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What Is Considered a High IQ?

Jacob Queen
Jacob Queen

Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a measurement of how well people learn or solve problems and, according to most tests, a high IQ would be anything above about 110. Most experts consider anything above 120 to be very high, and most consider anything above 140 to be in the genius range. IQs between 90 and 110 are usually considered average under most metrics. There are many different kinds of tests used to measure IQ, and they may yield slightly different results with different people because they focus more heavily on different aspects of the thinking process.

According to experts, many people have the wrong idea about what IQ really represents. For example, some people think that anybody who knows many facts and is extremely knowledgeable would have a high IQ. Sometimes this can be true, but not always. IQ simply measures a person's ability to solve problems, deal with new situations, and learn things quickly. Some people become experts in their fields with only an average ability in these areas by applying themselves more thoroughly, and some people with very high IQs never really use them for anything that greatly benefits their lives.

People with high IQ can solve difficult problems.
People with high IQ can solve difficult problems.

IQ tests often challenge people in very different ways, and this can make them produce different results. For example, some tests are timed while others aren't, and someone who scores very high on a test without a time limit might do somewhat worse on the timed test. There are also IQ tests with slightly different focuses; some may focus more on abstract thinking, for example, while others may test mathematical calculation abilities more rigorously. Someone who has a learning disability with math might do very well on every other aspect of an IQ test, and will generally measure much higher on tests with less of a math focus.

The most accurate IQ tests are standardized tests that require proctoring.
The most accurate IQ tests are standardized tests that require proctoring.

Studies have suggested that a person's IQ can be a pretty good predictor for success in life, but it is not generally considered the best indicator. Some tests have been developed that measure a person's aptitude for self-discipline, and these have generally shown this trait may be much more important. Most of the studies on this have been performed on school children, so there is some uncertainty about how well it translates to adult life. There is also some question about whether or not IQ tests fully measure all the important thinking abilities, and some think they fail to capture many important factors of intelligence, such as imagination.

Discussion Comments


It seems to me that many people with high IQ fail at life, and it's not because they are not smart enough, but because they do not feel motivated. I have read that some highly intelligent people can have emotional or social needs that are very unique but which are not being met.

I think it's possible for a smart kid to be put in a gifted class, without his social life being impacted. He can still play with other kids his age when the classes are finished, can he not? Or at recesses. He can still hang out with his regular friends. Or his parents can invite other kids to come to their house to play with him. Throw a party, have a sleepover, have a LAN party. There are lots of ways to provide a high-IQ child with meaningful socializing.


Your IQ doesn't change. Period.


I never considered my IQ of 149 to be anything special, and I never thought of myself as being special. My friends looked at me as being like anyone else - just one of the guys. However, from about age 16 onward the world seemed a lot clearer and sharper to me and I understood things that other people could not.

I realized that I had a strong sense of creativity and I could solve problems in original ways that came to me in flashes of insight. This is the only way I can describe it.

I am not talking about mathematical problems. I hate mathematics. I am talking about solving everyday problems, solving technical problems, solving every type of "unsolvable" problem in original ways - and never being able to understand why other people could not see these solutions.

And yes, school was so unbearably boring. Where did all the gifted teachers go?


I am 42 years old and my IQ just tested at 46. My mother had eight children (no father). I left school at the age of 10 without knowing how to read or write. I was a yard-boy for many years. However, I managed to build my own house and business physically by myself without ever hiring any laborer, mason, electrician, or plumber. I now have five monthly tenants, four fully furnished guestrooms, one bar/lounge and an extreme fantasy room for couples, and am a musician who played for some of the top soca bands in Trinidad and Tobago. I am am also a well sought after humorous calypso artist. That 46 IQ thing: does that make me a loser?


I have an IQ of 145 and or 137, depending on the test that I take. On the timed IQ test which was equal math, science and reading and I got a 145. On solely math, I got a 137.


When I was in third grade I scored at 159. I was put in GT classes which really didn't do me much good. It was pretty much a joke. In high school my grades were pretty abysmal.

I'm 16 now the most recent IQ score was 163. I took the test this year. I read a lot and I'm a pretty good programmer. but now I just smoke pot and do psychedelics. Well, pot is one too, and I read books all day and I hardly have any motivation whatsoever.


Success is our measure of standard measures. Just because you don't measure up based on a test does not indicate that you are not gifted.


I've taken the WISC-3 in early adolescence and got a full scale IQ of 98 under-standard calculation, but because of my variability with the subtest scores, they placed my academic expectation at an IQ of 111. It would be interesting to take another, similar IQ test just to see if my results would come out maybe a little different since I would have a higher recognition of what I was even taking. I thought it was some kind of therapy and the only reason I focused on it was because I was taking stimulant medication. I've lived a lot in my head as a kid and still do.


I don't know what to believe anymore about anything.

I have an IQ of 162 according to a test I took two years ago. I am fascinated by many subjects, such as particle physics and morality, for example. Yet three times I have failed at university to complete a degree because I cannot study sections that I am not interested in. I also cannot learn a skill because manual labor training bores me to death.

I have tried emailing successful people to build rapport, but I can't be that bright because none of them show any interest in me. If IQ or creativity (I am very creative) were a measure of intelligence or future success, then why, at age 32, do I still live on a council estate and work as a toilet cleaner in a care home? Because I am a loser, that's why.


I think one can be a brilliant, slow thinking person..


