Sunday, October 14, 2012

Is a person's IQ fixed? Does "workout" help to temporarily "boost" it? Why can GMAT score be improved by prior practice?

These are some very important questions, I believe. Ideally, you should receive the same IQ score, irrespective of whether you take the test with prior practice or without. After all, the objective is to measure your intelligence, and presumably, intelligence cannot be altered through practice.

In practice, however, one's IQ score is positively affected by prior practice. It's the same with GMAT. I scored 760 on the GMAT in Sep'10. Would I score the same if I were given the test right now? I am sure that I would not score even 730. Any other student will tell you the same thing. I would need at least a few weeks of self-study in order to get back my accuracy and speed on the GMAT.

Which makes me wonder. Are IQ tests really a measure of one's raw intelligence? More fundamentally, is intelligence fixed? I am doubtful that intelligence is fixed. The human brain is a learning computer, and intelligence is measured by not only the raw hardware capabilities of one's brain [say MIPS], but also by the quality of the software programming fed into it. And the latter part can surely be improved with practice. Science might prove that even the former can be improved using the right techniques.

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