7 Popular Types of IQ Tests (2024 Updated)

There are different types of IQ tests, providing in-depth insights into human cognitive abilities, such as Stanford-Binet, WAIS, and Raven's Progressive Matrices.

The field of IQ testing is notably diverse, comprising a range of well-established and widely used types, each tailored with unique characteristics and specific focuses on different aspects of intelligence. These assessments are often designed with particular age groups or purposes in mind. Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), and Raven's Progressive Matrices are the most widely used testing types. While these tests are undoubtedly among the most well-known, the landscape of IQ testing is diverse, featuring a multitude of testing types designed to assess human cognition. Let’s explore some prominent types of IQ tests.

The concept of intelligence has intrigued humanity for centuries, and the quest to measure it has given rise to the development of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests. These assessments aim to quantify cognitive abilities and provide valuable insights into an individual's intellectual potential. Originating in the early 20th century, IQ tests have become indispensable tools in psychological assessment.

Exploring the Different Types of IQ Tests

The three most popular types of IQ Tests are Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), and Raven's Progressive Matrices. Additionally, there are several types of intelligence testing, catering to various assessment needs in both clinical and research settings. Each of these intelligence tests brings unique features and focuses on different aspects of cognitive functioning.

Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales

The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales are a set of intelligence tests designed to measure cognitive abilities and intelligence in individuals, primarily children and adolescents. The test is named after its developers, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon, who created the first version in the IQ test history in France in the early 20th century. The test was later revised and adapted by Lewis Terman at Stanford University, leading to the name "Stanford-Binet."

assessment result using Stanford Binet Intelligence Scales 5th edition

Image of an assessment result using Stanford Binet Intelligence Scales 5th edition (Source: Google)

Key features of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales:

  • Purpose: The primary purpose of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales is to measure intelligence across various age groups. This type of IQ test was originally designed to identify students who might need special assistance in education.
  • Subtests: The test assesses different cognitive facets: general intelligence, verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, visual-spatial processing, quantitative reasoning, and working memory. The combination of these subtests provides a more nuanced understanding of an individual's cognitive profile.
  • Standardized Scoring: The scoring of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales is based on a standardized scale with a mean (average) score of 100. Scores are often reported in terms of Intelligence Quotient (IQ), with scores above 100 indicating above-average intelligence and scores below 100 indicating below-average intelligence.
  • Age range: The Stanford-Binet test has versions for different age groups, starting with early childhood assessments. The current version, as of my last knowledge update in January 2022, is the Fifth Edition (SB5), which covers individuals from 2 to 85+ years old.

Stanford–Binet Fifth Edition (SB5) classification:

IQ range 

Classification 

145-160 

Very gifted or highly advanced 

130-140 

Gifted or advanced 

120-129 

Superior 

110-119 

High average 

90-109 

Average 

80-89 

Low average 

70-79 

Borderline impaired or delayed 

55-69 

Mildly impaired or delayed 

40-54 

Moderately 

(Source: Wikipedia)

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)

Developed by David Wechsler, the WAIS is one of the most widely used intelligence tests for adults. It assesses a broad range of cognitive abilities, including verbal comprehension, working memory, perceptual reasoning, and processing speed. The test provides a Full-Scale IQ score, as well as individual scores for various subtests.

Key features of the WAIS test:

  • Comprehensive Assessment: The WAIS provides a comprehensive evaluation of cognitive abilities, covering four main indices: Verbal Comprehension, Working Memory, Perceptual Reasoning, and Processing Speed.
  • Subtests: It includes a variety of subtests, such as Vocabulary, Similarities, Block Design, Matrix Reasoning, Digit Span, and Symbol Search, each targeting specific cognitive domains.
  • Standardized Scoring: Scores are standardized based on a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15, allowing for easy interpretation and comparison.
  • Age range: Widely used across clinical, educational, and research settings, the WAIS is suitable for assessing intellectual abilities in adults aged 16 to 90.

WAIS classification:

IQ range 

Classification 

130 and above 

Very superior 

120-129 

Superior 

110-119 

High average 

90-109 

Average 

80-89 

Low average 

70-79 

Borderline 

69 and below 

Mentally retarded 

Raven's Progressive Matrices

Raven's Progressive Matrices is a non-verbal intelligence test designed to measure abstract reasoning and the ability to solve problems without relying on language or cultural knowledge. The test presents participants with a series of visual patterns, and individuals must identify the missing piece from multiple-choice options. It is often used to assess fluid intelligence.

Raven's Progressive Matrices

Image of an IQ test question in the style of a Raven's Progressive Matrices

Key features of Raven's Progressive Matrices test

  • Non-Verbal Assessment: Raven's Matrices are renowned for being entirely non-verbal, making them suitable for individuals with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
  • Abstract Reasoning: The test assesses abstract reasoning and the ability to identify patterns and relationships within visual stimuli.
  • Fluid Intelligence: It primarily measures fluid intelligence, reflecting an individual's capacity to solve novel problems independent of prior learning.
  • Culture-Free Nature: Designed to minimize cultural bias, Raven's Matrices aim to provide a fair evaluation of cognitive abilities across different populations.

