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SAT OR ACT More Closely Related to IQ?

ThereseRThereseR 291 replies128 postsRegistered User Member
I know that neither the SAT nor the ACT is an IQ test and that there are great differences between standardized tests and intelligence tests.

However, I also read somewhere that, of the two tests, the SAT is more closely related to IQ. In other words, if one absolutely had to choose, the SAT would be more intelligence-based.

Do you agree with that?
edited January 2014
117 replies
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Replies to: SAT OR ACT More Closely Related to IQ?

  • rspencerspence 2109 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    For the math section at least, the SAT is a little closer to an IQ test. This is mostly because it contains slightly trickier questions, while the ACT's math questions are more straightforward (but some involve pre-calculus).
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  • SerenityJadeSerenityJade 1204 replies22 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    And IQ test is a reasoning and logic test. And while I have not taken the ACT, I know that the SAT is very much about reasoning and logic. So it is similar to an IQ test. Which might be why the school systems around here advocate their "gifted" students take the SAT and their "lower" students take the ACT.
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  • 2112rush2112rush 11 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
    I'd think the gifted student would fare better on the ACT since the ACT imposes such anal time constraints.
    I'd agree with the majority here, however--the SAT is the IQ test of the bunch. But please understand that intelligence testing goes above and beyond what a mere college entrance test does. And many of the kids here will find out later on in college that those with the higher SAT score aren't a priori more intelligent. Many will prove to be highly intelligent, but others will make you second-guess the SAT's role in intelligence.
    I think Marilyn Vos Savant said it correctly when a poster wrote to her about SAT's and intelligence; She said, "It's only the very low and the very high SAT scores that are important. Anything in-between shouldn't be taken very seriously..."
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  • PhilovitistPhilovitist 2695 replies44 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Frey and Detterman (2003) analyzed the correlation of SAT scores with intelligence test scores. They found SAT scores to be highly correlated with general mental ability, or g (r=.82 in their sample).
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  • PhilovitistPhilovitist 2695 replies44 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The correlation for the ACT is about .77
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  • 2112rush2112rush 11 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
    You present us with a peer-reviewed paper by two research psychologists. I'm still going to side with Marilyn, however.
    SAT problem: Suppose the student who takes the test can't finish in time, lowering his potential score (and hence, any accurate suggestion of raw IQ)? IQ tests are timed too, I know, but there is a different motive for the time constraints on the IQ test as opposed to the SAT constraints, with the Stanford-Binet being much more lenient...
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2357 replies57 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The Reading and Science sections of the ACT are more-heavily g-loaded than are the others.
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  • PhilovitistPhilovitist 2695 replies44 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Well of course they aren't perfect predictors, but IQ isn't really a perfect indicator of intelligence, either.

    But since there is a reaally strong correlation between SAT scores and IQ test performance, differences in the way each test is given aren't really relevant. One could say that they assess intelligence in two distinct ways.
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  • ReallypeopleReallypeople 128 replies3 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    My kids' IQ numbers are essentially exactly the same. One was top of the charts on the SAT and still very good, but not equivalent, on the ACT. The other did not do well at all on either PSAT taken and chose to go with only the ACT. The ACT score, after three tries, was fine but not as good as the other child's ACT score. So, not always a real correlation...
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  • rspencerspence 2109 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    An 82% and a 77% correlation aren't that different...that corresponds to r^2 = .67 and r^2 = .59.
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  • CollectivSynergyCollectivSynergy 980 replies2 postsRegistered User Member
    So, not always a real correlation...

    Correlation doesn't mean determination. You can't prove or disprove correlation based on one anecdote.
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  • DDHMDDHM 529 replies0 postsRegistered User Member
    These tests scores need to be understood also based on a student's situation. Note that many intelligent students are at schools with inexperienced or poorly trained math and grammar teachers or stuck in classes with classmates whose needs slow the pace and rigor of the curriculum. Many schools don't help kids prepare for these standardized tests either, and the students take the exams with very little preparation or practice, maybe just a brief self-study in a review book. This can definitely can affect scores. Kids coming from families and schools with limited vocabulary, no attention to grammar, and dumbed down assigned literature are disadvantaged in the Reading/Writing sections.

