IQ testing

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IQ (intelligence quotient) testing is a series of exams used to determine your general intelligence in relation to other people the same age.

Alternative Names

Intelligence testing


Many IQ tests are used today. Whether they measure actual intelligence or simply certain abilities is controversial. IQ tests measure a specific functioning ability and may not accurately assess a person's talents or future potential. Results of any intelligence test may be culturally biased.

The more widely used tests include:

  • Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales
  • Differential Ability Scales
  • Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children.

Functioning abilities that are measured by these tests include language, mathematical, analytical, spatial (for example, reading a map), among others. Each test has its own scoring system.

In general, IQ tests are only one way to measure how well a person functions. Other factors, such as genetics and environment, should be considered.


Tager-Flusberg H, Plesa-Skwerer D. Assessment of intelligence. In: Carey WB, Crocker AC, Coleman WL, Elias ER, Feldman HM. Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2009:chap 81.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 10/31/2014
  • Fred K. Berger, MD, Addiction and Forensic Psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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