A guy named Shaan Patel acquired HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in scholarship money by scoring perfect on his SAT.  What’s interesting about his case is that he claims that when he first took an SAT practice test, he scored 1760 out of 2400 which on the IQ scale, equates to a score of 120 (U.S. white norms) but after studying hard, he raised his score to a perfect 2400 (IQ 155).  That’s equivalent to going up 35 IQ points!

 

 

If his story is true, and assuming he didn’t take the practice SAT at an abnormally young age thus explaining his lower practice score, this suggests the SAT is way too coachable to be considered a good IQ test.  Of course all IQ tests are coachable, but the difference is, official IQ tests are taken cold, because few people have any incentive to get coaching on a private test given by a psychologist for diagnostic reasons.  By contrast, the SAT is supposed to measure coachable skills, but folks like Charles Murray believes that because we have been coached all our lives in reading and math, any additional coaching has diminishing returns and so the SAT functions as a measure of g (general intelligence).

But in Patel’s case, that clearly wasn’t the case.  Perhaps the writing section added in 2005 made the SAT more coachable?  I wonder how much his scores improved when that section is excluded.

Of course, as Charles Murray would argue, anecdotal evidence can be misleading.  For every person who shows such a huge increase, there might be ten others who show almost no increase, or even a decrease.

And even if the SAT is extremely coachable, it could still function as an IQ test if the vast majority of people who take it get similar preparation.

One reason to think the SAT is a valid measure of g is that it’s extremely long (4 hours).  It would be almost impossible to create a comprehensive paper-pencil test that long, on almost any broad subject, that didn’t load substantially on g.