    Also, some kids read questions (including math word problems) more slowly and think about all the various alternative ways to figure out an answer. They could be as smart as Einstein or Edison but not able to perform on ACT/SAT rapid speed tests (e.g. dyslexic students cannot do some things with lightning quick speed but can be extremely intelligent). There is correlation of IQ and scores, but many other variables are real contributors to the exact scores.
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  • SerenityJadeSerenityJade 1204 replies22 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I love how someone pointed out that IQ tests test one type of intelligence. They test a person's reason and logic skill, not their intelligence as a whole.
    For example, I consider my best friend smarter than myself however I fair better on an IQ test because he's dyslexic and I'm better with logic, numbers, and word puzzles.
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  • lioness4lioness4 185 replies5 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    from what i know, the SAT is more like the IQ test but that does not imply that either exam is a particularly great measure of intelligence. it is pretty accepted that, above a "critical mass" type number, it's all irrelevant as a predictor of academic success. For example, a 135 IQ is very superior while not "genius" but an individual with a 135 is no less likely ( perhaps more likely?) to achieve success compared with someone in the genius category. There is a baseline number likely needed for different levels of achievement but after that, it really comes down to grit, perseverance, motivation, inspiration, etc.

    Regarding the specific differences between the tests; if you're looking for a direction in which to guide your student, my experience is the SAT is puzzles and the ACT is direct. It depends on the individual student's strengths (not necessarily their smarts). The ACT math absolutely refers to a more advanced curriculum and is very much a race against the clock, no prisoners style test; you know it or you don't (although no penalties for guesses). And the science section is notoriously rough and very much think on your feet type questions --ability to read complex charts and graphs is a pretty advanced skill particularly in a pressure situation. Yo It would seem easier to practice for the ACT but tests are hard to come by while the market is flooded with SAT's and the "code" of the SAT can certainly be "cracked." Either way, perfect practice makes perfect so preparation is the name of the game.....
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  • lioness4lioness4 185 replies5 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    ps. very difficult to qualify for extra time on ACT because the time factor is so critical
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  • muckdogs07muckdogs07 1135 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The SAT is at its root a reading test and its "tricky" part on math often relates to reading as much as the math itself. Neither the ACT nor the SAT, however, is an IQ test and College Board expressly admits that this is not the case for the SAT. One way we know that is IQ scores rarely vary more than a few points, while a student on the SAT can often increase their score dramatically via studying and tutoring over the course of a single year.

    Two of my children provide examples. Child #1, a senior last year, took SAT in March 2011 and received 1880. We then hired a tutor for four classes and Child #1 studied more for it and received a 2130 on the June 2011 test.

    Child #2 this year started with the same tutor for test #1 (since we liked the results for Child #1) and received a 2030 on January 2012 test. Child #2 then took the test a second time in March w/o a tudor but with more studying and received a 2120. Child #2 then took the test in June with no tutor and more studing and jumped way up to 2290.

    I do not believe if the SAT was even close to an IQ test that you would see these big jumps in performance.
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  • drusbadrusba 9580 replies20 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    In fact, the original Scholastic Aptitude Test (now just SAT) from the mid-1920s was essentially just a copy of an IQ test. It had a math and reading section that is similar in format to today's SAT test. It also had an essay section which was abandoned in the late 1940s and then brought back in 2005.

    The original IQ tests were created in the early 1900s and then refined before WW1. The Army adopted IQ tests from the time with only minor changes for its test to give to all new recruits to determine those who could be officer material. Carl Brigham, a Princeton psychology professor, served during the war in the group that administered those tests.

