MONDAY, JANUARY 16, 2017 00:00 AM
An individual's IQ is not set in stone. In fact, you can take steps to improve your IQ over time with some learning opportunities and activities. If you want to increase your IQ, here are some ways to do so:
Try new things
The phrase, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is entirely false. In fact, acquiring new knowledge and skills is a crucial step towards upping your overall IQ. One way to do this is to take on a language you have never tried before. Start by studying vocabulary words and learning beginning phrases like, "Where is the bathroom?" and "My name is ____." You could even learn a language with your family! It is a great way for kids to improve their IQs as well as work on English skills.
Gaining a new physical skill can also bump up your IQ. While you may not think beginning to play soccer, for example, can help your smarts, the game is not just about running and kicking. Sports teach physical skills but also improve critical thinking, logical reasoning and cooperation.
Playing an instrument can also prove useful. Even if you have never looked at a music note in your life, beginning to learn now may help you improve cognitive thinking and memory. Try a woodwind instrument like the flute or saxophone, or go for a stringed one such as the guitar or ukulele. Musical knowledge and skills only improve through practice, so don't learn one chord and expect your IQ to rise. Instead, dedicate a period of time each day to learn new chords and notes and practice songs.
A study at Emory University noted that reading novels can improve overall brain function and connectivity. Reading fiction can help people mentally put themselves in the place of the protagonist as the character navigates his world. The very act of understanding the English language as you read also improves IQ, especially if you read books that include words you do not yet know. That does not mean you should go out and try to read the dictionary or an encyclopedia from cover to cover. Instead, read books at your reading level, and slowly work your way up to more difficult books. Use context clues in the sentence around words you do not know to guess what they mean. Then, compare your thoughts with the actual definition. This is a great way to learn - you will be more likely to remember new words if you have first guessed their meaning as you will recall how right or totally wrong you were.
Taking time to be creative can benefit people as artistic endeavors are connected to the more logical thinking left side of the brain. An article in Scientific American noted that creative thinking tends to involve switching from conventional and unconventional thought, or one side of the brain to the other. Let's say that you decide to use child's building toys to create a castle, for example. You are paying attention to the color schemes to keep your architecture looking uniform while also making some areas, like turrets and the mote, stand out. This is artistic. You are also using math to ensure the sides are symmetrical as you select pieces and connectors. You are gaining problem-solving skills as well as learning how to innovate, both crucial parts of higher IQs.
Try this little experiment: Take an online IQ test at home. Write down your score. Then, partake in some high-intensity exercise like running, rowing or playing a game of soccer. Immediately after, take another IQ test. You may be surprised to learn that you earn a better score after exercising. Many studies state that post-workout brains are flooded with hormones that can improve memory and cognitive functioning. The hormones are potentially beneficial for the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory and learning. Regular exercise can improve neuron growth, reducing stress, depression and anxiety which can all negatively impact your IQ and test-taking practices.
Try practice tests
Professor Alan S. Kaufman told Men's Health magazine that taking practice IQ tests can raise your score by up to two full points. Why does this help? Tests are often not just about the subject matter found in the questions. Instead, the actual act of taking the exam is also assessed. Taking practice versions of IQ tests can better prepare you for future tries as you will know what to expect and prepare for.
Also be sure that you have eaten a high-fiber meal within an hour or two of taking an IQ test. This will provide energy so you are at the top of your game and ready to show your real IQ.