The Terman Merrill Test (1916) is a tool for measuring intelligence , created by the American psychologist Lewis Madison Terman (1877-1956) and the psychologist, also American, Maud Amanda Merrill (1888-1978). This is a revision of the Binet and Simon test.

In this article we will see what this test is, what is its origin, what it evaluates and what are the 10 subtests that configure it.

What is the Terman Merrill Test?

The Terman Merrill Test was born in 1916, by the two American psychologists mentioned at the beginning. This test is divided into 10 subtests, which include different types of tasks , aimed at measuring both verbal and non-verbal intelligence.

In turn, the test can be divided into 6 large areas in which general intelligence is also divided:

  • General Intelligence
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Fluid reasoning
  • Visuospatial processes
  • Working memory
  • Knowledge

The activities of the Terman Merrill Test that make up these 6 areas are of a different type, and through them two values are obtained: the intellectual coefficient and the degree of learning of the subject examined .

Thus, the activities that make up the test include concentration tasks, analogies, judgments, abstract reasoning, memory, language, etc.


To understand the history of the Terman Merrill Test, let’s go to the origin of intelligence tests. These tests, also called intelligence tests, have their origin at the end of the 19th century, from authors such as Alfred Binet and Théodore Simon (Binet was a psychologist and Simon a psychiatrist).

Binet and Simon were the ones who developed the first intelligence test, which allowed them to determine the strengths and weaknesses in the subjects’ cognition (i.e., in their intellectual capacities).

The Binet and Simon Test was used in many public schools, and many years later, Terman and Merril arrived, who revised the Binet and Simon test and adapted it to make it easier and more effective to use .

Characteristics of this intelligence measurement tool

The Terman Merrill Test consists of a psychometric test that evaluates intelligence and that allows the determination of the intellectual quotient of the examined subject , through a series of subtests with different tasks, with a total duration of between 40 and 50 minutes (the complete test).

Its use is intended for the evaluation of people with a minimum school level , which allows them to understand the problems raised throughout the test.

As mentioned above, the test consists of 10 subtests that measure different skills, all of them related to intelligence. Specifically, the test allows two measures to be obtained: intelligence and learning ability. In addition, it also allows for an interpretation of the scores and a diagnosis of the subject examined .

From each of these measures (intelligence, learning ability, interpretation and diagnosis) different scores are obtained, which allude to four values or ranges and which allow us to “classify” the subject in question. These values are five:

  • Deficient
  • Lower than average
  • Medium term
  • Higher than average
  • Superior


The aim of the Terman Merrill Test is to measure a series of abilities and skills of the person, all of them related to general intelligence . Said abilities have to do with human cognition, and are intellectual capacity (general intelligence), analytical capacity, synthesis capacity and organisational capacity.

On the other hand, speaking of skills more related to practical intelligence, the test measures general culture, planning and decision making.

Finally, and in a more academic sense, the test allows for the evaluation of skills such as numerical ability, verbal skills, comprehension and academic performance .


We have seen that the Test of Terman Merril evaluates intelligence through 6 large areas (or specific factors), already listed. The test makes this evaluation through 10 subtests, which in turn include tasks and activities of different types; these consist of tests that evaluate both verbal and non-verbal intelligence.

Remember that verbal intelligence includes activities that require reading and understanding language, and non-verbal intelligence does not (this second type of intelligence is more of an abstract reasoning, evaluated through exercises such as “following the number series”). In other words, non-verbal intelligence does not require the subject to be able to read.

Now, let’s see which 10 subtests make up the Terman Merrill Test.

1. Information

The first subtest of the Terman Merrill Test is information. It measures the subject’s long-term memory as well as the level of information that the subject is able to capture from his environment .

Your score indicates the individual’s ability to associate when using data, as well as their ability to generate information through their knowledge.

2. Judgment or understanding

The second subtest evaluates subject judgment or understanding. Thus, measures the person’s common sense, as well as his handling of reality . Its score indicates the presence or absence of understanding and capacity to solve practical (everyday) problems.

It also reflects how well a person adjusts to social norms, and how he or she uses life experiences to learn.

3. Vocabulary

Also called subtests of verbal meanings, evaluates the presence or absence of abstract thought, as well as the cultural level of the subject . Specifically, it measures the subject’s knowledge of language, as well as the analysis he makes of the different concepts.

4. Synthesis or logical selection

The next subtest of the Merrill Test is the synthesis test, and measures the subject’s reasoning, his capacity for abstraction and the deductions he makes through logic .

Thus, through this subtest we can know the subject’s capacity to interpret and evaluate reality in an objective way. It also analyzes the capacity to summarize (synthesize), relate ideas and generate conclusions.

5. Arithmetic or concentration

This subtest evaluates to what extent the tested subject handles information, concentrates and resists distractions . In short, it tells us what degree of concentration (attention) the subject has when he must concentrate (especially under pressure).

6. Analysis or practical judgement

The following subtest evaluates common sense, foresight and the ability to identify inconsistencies. It determines whether the subject is able to break down the information of a problem and explain its underlying causes.

7. Abstraction

The abstraction subtest of the Merrillerman Test, also called the analogy subtest, measures two fundamental aspects: the understanding of information and the ability to generalize .

In other words, it allows us to analyze if and to what extent a person is capable of relating different ideas to reach a certain conclusion.

8. Planning

Also called a sentence order subtest, it tests the following skills: planning (i.e. planning), organization, anticipation, attention to detail and imagination .


Thus, it determines the fact that the person is able to foresee the consequences of certain acts, and also assesses the capacity to attend to the details and the globality of a certain situation.

9. Organization

The organization subtest, also called the classification subtest, measures the subject’s ability to discriminate and follow processes . It also evaluates whether an individual is able to detect the failures in certain processes, and to solve these failures

10. Anticipation, attention or serialization

Finally, the last subtest of the Terman Merrill test is that of anticipation, attention, or serialization.

It measures these capabilities, and its score indicates whether the subject is able to interpret and verify certain numerical calculations . It also assesses the subject’s ability to concentrate, especially under pressure.

Bibliographic references:

  • Ballesteros, J. (2010). A critical review of the Terman scale. Why we should not use the Third Edition Stanford-Binet Form L-M. Educational Psychology, 16(1): 23-30.
  • Ortiz, P. (1989). Intellectual Evaluation in the Clinic. In A. Ávila Espada (Ed.): Clinical psychological evaluation (Vol. II). Madrid: UCM.
  • Pueyo, A. (1997). Manual de Psicología Diferencial. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.
  • Valdez, A., Cortes, G., Vázquez, L. and De la Pena, A. (2018). Terman-Merril Application for Intelligence Measurement. (IJACSA) International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications, 9(4): 62-66.