventions. Its less widespread usage compared to the Wechsler scales, however, emphasizes the diversity of tools available for intelligence testing.

The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children

The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC) offers a unique approach to assessing cognitive development in children. Its design emphasizes adaptability to a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, making it a valuable tool for diverse populations. The KABC is particularly attentive to the needs of children with learning disabilities, providing detailed insights that can help educators and psychologists tailor interventions to individual needs.

This test underscores the importance of considering cultural and linguistic factors in intelligence testing. Taking these aspects into consideration, the KABC facilitates a more accurate and equitable assessment of a child’s cognitive abilities. Its design reflects the evolving understanding of intelligence as a multifaceted construct influenced by a range of factors.

Unveiling the Structure of Popular IQ Tests

Considering the broad array of IQ tests on hand, understanding their structure and what they measure is key. IQ tests vary in content but are specifically designed to assess intelligence in different age groups, reflecting the broad scope of intelligence measurement. These tests gauge a range of cognitive abilities, offering scores that symbolize an individual’s intellectual capabilities and potential for cognitive development.

For example, the WAIS-IV, a prominent IQ test, replaces previous verbal/performance scores with index scores, which are drawn from 10 core and 5 supplemental subtests, thereby measuring an assortment of mental abilities. IQ test scores generally follow a normal distribution, where most individuals cluster around the average score, visualized as a bell-shaped curve. We will now delve deeper into the cognitive skills that these tests measure and explore how scores are calculated.

Cognitive Skills Assessed by IQ Tests

Modern IQ tests assess a range of crucial intelligence components, such as:

  • Mathematical abilities
  • Memory
  • Spatial perception
  • Language skills

These assessments provide a comprehensive insight into an individual’s cognitive strengths and capabilities. They measure two types of intelligence – fluid and crystallized intelligence – that together encapsulate an individual’s problem-solving capabilities and the application and retrieval of knowledge.

Specific cognitive skills assessed by IQ tests include abstract reasoning, as measured by tests like Raven’s Progressive Matrices. These skills are less impacted by processing speed and working memory deficits, offering a more nuanced view of an individual’s cognitive abilities. This multifaceted approach to measuring intelligence helps ensure a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s cognitive abilities.

Scoring IQ Tests: Understanding the Metrics

To make sense of these assessments, it’s crucial to understand how IQ test scores are calculated and interpreted. Standardization is a pivotal methodology in IQ testing, which involves establishing norms based on a large, representative sample to use as benchmarks for individual assessments. This standardization allows for reliable categorization and comparison of intelligence scores.

IQ scores are typically calculated by comparing a person’s mental age to their chronological age using a specific formula. These iq score determine intellectual potential but are interpreted by comparing an individual’s performance against the norms for their specific age group. Periodic re-norming of IQ tests is necessary to adjust for changes in population-wide IQ scores, such as those documented by the Flynn Effect.

The Role of IQ Testing in Modern Psychology

In modern psychology, IQ tests hold a critical role. They’re used as part of the diagnostic process for identifying learning disabilities or recognizing giftedness in individuals. In addition to their clinical and educational applications, IQ tests also have various societal implications, impacting areas such as school and college admissions, mate selection, and even employment opportunities.

However, research indicates that the predictive validity of IQ tests tends to wane after the early academic years, challenging their efficacy in forecasting long-term academic and professional achievements. This underscores the need to consider factors beyond IQ scores when predicting an individual’s future success.

IQ Tests Measure Beyond Academic Ability

While IQ tests are often associated with academic potential, they measure far more than just academic ability. IQ test performance is weakly to moderately correlated with outcomes in:

  • Education
  • Job performance
  • Income levels
  • Overall individual well-being

This means that intelligence test scores, such as IQ test scores, do not fully predict these outcomes but can offer some insight. High IQ scores are linked to higher academic achievement, while lower scores may indicate potential intellectual challenges.

However, there is criticism that IQ tests overly emphasize intellectual measures and neglect other forms of intelligence, like emotional intelligence and social skills. This has led to increased interest in developing assessments that capture a broader range of cognitive and non-cognitive skills, such as:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Social skills
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Critical thinking skills

By incorporating these additional measures, a more comprehensive understanding of an individual’s intelligence can be obtained.

Tailoring IQ Assessments to Individual Needs

Initiatives are underway to customize IQ tests to suit different population segments, and include adaptations for various age groups and educational levels. Such tailored tests help reduce cultural bias by applying test norms that are influenced by the consideration of diverse background factors.

