IQ, abbreviated for Intelligence Quotient, is a measure of a person’s intelligence or their reasoning ability. The score is derived from a standard test that comprises a series of subtests aimed at assessing an individual's reasoning and intelligence to gauge their ability for problem-solving and understanding concepts.
The term IQ is used to refer to a score on the test conducted for assessing the individuals' cognitive reasoning and problem-solving capability. The tests have a standardized scale, whereby 100 is the median score, and the average ranges are between 115-85 (add and subtract 15 from the median). If someone scores over 130 or so, they are considered to be exceptionally intelligent, whereas if someone gets a score below 70, it indicates slowed mental faculties, even retardation.
Originally, IQ tests were developed to assess cognitive abilities in children, whereby children were scored relative to their peers in the same age groups. Today, the use of these tests has become widespread in various areas, including recruitment in various professions and the military and assessing children in institutions to single out the gifted ones to provide them with additional aid and support for honing their skills and aptitude.
While the IQ tests are designed to measure general problem solving and cognition skills, they do this by covering four specific areas including, command over language, memory, mathematical skills, i.e. the ability to use logic to solve problems and spatial ability that pertains to the capability to comprehend manipulated shapes.
To ensure that the test is not inclined towards one skill, the questions included in the tests cater to the various skillsets mentioned above so that individuals can be assessed in all aspects.
Can IQ be increased?
IQ may not be increased by learning new information, but individuals can improve their capability to learn and their cognitive skills through brain-stimulating exercises and learning new skills. Research has shown that children who receive a nurturing environment and learning stimulation during their infancy and toddlerhood possess sharper cognitive skills and high IQ scores in their school years.
It must also be noted that IQ can indicate success in education and professional life; it is not the standard for measuring all aspects of intellect. It does not cater to aspects like practical and creative skills and may not be an accurate predictor of success in such areas.