An insider’s guide to boosting your kid’s IQ


Minor quibble - IQ 145 is 99.9 percentile; 150 is more like 1 in 2,500 rarity, or 99.96%.

These tips aren’t about “boosting” your kid’s IQ. They’re about gaming a test that’s supposed to be taken cold through extensive prep work. They render the test results meaningless for diagnostic purposes, and if widely adopted would turn the IQ test into just one more benchmark to be gamed by the well to do.


Or, viewed another way, these are explanations of why we shouldn’t put much stock in IQ scores. The conceit of IQ tests is that they actually tell us how smart someone is. But questions like the shape rotation one used as the image for this on the front page of the blog clearly show Tetris players to be smarter than non-Tetris-players.

All of us are prepped these questions in varying degrees. Personally, I wouldn’t particularly want my kid in any program run by people stupid enough to think that a minimum IQ requirement was a good idea.


It already is. Same as college essays (you think all those kids write those?) or SAT tests or being able to take a non-paying internship at a company your parents work closely with. My company brought in my boss’ daughter as an paid intern for the summer and she has literally no experience or interest in the field, only needed something on her resume.

Too bad for the college student who was interested in my field who that internship should have gone too. Get better parents next time kid.


All very good points. But I do think IQ tests are useful for getting a ball park idea on a kid’s strengths and weaknesses, even though things like playing a lot of tetris will indirectly help out. Taking practice IQ tests will remove even that degree of usefulness.

As for Rosner, he sounds like a big fish in search of a small pond. His initial test of 150 shows that he’s very bright, and his subsequent tests show he’s gotten very good at taking IQ tests.


Long read, but you can skip to the last line if you just want the takeaway.

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“okay kids here are some forged identities now go out there and become roller skating strippers!”

who doesn’t want their kids to be successful! :slight_smile:

maybe i took the wrong parts away from this story…


Boost my kid’s IQ? If it was any higher he would break his conditioning! How do I lower it?


Does happiness (and being smart enough to see that toiling in a regular kind of a job won’t bring enough of it) count as success?

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yes, happiness for yourself and those you love is the highest measure of success in my book.

but now that your question has inspired me to ponder my feelings on the subject more more deeply, i suppose that i also consider contribution towards the betterment of mankind or the world, a form of success even if such contribution doesn’t bring direct happiness to the contributor or even is in contradiction to such happiness, ie. personal sacrifice for a greater cause.

so i suppose i believe in personal success and the greater success of causes bigger then oneself such as the species/world/environment/etc.

i personally don’t think that the traditional social markers of success necessarily indicate success. there are plenty of rich unhappy people who have taken more then they’ve contributed.


Either I’m misreading this or someone missed the obvious explanation: he didn’t actually increase his IQ, he just had several extra years of practice taking the same kinds of IQ tests—tests which were also designed to measure the intelligence of people younger than himself.

If the average person spent several years taking and re-taking tests designed to measure the intelligence of grade school kids they’d probably end up with an IQ score on par with Stephen Hawking’s.

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How to boost your IQ test score: study for it.


As stated above you cannot increase your iq but you can learn the test. For diagnostic purposes an iq test given more than once a year (or so, I forgot the exact period) is invalid.

In Manhatten they give an iq test to get into kindergarten gifted and talented school. They parents test prepped like crazy to where half the kids were gifted and talented. They had to throw out the test.

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Seems like a mix between the obvious (stay healthy) and the ridiculous (emulate smart people). I’m no child-rearing specialist, but I think giving your kid the opportunity to figure out what they’re good at is more productive than prepping them for an intellectual pissing contest.


Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard.

But you can probably successfully argue that IQ isn’t actually anything other than those test results.


Not, iq is real and perhaps the most studied thing in psychometrics. It correllates well with all sort of life outcomes, like educational attainment, life expectancy, wealth etc. It is about half genetic and about half enviroment, both of which really can’t be changed for almost everyone.

Well, I’m guessing from the way you are talking about this that you have a fair bit more knowledge of the research than I do. I’m skeptical of IQ for a number of reasons, and ones that I don’t think could be teased out of data. Then again, someone may have had clever ideas about how to research this stuff. Here are the issues that give me pause about IQ: To be clear, this isn’t an attempt to lecture you about how I Know Better because it sounds like on this topic I probably don’t. If I’m rehashing common criticisms that have well known rebuttals, I’d like to know what I’m doing wrong.

  1. There is no way to write a truly culturally neutral IQ test, but a culturally biased one would still correlate to all the things you talk about if that culture was also discriminated against in other ways. It’s even trickier if instead of culture we talk about neurodiversity. When people use that word they are usually talking about autism spectrum, but there are a lot of differences in the way people think. If a way of thinking is culturally favoured (so people who think that way are typically more successful) and it is also favoured in the way IQ tests are written (which is plausible because they are created through the same cultural bias) then it would create the correlation between IQ results and success. It seems hard to know how much of the correlation between IQ and “life success” (for lack of a better thing to call those various factors collectively) might be attributed to this kind of bias.

  2. People have been gaming IQ tests for a long time. I suppose the number of people doing this is probably small enough that it didn’t make a huge difference in studies that have been conducted, but it seems like a hard-to-impossible thing to control for or tease out of data.

  3. IQ itself has come to have an effect on our lives. The point of these IQ tips is to help children qualify for programs that are gated by IQ. Suppose two identical children take IQ tests and error results in one being given a significantly higher score than the other, allowing them to qualify for a program that offers more individual instruction, more enrichment, contacts with other successful people, and to benefit from the general assumption that if they see things differently it is because they are smart rather than because they don’t understand. How can that kind of feedback be accounted for when examining the impacts of IQ on life success?

  4. Because we know (1) is the case (some IQ tests have been terribly culturally biased in the past) we are trying to make sure the tests are not culturally biased, so if we notice that a certain kind of question gives much better results to people of one culture than another, we presumably change it. But that makes me wonder if IQ tests aren’t good at correlations for the same reason as Sparks’ Gender Test worked (I can’t find a link to this, I’m not sure it exists anymore). Did IQ tests learn to be correlated with certain outcomes without having any underlying connection with those outcomes? Are IQ tests just the perfect mix of likelihood to drown in a swimming pool + consumption of cheese habits to correlate with our future incomes?

Ultimately I’m not sure what IQ is attempting to measure, and maybe that’s my problem. I’ve assumed it is an attempt to get at a kind of raw brain power that can be brought to bear on demand to solve some kind of problem, but no matter what problems we choose they will always take more or less brain power for different people. Basically we are all prepped for IQ tests to a greater or lesser degree, like my shape rotation and Tetris example above. Shape rotation questions show up on IQ tests a lot - some people spend part of their spare time practicing rotating shapes in their heads and others don’t.


Just give them some mental blocks for Xmas…

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You are absolutely not alone. The debate has been raging forever with no end in sight. The Bell Curve kind of ruined it for me.

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