Mind 6 min read

What Is The Highest Recorded IQ In The World?

by Mindvalley December 10, 2018

You probably know that IQ is an acronym for intelligence quotient. But not many truly understand how IQ works.

IQ is a measurement of your ability to reason logically and solve problems, expressed as a number.

We’ll explain how IQ is calculated, what the average IQ is, and explore the highest recorded IQ in history so that you can understand how IQ scores work.

How Is IQ Calculated?

In general, there are two methods for scoring IQ:

The first method requires a person’s mental age to be divided by their chronological age, before then multiplying the result by 100.

In the second method, a person’s score is compared against the scores of other people of the same age. In other words, a standardization process is used to compare and understand the value of IQ numbers.

What Do Intelligence Tests Measure?

It’s not how smart you are, but how are you smart.

– Jim Kwik, Author of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest

What is intelligence? It’s a difficult question to answer and one that experts have been working on for centuries.

IQ tests were specifically created to measure crystallized and fluid intelligence.

Crystallized intelligence refers to the knowledge and skills gained throughout life. We accumulate crystallized intelligence as we experience our lives.

Fluid intelligence is the ability to apply logic, solve problems, and make sense of abstract concepts.

Science demonstrates that fluid intelligence isn’t dependent on learning, but we can work to increase our fluid intelligence if we try.

On the other hand, crystallized intelligence is directly linked to learning, so it increases year by year the more we grow and experience.


What Is The Average IQ?

For many modern intelligence tests, the average IQ score is 100 points, with a standard deviation of 15.

68% of scores fall within the interval of 85 – 115 IQ points, which is the first standard deviation. 95% of all scores fall within the interval of 70 – 130 IQ points, which is the second standard deviation.

Only a small percentage of the people have an IQ below 70 or an IQ above 130.

What Is The Highest Recorded IQ In History?

So, we’ve learned that people whose IQ test scores are above 130 are considered to be quite gifted. But, did you know that IQ scores can rise above 200? Unbelievable — but true!


The highest recorded IQ score in history belongs to William James Sidis. His score was estimated to be between 250-300 IQ points.

Born in New York City in 1898, this American was gifted from a very young age. At the age of 5, he could speak several foreign languages, including Russian, French, German, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

When he was just 11 years old, he enrolled at Harvard University and later went on to become one of the youngest professors of the day and age. Unfortunately, he died at an early age at 46 in Boston, Massachusetts.

And William James Sidis isn’t the only famous historical figure with a high IQ. Albert Einstein (IQ score 160 – 190) and Stephen Hawking (IQ score of 160) are two more famous men holding some of the highest recorded IQ scores.


Who Has The Highest IQ In The World Right Now?

As we already mentioned, the highest recorded IQ in history is between 250 – 300. And the current highest recorded IQ today isn’t far behind.

Terence Tao has the highest recorded IQ in the world right now. His score is whopping 225 – 230 IQ points.

Terence is an Australian-American mathematician born in 1975. He showed his aptitude for math from a very early age and by the age of 20, he got his PhD. He was awarded several prestigious awards and now works at UCLA, in Los Angeles, California.

Other people who make the high IQ list include:

  • Marilyn Vos Savant (IQ score of 228)
  • Christopher Hirata (IQ score of 225)
  • Kim Ung-Yong (IQ score of 210)
  • Edith Stern (IQ score over 200)
  • Christopher Michael Langan (IQ score 190- 210)
  • Garry Kasparov (IQ score of 194)
  • Philip Emeagwali (IQ score of 190)
  • Judit Polgar (IQ score of 170)

Now you know more about IQ tests, the highest recorded IQ scores, and the people who hold them. But, it’s important to know that IQ tests are limited in their abilities. They can only measure a finite number of cognitive skills.

We once believed there was one generalized form of intelligence, but we now know that there are multiple types of intelligence.

In fact, some experts in the field of psychology believe we may possess up to nine different forms of intelligence!

The real question is: what form of intelligence do you possess?

Do you have trouble remembering names?

Maybe you struggle to remember important dates or even basic facts and figures you need for a presentation?

If you do, don’t worry - it’s a common problem.

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So, what do you think? Are IQ tests the best measure of human intelligence? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

by Mindvalley
Mindvalley is creating a global school that delivers transformational education for all ages. Powered by community. Fueled by fun. We are dedicated to ensuring that humans live happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives by plugging in the gaps that conventional education failed to teach us. We do this by organising real-world events around the world and producing world-class quality programmes in several areas of transformation, including mind, body, and performance.

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