The Current Uses and Potential Synergies of Combining IQ Tests and the ACT

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Are you interested in the correlation between an individual’s ACT score and IQ? Do these two have any relationship at all? If so, is it possible for a student (or anyone else) with a moderate IQ to achieve a high ACT score by effort?

What’s an IQ and What Does IQ Test Actually Measure?

The term “IQ” stands for “Intelligence Quota”, a stand-in figure that can be used to determine one’s position on the widely used scale used to estimate an individual’s intellect based on the average population. 

The typical range for an IQ scale is 55 at the lower end and 145 at the upper end. On either end of the extraordinary/unextraordinary intellect spectrum, there exist outliers.

An intelligence quotient (IQ) test, offline or online prepared by IQ International, offers a rough assessment of a person’s intelligence. It’s designed to measure cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, and reasoning in different areas. When we use the term “rough assessment”, we keep two things in mind:

  • If a child receives a high score, say 133, on an IQ test when they are very young, this may be only an approximation of where their IQ will fall in general. If they were to retake the test later in life, once they had fully developed their ability to reason, we might observe a score that’s higher accuracy but still falls within the same predicted range as when they were younger.
  • This assessment will show a potential level of intelligence that could be used or not. This means that if someone has a very high score but ignores their intellect in many ways, someone else who had a lower score in the past but had trained and improved his intellect may be now smarter than the prior person.

What’s an ACT, and What Does an ACT Test Actually Measure?

The ACT (American College Testing) is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States and consists of four multiple-choice exams: science, reading, math, and English. 

There’s also an optional writing examination. These assessments are intended to gauge the competencies that are most crucial for success in higher education than secondary and are learned in secondary school. 

To some extent, it’s intended to assess reasoning across several domains, problem-solving techniques, and cognitive capacities, just like an IQ test.  

IQ and ACT Score Relationship

Since both IQ and ACT are meant to assess cognitive ability, problem-solving techniques, and reasoning in various contexts, there’s a slight connection between the two. It’s crucial to keep in mind that these exams measure many facets of intellect, and there may not be a perfect correlation between them.

Do ACT results indicate intelligence in general? This is a challenging subject because intelligence comes in a wide variety of forms. Great ACT scores can come from both a high level of intrinsic intelligence and a quality education, but they can also come from a very average inherent intelligence and a lot of preparation. 

Unlike results from a standard IQ exam, ACT scores vary significantly depending on students’ preparation levels. 

ACT scores aren’t necessarily a reliable indicator of intellect in the conventional sense because preparation can raise one’s score. Hard work and devotion can help a student with an average IQ to score well on the ACT. 

Subject-specific knowledge and test-taking techniques have a greater impact on ACT results than on IQ, which is a composite of verbal, mathematical, and spatial intelligence. 

Regardless of IQ, focused preparation, regular practice, knowledge of test-taking techniques, and development of time-management abilities can all greatly enhance an individual’s success on the ACT. Because of this, it’s difficult to draw firm conclusions on whether the ACT is a reliable indicator of intrinsic intelligence or not. 

Various attributes are measured for different individuals based on how their scores were determined.

Additionally, the ACT isn’t as comparable to conventional IQ testing as the SAT. There are traces of the original SAT format, which was adapted from an IQ test, in the current version. 

Conversely, the ACT was created as a substitute for the SAT. Its objective wasn’t merely to assess general cognitive reasoning abilities, but also topics covered in the classroom. Because of this, the ACT is typically a simpler exam.

Like the SAT, the ACT has issues with social injustices that result in low test scores for underprivileged pupils, irrespective of their “intelligence”. 

This discrepancy suggests that the assertion that the ACT is a reliable indicator of a student’s IQ is accompanied by other serious problems. When two kids with similar intelligence, but different high school experiences take the ACT, their results could range greatly. 


ACT results don’t indicate a person’s IQ or likelihood of success in life.

The ACT should be viewed by students as a performance, like a track meet, a basketball championship game, or a piano recital. 

Not taking an IQ exam in and of itself isn’t the greatest approach to getting better on the ACT; practice, practice, practice is. If you do that often enough, pupils will acquire the four skills that affect exam performance.