Clarifying the Difference between Intelligence and IQ

In life, there are things that are commonly mistaken to mean the same. This is the case for…

In life, there are things that are commonly mistaken to mean the same. This is the case for intelligence and IQ, or intelligence quotient. The name IQ is quite a misnomer since it does not measure a person’s intelligence per se. Generally speaking, intelligence refers to the innate ability of a person to learn things, think of solutions to problems and adjust to challenging situations. IQ, on the other hand, is a systematized way to quantify a person’s intelligence level based on pre-defined questions and problems. There are a lot of external factors that could affect a person’s IQ score without really affecting someone’s intelligence.



IQ is determined by a person’s ability to correctly answer a set of questions within a specified period of time. Thus, apart from the actual level of intelligence that a person has, his IQ score will be affected by his ability to read comprehensively. Education is something that is not enjoyed by everyone, especially those that are living in less developed areas. Based on this example, an intelligent person who did not had the privilege to be taught how to read will score poorly in an IQ exam compared to someone who was exposed to formal education since he was 5 years old. Real intelligence can be determined by how a person reacts to things that happen in his life and how well he is able to adjust to certain situations.


Measuring Intelligence

IQ is measured based on written examination alone. However, a person’s intelligence can be manifested in all sorts of ways and manners. A person may not achieve a high IQ score but be able to write a song that is worthy of a Grammy nomination. In history, a lot of high school dropouts were able to come up with bright ideas that have greatly improved the lives of a lot of people. We also have to add to the fact that in real-life situations and problems, a high IQ score will not be relevant.


Practical Applications

For years, measuring one’s IQ through written examinations has been practiced worldwide. It has been very helpful in boosting one’s confidence level about himself and can be used to motivate a person to strive harder in life and become successful. However, having a low IQ score should not work the other way around. Having a low IQ score may simply mean that a person is more intelligent in the real sense of the word – he is more capable of surviving and fending for himself in the real world.


IQ is only one of the various ways to measure a person’s level of intelligence. Intelligence is multi-faceted and can be exhibited through a lot of means. Knowing one’s IQ score is something that may be fun and exciting, and can be used to impress future employers or acquaintances. However, one should be completely aware that real intelligence is not sealed by someone’s IQ score. A person’s intelligence can only be measured by how a person aims to become successful and how a person deals with obstacles and problems along the way.

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