When you hear the words “SAT score,” it probably brings to mind senior year, percentiles, math and verbal, impending college applications, and lots of studying. But have you ever considered how SAT scores compare to IQ scores? Does your SAT score have anything to do with your IQ? And is there a way to convert your SAT score into an IQ score? These are common questions, so let’s dig up some answers.
To investigate those answers, let’s break down both the SAT and the various IQ measures to see the ways in which they’re similar and different. Then we’ll talk about the common SAT to IQ conversion techniques and how they work.
What Does the SAT Measure?
There are many helpful SAT study tips (and, of course, Veritas Prep’s course and private tutoring options!) to take advantage of when you’re preparing for the SAT. But have you ever paused to consider what the SAT has been purposefully designed to measure? Overall, the SAT exam is constructed to measure what you’ve learned through the course of your education and evaluate how well-prepared you are for college, but individually, the Reading, Writing & Language, Math, and Essay Tests on the SAT are designed to gauge specific skills and knowledge that indicate how ready you are for college-level work.
For instance, the SAT Reading Test evaluates your reading comprehension skills, but it goes deeper than that. The passages and questions you’ll face require you to synthesize information (sometimes from multiple sources), locate specific references, identify how evidence is used, and understand context clues and implications that aren’t explicitly provided to you. Additionally, you’ll be asked to apply these skills in various contexts: literature (classic or contemporary, U.S or world), a U.S founding document or a text in the Great Global Conversation, the social sciences such as economics or sociology, and the sciences like biology or physics.
The SAT Writing and Language Test requires you to read passages, identify weaknesses and mistakes, and correct those flaws. To do so effectively, you’ll need to apply skills in understanding of context, command of evidence, expression of ideas, and editorial analysis, sometimes in content areas with which you may not feel entirely familiar.
Taken together, the Reading Test and Writing and Language Test comprise the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT, and they are focused on key skills of logic and comprehension. In neither section are you required to have prior knowledge or mastery of the content presented; if your foundational reasoning skills are good, you’ll be able to find all the information you need to answer the questions correctly.
The SAT Math Test measures your skills in the areas of math that you’ll use most often in various situations you find yourself in, both in school and beyond: areas of content such as geometry, algebra, data analysis, and more. The questions you’ll face require you to show fluency in mathematical operations, understanding of key concepts and logic, and application of mathematical elements to solve problems. While you do need to have a solid background in the various mathematical areas that are tested, you’ll find that being able to apply logic and reason your way through many of the problems you encounter will make your life easier and lead to a better performance and a higher score on the SAT Math Test.
Throughout the exam and regardless of section, the SAT comes back to a handful of key themes: command of evidence, content analysis, and practical application of key skills. You’ll notice these in all three of the sections discussed above, and as you continue reading you’ll start to see how these SAT themes relate to your IQ score as well.
Naturally, most college admissions officials want to select applicants who they believe will thrive in their academic endeavors, and a student’s SAT score is one factor in an admissions official’s decision on whether to admit a candidate.
What Is Your IQ?
Your intelligence quotient, or IQ, is another type of intellectual measurement. An IQ test measures things like your ability to use logic, your verbal reasoning skills, spatial awareness, and visual abilities. Typically, IQ tests (from the well-researched and verified ones such as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales to the ever-popular unverified online tests) present questions in a few key areas: analogies (mathematical and verbal), pattern identification and analysis, classification, visual reasoning, spatial reasoning, and logic. In essence, your IQ score shows how versatile of a thinker you are and how good you are at identifying and solving problems from a limited amount of information. According to Mensa, the high IQ society, a “genius” IQ is generally one that’s 132 or higher. Someone with average intelligence typically has an IQ between 85 and 114.
SAT vs. IQ Scores
While both assessments attempt to assess intellectual ability, there is one major difference to keep in mind when considering SAT vs. IQ scores: the SAT measures a person’s knowledge of certain key subjects, while an IQ test measures a person’s general thinking abilities. On the SAT, you can study hard and raise your score dramatically by mastering the key content areas and working on your logical and analytical skills. IQ tests, however, do not have a list of content for which you can prepare yourself by judicious study; they are testing more general reasoning abilities and not the knowledge you have. Additionally, many colleges require students to submit an SAT score (or ACT score) along with their applications, but they do not ask for an IQ score submission.
There are SAT-to-IQ conversion charts and converters online that ask you to plug in the scores you received on the Verbal and Math sections of the SAT. Within seconds, the conversion calculator displays an IQ that the site claims is connected with your total SAT score. If you look closely, you’ll usually see a disclaimer attached to the results reminding you that the number you see is only an estimate of your IQ. But are these figures ever really accurate? The answer is that it depends on a number of factors. Scores on some prior versions of the SAT have been shown to strongly correlate with IQ scores, but as the SAT has evolved and adapted over the years, that’s not necessarily the case for more recent test takers.
Another important factor to consider when doing an SAT to IQ conversion is whether your SAT scores paint an accurate picture of your level of ability. There are a number of potential reasons why this is not necessarily the case. Perhaps you were sick on test day and weren’t able to stay focused on the work, resulting in an inaccurate SAT score. Maybe you had a heavy course load at school and couldn’t devote as much time to SAT prep and practice tests. In addition, many individuals feel a lot of pressure and stress when they take standardized tests, and this test anxiety can lead to issues with pacing and performance. As a result, their test score may not be a true reflection of how they perform in a neutral setting where text anxiety is not a factor. These factors, as well as many others, can have a big negative effect on a person’s SAT scores, meaning that even if you decide to perform an SAT to IQ score conversion, the result might not be an accurate representation of your intellectual ability. While the online SAT to IQ converter will produce a result, it’s extremely difficult to know how much stock to put in it without considering all of the factors involved in test day performance. The takeaway here is not to worry about what the SAT to IQ converter said; while your SAT score matters for your college applications, the SAT to IQ conversion is irrelevant to your future prospects.
Preparing for the SAT
If you want help studying for the SAT, we have what you need at Veritas Prep! Each of our experienced, talented SAT instructors scored in the top one percent on the exam themselves, so when you take our SAT prep courses or work with a Veritas Prep tutor, you are learning test-taking strategies from individuals who have conquered the exam. In addition to practical advice about the SAT and how best to prepare for it, our instructors provide you with encouragement, feedback, and support as you work your way through our elite SAT curriculum and other study resources that address all sections of the exam, the key content and skills you’ll need, and test-taking strategy and logic.
It’s important to know that your tutor is behind you 100 percent. We’ll evaluate the results of your practice SATs to find out where we can be of the most help. And we have several options to choose from when it comes to SAT prep, providing both online and in-person courses and individual tutoring, because we know that high school students are busy people who need a study program that fits with their schedule and individual needs. Private tutoring is another option if you like to learn one-on-one and want to benefit from personal, customized instruction, feedback, and preparation.
Feel free to check out our video tutorials to get some valuable SAT tips right away: These tutorials are just a small preview of what we can do to boost your test performance. Email or call Veritas Prep now to start preparing for excellence on the SAT!