Can You Change Your IQ? And If So, How Do You Raise It?

Isaiah McCall

“People who boast about their IQ are losers.” — Stephen Hawking

Hawking has a point — nobody likes a sore winner. That being said, the intelligent quotient (IQ) test is one of the most valid and reliable psychometrics ever created.

According to the mental health website verywellmind: “An IQ test is an assessment that measures a range of cognitive abilities and provides a score that is intended to serve as a measure of an individual’s intellectual abilities and potential.”

Research has shown that high IQ leads to more money, increased success, and a longer healthier life in general. The historic Terman study detailed the benefits of high IQ:

  • The average income of Terman’s subjects in 1955 was an impressive $33,000 compared to a national average of $5,000.
  • Two-thirds had earned college degrees, while a large number had gone on to attain post-graduate and professional degrees. Many of these had become doctors, lawyers, business executives, and scientists.

In case you were wondering, the average IQ score is 100. And anything above 140 is considered a high or genius-level IQ. The U.S. military helps us indicate low IQ, as the armed forces won’t accept anyone with a score of less than 83.

Why? Because decades of psychometric research revealed to them that anyone with an IQ of 83 or less can only serve as a liability to the military.

Interestingly enough, 10 percent of the U.S. population has an IQ lower than 83.

All this being said, is IQ fixed? And what are your odds of increasing yours over the course of a lifetime?

Common Questions That Determine IQ

Before we jump into the flux (or lack thereof) of IQ, let’s talk about the infamous test itself.

There are several types of IQ tests, but for the most part, they all boil down to a series of complex questions.

Here are a few typical IQ questions (Don’t hurt yourself now):

  1. A bat and a ball together cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

2. Which of the following can be arranged into a 5-letter English word?

  • a. H R G S T
  • b. R I L S A
  • c. T O O M T
  • d. W Q R G S

3. What Shape would come next in the sequence?

In case you struggled, or if you didn’t find out that the answer to No. 1 was “5 cents,” not 10 (the bat costs $1 more than the bat and the total is $1.10; the bat costs $1.05) or that the answer to No. 2 was both b and c, don’t worry.

Lucky for you, and all the non-geniuses of the world, there’s good news when it comes to increasing your intelligence quotient.

The Truth About IQ

Studies show that most of our intelligence is genetic. However, IQ can be increased and there seems to be one surefire way to do it:

“Just do it.” — Nike

Yes, no jokes, nothing up my sleeves, this is the foolproof method to hacking your IQ — “just doing it.” Ok, more specifically, doing activities such as playing music, exercising, reading, learning, adventuring, exploring— all of it, JUST DO IT!

Exercise, for instance, boosts neuroplasticity, which is the process of your brain making connections and creating new neurons.

Want to learn a new language? Why not exercise? A 2017 study conducted by the University of Zurich in Switzerland revealed the process of learning a new language is expedited by physical exercise.

The study looked at college-aged Chinese men and women who were trying to learn English. Those who rode exercise bikes at a gentle pace outperformed those in vocabulary tests who did no exercise at all.

Musicians also have higher IQs.

Vanderbilt University psychologists Crystal Gibson, Bradley Folley, and Sohee Park found that professionally trained musicians use both the left and the right sides of their frontal cortex more heavily than the average person.

“We studied musicians because creative thinking is part of their daily experience, said Folley in regards to the study. We found that there were qualitative differences in the types of answers they gave to problems and in their associated brain activity.”

IQ can even be changed with something as simple as aging.

In another study, “33 British students were given IQ tests and brain scans at ages 12 to 16 and again about four years later by researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London; 9% of the students showed a significant change of 15 points or more in IQ scores,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

IQ is one of the greatest indicators of success. But as successful people like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, or Ralph Lauren will often tell you, solely relying on talent, gifts, or genetics can only get you so far before hard work catches up.

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” — Émile Zola

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USA Today Reporter and Ultramarathoner. I write about Cryptocurrency, Fitness Hacks, and Greek Philosophy. Also a diehard Trekkie |

Jersey City, NJ

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