Tests like the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC-II), for instance, are used to identify an individual’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Insights from such assessments are crucial for informing educational and clinical decisions tailored to the individual needs of test takers.

Navigating the Challenges of IQ Testing

Much like other forms of assessment, IQ testing comes with its own set of challenges. One of these is the interpretive gap, which illustrates a disconnect between what IQ tests measure and what they actually represent. Another challenge is the potential influence of negative affective states, such as anxiety, on test performance.

Furthermore, cultural bias is a notable challenge in IQ testing. While steps have been taken to mitigate this bias, it remains a significant concern. Lastly, the reduction of complex mental abilities to a single number has been a point of controversy since the inception of the g factor theory.

Overcoming Cultural Bias in Intelligence Testing

Initiatives are underway to create culture-fair or culture-free tests that reduce cultural and linguistic biases in IQ assessments. Big data analytics play a crucial role in understanding human intelligence by identifying patterns and trends among different cultures and demographic groups.

Technological advancements are contributing to the creation of assessments that are adaptable to multiple languages and sensitive to cultural differences. However, there is still much progress to be made in ensuring that IQ tests provide a fair and accurate measure of intelligence across diverse populations.

The Debate on General Intelligence Versus Specific Abilities

The question of whether intelligence should be considered as a singular general ability or a collection of specific cognitive skills is a long-standing debate in the field of psychology. Raymond Cattell’s theory posited two types of general intelligence, fluid and crystallized, indicating a more nuanced understanding of cognitive ability.

Challenges to the concept of a single general intelligence have been presented by theories such as L.L. Thurstone’s identification of primary mental abilities and Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. These theories suggest that a comprehensive understanding of intelligence may require a broader view, incorporating a range of cognitive abilities rather than a single general factor.

Innovations in Intelligence Quotient Testing

IQ testing, like any field, has undergone significant innovation over the years. Technological advancements have made IQ tests more accessible and efficient through online platforms, allowing a broader range of people to explore their cognitive capabilities. Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) and adaptive learning algorithms adjust question difficulty based on real-time performance, leading to more precise and efficient IQ assessments.

Artificial Intelligence is being used to automate IQ test scoring processes, improving accuracy and the ability to evaluate complex aspects of intelligence. Gamification elements are being integrated into IQ tests to make the assessment process more engaging and enjoyable, potentially leading to more accurate assessments.

Computerized IQ Testing: A New Frontier

The advent of online IQ testing platforms has brought about a revolution in the field of intelligence testing. These platforms offer the convenience of assessing cognitive abilities from home and are designed to be as reliable as traditional in-person assessments. Remote proctoring technology ensures that online IQ tests maintain high standards of validity and reliability, with measures like identity verification and attention tracking to prevent cheating.

Digital formats of IQ tests are also being developed to accommodate individuals with disabilities, ensuring that tests measure intelligence without being confounded by unrelated limitations. This increased accessibility and inclusivity is a significant step forward in the field of IQ testing.

Ensuring Fairness and Accuracy in Future IQ Assessments

By understanding how motivational and affective processes impact cognitive functioning, future research can improve the fairness and accuracy of IQ tests. Exploring how different types of motivation, such as task versus outcome orientation, and the level of motivational intensity can modulate cognitive function during IQ assessment.

Furthermore, investigating the impact of monitoring frequency, feedback nature, and emotional responses on test performance could provide insights for enhancing the fairness and accuracy of IQ tests. These advancements hold promise for a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of human intelligence.


In the fascinating world of IQ testing, we’ve seen how these assessments measure a range of cognitive abilities, from verbal comprehension to spatial perception. We’ve explored the tools psychologists prefer for IQ assessment, the structure of these tests, and their role in modern psychology. We’ve delved into the challenges of IQ testing, from cultural bias to the debate on general intelligence versus specific abilities.

Lastly, we’ve looked at the exciting innovations in this field, from online platforms to the integration of neurobiological, genetic, and environmental factors. As we continue to refine these tests and deepen our understanding of intelligence, we can look forward to a future where these assessments are more accurate, fair, and inclusive.

Read more

The Definitive Guide To Wonderlic Test NFL

The Neuroscience Of Human Intelligence Differences

The Role Of IQ Tests In Predicting Academic Success Explained

The Ultimate Guide To Wechsler IQ Test