IQ tests are designed to measure a person’s intelligence compared to the rest of the population. Scoring a 100 in such a test indicates that you are of average intelligence (50 percent of people are more intelligent than you and 50 percent are less so). While you may already know how IQ scores work, you may be wondering what exactly constitutes intelligence, especially if you’ve considered having your child take a test. While the definition of intelligence may seem straightforward, when you talk about it in psychological terms, it becomes more complex. IQ tests were created using questions that exercise certain components of intelligence.
Visual/spatial awareness The mind has to process a vast array of stimuli constantly, one category of which is spatial information. You must be able to understand your relative position in a space. How far away is that object from you? How big is the room? While you need not answer such questions with precise numerals, your mind can estimate. “The room is similar in size to my kitchen,” you might think. Kids have to develop this awareness. They learn spatial ability in part through playing. Kids might have to arrange blocks to fit together, for instance. Studies have shown that the video game Tetris, in which players must rotate virtual blocks to form a wall, helps improve spatial awareness. Memory ability Theoretically speaking, your ability to learn stems from being able to memorize information. As your children sit in class, they must first store the lesson in their short-term memory, then develop connections through homework or activities to make the knowledge concrete in the long-term memory center of their brains. IQ tests may ask your child to look at a list briefly, then recall what was on it. Analytical/mathematical Being able to analyze information is an important part of intelligence, and this ability is generally measured through mathematical questions. Seeing patterns, forming sequences and using basic math skills all help measure how well your child’s mind can analyze data. Tests also use math questions to exercise the test taker’s logic. Language capabilities Language-related questions also measure analytical skills. Your children must learn to form sentences in school, an activity that requires forming a logical sequence. An IQ test with language questions may present words that are missing letters. Your child will have to find and note such incomplete words, which are typically hidden within a paragraph.