The Intelligence quotient (IQ) test is one of the most frequently discussed psychological tests in the United States today. It is a complicated concept that has been debated and criticized over the past four decades. But for the vast majority of people, IQ is still the benchmark for intelligence. It is the test that people think of when they consider how to understand their abilities and their capacity for intellectual achievement. While many famous people have high IQs, there are only a few that have eclipsed 200 points and proven to the world how smart they are.

What is IQ?

IQ is the abbreviation for intelligence quotient. It measures the ability that human beings have to perform difficult tasks in a wide range of settings. The test measures the capability to analyze and then share that analysis through a written or oral format. It requires the ability to process as well as share information and also not buckle under the pressure of a specific test scenario on one specific day. IQ does not measure the things that a person already knows.

Instead, it measures their ability to learn new skills and absorb and apply new information. Deciding on and comparing IQ scores is immensely difficult. There have been a wide variety of tests offered over the past century to determine IQ. Some of these tests have had fundamentally different bases and approaches for comparison. Some IQ tests have a variety of scoring methods and ways that they structure their scores. A handful have a maximum and a minimum IQ score range that all possible takers of the test fall between.

How is IQ calculated?

IQ is not an absolute score. There is nothing intrinsically important about having any sort of IQ score. Instead, it is a relative score that measures how a person performs on a test. The score is a result of several different factors. First, it is an evaluation of the answers that a person gave on the test. Several of these answers are judged to be either right or wrong. In some intelligence tests, for example, the person taking the test is shown a number of matrices that has an item which is different from the other items.

The answer to that question is either right or wrong. The administrator of the test then grades how many answers the taker got right and records that number. Next, the administer compares the raw score of the test taker to all of the other takers of the test. A score is generated that compares their score to the scores of every other taker of the test. The score is structured to where there is a bell curve and the median of all takers is around 100. This process will generate a score that determines a person’s intelligence according to the test they have taken.

What are the highest scores?

For many years, the highest IQ score recorded was held by Marilyn Vos Savant. She was a successful professional who worked in several fields and utilized her intellect on a regular basis. Her achievement on the IQ test helped propel her to fame across the country. It led to the publication of a regular magazine column where she responded to letters and solved brain teasers regularly.

There are many other IQ scores that are some of the highest in recorded history. One of these was Adragon De Mello. De Mello potentially had an IQ score of 400. That number would be by far the highest in human history if it was definitively proven. De Mello used that knowledge to become one of the youngest people to ever graduate from college at the age of 11. There was also Michael Gross and Michael Kearney. Kearney allegedly has an IQ score of over 300 depending on some tests. Gross also has a particularly high score. He dedicated his life to working in academics and secured several degrees from Michigan State University. In fact, a large number of people with IQ scores have gone on to secure prestigious degrees and have used their considerable intelligence for the betterment of society.

These high IQ scores listed above far outpace the score held by the people many think are the smartest in human history. Albert Einstein is rumored to have an IQ score of around 160. This number cannot be absolutely proven because he never took a test. It is estimated that great historical minds such as Issac Newton and Leonardo Da Vinci had scores around 190 or 200. But these high scores are matched by the considerable genius of people who never scored that high on an IQ test. Richard Feynman, for instance, was a physicist and one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. It was shown that his IQ score was only 125. There is a certain threshold of IQ score to being a genius, but having a high score certainly helps in the process.


Anyone who is particularly interested in IQ scores can look into the many different IQ tests available and sign up to take an official one. If you don’t care to get official results, there are plenty of options available for unofficial results like the free quick IQ test found on this site or our more in-depth paid IQ test. There’s a chance that their tests will rank along with the people who have scored the highest tests in history.

But a test does not always correlate to being particularly successful in any field. There is no prize that a person is rewarded when they score high on an IQ test. They may secure the ability to apply to MENSA and little else. High intelligence has to be combined with a strong work ethic and a considerable amount of luck to achieve success. Some extremely wealthy individuals have below-average IQ scores. IQ scores are not a determining factor for success or progression in school or in the job world. Instead, they are a helpful tool to allow a person to gauge how they may be able to synthesize and process information and how well they may perform on certain tasks relative to other people.