How Long Does an IQ Test Take?

By Stephen Lilley

The Basics

The original intelligence quotient (IQ) test was invented in 1912 by German psychologist William Stern. A common misconception is that an IQ test measures a person's intelligence, and that a person with a higher IQ is smarter than a person with a lower IQ. This is false. What an IQ test really measures is a person's ability to take in knowledge and apply it to very specific circumstances. Essentially, an IQ test measures a person's ability to learn, and a person with a higher IQ is more apt at registering new information than a person with a lower score. The average person will score around 100 on a standard IQ test. A person who registers a score of 140 or above is considered a "genius." People who get a score of under 70 are considered to be "feeble-minded."

Time Length

The amount of time it will take to complete an IQ test depends on the version of the test being taken. For an IQ test to be considered official, it has to be given in person by a licensed proctor. This is to ensure that a person is not using any outside materials to help her answer questions contained on the test. These tests tend to take around two to two-and-a-half hours to finish. Certain tests, like the Mensa practice test that can be given online, are given under a time limit of 30 minutes. There are other versions of IQ tests available online that are unofficial and thereby considered to provide inaccurate results. These tests can take the average person anywhere between 10 and 45 minutes to complete.

Parts of a Test

A standard IQ test will feature anywhere between 10 and 14 different sections of questions, each geared toward a particular ability. For example, there may be sections pertaining to comprehension, vocabulary and reasoning.IQ tests are sectioned off this way for two reasons. First, because a person is being tested on abilities rather than skills, the sections are an attempt to accurately measure a person's abilities in specific areas. Second, a detailed breakdown can be provided to a person once the test is graded, showing him what areas he excelled in and which were lacking, if any. It is also thought that if a test is given in this specific format, a person will not be able to study ahead of time, thereby affecting the test's outcome in an unnatural way.

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