What Is a Good IQ—And Why Does It Matter?

9 minutes read -
Sofia Evaggelidou
Written by
AI-generated image of a man in front of a board showing what is a good IQ
Table of Contents
Highlights: "What is a good IQ?" you might wonder. Discover what it is, how it is measured, and how you can reach it to unleash your intellectual potential.

IQ, short for Intelligence Quotient, is a measure used to assess a person’s cognitive abilities.

But is IQ a good rough metric for measuring overall intelligence? And what exactly makes a “good” IQ score?

As Jim Kwik, a brain performance coach and trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest, says, “We need to understand how our minds work so we can work our minds better.

 And understanding the ins and outs of IQ can be the start of it.

What Is a Good IQ Score?

To understand “what is a good IQ?”, it’s best to understand IQ scores in general. 

For instance, what’s an average IQ score? It’s between 90 and 109, typically set at 100. And about half of the total population falls within this range.

Anything above 109 is considered above average, and people who fall into this category tend to have higher intelligence. On the other end of the spectrum, scores below 90 suggest below-average cognitive abilities.

It’s important to remember that IQ scores are just one way to measure human intelligence. We, as humans, are way more than our IQ number.

A single test cannot capture all aspects of human capabilities and potential. Moreover, intelligence itself is a complex trait that can be influenced by various factors, such as:

  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Education
  • Parental influence
  • Other social and cultural factors
  • Health and nutrition
  • Life experiences
  • Motivation

Lastly, an IQ score should not be the standard by which anyone’s worth is measured. People have their own strengths and weaknesses; everyone has the potential to excel in different areas, regardless of their IQ score.

So, the best thing you can do is get educated on IQ and what it measures. However, avoid trying to give it more importance than other aspects of the human experience, such as emotional intelligence, personal growth, and spirituality.

IQ Scale Explained

So what is a good score on an IQ test? Is 120 IQ good? And what is a good score on an IQ test? Here’s what a standard IQ scale looks like:

IQ ScoreType of IQInterpretation
<70 Low IQIt may suggest some big challenges with certain mental tasks. And it makes up about 2-3% of the population.
70-89Below Average IQYou might face some difficulties in certain intellectual areas. And about 10-15% of the population falls within this range.
90-109Average IQYou have a normal level of intelligence; you are like most people. And about 50% of the population makes up this group. 
110-119Above Average IQYou might be good at solving problems and understanding complex ideas. And this IQ makes up about 15-25% of the population.
120-129High IQYou might excel at various mental tasks. And this is about 5-10% of the population.
>130Very High IQ or “Gifted”You have exceptional cognitive abilities, and some people with IQs in this range may be considered geniuses. And only about 2-5% of the population is 130 and above.

There are a number of different IQ classification tests and tables that, more or less, describe the same thing but use different ranges. It’s important to remember to take these numbers and tables with a pinch of salt. 

These numbers are approximate and may change depending on the IQ test used and the group of people being tested. In other words, tables like these are not exact, but they can give you a good idea of the general distribution of IQ scores in the population.

What Do IQ Tests Measure?

It’s pretty well understood that IQ tests measure intelligence—but what about “intelligence” do they measure exactly?

There are different types of IQ tests, from brief to standard and even extended ones. Their differences lie in their depth, complexity, and length. 

Speaking of which, here they are:

  • Verbal comprehension looks at how well you understand words and language. It includes tasks like explaining words, understanding analogies, and solving word puzzles.
  • Logical reasoning is about solving problems and drawing good conclusions based on evidence.
  • Working memory is like your brain’s RAM. It helps you hold and work with information temporarily in your mind while you’re doing something else.
  • Processing speed measures how quickly and accurately you can understand and respond to information. It involves tasks that require thinking on your feet and quick decision-making.
  • Visual-spatial reasoning checks how well you can mentally work with visual information, like understanding shapes and objects, according to space.
  • Mathematical reasoning tests your numerical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Abstract thinking involves understanding complex ideas and concepts that may not be connected to real-world things. 
  • General knowledge tests your understanding of different topics.

To get a feel for their differences, the briefest IQ tests take about 15 minutes to complete. The more extended ones, on the other hand, will take several hours of your time.

It goes without saying that the more extended an IQ test is, the more precise it is and the more aspects of intelligence it measures. 

Jim Kwik, brain performance coach and trainer of Mindvalley's Superbrain Quest
Jim Kwik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest

How to Improve Your Learning Capacity, According to Jim Kwik

Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences suggests that humans are not born with all of the intelligence they will ever have and that no one processes information the same way. 

In simple words, we constantly learn and evolve throughout our lives, even after we finish formal education.

Jim is also a firm believer in this theory. In his Superbrain Quest on Mindvalley, he even took it to the next level by asking questions such as: 

What if you could learn how to learn

What if you could improve your multiple intelligences and your learning capacity?

If knowledge is power, learning is your superpower. — @jimkwik Click To Tweet

And then he came up with these answers—a few excellent ways to improve your learning capacity:

1. Positive peer group

You may have heard the common saying, “You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.” Well, this phrase exists for a reason. 

You have to be mindful of who you surround yourself with, as they can influence your mindset and aspirations more than you realize. Research indicates that negativity is contagious, which is why it’s so important to include people in your inner circle who not only encourage you but also challenge you to grow.

Tip from Jim Kwik: Who you spend time with is who you become. Finding a positive peer group of people who challenge you and who are smarter than you will help you become a real-life superhero.

2. Clean environment

You keep telling yourself, “I’ll declutter eventually.” As time keeps passing, and your office is still filled to the brim with stuff you’ve never used. You may think a bit of chaos is harmless, but research actually shows that clutter can have negative effects on your brain.

So, try creating an organized and clean environment. When you clean your room, house, or parts of your office, it positively impacts your mental clarity. An organized environment promotes better focus and clearer thinking.

