How Intelligence Test Types Can Help Inform Your Career

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 1, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The intelligence quotient, also known as IQ, is a measure of an individual's ability to reason and think critically using information and logic. Numerous informative and accurate standardized IQ tests can communicate your intellectual abilities and strengths. If you take the time to learn more about these test types, you could discover more about your own cognitive abilities and apply these results to your career. In this article, we discuss the most commonly administered intelligence test types and review different models of intelligence for you to explore.

Intelligence test types

Intelligence test types often vary in what they measure and what their results reveal about the depth and diversity of human intelligence. Typically, IQ tests measure reasoning and critical thinking capabilities, but other tests take more abstract measures such as creativity into account. Here's a summary of each type and what it reveals about the uniqueness of thinking patterns:

Wechsler adult and children's intelligence scale

The Weschler intelligence scale is one of the most common IQ tests for both children and adults. This test classifies and distinguishes four different measures of perceptual reasoning, processing speed, verbal comprehension, and working memory. The verbal comprehension component measures abstract verbal reasoning, semantic knowledge, and verbal expression. In the perceptual reasoning category, participants solve a series of visual puzzles that engage in inductive reasoning. The working memory category measures attention and mental control. The processing speed index measures associative and working memory using symbol search evaluations.

This test might help you get a more accurate picture of your memory strengths or areas of improvement, for example.

Read more: What Are Cognitive Skills? (And How to Improve Them)

Raven's progressive matrices

Raven's progressive matrices intelligence test measures reasoning ability, pattern comprehension, and general intelligence. The test comprises 60 multiple-choice questions of increasing difficulty and asks test-takers to complete a pattern with a missing component. The exam presents the patterns as matrices that are six by six, four by four, three by three, or two by two.

Because the test is nonverbal, the test can yield accurate results for both children and adults from any linguistic background.

Peabody individual achievement test

The Peabody individual achievement test measures reading comprehension, mathematical ability, and spelling proficiency. Professionals typically administer this test to children, but a version of the test also exists for adults between the ages of 18 and 22. The test for adults can assess general encyclopedic knowledge in the areas of history, science, philosophy, arts, and social science.

The results from this test can help candidates discover their strengths in specific academic domains and help entry-level candidates and graduates apply for more suitable career opportunities.

Cattell cultural fair intelligence test

The Cattell cultural fair test removes socio-cultural and geographical influences that can hinder the accuracy of results and exclude certain groups of people. The test measures fluid intelligence, which involves a person's problem-solving abilities, and crystallized intelligence, which is the ability to deduce and make correct judgements. While most IQ tests use a standard deviation of 15 points, the Cattell test uses 24. The test can use one of three different scales, the first for children ages 4 through 8, the second for children ages 8 through 14, and the last for adults of all ages.

Because cultural biases are absent in this type of test, candidates from all diverse backgrounds can take this test to learn more about themselves when making career decisions.

Related: Describing Your Ideal Culture in a Corporate Environment

Reynolds intellectual assessment scales

Professionals can administer the Reynolds intellectual assessment scales to people of all ages. The test comprises three subsets, including verbal intelligence, non-verbal intelligence, and memory. Questions might include problems in which participants solve or guess an object based on clues or deduce what's missing from a series of patterns or concepts. In the memory subset, participants listen to, memorize, and repeat sequences as accurately as possible.

This intelligence test can help participants decide whether positions involving a significant memory component may be suitable for them.

Multidimensional aptitude battery test

The multidimensional aptitude battery test measures verbal, performance, and overall IQ. The test comprises ten sections that assess a participant's ability to learn and apply symbols, find the missing elements in a picture, visualize objects in a two-dimensional space, infer semantic meaning from a random sequence of objects, and organize disarranged segments. The test format is multiple-choice and takes approximately 50 minutes to complete. Test parameters control for factors such as age, gender, nationality, and culture. Psychologists can administer the test in a variety of settings, including career or guidance counselling offices, mental health facilities, and military quarters.

