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Preparing A Child For An IQ Test

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My kid is 6 years old going to kindergarten. He scored 127 in his gifted test. The teacher says he has to score 130 to get himself into gifted class.

I learned form the teacher that she used K-Bit as a screener as the first step. once that is cleared (in my case; not) the physiologist will use RIAS to test again.

I want to understand how to get my kid train for the test again. He is young so I can put more efforts to guide him but I would appreciate your inputs in flowing questions:

1) what is the best way to give him test like exercise which makes him familiar and comfortable with next year test. should I buy books or enroll in any online based program?

2) this type of practice will take his time over his academic learning. Is it fair to emphasis more on gifted program? may be it is little wired question but I don't want to over burden my kid and want to feel the same unnecessary.

TIA and you have great day.

A: The fact is that no IQ score should be considered an accurate measure of intellectual ability. Testing on different days and times may yield different scores and is mainly due to factors such as anxiety, motivation, rapport with the examiner, and guessing (though in most reputable IQ tests, there is little room for guessing).

Truthfully, I would think that going overboard to prepare for any IQ test; especially with drilling practices (as we do in school tests/exams) would not be a good thing, since IQ tests are different. These tests are designed to present people with unfamiliar types of problems to see how well they adapt. It appears that when it comes to IQ tests, even with exposure to test materials and practice, a significant increase in the child's scores are not really seen. In reality, reputable IQ tests (that are copyrighted) can only be purchased by a qualified psychologist (bound by ethical code) are highly confidential as diagnoses tools such as learning disabilities, brain injury, etc. Exposing the content is illegal. There is no book or programme that can help with significantly higher scores. I have personally seen this in my practice and in retests. Children may score slightly higher or if there were a learning disability suspected and intervention is done over a period of time, then scores can be different.

As parents, we want to provide our child with the best of opportunities. We may feel that a slight bit of “cheating” could be worth the opportunity if it gets the child admitted into a special programme. Nevertheless, there is a negative side to inflating a child's IQ scores. If the child is not suitable for a gifted placement, admitting the child in such a programme may not see a match and may de-motivate the child. A good match between the child and the programme is crucial for the child's well being.

To really enhance your child's IQ is something parents need to start from infancy stages. And I'm not talking about countless flashcards, baby videos, high tech educational games, sophisticated and costly learning materials. The best activities goes back to the basics such as reading, puzzles, building blocks, sorting shapes, solving riddles, nature walks, museums, and various enrichment activities (based on the child's interests. Therefore, to answer your first question, most products that promise to improve your child's IQ do not enhance IQ in the true sense. There is no substitute for activities that involves all the senses to help children with problem solving abilities and this sharpens the mind. It also improves the parent-child bond and a loved and accepted child is a happy and very productive one.

To optimize performance, work on the factors that can be controlled. IQ tests are best taken during the morning hours for most children when the child is most alert (an exception would be the rare “night owls”). It should not be taken after school or any stressful activity that may contribute to fatigue or lack of energy. A good night sleep and nutritious breakfast is crucial as well. Bring along a bottle of water. Do not pressure your child into scoring above a certain point or “bribing” with a prize if they do. This may cause undue pressure and extrinsic motivation, which in turn may stress the child. Your child needs to relax. Parents need to relax, as children are quick to pick on parents' emotions and may get anxious. Tell your child to do her/his best and not worry if they were not able to respond to any item. Seek a good and reputable psychologist who is good with children and able to engage and mentally prepare them as anxiety can interfere with test performance.

To do well, a child needs to be motivated, non-anxious, engaged, and focused. Children may do poorly in an IQ test for a variety of reasons but will do well if the child is truly able. Which means IQ scores can underestimate, but not overestimate a child's intellectual ability. Hope the above clears it air about preparing for IQ tests. Good luck!


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