Last Friday I went and took a proper IQ test issued by mensa, because I was sick and tired of all those online tests of all weights and sizes telling me how bloody smart I was. Time to find out for real I thought.
The Mensa IQ test deals away with the largest issue IQ tests have in general - that they're very knowledge and not very intelligence centric. They demand you know anything from maths to language skills and whatnot. While I do agree that the ability to do maths in one's head is a great marker of intelligence, it doesn't mean someone not good with numbers isn't just as smart, but in a different way. The way Mensa does this is by issuing a test based solely on numbers and pattern recognition, arguably the most cross-platform, if you will, way of finding somebody's intelligence.
The test itself seemed surprisingly easy and I even managed to finish ahead of time, how much of what I'd done was correct and the rank of my IQ remain an issue to be found out after mensa's psychologist evaluates the tests and sends out the scores.
There is a very important reason as to why I cannot say that hey, the test was easy, I must've gotten a big score. And that reason is lateral thinking. I'm not going to brag about being a very huge or very awesome lateral thinker, but that's something very difficult to put a value on. How do you know you're a lateral thinker and not simply stupid? You can't and this is where the image-pattern IQ test fails.
See the thing with patterns is that ok in many cases the pattern is very obvious and pretty much everyone finds the same one. But as soon as you get into very complex transformations different smart people will find different kinds of patterns in the sample set. This could, of course, be solved by giving a sample set larger than eight (for example when I'm finding a pattern during programming I usually work with sample sets of hundreds). That would introduce a whole bunch of other problems of course, namely the speed factor of processing a large sample set.
All in all, I believe the IQ test I was given to be the best possible compromise, but it has a great potential for giving a wrong score.
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