Results from this test can reveal a participant's general knowledge, social function, mathematical and logical thinking, and ability to distinguish by likeness or categorize information.

Stanford-Binet intelligence test scales

The Stanford-Binet intelligence test measures cognitive abilities on a variety of scales and indexes, including fluid and quantitative reasoning, general knowledge, memory, and visual-spatial processing. Researchers continue to revise the parameters of the test to remove cultural factors and other inconsistencies.

Professionals can use the results from the test for career assessments, academic advising, psychological treatment, and research purposes. These measures of cognitive uniqueness can help you decide what classes, programs, and career options might be best suited to you. For example, a student might choose to pursue an accounting or engineering position if they score highly in numerical or quantitative reasoning.

Different types of intelligence

Some psychologists and mental health professionals argue that traditional intelligence test types might be limited and biased, noting that a singular score or ability cannot generalize human intelligence. Rather, there are usually eight distinct categories where intelligence can manifest in any individual, regardless of their background, including:

Logical-mathematical intelligence

Logical-mathematical intelligence refers to the pronounced ability to solve problems and recognize patterns using reason. People that possess this type of intelligence are excellent problem solvers and skilled at processing information, analyzing data, solving complex mathematical or abstract philosophical problems, and conducting scientific experiments.

Potential career paths for people that display this type of intelligence include engineering, market analyst, programmer, economist, or financial analyst.

Visual-spatial intelligence

Visual-spatial intelligence refers to a strong ability to retain, retrieve, and manipulate visual information. People with this type of intelligence excel at visualizing concepts and recognizing patterns in graphs, pictures, charts, and photos.

Potential career options for people with these characteristics include photographer, architect, interior designer, and artist.

Linguistic intelligence

Linguistic intelligence refers to the ability to use words and language effectively in writing and other forms of communication. Individuals with this type of intelligence often excel at reading and writing activities, interpreting and learning different languages, and reasoning using concepts expressed in words or writing.

Potential career paths for this kind of intelligence include lawyer, writer, speech pathologist, translator, and transcriptionist.

Related: How to Become a Technical Writer in 7 Steps (With FAQs)

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence

Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence refers to the ability to use one's body to express emotion and manipulate objects using a variety of physical movements. People that possess the ability to synchronize their mind and body have excellent coordination and often excel at sports and activities requiring physical exertion.

Potential career paths here include mechanic, repair technician, construction worker, athlete, and surgeon.

Musical intelligence

Musical intelligence refers to the ability to produce and interpret sounds, rhythm, timbre, and pitch. Individuals with this type of intelligence often show a greater appreciation and sensitivity to music and sounds than the average person.

As a result, people with this kind of intelligence often excel in career paths with a focus on listening and responding to sounds, such as musician, singer, conductor, sound engineer, and music critic.

Interpersonal intelligence

Interpersonal intelligence refers to the ability to understand people and their emotions. People with this type of intelligence excel at managing relationships, delegating, mediating, and communicating. Interpersonal intelligence often leads to more positive relationships, and those with it often possess the unique ability to resolve conflicts in group settings.

Common career options here include human resource worker, psychologist, counsellor, and social worker.

Read more: How to Become a Psychological Therapist (With Steps)

Intrapersonal intelligence

People with intrapersonal intelligence possess the unique ability to be aware of their emotional state, feelings, motivations, and stressors. Intrapersonal intelligence can often promote introspection and philosophical thinking, which can manifest in a variety of different settings and activities.

Potential career options for this type of intelligence include philosopher, criminologist, counsellor, and writer.

Related: Philosophy Degree Jobs (With Salaries and Job Search Tips)

Naturalistic intelligence

Naturalistic intelligence refers to a strong appreciation and affinity for nature and the outdoors. According to advocates of the multiple intelligences theory, people that possess this type of intelligence often enjoy hobbies such as gardening and hiking.

Potential career paths include astronomer, botanist, conservationist, gardener, and landscaper.

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