Who’s the Smartest of Them All? The Genius(es) Behind the Highest IQ Possible

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Irina Yugay
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A man with the highest IQ possible reading a book
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Highlights: What is the highest IQ score you can possibly get? Discover the secrets behind the highest IQ scores and learn how to supersize yours.
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What do Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Judit Polgár have in common? They are a handful of humans with high IQs.

But the curious always ask, “What is the highest possible IQ you can achieve?

Ready to discover who has the highest IQ recorded and how you can enhance your intelligence level? Read on.

What Is IQ?

An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a concept coined by the American psychologist Lewis Terman in 1916. Lewis conducted the first intelligence test on American soldiers during World War I.

In addition to measuring how much information you know and the highest IQ score you can get, these tests also analyze your brain’s learning capacity.

Intelligence tests examine your overall cognitive functions, including:

While the scores do show the highest IQ score you can get, these tests primarily measure your left-brain characteristics compared to other people of your age group.

What Are the Ranges of IQ Scores?

Since IQ tests are divided into sections to test different cognitive functions, you may excel in certain sections and score lower in others. This is entirely normal and there’s nothing to worry about. We each have our strengths and abilities, regardless of the highest possible IQ we can get.

The most commonly used scoring method for these tests is Binet’s equation. According to Binet, to measure someone’s ability to learn or potential to succeed, you need to know two things: a person’s chronological age and mental age.

Your chronological age is your current age, and your mental age is your cognitive abilities relative to what others can do of different ages

The equation used to calculate a person’s IQ score is a ratio of mental age to chronological age multiplied by 100. On most modern IQ tests, the average score will be 100, and the standard deviation of scores will be 15.

There are several tests to classify the highest IQ a person can get, the most widely used being the Wechsler Intelligence Scale and Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scale.

IQ RangeIQ Classification
130 and aboveVery Superior
120–129Superior
110–119High Average
90–109Average
80–89Low Average
70–79Borderline
69 and belowExtremely Low
Wechsler (WAIS–IV, WPPSI–IV) IQ classification

Average IQ score

Although there are variations in intelligence tests, the average score on most IQ tests is 100.

For the majority of test-takers, their highest IQ score will lie within the middle range between 85 and 115. Whatever falls under this range is considered to be low IQ scores.

High IQ score

An above-average IQ score is 116 or more. And only a small fraction of test-takers have a high average score.

However, this isn’t the highest IQ you can have.

A woman in her 50s with the highest IQ possible working on a laptop in a cafe

What Is the Highest IQ Possible?

In a manner of speaking, there’s no maximum number for an IQ score.

There are many tests that measure intelligence, like the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Because these tests have evolved over the years, it’s difficult to compare results from different eras.

So, it is commonly accepted that if you score 130 or higher, it signals that you have a superior IQ and you’re among the 2% in the world that have the highest IQ possible.

What Is the Highest IQ Ever Recorded?

While there’s no absolute score limit, the highest IQ ever recorded is 238. This placement goes to Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman.

With that being said, there are always people proving their intelligence. So keep an eye out for the next brilliant mind to score higher than Grigori.

Who Has the Highest IQ?

There have been several “geniuses” in our history. But Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman is one of the few who holds the highest IQ ever.

Since there’s no absolute score limit, it makes one wonder: who else makes it to the very elite group of people with the highest IQ scores ever recorded? Let’s have a look at the top ten to date.