Tip from Jim Kwik: As you clear on the outside, you clear on the inside. You have better focus, you have clearer thinking.

3. Restful sleep

Prioritize quality sleep to activate your superbrain. Sleep is crucial for consolidating short-term memories into long-term ones. Neglecting it can actually result in impaired memory and cognitive function. 

Also, research suggests that when you sleep, you’re clearing out your brain of harmful plaque that can lead to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Tip from Jim Kwik: One of the best ways to enhance your quality of sleep is a mindfulness practice. So for me, I meditate in the morning, and at night for 20 minutes. First thing in the morning, and then last thing at night before going to bed.

And research suggests those who meditate also report deeper levels of sleep, and they don’t wake up quite as much.

4. Brain protection

Your brain may be a badass, but it’s also very fragile. 

According to studies, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of severe brain injury by 63-88% for bicyclists. So, if you love anything that involves high speed, heights, or adrenaline, make sure to safeguard your brain and skull by always wearing protection.

Tip from Jim Kwik: Take it from me, from somebody who’s had so many accidents, head traumas, falling many times, concussions—it has a great impact on your learning abilities.

I had these learning challenges because I had this brain injury and this head trauma. So, protect your brain.

5. Lifelong learning

Learn for the sake of learning. Engage in activities that challenge and stimulate your brain, such as reading, taking courses, or acquiring new skills. 

Lifelong learning not only expands knowledge; it also promotes brain health. In fact, a famous study performed on nuns revealed that they were able to maintain their mental agility as they aged, not only because of their faith but also because they were always learning. 

Tip from Jim Kwik: How do you install new software into your brain? One of my favorite ways is what you’re doing right now. It’s called reading.

6. Stress management

Fear is the mind-killer” is a well-known quote from the movie Dune. Fear is stress in its extreme form, and although stress in small bursts is welcome, the same can’t be said about long-term stress. 

Among other things, it can also impair cognitive abilities. Therefore, you need to incorporate stress-reducing techniques like mindfulness into your lifestyle.

Tip from Jim Kwik: Massage, yoga, mindfulness training, meditation—all those things could help lower your stress, your cortisol, and your adrenaline levels.

7. Good brain diet

Even though your brain makes up only 2% of your body weight, it consumes around 20% of your daily energy intake. And a well-fed brain is a good-working brain.

Here are the best foods to help increase your memory and focus: 

  • Blueberries
  • Avocados
  • Brocolli
  • Coconut oil
  • Eggs
  • Green, leafy vegetables 
  • Wild salmon
  • Turmeric
  • Walnuts
  • Dark chocolate

Tip from Jim Kwik:Add as many brain foods as possible to your diet.

8. Brain nutrients

Research published in Public Health Nutrition shows that foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids can help increase brain power by improving memory and concentration. 

But sometimes, your diet alone isn’t enough. So, if you’re lacking in any of these areas, make sure you get the brain-boosting nutrients you need through supplements.

Tip from Jim Kwik: There are certain brain nutrients that are very important for your brain to be optimized and work at top speed and top function. So things like your B vitamins, things like omega-3s, are very important.”

9. Kill ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts)

Here, ANTs stands for automatic negative thoughts.

Remember, your mind is always eavesdropping on your self-talk. Studies have found that negative thinking essentially drains your brain’s resources, diminishing its ability to think, reason, and form memories.

The good news is, there’s an easy way to “squash” those ANTs. Every time you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, just add the word yet at the end. So instead of thinking, “My memory is not good,” say, “My memory is not good yet.”

The power of this simple, three-letter word allows for success.

Tip from Jim Kwik: Your brain is like a Supercomputer, and your self-talk is the program it will run.

10. Exercise and movement

According to research, anything that’s good for your heart is also good for your brain. 

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, delivering oxygen and nutrients that boost cognitive function. Because of that, people who are more active do better on mental acuity tests, have better focus, and have sharper memories.

Tip from Jim Kwik: As your body moves, your brain grooves.

AI-generated image of a woman sitting on a couch with a book

IQ Unveiled: Embrace Growth

The truth is, your brain is about more than just your IQ. As Jim says, “What I have come to find over my years working with people is that most everyone limits and shrinks their dreams to fit their current reality.”

So take it from “the boy with the broken brain.” You, too, can learn faster, remember more, and boost your brain power. 

If you are looking to unlock your superbrain, reserve your spot in Jim Kwik’s FREE Mindvalley Masterclass. In this slightly-over-an-hour class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Unlock your brain’s full potential with hacks
  • Master information overload,
  • Improve memorization and recall, and
  • So much more.

More than three million students have enrolled and have been taught how to make the most of their minds, regardless of IQ. Like this Mindvalley Member:

“After taking this quest, my confidence was through the roof. I felt I could remember anything, big or small.”
Sooni Mohammed, high school student; Toronto, Canada

It’s like Jim says in his Mindvalley Quest: “It’s not how smart you are, but how you are smart.”

Images generated on Midjourney except the one of the Mindvalley trainer.

Recommended Free Masterclass For You

Discover Powerful Hacks to Unlock Your Superbrain to Learn Faster, Comprehend More and Forget Less

Join the foremost expert in memory improvement and brain performance, Jim Kwik, in a free masterclass that will dive into the one skill you will ever need — learning how to learnReserve My Free Spot Now

Sofia Evaggelidou

Sofia Evaggelidou

Sofia is a mindfulness advocate and writer at Mindvalley. She is passionate about Japanese culture and an avid gamer.
Written by

Sofia Evaggelidou

Sofia is a mindfulness advocate and writer at Mindvalley. She is passionate about Japanese culture and an avid gamer.
How we reviewed this article:
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.

Fact-Checking: Our Process

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.