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How intelligent are you?

Is it really possible to measure and know how smart you are? What's the IQ and how is it tested? Why is EQ so important and what is SQ actually? Here’s a brief explanation.

Bright Plus

3 min. reading time


IQ is short for Intelligence Quotient. Intelligence is the whole of innate intellectual capacities. The quotient is a measure of how smart you are, expressed in a number that compares you to other people. The average value is 100. People with an IQ above 130 are extremely gifted, while those rating below 75 are deemed to be mentally retarded.

In the old days, it was thought that intelligence was proportional to the size of the skull! Since 1904, when the first IQ test was developed, we know better.

Which types of IQ tests are there?

There are several types of IQ tests to measure the various facets of intelligence:

  • Verbal tests: your reasoning ability is being analysed based on written questions
  • Numerical tests: your capacity to link numerical data logically is tested
  • Figurative test: can you find the logic between drawings and figures without the prompt of words or numbers?

Can you prepare for intelligence testing?

You cannot study for an IQ test. What you can do, however, is prepare by practicing and familiarising yourself with the test online. If you do, check the quality, validity and reliability of the tests.

You will often be given little notice ahead of an IQ test, as this helps assess how you perform under pressure. As you proceed, questions also get more and more difficult to see what you can do.

IQ as a selection criterion?

IQ is often measured in staff selection because of its predictive ability. If you have a high IQ, chances are you are fit for an ambitious career. But be aware, a high IQ alone is not enough! Other factors, such as personality and the way one deals with emotions and other people, play just as big a part! In everybody's circle of friends and family, there is always that person who is very smart, but somewhat 'socially challenged'. Such a person is often not able to handle interactions between colleagues in a company.


The way people deal with emotions was first described as "Emotional Quotient" by Daniel Goleman in 1990. This concept was an immediate success in Europe and America. EQ is not about academic intelligence but about knowing and regulating one's own emotions, self-motivation, recognizing other people's emotions and dealing with relationships. These aspects are at least as important in business as IQ and are therefore often analysed during assessments. Rather than a number, EQ is expressed in five personality traits:

  1. interpersonal EQ (empathy)
  2. intrapersonal EQ (understanding one's own emotions)
  3. adaptability (flexibility, realism)
  4. managing emotions (stress, impulsive behavior)
  5. general mood (happy, sad, optimistic)


As for SQ, or Spiritual Quotient, it is a fairly new concept. SQ is the link between IQ and EQ. In other words: SQ connects rational thinking (the left brain) to emotions (the right brain). SQ measures the way we deal with issues that relate to values. This is, therefore, a superior intelligence level where self-awareness and introspection play a crucial role. Most people ‘exist’ simply because they live and have no contact with their inner selves. It is possible to develop SQ through meditation for instance.

An ever-growing portion of the population is discovering spirituality, which luckily is less considered as "soft". 'Business Spirituality' is a term rising in popularity. Someone with a high SQ will investigate the deeper meaning of situations, display authenticity, charisma, creativity, innovation, energy, helpfulness, etc. These are the values that help grow a business! Compound thinking, inspiration, intuition and insight can never be measured with an IQ test.

IQ, EQ and SQ, all three are another form of intelligence. If a person scores very high in one of the three, this will never guarantee that they will be a balanced individual or have the potential to become a great colleague.

Do you have any ideas, suggestions or experiences relating to this subject? Share them with us!