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Can You Increase Your IQ Over Time?TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017 08:45 AM

IQ tests judge general intelligence, a natural factor, but you can improve scores with practice. Intelligence is something of a mystery. It's not entirely understood why some individuals are born with high intellect and a penchant for learning while others have to work hard to retain information. When we see gifted kids, many adults are prone to wondering if they can gain smarts or if they had to be born with intelligence.

Can you improve your IQ?

For many years, scientists have wondered and argued about whether you can alter your intelligence. Slate reported that researchers have only one real conclusion: While you may not be able to alter your intelligence levels, you can adjust the scores on IQ tests. How? With a little practice. The only trouble is that while you may earn a higher score on a test, that doesn't mean you're smarter. Instead, it shows you are better able to take the specific test.
How is this helpful? This information can provide a look into the human brain and may prove useful for young students who are coming up on taking the SAT, ACT or other college entrance exams.

Gifted kids and IQs

Children who are gifted are born with high IQs. That does not automatically mean they will excel in school and move on to postsecondary education without a hitch. Nor are they guaranteed to take on a challenging profession that requires their exemplary smarts. So, what does a high IQ mean? Think of it as potential. While gifted kids have the ability to become leading members of society, they also may not use their smarts entirely.
Without the proper stimulation and challenges in early schooling years, gifted kids can become bored and act out in class. This may lead to miscommunication, reprimands for misbehavior and negative associations between the student and school. Bad experiences as a kid can lead these gifted students to not use their intellect and opt out of further schooling because they don't want to relive past academic failures.

Improving IQ test scores

While people may not be able to alter their actual IQ, they can improve their intelligence test scores. Students may want to better their test-taking abilities for State Standards assessments, for example, or the SAT or ACT. If you have gifted kids who will soon be taking standardized exams or college entrance tests, consider offering them these tips:

1. Use memory games

Because these tests only require students to remember certain information for a short period, memory games can prove beneficial. On the SAT, for instance, students may make flashcards of vocabulary words. Place the term on one side and the definition on the other. So long as the student plays the game many times, she may greatly improve understanding and memorization of the word. Humans can etch just about anything into their brains for long enough to take a test, from difficult algorithms to formulas, antonyms and scientific terms.

2. Try acronyms 

Remember all those silly mnemonic devices you learned in high school, like "please excuse my dear aunt Mary?" While they may seem goofy, acronyms can be seriously helpful in remembering longer bits of information. Think off the top of your head, can you name all the planets? Most people can't, especially not in order from the sun. With the help of the acronym "my very educated mother just served us nine pizzas," you can quickly run through the letters to name every planet (and poor Pluto). Encourage your kids to use acronyms when they need to recall longer phrases or pieces of info.

3. Stop stressing

Your working memory is affected by stress levels. Kids who are about to take the SAT are all amped up about doing well because they want to get into great colleges and move on to the professions of their choice. This can have a snowball effect, with students' nerves minimizing their brain function and potentially decreasing their scores. Make sure your gifted children get eight or so hours of sleep the night before a test. Share that taking deep breaths right before the exam begins can help them get oxygen to the brain and therefore encourage success.


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