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Sample an intelligence test

Learners will see and take a sample of selected questions from an intelligence tests
Laptop with an intelligence test on display
© University of Padova

Let’s have a go at a few questions from an intelligence test.

The questions below are an adaptation of some of the questions you may find in (perhaps) the most diffused and used intelligence test: the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale.

Because this test uses various types of questions, we will have a sample of many of these types. Note that some questions are not adequate to be implemented online because they require specific materials and the presence of a skilled experimenter. The pictures should nonetheless explain to you how these questions work. Give it a shot!

Cube design

In this test, you are given a set of cubes.

Cube design test

These cubes have sides that can be white, red or half red and half white. The person taking the test has to arrange the cubes in a way to reproduce the pattern suggested by the experimenter. This has to be done within a specific time limit.


The experimenter presents two words and you have to say in what way the two words are similar.

For example:

  • in what ways are “yellow” and “green” similar?
  • in what ways are “food” and “petrol” similar?

Digit span

The digit span subtest is divided into two parts. In the first part (called forward digit span), the experimenter says a sequence of digits (for example, “7”, “2”, “9”, “4”) and the participant is asked to repeat the sequence “as is”. As the subtests progresses, the length of the sequence increases.

In the second part (called backward digit span), the experimenter again says a sequence of digits of increasing length, but your task is to repeat the digits in reverse order. For example, the experimenter may tell you ““5”, “1”, “4”, “9” and you have to respond “9”, “4”, “1”, “5”.

“Try an online version of the digit span test here and here.” with “Try an online version of the digit span test here (forward digit span) and here (backward digit span).”

Try an online version of the forward digit span test here and the backward digit span test here.

Matrix reasoning

For matrix reasoning, the experimenter presents a row of figures and you must determine which of the figures from the choices best fills the gap in the given row. The response has to be given within 30 seconds.

Matrix reasoning
Can you figure out the missing piece in this example of matrix reasoning?


At the beginning of this task, you are presented with a list of pictures, followed by a list of words. Your task is to determine what the pictures represent and what the words mean.

For example, what do the following mean:

  • breakfast
  • acute
  • reluctant


In the arithmetic test, the experimenter asks you a question, which you must respond to within 30 seconds.

For example: If you need 31 minutes to make two cakes, how much time do you need to make 12 cakes?

In the symbol search, the experimenter presents two target symbols and a group compose of “search symbols”, from which you have to search the target symbol.

Symbol search

While it’s possible that one of the target symbols is present in the search symbol group, it could also occur that none of those in the choices are correct. In the task, the experimenter presents 60 lists and you are given 120 seconds to solve as many problems as possible.

Visual puzzles

In this task, you are presented with a target figure and a set of six other figures represented at the bottom of the target figure. You have to select, among the bottom figures, those that, if arranged together, form the target figure. This test has a time limit for each question that varies from 20 to 30 seconds.

Visual puzzle
Can you solve this puzzle in 20 seconds?


In the information subtest, you have to respond to general knowledge questions.

For example:

  • Who is Napoleon?
  • What imaginary line divides the planet earth into north and south hemisphere?


The test consists of (e.g. nine) digit-symbol pairs followed by a list of digits. Under each digit, you should write down the corresponding symbol as fast as possible. The number of correct symbols within the allowed time of 120 sec is measured. For example, the digit-symbol pairs may look like those in the following picture:

Example of coding

Then, the experimenter will give you a long list of digits and you have to write down the corresponding symbol as fast as possible. For example:

If you were able to reach the end of this article and answer all the questions, good for you!

However, keep in mind that this is just an example; actual intelligence tests are more comprehensive and require a skilled experimenter!

© University of Padova
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