    Brigham was a member of and writer for the American Eugenics Society (AES). The AES is probably not mentioned in too many of your high school history books, just as the College Board never provides the details of how and why the SAT got started. The AES's goal in life was to do everything it could to prevent the dumbing down of America that it believed was occurring from the unfettered onslaught of immigrants that the members of the AES believed were low-lifes and inferior who came from unacceptable countries. The AES's goal was to preserve the superior race in the US which consisted of upper crust white males of Anglo-Saxon and Nordic heredity. Its concern was that the low-lifes (Italians, Jews, African Americans, Hispanics, Slavics, Asian, name whatever group you want) would destroy the gene pool for intelligence in the US by socially and sexually mixing with the superior race resulting in the end of the US as they knew it. The AES and its backers were key at the time in getting immigration laws passed that it made it more difficult for immigrants to come to the US from the countries they believed to have people of inferior intelligence.

    With the Army test, Brigham noticed a peculiar, but in his view expected, result. The superior race (which was also those with the best educational backgrounds in the US) did better on the test than those low-life recruits with the result that most officers ended up being white upper crust males. Brigham thought it foolish to think that there might have been bias in the test, despite some criticisms to that effect.

    Back to his college position, Brigham saw new opportunity. Some colleges had their own admissions or scholarship test but there was no uniform test. The College Board came into existent with the idea of seeing if a uniform test could be created. Brigham became a leader of the committee that would try to come up with a test and he created the original SAT mainly by just copying, with some minor changes, the Army test which itself was a copy of an IQ test. He adopted and promoted the use of that test because he wanted colleges to have a test that could be used to reject all the low-life applicants with bad heredity from being admitted to college with the result that applicants from the superior race would be admitted to college and would not face the clear and present danger to the country of socially and sexually mixing with the inferior races while attending college.

    And thus the SAT became the test used by eastern elite colleges and later many colleges to determine admission.

    Interestingly, in the late 1930s , after Hitler had come to power, invaded other countries, and was spouting that German's were the superior race, the AES and its ideas became disfavored in the US. Brigham who was in charge of administering the SAT had an epiphany and came to the conclusion that the critics were right, that the test was biased in favor of white, upper crust, well-educated Americans, and started speaking out against the use of the test. However. by then it was already accepted as a test to be used by too many colleges. For those many who felt the test should be used and who wanted to silence Brigham and prevent him from becoming a force for changing or ridding of the test, he did them the favor of dying in early 1943.
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  • ReallypeopleReallypeople 128 replies3 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    As an interesting aside, the Jews that were supposed to be excluded by the SAT turned out to excel and were overrepresented in the top colleges. The essay was born as a way to make sure students belonged to the "right" communities - churches, clubs, etc.
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  • timmyd06timmyd06 1 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    Sweet, my first ever post in CC... lol

    ANYWAYS, against common belief, the SAT, ACT, MCAT, GRE, LSAT, etc are NOT IQ tests. You obviously cannot be abnormally slow and score exceptionally high, but you do not have to be Stephen Hawking to make a 37 MCAT or 2300 SAT. How well you do is about 95% contributed to the work put in prior to taking these standardized tests. For instance...when I took my SAT back in 2008, I was a big time football jock/party animal and school meant nothing to me. I didn't study ONE MINUTE for the test and actually got hammered until 5am THE NIGHT OF THE EXAM (I am now astonished at my old mentalities), and scored a 1500/2400. I guarantee you if I would have treated that test like I am treating the MCAT right now...there would be a world of difference.


    I sat in the Dean of Admission's office of the medical school that I am applying to (University of Miami School of Medicine) and had about a 1 hour conversation. During this, the dean told me that people don't realize that scores on exams such as the SAT or MCAT are insanely dependent on preparation! He went on to tell me of a 2nd year student who had applied to the school with a 24 MCAT and was rejected. She studied intently for 11 months, retook it and scored a 34!

    I'll end this with one more example: My best friend's little brother took his first shot at the SAT and scored around a 1350/2400. Took multiple classes and actually studied hard for 4 months, retook it, and scored a 1700. I DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS AN IQ TEST, YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN.
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  • CatriaCatria 11199 replies150 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    They're both partially built like IQ tests, but neither can truly be considered one.
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