While they’re far from a perfect measure of intelligence, IQ tests are still generally the most used system when it comes to measuring intellectual ability and are used by a range of organizations from Mensa to big businesses. Whether or not you agree with the system itself then, being able to pass an intelligence test is something that can help you to prove yourself to the organizations that matter and to help progress your careers as a result. And the good news is that the skills that are required to pass an IQ test are actually all skills that can be learned. Here we will look at some of the top abilities you need to excel in most intelligence tests and how you can improve in each of them.


Memory is required in a range of tasks that are typically present in IQ tests and is used in a number of tasks that we need to perform in day to day life as well. One of the best examples of this is maths – which often requires good memory for ‘carrying over’ numbers in our mind and remembering the answers when we break tough sums down into smaller operations.

Fortunately there are many ways you can improve your memory, all of which involve simply using it regularly. Simply playing the old memory game where you turn over cards for instance can help you to improve your recall – and this is something that you can practice regularly simply by installing a game on your phone. One of the most popular exercises for improving memory is the ‘n-back test’ which challenges you to remember when sequence repeats itself – with ‘n’ being the number of steps back you have to remember. In other words, if you are doing a 3-back test with numbers and the current number is the same as one that came up three before it, then you would indicate this. You can practice this test for free online, or get a friend to challenge you with some cue cards.

Spatial Awareness and Reasoning

Spatial awareness and reasoning come into play in a lot of the ‘non-verbal reasoning tasks’ included in IQ tests. These will often involve indicating which pattern is the mirror image of another pattern for instance, or indicating what shape would come next in a sequence of shapes.

You can improve special awareness and non-verbal reasoning in a number of ways, but one of the most convenient and fun is actually to play computer games which have actually been shown to help improve both of these areas. Likewise sports can also help, as can challenging yourself with various non-verbal puzzle boxes and games. The latter will help you to teach yourself to think in the appropriate way.

Vocabulary and Spelling

Controversially many IQ tests will include sections designed to test your ability with words including spelling and comprehension. The argument here being that the ability to learn good use of grammar is in itself a measure of intelligence – though obviously dyslexic participants need to be taken into account.

Fortunately, these are things that are relatively easy to improve, and the best and easiest way to do so is simply to read a lot. The more you read the more you will encounter new words and familiarise yourself with the ones you know, and this can help you to pick up better habits for your writing as well as your spelling.

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Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. As well as writing for websites and magazines, he also runs his own sites and has published several books and apps on these topics.

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