Top 10 highest IQ

  • Grigori Perelman. As mentioned, the most recent title of the highest IQ—238—goes to this incredible mathematician. His greatest academic contribution to date is Thurston’s Geometrization Conjecture: the solution to the famously challenging mathematical hypothesis, the Poincaré Conjecture.
  • Marilyn vos Savant. When this American magazine columnist was 10 years old, her test revealed a score of 228, the highest ever recorded by the World Book of Guinness Records. (Unfortunately, the company removed the category in 1990 because the numbers are considered inaccurate.) 
  • Christopher Hirata. This American astronomy professor at Ohio State University was known as a child prodigy. His IQ score is 225. At the age of 13, he got a gold medal at the International Physics Olympiad in 1996, worked for NASA at the age of 16, and got a Ph.D. from Princeton when he was 22.
  • Adhara Pérez. She may just be one of the youngest “geniuses” ever, with a score of 162. And as of 2022, she’s only 10 years old.
  • Nikola Tesla. The name “Tesla” may bring the luxury car brand to mind, but Nikola also invented the Tesla coil as well as alternating current machinery. The inventor was one of the smartest people, with an IQ range of 160–300.
  • Marie Curie. Did you know the scientist was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the first person to win it twice? Her wins were in both physics and chemistry. And it’s no surprise since she’s best known for her research on radioactivity. Her IQ score? It ranged from 180 to 200.
  • Sir Isaac Newton. This physicist is often linked to the laws of gravity and motion, changing the way we understand the universe. His IQ range was between 190 and 200.
  • Sho Yano. As a former child prodigy, Sho was the youngest student ever to be awarded an MD by the University of Chicago. His recorded IQ score is 200.
  • William Sidis. Known to have had exceptional mathematical and linguistic skills, his IQ score was estimated to be between 200 and 300. William’s most notable work is his 1920 book, The Animate and the Inanimate.
  • Terrence Tao. This mathematician’s IQ score is known to be 211–230 and he is considered one of the world’s greatest mathematicians. He’s currently a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Increase Your Intelligence Score

Some believe intelligence is set in stone. What you’re born with is what you’ve got. Right?

Wrong. It is possible to attain your highest possible IQ. 

On top of that, your IQ score doesn’t consider different types of intelligence such as musical, linguistic, and interpersonal intelligence.

Here are some ways to improve your cognitive abilities:

  • Learn speed reading if your job requires reading a lot of documents and non-fiction books.
  • For game and trivia lovers, set aside five to ten minutes a day and play brain teasers and puzzles like Sudoku. These brain teasers really give your intelligence quotient a quick boost!
  • To have more fun trying to reach the highest IQ you can have, try these awesome brain games. Keep things fun and consistent by switching up the games. Schedule different kinds of brain-training exercises on a weekly basis.

According to world-renowned memory and brain coach Jim Kwik, our brain is a muscle. It’s not about mental intelligence. It’s about mental fitness.

In other words, anyone can unlock their superbrain if they train it consistently. 

And if you want to learn faster and comprehend more, join the Discover 10 Brain Hacks to Learn Fast FREE Masterclass with Jim Kwik.

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Irina Yugay

Irina Yugay

As a former self-development and self-transcendence writer at Mindvalley, Irina uses words to transpire empowering ideas, transcendental feelings, and omniversal values. She's also an ascension coach who helps her clients grow their spiritual awareness and actualize their true nature. With a deep empirical understanding of the spiritual journey, Irina shares her insights and experiences with the readers to inspire them to transcend their limiting beliefs and achieve higher states of consciousness.
Written by

Irina Yugay

As a former self-development and self-transcendence writer at Mindvalley, Irina uses words to transpire empowering ideas, transcendental feelings, and omniversal values. She's also an ascension coach who helps her clients grow their spiritual awareness and actualize their true nature. With a deep empirical understanding of the spiritual journey, Irina shares her insights and experiences with the readers to inspire them to transcend their limiting beliefs and achieve higher states of consciousness.
Jim Kwik, Trainer of Mindvalley's Superbrain & Superreading Quests
Expertise by

Jim Kwik is the trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain and Super Reading Quests. He’s a brain coach and a world expert in speed reading, memory improvement, and optimal brain performance. Known as the “boy with the broken brain” due to a childhood injury, Jim discovered strategies to dramatically enhance his mental performance. He is now committed to helping people improve their memory, learn to speed-read, increase their decision-making skills, and turn on their superbrain. He has shared his techniques with Hollywood actors, Fortune 500 companies, and trailblazing entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson to reach their highest level of mental performance. He is also one of the most sought-after trainers for top organizations like Harvard University, Nike, Virgin, and GE.

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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.

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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.