Raven's Matrices Classification

Grade 

Percentiles 

Grade I or “Intellectually Superior” 

At or above 95th percentile 

Grade II or “Definitely above the average in intellectual Capacity” 

At or above 75th percentile 

Grade II+ 

At or above 90th percentile 

Grade III or “Intellectually Average” 

Between 25th and 75th percentile 

Grade III+ 

Greater than median or 50th percentile 

Grade III- 

Lesser than median 

Grade IV or “Definitely below average intellectual capacity”  

At or below 25th percentile 

Grade IV- 

At or below 10th percentile 

Grade V or “Intellectually Impaired” 

At or below 5th percentile 

Other Types of IQ Tests

Here are four less common types of IQ tests that measure an individual's abilities:

Woodcock-Johnson Tests

The Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities are a comprehensive battery of intelligence tests designed to assess various cognitive abilities in individuals of different ages. The tests cover domains such as verbal comprehension, working memory, visual-spatial processing, and processing speed. The Woodcock-Johnson Tests aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of an individual's cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

Key Features of Woodcock-Johnson Tests:

  • Age Range: The Woodcock-Johnson Tests cover a broad age range, from early childhood to adulthood, with specific versions for different age groups.
  • Comprehensive Battery: The test battery includes assessments of cognitive abilities, academic achievement, and oral language proficiency.
  • Individualized Assessment: It allows for an individualized assessment, addressing specific cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

Cattell Culture Fair Tests (CFIT)

The Cattell Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CFIT) is a set of non-verbal intelligence tests designed to minimize the impact of cultural and linguistic factors on intelligence assessment. Developed by Raymond B. Cattell, a prominent psychologist known for his work in intelligence testing, CFIT aims to provide a fair and accurate evaluation of cognitive abilities across diverse populations.

Key features of the Cattell Culture Fair Intelligence Test

  • Non-verbal: CFIT is a set of non-verbal tests designed to minimize language-related biases.
  • Abstract Tasks: The tests involve abstract reasoning tasks, assessing general intelligence without relying on language skills.
  • Cultural Fairness: By reducing reliance on cultural knowledge, CFIT aims to provide a more culturally fair assessment.
  • Fluid Intelligence Focus: The emphasis is on measuring fluid intelligence, emphasizing problem-solving abilities that are less dependent on prior knowledge.

Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT)

The PIAT is a type of IQ test designed to assess an individual's academic achievement in various subject areas. It provides insights into their strengths and weaknesses in reading, mathematics, and spelling. This test is often used in educational settings to evaluate an individual's progress in academic skills.

Key features of the PIAT test:

  • Academic Achievement: The Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT) is designed to assess an individual's academic achievement in various subject areas, including reading, math, and spelling.
  • Age Range: The test is suitable for a wide age range, allowing for the assessment of academic skills from early childhood to adulthood.
  • Standardized Scoring: Scores are often standardized, providing a basis for comparing an individual's academic performance to that of their peers.

Universal Nonverbal Intelligence 2 (UNIT 2)

UNIT 2 is a non-verbal intelligence test designed to assess cognitive abilities without relying on language skills. It is particularly useful when language differences or cultural considerations are of concern. The test aims to measure general intelligence through non-verbal tasks.

Key features of the UNIT 2 test:

  • Non-Verbal Assessment: UNIT 2 is a non-verbal intelligence test designed to minimize language and cultural biases.
  • Cognitive Domains: The test assesses cognitive abilities such as reasoning, problem-solving, and memory without relying on verbal skills.
  • Applicability: UNIT 2 is suitable for individuals of various cultural and linguistic backgrounds, making it versatile in diverse settings.

Why Need Different IQ tests?

The need for different IQ tests arises due to the diverse nature of human intelligence and the limitations of a one-size-fits-all approach. Various factors contribute to the necessity of different IQ tests:

  • Cognitive Diversity: Individuals possess a wide range of cognitive abilities, and a single test may not adequately capture this diversity. Different tests focus on various aspects of intelligence, such as verbal, non-verbal, and spatial reasoning.
  • Cultural and Linguistic Differences: Cultural and linguistic biases can affect test performance. To ensure fairness, some IQ tests are designed to be culture fair, while others are tailored to specific linguistic backgrounds.
  • Age-Appropriate Assessment: Cognitive abilities evolve with age. Tests like the Stanford-Binet cater to different age groups, providing age-appropriate assessments of intelligence.
  • Specialized Populations: Certain IQ tests, like those designed for children or individuals with learning disabilities, address the unique cognitive characteristics of specific populations.
  • Purpose of Assessment: The reason for conducting an IQ test, whether for educational placement, clinical diagnosis, or research, can influence the choice of a specific test.

Having a variety of IQ tests allows professionals to select the most appropriate tool based on the individual's characteristics and the purpose of the assessment.

Which Type of IQ Test is Best or Most Accurate?

Determining the "best" or most accurate IQ test depends on various factors, including the specific goals of the assessment, the age group being tested, and the cognitive domains of interest. Some well-established and widely recognized IQ tests include the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, and Raven's Progressive Matrices.

Each test has its strengths and limitations. The choice of the "best" test often depends on the context and the characteristics of the individual being assessed. It's crucial to consider factors such as age, cultural background, and the specific cognitive abilities of interest when selecting an IQ test.

Practicing Different Types of IQ Tests Can Improve IQ scores?

Yes, practicing different types of IQ tests can lead to an improvement in scores. However, the extent of improvement may vary. Here are some considerations:

  • Familiarity with Test Format: Practice can enhance familiarity with the format and structure of IQ tests, potentially reducing test anxiety and improving performance.
  • Specific Skill Enhancement: Practice may improve specific cognitive skills assessed by the tests, such as pattern recognition, logical reasoning, or mathematical abilities.
  • Transferable Skills: Skills developed in one type of IQ test may have some transferability to others, but this transfer is not always straightforward.

However, it's essential to note that excessive practice on specific test items may inflate scores and not necessarily reflect a genuine increase in cognitive abilities. Moreover, some IQ tests are designed to minimize the impact of practice by using novel stimuli.

In summary, while different types of IQ tests may contribute to different test performance, the result of IQ scores should consider the context, purpose of the assessment, and potential effects of practice on specific test items.