My friend Josie just walked out my front door with a gigantic briefcase in her hand, a briefcase that holds clues to the inner workings of my brain.
My actual brain, the gray blob that’s still left in my skull, is throbbing a little. I just took the WAIS-IV at my kitchen table, and mercy. If you’d ever like a slice of humble pie served up in your own kitchen, have a counseling student come and give you an IQ test.
Poor Josie is in her final classes before she is loosed upon the counseling world, and the powers that be determined that she and her colleagues should have experience in administering the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Josie needed to find a few willing victims to sit through a three-hour test so she could practice administering it.
Who isn’t fascinated by the human mind? I’ve wanted to give out IQ tests for Christmas presents for years! I happily agreed to let Josie practice on me, even when she made it clear it would take us literal hours at the table. There was a point at about the two-hour mark where I questioned my earlier excitement. Josie was reading numbers and letters to me in groups, then making me recite them back to her after I’d alphabetized them and put them in numerical order. No paper involved, no reading. Just listening, remembering, then repeating.
I am not good at any of those things, it turns out.
Then there was a moment where I lost the complete will to live. I was staring at pictures of scales, trying to figure out what shapes would balance the scales. Little drawings mocked me with their codes and puzzles. Imagine the frustration of staring at the yellow stars and the red balls and then wondering if they are heavier than the green square. I could have probably figured some of them out, given an entire day and a math assistant.
Josie did not give me permission to call my math assistant/husband.
“One!….?” I call out, squinting up my eyes and putting a question at the end of my proclamation. (endure long pause while Josie writes down the wrong answer…) She flips to a new page. I stare again.
“Five!” (because I can’t very well answer one again, can I?)
“Three!” “Two!” (close eyes and hope scales balance themselves without my input…)
It wasn’t all scales and memory games, though. I had a few hot rounds of puzzles and word games. I might not be a complete dullard after all, but I doubt I’ll ever actually know my IQ. I didn’t ask Josie for the results, and she didn’t offer to share them when she gets it all calculated.
I think we’re all better living with the mystery. Let’s assume I’m smart enough to get through the day and you’re smart enough, too.
Here, if you’re in the mood, let me recreate the IQ test for you. You can ask whatever companions are handy at the moment and assess their mental acuity:
- Define these words: apple, harmony, parsimony
- Recite these numbers and letters back to me after you sort them out. Give me the numbers first, then the letters. Numbers must be in numerical order, letters must be alphabetized: 4H2 (becomes 24H), 9J (stays 9J), P64WS1 (becomes 146PSW), 3NN31D (becomes 133DNN)
- Answer these questions: Why do some people feel it’s important to protect the environment? How are a cheetah and a moose similar? If David has 99 pies and shares 50% of them after he eats three of them, how many pies does he have left? (Remember, no paper. Gotta do it all in your head.)
- Now figure out what should go in the empty box:
Good luck to you!