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7 February 2011
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What is the IQ Test?
The National IQ Test gives people across the country the chance to measure their intelligence against the rest of the population. The test is set and overseen by Dr Colin Cooper, Psychologist and IQ expert, and includes questions on logic, perception and visual reasoning as well as testing your powers of observation and memory. Following the Test The Nation tradition, this test will be completely live and interactive; viewers can take the test online, interactively or simply by playing along at home with a pen and paper. You can compare your IQ scores with those playing online and in the studio and by the end of the night you'll be able to see where you rank in the IQ stakes compared with the rest of Britain.

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When is the IQ Test?
The IQ Test is on BBC ONE on Monday 27th August at 6.40pm.

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How can take part?
You can play along on several different platforms depending on your preference: on the web, on interactive TV, or by playing along at home with a pen and paper.

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Can I take the test if I am under 16?
If you are under the age of 16 you can still play for fun on the night, but the test will not give an accurate measure of your IQ. Performance on these tests improves quite rapidly with age throughout childhood and adolescence and so what is a 'good' performance for a 12-13-year old may be well below average for an 19 year old. So when estimating your IQ compare yourself with the '16-20' age group but be aware that this will almost certainly produce an underestimate of your true IQ; don't panic if your score is well below average.

Can I play along if I am hearing or vision impaired?
There are only four questions in the TV version of the test that would make it unsuitable for hearing-impaired viewers. However, the web version has replaced these questions with text-based ones making it completely suitable if you are hearing impaired. In both versions of the test all the instructions are presented in writing along with a simple example for each section, so the hearing-impaired viewer is unlikely to face any significant problems.

However this has not been definitively tested, as to do so would require us to identify large, representative samples of the hearing-impaired population when the test was being developed; the resources to do this were simply not available. Designing IQ tests for the visually impaired is rather more difficult, not least because the degree and nature of visual impairment can vary greatly from person to person. Professional psychologists often administer just some parts of commercial IQ tests to those with impaired vision, although several tests (mostly rather old fashioned ones) have been developed for the visually impaired.

However, as television is a primarily visual medium, a test that relied solely on sound may not be particularly exciting for fully sighted viewers and would be impossible for the hearing impaired. Partially sighted viewers can of course take part, but the IQ estimate is likely to underestimate their true score. However as the nature and degree of impaired vision will vary from person to person, it is not possible to specify precisely how much.

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How accurate is the test?
When each of the IQ tests was developed, some 130 items were administered to a representative sample of several hundred members of the UK population alongside a commercial intelligence test. The format was exactly the same as for the broadcast test (items being presented on a screen, individually timed) whilst the standard IQ test was given in the standard pencil-and-paper format. This allowed us to check that all sections of the test measured intelligence and to drop items that were exceptionally easy or difficult. Statistical analyses were also performed to gauge the amount of measurement error in the test and to check how closely scores on the TTN tests corresponded to scores on the conventional IQ test.

On the basis of these analyses, the broadcast tests seem to be as effective as many commercial products when administered under ideal conditions. However one has no control over the conditions in which the test is taken at home; a viewer who is tired, highly anxious or distracted by other things will inevitably perform less well than they ought to and so it is impossible to give a blanket assurance about the accuracy of this (or any) test.

Because test scores change with age, it is necessary to develop tables to show how people in each age band perform relative to their peers. The number of age bands is necessarily rather small for two reasons: (a) because it would require a huge sample to be tested at the development stage, and (b) because a conversion table for each year of age would be huge and confusing on screen. The age groups were chosen so that the amount of variation within each group was as small as possible, but people near the borderlines will inevitably have their scores over- or under-estimated to some extent. Interpolation can be used to reduce such errors.

However because of all these issues, it is not really possible to say that scores on this test are likely to be accurate to within a certain number of points. If someone has taken several different TTN IQ tests, the average score is likely to be the most accurate estimate of IQ.

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How do I work out my IQ?
If you take the web-based test, this is done automatically for you. If you take the test using the printed scorecards (or still more simply, a piece of paper on which you write a, b, c or d for each of the 70 items) you need to listen to the answers in Part 2 of the show and award yourself one point for each question that you answer correctly, and zero points for each item that you got wrong or did not attempt. Do not include the example items when awarding yourself marks! Then simply work out your total out of 70. To convert this total to your IQ (which shows how well you perform relative to others of similar age) you need to consult a 'look-up table'. The columns of this table show various age bands: simply choose the one that corresponds to your age. The rows show various total scores. Simply find the column corresponding to your age, the row corresponding to the number of items that you answered correctly and the number where the row and column intersect is your IQ. The lookup table will be shown on screen towards the end of Part 2 of the show, and may also be found on this page. To interpret your score, you need to know that the average IQ is 100. Only a third of the population gets a score above 115. Only 2% have an IQ above 130.

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Is this test suitable for dyslexic users?
It is hard to generalise without knowing the degree of dyslexia which each individual participant shows. Almost all items are voiced-over (the exceptions being those that rely on diagrams or pictures alone) and many items do rely on observation and diagrams. However some do inevitably involve language, as with most IQ tests. Thus the test will probably under-estimate the IQ of dyslexic participants - but the extent to which it does so cannot easily be estimated, as it depends so much on each individual's circumstances.

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I can't get the broadband test to work. What could be the problem? What technical requirements does the test require?
To take the online version of the IQ test On Demand you need a broadband internet connection (of more than 255Kbps), Macromedia Flash Player 8 and a reasonably fast processor. Full technical requirements are detailed below. Macromedia Flash Player 8 can be downloaded free from BBC Webwise.

Technical requirements
You need a broadband (high speed) Internet connection. We regret that we cannot offer content to non-UK users. Users with connections of 255Kb or below will not be able to receive video content. Please note that the actual download speed made available to you by your service provider may vary considerably from the advertised speed, depending on network traffic conditions within the provider's service. For more information on the possible issues, please refer to the BBC's Broadband FAQ. Some non-domestic UK users may also experience problems accessing the service. Macromedia Flash Player 8
You need Macromedia Flash Player 8 [download free now]

PC - 450 MHz Intel Pentium II processor (or equivalent) and later (although users of systems containing Pentium III or below may find that they experience limited-motion video playback, but uninterrupted audio); Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5, Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape 4.7, Netscape 7.x and above, AOL 9, Opera 7.11 and above

Macintosh - 500 MHz PowerPC G3 and later; 128MB RAM; OS X 10.1.x and above; Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.2, Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape 7.x and above, AOL for OS X, Opera 6, or Safari 1.x and above

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