What Is Considered a high IQ? According to the Wechsler Scale a bright IQ level is an IQ score above 111 - 119.


Being a person with a 150-plus IQ, I can say that school was a bore at best. When you have completed the provided workbook for the year in less than a day, it provides little satisfaction. The "gifted" programs were a joke at best. When you can see the intricacies around you, life tends to lose it's zest. You soon come to realize that everyone around you has the intellectual capabilities of a slightly evolved chimpanzee, and it causes you to have little motivation to apply yourself.

An extended education is just a waste of your life, and menial work will likely never satisfy your desires. And this is why the genius is bound to fail 90 percent of the time. It takes genius to challenge genius, and very rarely does genius ever present itself in the realms of learning. When it does, rarely does it ever encounter true genius because of its rarity.

It is truly a shame that people off my caliber are reduced to menial tasks because of the oversight of the masses. I guess that you are just better off being the dumb sheep of society, rather than the gifted, as you will find easier satisfaction. But what the hell do I know?


Children with extremely high IQ scores don't see their intelligence as "superior," but rather as "different." As a child who grew up highly gifted in a school system that didn't meet my needs, I suffered a great deal. Not having a gifted peer group likely contributed to my developing depression.

In fifth grade, I had a full educational evaluation with a psychologist. I scored a 154 on the WISC-III. I was tested again at 16 on the WAIS, after developing depression, and got a 137.

Now, in my twenties, I know more about the tests and find it fascinating that my score dropped more than a standard deviation. I wonder if, since I am now intellectually stimulated and have a great circle of friends, my score would go back up to the 150s.


When I was younger and if I chose to take the test, I probably would've gotten in a gifted program (based on my current IQ score of about 125 taken at conditions I would describe as almost like being drunk - not that I know), but I think that if I ended up doing so, I'd just end up having a bigger ego (though about now that probably would put me at normal ego but at that time I would've just been plain obnoxious).

Anyway, I have to agree with this article in saying that a high IQ is a good portion of what success you'll potentially have (20 percent is a big deal - don't underestimate it) but of course, other factors like EQ are more important! Then again, I have talent in art (though fairly undeveloped - that's why you need to stay in school) that I can rely on, as well as therapy to help me with getting a social life, that can help me gain success.

Ultimately, I believe that though your parents are good determinants of how successful you'll be, it has to be something you put onto yourself. If you don't want to be successful, then you'll always underestimate yourself! That's what I've learned with my 19 years of life so far, and I hope to learn more lessons as well.


So a person in a third-world country with little or no education would not do well in an IQ test?

With all these gifted children. where are the gifted adults?


A high IQ is really not half so important as life. I tested in high genius as a child and teen. I won scholarships from both grade school and high school, but we were a poor family of 12 kids. Dad died when I was 11 and I became the second mother. Mom refused to sign for scholarship as I was only 16 and needed at home. I spent many years as an intellectual hippie running and traveling. My IQ was wasted.

But more importantly, I never had a work quotient. I prefer books to people. I have no ambition. All a high IQ does is allow you to see info and patterns but it does not tell you how to succeed. Most people in mensa are clerks. To this day I have no tv but thousands of books. I am a social recluse and I prefer it that way.


@BrickBack - I wanted to add that my friend had her daughter tested for a gifted program and she scored above average but not in the gifted range. The little girl was only five at the time so I wonder if she would have scored higher now that she is ten.

They say that it depends on the child’s environment, but I don’t know. My friend said that her daughter spent an hour doing various puzzles and in some areas she did very well but her IQ score fell a little short of the gifted range of 130.

I know that my friend’s daughter is bright and I think that my friend was trying to push her daughter into a gifted program.

I told her that things happen for a reason and she should be happy that she has a very bright little girl. I told her that the IQ scale is only one measurement and it does not tell child’s entire story.

For example, there are many children that are artistically gifted. How do you measure that on an IQ test?


@SauteePan - I know what you mean it is a delicate balance. There are gifted programs in many public schools and I believe that the qualifying number is 130.

I have a friend whose son was a few points shy of the qualifying gifted score but was able to do math about two grade levels above his current grade, so they let him in.

I sometimes think that the IQ test should be one measurement but the academic ability of the child should also be measured because they say that IQ test for children under nine years of age may not be as accurate.


I just wanted to add that IQ scores don’t always measure how successful someone will be. I had a cousin who had an IQ score of 135 and was considered gifted.

His teacher spoke with my aunt and suggested that he be promoted to the next grade because he was not going to be challenged in his current grade. She decided against it because she felt that the social aspects of him being with his friends would benefit him more.

Well as a result, my cousin became an average student and never went to college because he made the connection that learning was boring and not challenging.

It was really a shame because he was so bright and could have done anything with his life. I think that there is always a challenge raising gifted children because intellectually they are so advanced but socially many are not.

It is not easy because sometimes parents don't know what to do.

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    • People with high IQ can solve difficult problems.
      By: photophonie
      People with high IQ can solve difficult problems.
    • The most accurate IQ tests are standardized tests that require proctoring.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      The most accurate IQ tests are standardized tests that require proctoring.
    • IQ tests often challenge people in different ways, which can make test takers produce different results.
      By: AntonioDiaz
      IQ tests often challenge people in different ways, which can make test takers produce different results.
    • IQ tests typically measure skills that can not be taught inside a classroom.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      IQ tests typically measure skills that can not be taught inside a classroom.