The study of intelligence is one of the subjects that has aroused most interest among psychologists, and was one of the reasons why psychology began to become popular. Although nowadays the term intelligence is a word that is normally used, this was not the case a little over a century ago.

The concept is too abstract and, in general, has provoked great debates among the different experts . It could be said that intelligence is the capacity to choose, among several possibilities, the most appropriate option for the resolution of a problem or for a better adaptation to a situation. To this end, the intelligent individual makes decisions, reflects, examines, deduces, reviews, accumulates information and responds according to logic.

Some types of intelligence test

There are different types of intelligence and the same is true of intelligence tests. Some measure what is known as the “G Factor” and others measure different types of intelligence, such as logical-mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence or linguistic intelligence.

Since this construct was first studied, several theories have tried to explain it: Raymond Cattell’s crystallized and fluid intelligence, Spearman’s bifactorial theory, Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences, to name just a few of the most recognized.

The first intelligence test: Binet-Simon test

The first intelligence test was developed by Alfred Binet (1857-1911) and by the psychiatrist Théodore Simon , both French. The aim of this first intelligence test was to determine the intelligence of individuals who presented intellectual deficits, in comparison with the rest of the population. The norm for these groups was called mental age. If the test score determined that the mental age was lower than the chronological age, this meant that there was mental retardation.

This test was reviewed and refined in several countries. Lewis Terman adapted it as the Stanford-Binet test and used the concept of IQ . The average IQ in an age group is considered to be 100.

The different types of intelligence tests

There are different ways of classifying intelligence tests, but normally these can be:

Test of acquired knowledge

This type of test measures the degree of knowledge acquisition in a given area . For example, at school they can be used in a test format to find out whether students have learned enough in a subject. Another example may be a test of administrative skills that is taken in order to qualify for a job.

However, the value of these tests when measuring intelligence is relative, because intelligence is usually understood as a skill rather than an accumulation of previously acquired knowledge.

Test of verbal intelligence

In this type of test the ability to understand, use and learn language is assessed . It also assesses rapid comprehension of texts, spelling or richness of vocabulary. It looks at the verbal skills needed to communicate and live in community, but also at the way in which thoughts are organised through the structure of language.

Numerical Intelligence Test

These tests measure the ability to solve numerical questions . In this type of test, different items are presented: calculation, numerical series or arithmetic questions.

Logical Intelligence Test

This type of test evaluates the capacity for logical reasoning , therefore, it tests the person’s capacity for analysis and logic. This is the nucleus of many intelligence tests, as it serves to evaluate the ability to carry out abstract operations in which the correction or incorrectness of thought is both in the content of these and in the way they fit together and how they are formally related.

Types of intelligence tests: Individual vs. group

In addition to these types of tests, there are other tests that measure different types of intelligence, such as emotional intelligence.

On the other hand, tests are also usually classified according to their application: individual tests or group tests. Below are the most popular intelligence tests according to these types of tests.

Individual tests

Individual tests are presented to a single individual. These are the best known:

Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test

This test is a revision of the Binet-Simon test. It is mainly applied to children (2 years and older), although it can also be used in adults . Children usually take it in 30-45 minutes, adults in up to an hour and a half. This test has a strong verbal component and allows us to obtain an IQ in four areas or dimensions: verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, visual reasoning and short-term memory, and an overall IQ equivalent to the "G&quot Factor;.

WAIS test

The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale provides the IQ, and also offers independently the manipulative IQ and the verbal IQ . It contains 175 questions and, in addition, cartoons and series of digits. It is made up of 15 subscales, and has a duration of 1 or 2 sessions of 90-120 minutes. It is applicable from the age of 16.


The WISC was developed by the same author as the previous scale, David Wechsler, as an adaptation of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Adults (WAIS), but, in this case, for children . Like the previous one, it does not allow scores on three scales: the verbal, the manipulative and the total. It is made up of 12 subscales.

Kaufman Test Battery for Children (K-ABC)

Kaufman’s Children’s Assessment Battery was designed to assess the abilities of children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 12 1/2 to solve problems that require simultaneous and sequential mental processing. In addition, it also measures the skills acquired in reading and arithmetic. Tests can be administered within 35-85 minutes.

Raven’s Test

Its purpose is to measure IQ. It is a non-verbal test, where the subject must describe missing pieces from a series of printed sheets, and to do so must use perceptual, observation and analogical reasoning skills to deduce the missing pieces. It is applied to children, adolescents and adults.

Woodcock-Johnson III Test of Cognitive Skills (WJ III)

This test consists of two batteries that measure general intelligence, specific cognitive skills and academic achievement . They have a wide age range, as they can be used for all ages from two years onwards. The test consists of a standard battery to assess 6 areas, and 14 additional areas of assessment are observed when the extended battery is applied.

Group intelligence test

The group intelligence tests were created thanks to the contribution of Arthur Otis , a student at Stanford University and a pupil of Lewis Terman. The latter was teaching a course on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale at the same university. Otis had the idea of adapting this test to a collective test format and, later, this test became the Army Alpha Test, for military selection and classification of positions.

Following the Alpha Examination, other tests of collective application have emerged. These are some of the best known:

Otis-Lennon Test of School Ability (OLSAT)

This test consists of various image, verbal, figure and quantitative reagents, which allow us to measure verbal comprehension, verbal reasoning, image reasoning, figure reasoning and quantitative reasoning . It is applied to children from school age to 12th grade. This test has two forms and seven levels, each of which can be administered in 60-75 minutes.

Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)

This test measures children’s ability to reason and solve problems using verbal , quantitative and spatial symbols. The test consists of different levels, 3 batteries (verbal, quantitative and non-verbal) and its administration lasts about 90 minutes.

Wonderlic Personnel Test

This test consists of 50 items consisting of analogies, definitions, logic and arithmetic problems , spatial relationships, word comparisons and address location. It is a tool widely used in personnel selection processes in the work environment. Its application is brief: 12 minutes.