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About the Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.

What is IQ?
Your Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.) is a score that measures your general intelligence (g ) relative to others, with the average IQ set at 100. Like many other biological characteristics such as height, lifespan, etc., differences in IQ scores are shown to follow the natural phenonemon of normal distribution - meaning most people score near the average of 100, and the percentage of people with scores at either extreme progressively decreases. When graphed the distribution of scores resembles a bell-shaped curve, infamously known as the "bell-curve". As the image below depicting the normal distribution (bell-curve) of IQ scores shows:

68% of IQ scores are between 85 and 115 - one standard deviation 95% of IQ scores are between 70 and 130 - two standard deviations

Distribution of IQ Scores

Image Source: MSN Encarta; http://encarta.msn.com/media_461540296/distribution_of_iq_scores.html

From Score to Rank


Similar to other standardized tests such as the SATs and ACTs (whose scores are shown to relate highly with IQ), IQ Test scores are grouped into percentiles based on relative rank. The table below shows the rankings commonly used to profile scores: On the higher end, you can see that statistically:

A score of 120 outperforms 92% of the population. A score of 130 outperforms 98% of the population.

An IQ score of 130+ allows you to join high I.Q. societies such as Mensa - which accepts only the top 2% of scorers.

Intelligence Rank Genius or Near Genius Gifted Superior Intelligence High Intelligence Above Average Average Below Average Low Intelligence Borderline Deficient Mentally Challenged Severely Challenged

IQ Score 145+ 135-144 125-134 115-124 105-114 95-104 85-94 75-84 65-74 55-64 < 55

Percent of Population 0.125% 0.85% 3.96% 11.09% 21.08% 26.11% 21.08% 11.09% 3.96% 0.85% 0.125%

1 in X People 1 in 800 1 in 115 1 in 25 1 in 9 ~1 in 5 ~1 in 4 ~1 in 5 1 in 9 1 in 25 1 in 115 1 in 800


Bell-Curve Rankings These three IQ ranks (85 - 115) represent one standard deviation on the bell-curve. 68% of all scores fall within this range.