What Are IQ Rankings?

IQ rankings, or Intelligence quotient classification, are scores assigned by IQ test publishers to individuals who have successfully completed sample tests. Such rankings typically consist of numerical scores between 40 and 175, as well as cognitive designations, such as genius, average or challenged.

While the language used in IQ rankings is often very similar, as with the use of descriptors such as "superior" and "average," it is critical to remember that no two test publishers are exactly alike, nor are they commonly bound to a standardized language. Therefore, test-takers are reminded that these labels are consequently subjective. Contemporary IQ scoring follows what is called a deviation method, where 100 points represents the median score, with 115 one standard deviation above the norm and 85 one standard deviation below.

One example of point ranges coupled with cognitive designations places "extreme genius" level performances between 175 points and 160, with "genius" and "gifted" following at between 159 to 145 and 144 to 130, respectively. "Below average" begins at 85 points, with "challenged" at 69 and "severely challenged" at 54.

Some publishers may also provide percentile ranges to the tester, outlining the score clusters of others who have taken that particular test and where her own results fall among them. For instance, a tester scoring between 114 and 85 may fall within 68 percent of all testers, whereas someone scoring 175 places her among less than 1 percent.