Take the "Ultimate Intelligence Test" to Find out if You're Ultimately Smart

By Jennifer Welsh | October 28, 2010 5:54 pm

geniusThere are many different kinds of intelligent. Are you book smart? Street smart? Good at school and test-taking smart? Good at schmoozing your way out of deadlines and into jobs smart? Better at writing or math?

One new intelligence test, put online today by New Scientist and the Discovery Channel, claims to be the best test of overall smarts. The test was designed by neuropsychologist Adrian Owen to test 12 different “pillars” of wisdom, and to work every part of your mind.

From Owen’s article about the test for New Scientist:

Like many researchers before us, we began by looking for the smallest number of tests that could cover the broadest range of cognitive skills that are believed to contribute to intelligence, from memory to planning.

But we went one step further. Thanks to recent work with brain scanners, we could make sure that the tests involved as much of the brain as possible – from the outer layers, responsible for higher thought, to deeper-lying structures such as the hippocampus, which is involved in memory.

As an intrepid blogger, I went ahead and took the test. Some of the exercises resembled classic games like “Memory” (to test paired associates learning, you’re asked to remember what items are hidden where) and “Simon” (to test working memory, you have to remember sequences). Others are more similar to cognitive psychology tests like the Stroop test (which tests focused attention), and there are also some puzzle-solving tests (to test your ability to plan for the future).

The 12 tests are designed to test 12 different aspects of working memory, reasoning, focus, and planning. I did the worst on the “verbal working memory” test, which was reading a string of numbers and typing it in from memory. This actually makes sense, because I’ve always known myself to be a physical learner, and highlight or write down everything I hear that I need to remember. I wonder if there is a correlation there?

You can only take the test once, so make sure to do some mental push-ups first before diving in. Then come back here and tell us what you thought! Also, visit www.cambridgebrainsciences.com to play additional games, to train your brain, and to test your 12 pillars.

Related content:
DISCOVER: Teen Genius: 5 Promising Scientists Under 20
DISCOVER: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Genius
The Intersection: ‘Are Men Smarter Than Women?‘ The Verdict
Gene Expression: More exercise = more I.Q.?
Not Exactly Rocket Science: Single memory training task improves overall problem-solving intelligence

Image: Flickr/B Rosen

CATEGORIZED UNDER: What’s Inside Your Brain?
  • Rich W

    I found some of the questions really bad. For example, the one where you had to determine what was different – I think the instructions were really poor and I didn’t even know what they were asking after the first few obvious ones. Also, the test where there was a shape on the right and two overlapping shapes on the left — often these shapes were different only very very slight in scale and that’s too difficult to tell on a computer monitor. If they’re trying to see if you can work out if two shapes share the same “shape”, tiny tweaks in scale shouldn’t matter. On the other hand, I liked the “hide the token” puzzle!

  • AGT

    How long does it take? Hate to be interrupted and screw up the results.

  • Rich W

    You can pause between each of the 12 tests, each taking ~3 minutes.

  • aurorablue

    wasn’t sure how to move on to the next token puzzle so would click the same one twice :(

  • Maria A.

    This test was great! Very intensive at some points (for me anyway). I did the worst on the “double trouble” reasoning test. The red and the greed, the green and the red, ugh!

  • Abey

    The test was great BUT the result interpretation is confusing to me. It says I am in the top 80% for something, but my score is smaller than the mean value. Please help me to understand the result.

  • Jennifer Welsh

    Hey all,

    I’m so glad to hear you are taking the test. I cheated and took it twice, essentially for the same reason Rich and aurorablue mentioned — not fully understanding the tests when taking them the first time.

    For some tests I saw very (if not exactly) similar results, but some of them changed significantly (surprisingly some for the worse!)

    @Abey, The result they give you is the percentage of the population that scores better on that test than you. So an 80% means you score better than 20% of the population. (Don’t worry, I got a 83.7% on the Verbal working memory test).

    If you go to http://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com there are more tests to take, and if you sign up they will track your scores over time. The website seemed a bit bogged down yesterday with excess traffic, but hopefully that gets better.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!


  • AH1

    This is odd, I actually scored the highest on the Verbal Working Memory test. Probably it was the attempts at memorizing Pi and knowing how to count in more than one language that helped!

  • Solitha

    Nothing really surprising to me, although there were a couple of bobbles in my run…

    For one thing, I didn’t know whether to say I’m right-handed or left. I favor my left hand, apparently naturally, but it seems that somewhere along the way I was “taught” to be right instead. I’ve come out rather a mix.

    Also, the test that displayed digits one at a time in a string, then had you re-enter the string… doesn’t account for the possibility you simply hit the wrong key.

    Sadly, the run I did was apparently not saved.

  • Aishwarya

    One flaw in the test for me was the revelation of the “upper limit” of the levels. So when I found myself having done 3/4th of the level, I naturally got rash and made quite a few mistakes. On the other hand, when I found myself at an 8 or 9 and saw the limit as 25, I got nervous and slowed down even at the easy questions.

    The results were somewhat surprising as well. I got a top 31.6% in verbal reasoning, whereas I got just one question wrong there, and that because of a mistaken click. Apparently everyone does this quick and right. Now my pride at being a language hound is squashed.

    It also seems contradictory to me that Working Memory placed me at a top 69.8% whereas my attention – Focused Attention (13.7%) Visual Attention (17.8%) seem to be high. Is that indicative of STM loss? Cuz then it’s brilliant. My short term memory is proven…? Fermat’s Last Theorem? Yea, got proven.

  • Izkata

    5/12, the Working Memory Test, is bugged – on the first one, I clicked too fast and it didn’t register what I selected, marking it wrong instead of right. If you take your time and pause after each selection, it works right. (Despite that I managed to recover and make the top 1% for it)

    Oh, and on 2/12, the Verbal Reasoning test, I got 86.6%, worse than either of you. It was the negative statements that confused me. (I guess that makes sense, though, as I’m a programmer – everything is direct, and those types of negative sentences don’t exist)


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

See More

Collapse bottom bar