Can you increase your IQ?

By the 123test team. Updated September 2023

Your performance on an intelligence test - and thus your IQ - can be increased by training, for example by exercising IQ tests. However, there is a 'ceiling' for your performance. At some point you perform as good as you can and a higher score is not feasible. Still, you’re selling yourself short if you don’t prepare for an IQ test or cognitive ability test in an assessment. Other people with a comparable or even lower intelligence than yourself might score higher, just because they prepared properly.

Why practice pays off

Practicing IQ tests is mostly just a matter of trying them. Take a lot of tests and try to find out what parts are harder for you, practice these specific tests more often. Don’t just try and solve the questions, try to understand the reasoning behind the explanation. It’s not about cramming as much questions and answers as possible, but about understanding the questions so they’ll become easier for you to answer in the future.

Common tests

Numerical reasoning

You’re presented with a series of numbers and are asked to indicate the missing one. By training yourself in numerical reasoning you’ll be able to discover the logic behind the series quicker. Some of the series are used frequently and you’ll be able to recognize them faster.


The same goes for series of figures. Each figure differs from the previous one, and you’re asked to select the figure that should be in the next spot. By practicing these series you’ll be able to solve them quicker, as your brains have an idea how to.


You’ll often encounter an analogies test in an assessment or IQ test. You’re supposed to see a relation between words. It’s not a test of your vocabulary but your ability to see relations between words.


You’ll also encounter syllogisms a lot. They test your ability to draw a logical conclusion. Your job is to select the right conclusion based on given statements. Syllogisms often contain statements that go against your knowledge or feeling. By exercising syllogisms you learn to coop with these feelings so you can select the right answer.

Quick tips to increase your IQ score

Below you will find some quick tips that can help you increase your IQ. These tips are based on several scientific studies and have proven to be able to increase your IQ.

  • Music.For at least 10 minutes, listen to Mozart's Sonata for two pianos in D major. This will improve your spatial insight. However, this will only help if you already love classical music.
  • Sports. Playing sports increases the oxygen level of your blood, making both your muscles and your brains more active. Especially if you are a little older, sports can increase your reaction speed and your IQ.
  • Pressure. Do not pressure yourself. Research has shown people perform worse if they are told that they are going to take an IQ test instead of being told they are going to solve some puzzles.
  • Drink (with measure!). An alcoholic beverage will temporarily improve your verbal intelligence. Too many drinks will instead lower your verbal abilities: you will start to slur. The more coffee or tea you drink, the better your spatial insight.
  • Play. A game with blocks, puzzles or cubes will improve your spatial insight, cross words will improve your verbal intelligence.

Tips for taking an IQ test

  • Read the instructions carefully. Read thoroughly to know exactly what the purpose of the test is. Take the sample questions seriously and don’t feel rushed during this stage. Start the real test only when you feel you fully understand what is expected of you.
  • Calculate your time. Calculate your time. An intelligence test is about giving as much right answers as possible. Find out how many questions there are and divide the number by the amount of minutes given to complete the test. This’ll give you a rough indication of how many time you should spend on a question. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t finish all questions, as this often isn’t necessary.
  • Skip hard questions. One question might take you a few seconds to solve, whereas others take almost a minute. Concentrate on and think about a question, but don’t take to much time doubting the answer. If after a minute you’re not sure of the right answer, skip the question. If the test doesn’t allow you to skip a question: guess.
  • Don't guess recklessly.Don’t guess recklessly. Only guess an answer if needed with an eye on progress. If you see there’s only a few questions left, take the time to answer them. Some tests deduct points for wrong answers. If you have a high percentage of faulty answers, the psychologist might think you’re a sloppy or distracted thinker.
  • Go over your answers at the end. Go over your answers at the end. If you have any time left, go over your answers again – even if you think you’ve answered all questions correctly.

Take a free IQ test, or read the article about IQ test for children.