Understanding IQ: What Constitutes a Good Score?

In the quest to comprehend human intelligence, one widely utilized metric stands out: the Intelligence Quotient or IQ score. But what exactly constitutes a good IQ score? This comprehensive guide seeks to shed light on this often-misunderstood concept.

Deciphering the Intelligence Quotient

The Intelligence Quotient, commonly known as the IQ, is a standardized measure used to assess an individual’s mental agility relative to a peer group. The concept of IQ emerged in the early 20th century, thanks to the pioneering work of French psychologist Alfred Binet. The IQ score provides a quantifiable means of evaluating cognitive capacity and problem-solving abilities, which are integral components of intelligence.

The IQ Scale: A Measure of Intelligence

In the world of IQ testing, the score of 100 is considered the theoretical average. This is not a random choice; IQ scores are crafted to fit a bell curve, or a Gaussian distribution, with the highest number of people achieving scores around the average.

The IQ scale is typically defined as follows:

  • An IQ score between 90 and 109 is considered average or normal intelligence.
  • A score above 110 is deemed to be superior or above average.
  • Scores over 140 are indicative of genius or near-genius levels of intelligence.
  • On the other hand, scores below 70 are classified as below average.

How Is an IQ Score Determined?

There are several intelligence tests utilized to measure an individual’s IQ. The most popular ones include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. These tests assess various aspects of mental ability and provide a comparative score based on the performance of others in the same age group.

The Significance of IQ Scores

The IQ score is not merely a reflection of an individual’s raw mental prowess. It also offers valuable insights into other aspects of cognition and potential. For instance, a high IQ score often correlates with superior problem-solving abilities, faster learning rates, and heightened adaptability to new situations.

A Closer Look at IQ Scores By Age

To better understand what constitutes a good IQ score, it’s essential to examine the average IQ scores for different age groups.

  • 16-17 year-olds average around 108.
  • For adults between 18 and 19 years, the average is slightly lower at 105.
  • The average score for individuals between 20 and 24 years is around 99.
  • For the 24-34 years age group, the average drops further to 97.
  • The average for people between 35 and 44 years is approximately 101.
  • For individuals between 45 and 54 years, the average IQ score rises to 106.
  • The highest average score for people under 64 is attained by those aged between 55 and 64, who achieve an average of 109 on the IQ scale.
  • People aged 65 to 69 have an average IQ score of 114, placing them in the superior intelligence or above-average category. Those between 70 and 74 years who are tested for IQ achieve even higher average scores, around 119.

The Global Perspective: IQ Scores Across the World

It’s intriguing to note that IQ scores often reflect a nation’s emphasis on education and literacy. Countries that prioritize quality education often boast higher average IQ scores. A few countries with the highest average IQ scores include Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Belarus, Finland, Liechtenstein, and Germany.

The Potential to Boost Your IQ

While genetic predisposition plays a significant role in determining an individual’s IQ, it’s not the sole determinant. Certain activities, such as memory training and executive control activities, can help enhance IQ scores. This includes games like Sudoku, crosswords, chess, and Pictionary. Learning new languages, playing musical instruments, and increasing reading habits can also contribute to an improved IQ.

IQ and Life Success: A Correlation or a Causation?

Contrary to popular belief, a high IQ score doesn’t guarantee success in life. While individuals with high IQs tend to perform better in conventional measures of success, including academia and economic achievements, other factors also play significant roles. These include personality traits, emotional intelligence, social skills, education, hard work, and even a dash of good luck.


In conclusion, the question of what constitutes a good IQ score is not a simple one. IQ scores are a measure of cognitive ability and problem-solving skills, but they do not account for personal qualities like creativity, motivation, or resilience, which can significantly influence an individual’s life and career. Thus, while it’s beneficial to understand the concept of IQ and its measurements, it’s also crucial to remember that intelligence is a multidimensional attribute, and IQ is just one facet of it.