My IQ Test

The one and only IQ test I’ve ever taken was in 9th grade when I was 14.

I don’t specifically remember taking the test itself, but I’m pretty sure it was a multiple choice test, and if there is one thing that I’ve always been good at doing, it’s taking multiple choice tests.

Now I don’t put much stock in the concept of IQ. It’s a number, but what does it really mean? Can answering a bunch of multiple choice questions really tell us anything meaningful about a person’s “intelligence”?

Maybe, to a very limited extent. But it probably tells us more about that person’s education and other opportunities than any innate abilities.

Anyway after our 9th grade class took the Stanford-Binet IQ test, each of us had a private session with Miss Webber, one of our school’s guidance counselors.

The decision had been made not to give out our actual IQ results, but instead to tell us generally where on the hypothetical IQ line our results would put us. This was probably a good idea. Even just knowing that some of us were “average”, some were “above average”, etc., set off some less than gentle ribbing, although I don’t recall it getting out of hand.

In retrospect I wonder what Miss Webber told the kids who had scored “below average”? Let alone “way below average”?

Anyway I looked forward to my sit-down with Miss Webber, she being a faculty member whom I really liked. She informed me that my score had put me in the “high superior” category. This did not surprise me, although I was not exactly sure just what “high superior” meant.

You see, I was always considered one of the “brains” of our class. So of course I expected to do well on the IQ test. Plus at age 14 I had not yet come to realize just how foolish I’m actually capable of being, so I probably had a somewhat inflated sense of my own intellect.

As I said, this was the only IQ test I’ve ever taken and I genuinely don’t know what my score was, nor do I have a clear idea of what Miss Webber meant by “high superior”, but from that day on there has been a number that has stuck in my head, a number that would put me comfortably within the membership requirements for Mensa, an organization I have no particular interest in joining.

Because as Miss Webber was talking to me, she had a notebook open on her desk in front of her, a notebook that had the names and scores of all the kids in our class. It was to this notebook that she referred when she looked up my score. She made no special effort to hide this notebook from my eyes, although it was far enough away that she may have thought I could not read it.

But I saw something. I saw a number. And that number has stuck in my mind all these many years. Did I really see my IQ score? I don’t know and I never will. Even if the number I saw was my IQ at age 14, I’m certain that were I to take a comparable test today, I would not achieve anywhere near the same result.

Which is why I have no plans to ever take another such test.

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