What Is a Spatial IQ Test?
To understand what a spatial IQ test, it's important to understand what an IQ test is first, when it was created, and what it was used for.
The IQ Test
So, what is an IQ test? The IQ test was created in 1905 by psychologists Théodore Simon and Alfred Binet. Their goal was to help children who were struggling in school and to determine which children needed specialized attention. This is how the original IQ test was borne.
An IQ test measures your intellectual ability as well as your potential. Most IQ tests are given to children to get an idea of their intellectual potential.
The IQ scale ranges from 70 to above 130. The lower scale, from 70-79, often suggests the person is cognitively impaired. This represents about 6.4% percent of the population. Average intelligence, or average IQ, falls in the range of 90-110, which represents 51.6% of the population. The very gifted fall above 130, which represents just 2% of the population.
The very gifted have what is called a Mensa IQ. Mensa was founded by Dr. Lance Ware and Roland Berrill, and its membership includes those who score better than 98% of test takers - in other words, the top 2%. The Mensa groups are collectively known as Mensa International.
Spatial IQ Tests
Spatial IQ tests don't just measure your intelligence; they measure your spatial reasoning ability or your ability to manipulate 2D and 3D objects visually. The label was created by Howard Gardner and has its roots in the Latin word, "spatium," which means "to occupy space."
Gardner believed that the average IQ tests were limited. Average IQ tests measure intellectual ability, but they do not take into account other types of intelligence, such as emotional intelligence or spatial reasoning. There are nine different types of intelligence that people can be tested for.
Many academics and scientists have argued that a more thorough test, one that includes more than just an average IQ test, would give a fuller picture of a person's intellectual potential. In addition, spatial IQ tests can determine what types of jobs best suit a person. Some jobs require greater spatial reasoning than others. These include jobs in engineering, 3D game design, architecture, and more.
What Kind of Questions Are Asked on Spatial IQ Tests?
On a spatial test, you may be asked to assemble a 2D shape after being given its individual pieces, for example. Harder questions may ask that you transform 2D shapes into a 3D shape. These kinds of questions require that you mentally assemble the pieces and create a finished 3D shape in your mind.
Other types of questions will ask that you mentally rotate pieces or determine what their reflection would look like. You may also be asked to visually cut out 2D pieces and create various patterns.
Here are the main types of questions asked in spatial IQ tests:
- Matching shapes
- Rotating shapes
- Counting shapes
- Reflecting shapes
- Creating 2D and 3D maps
- Creating 3D shapes and cubes
Are Good Scores on Spatial IQ Tests a Predictor of Future Success?
Studies do show that students with strong spatial reasoning abilities will do better in certain areas. A 2009 study showed that teenagers with strong spatial skills tended to excel better in visual arts later in life. A 2014 study showed that middle school students who excelled at mental rotation skills did better in science classes.
Despite the above tests, spatial intelligence often gets ignored in schools. The SAT, for example, simply tests intellectual reasoning, and this test result is one of the determining factors in college applications. Annual performance tests in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools just test Math and English, ignoring spatial skills. This means that if schools are not testing it, they are often not teaching it.
Can You Prepare for Spatial IQ Tests?
If you want to do well on spatial IQ tests, you must not only familiarize yourself with the types of questions asked, but you must also practice. Practicing how to manipulate, rotate, and create 3D structures in your mind takes time. But studies show that improvement is possible after a few weeks of training.
Before you practice, find out what kind of spatial IQ test you will take. Spatial IQ tests are created differently and test different skills. You'll also want to hone in on your weaknesses and then focus solely on improving your weak areas.
Other ways to improve your spatial IQ abilities are to practice visualization techniques, take up drawing, art classes, or photography classes. Some designers with strong spatial awareness skills visualize the final product. This gives them a good idea of where every piece will go.
In conclusion, spatial IQ tests are just as important as the average IQ tests, as they give a more complete measure of people's potential and their capacity for intellectual and artistic growth.