A reader sent me the following email:
I recently stumbled upon your blog and find it quite fascinating. I’ve been interested in IQ and psychometrics for many years and have taken many online assessments and standardized exams to gauge my own IQ. Interestingly enough, however, it seems that the more tests I take, the less conclusive my IQ range becomes due to high variances in scores.
This is why I’m turning to you, an expert on this topic, to request an estimation. For one, in elementary school I was tested for the gifted program and unfortunately rejected. This tells me that my childhood IQ was beneath 130, which I believe is the cutoff for most school gifted programs.
Yes, but the mere fact that you were tested for gifted suggests you were probably close. Perhaps 125 (U.S. norms).
The reader continues:
However, all the standardized exams that I’ve taken (which you’ve claimed to be valid proxies for IQ) seem to tell a different story. My scores are as follows:
SAT (Taken 2017) – Math 800, Verbal 720
ACT (Taken 2017) – 34 Composite
I was also ranked 6/945 in my high school class for GPA. I figured this might be relevant given the large sample size and the notion that academic performance correlates with IQ. Since my high school was in a lower-middle class area, we can assume a relatively normally distributed sample with an average akin to the American population average. All the students ranked ahead of me were Asian, and I am South Asian myself (Indian).
The reader continues:
I’m also currently an undergraduate (a double major in mathematics and economics) and have been studying for the GRE. My diagnostic score for the GRE, with little to no preparation, was a 157 Verbal and 166 Quantitative. I’ve since improved to a 163 Verbal and 167 Quantitative for my second practice exam.
Averaging across both sittings, you scored 160 V and 167 Q for a composite of 327. Preliminary research suggests this equates to an IQ of 143.
Averaging the SAT, ACT & GRE together, your mean IQ equivalent on college admission tests is 136. Normally I don’t endorse the averaging of tests but these particular tests are so similar that it’s not worth the trouble of considering them different tests.
Meanwhile, your score on an official IQ test was probably around 125.
Given that official IQ tests correlate no more than 0.7 with college admission tests, your score on a composite of both types of tests would be about 134.
I had a couple follow-up questions which the reader answered in another email:
my socioeconomic background is generally lower-middle class. My high school was located in the suburbs but had many students from the nearby urban area…
One caveat to my socioeconomic status, which applies particularly to my situation, was that I grew up in a single-parent household. Both my parents were highly educated (held graduate degrees) but my father unfortunately passed away when I was young.
I’m very sorry to hear that, but at least he lived long enough to pass on his high IQ genes through you.
This obviously influenced my household income.
As for my ethnic background, I come from a Brahmin ancestry. Although I’m not a practicing Hindu, I recognize that this could have played a role in my generally well-educated familial background.