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Why that social media IQ test is inaccurate
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 10:41 AM

Taking a short IQ quiz on social media is fun, but it''s not an accurate way to assess your intelligence. Many people are curious what their IQ scores are, so when a five-minute IQ test circulated on social media, it was no surprise that it spread quickly. These short-and-sweet quizzes seem to pop up every now and then, giving Facebook users the chance to see how smart they are. The only problem is that these quick tests are inaccurate.

IQ scoring
The most recent social media phenomenon awarded an IQ score after the test taker completed a series of 18 questions. People could then post their scores to social media, sharing their perceived intelligence with their friends. However, according to The Mary Sue, the majority of people who took the quiz scored in the 125-134 range. If you know anything about how real IQ tests are scored, you know the majority of people get around 100.

IQ testing is a form of norm-reference test. In essence, the scores are compared to a median score that most people earn. The average intelligence falls around 100. People who are smarter or less smart than average score outside of the normal range. Outlier scores are comparable to a percentage. For instance, a person who scored 124 is estimated to be as intelligent as 6 percent of people.

The quiz alludes to the comparison structure of IQ scores. The quiz tells users how their score compares to the rest of the population. However, it still awards a few too many surprising results.

Testing time
Standard IQ tests, including the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV), take a decent amount of time to complete: anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes. Children's IQ tests may not take quite as long (about 40-60 minutes). Each contain a long list of questions that test a person's cognitive abilities based on things like memory. Completing only a few questions won't provide strong enough evidence for how intelligent the test taker is.

While taking a short quiz to fill up a few minutes can be fun, you shouldn't use the assessments as the end all be all. You'll only get an accurate reading of your IQ score by taking exams that are certified by a qualified psychologist. 

Improving your IQ
The quiz was spread on Facebook as an advertising tool. The company says it can help people improve their IQ. While the quiz provides an inaccurate IQ score, the idea that people can improve their intelligence is actually correct. IQ is fluid, and can be exercised. Children are able to improve their IQ the most, as their minds are still developing and learning. Adults can too, just not to such a great degree. 

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