WAIS IQ Test Measures Capabilities and Mental Retardation...
Is there any connection?

WAIS IQ test is the most popular intelligence assessing scale. It measures vocabulary, arithmetic and visual-spatial capabilities. It takes into account general knowledge, social awareness and short term memories as well. Psychiatrists preferably use this scale to diagnose level of mental retardation in their patients.

WAIS stands for Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Classically this adult IQ test claimed to classify intelligence of human beings of 16-74 years old and above.

The other two Wechsler scales are used for kids and children.

History of WAIS IQ test

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale

These tests were introduced by David Wechsler in 1939. He replaced them with a better scale in 1981 and renamed them as Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised. In 1997, these tests were standardized for USA citizens and were renamed as WAIS-III. Now some companies are claiming to use WAIS-IV for the same purposes.


The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale is a standardized IQ test. For that purpose the sub-tests were administered to 1800 USA citizens. The sample group was representative set of men, women, white, black, rural and urban population as per 1981 census. Other representative considerations were also taken into account. After calculating their results, the ratings on the scale were identified.

Later on psychologists of different countries customized WAIS under their cultural and linguistic preferences. Now adapted versions, such as Australian IQ tests, Spanish IQ Tests and Chinese IQ tests, are available all over the world.

How do they work?

WAIS IQ tests are comprised of two main scales; verbal and performance. The verbal scale assesses six verbal capabilities. However, performance scale measures five performing capabilities.

Verbal IQ Test Scale

The verbal IQ test scale analyses your vocabulary, arithmetic, information, comprehension and digit span capabilities and abstract conceptualization. The IQ test results heavily depend upon your practice, skills, education, culture, socio-economic conditions and the current state of your mind.

1- Vocabulary

The WAIS IQ test identifies your comprehension of meanings and relations between the expressive words. It is your mental conception of a thing or situation that gives meaning to the spoken or written words.

The Wechsler IQ test generally assumes that your native language is English. However, if English is not your native language or you differ from others in culture, your IQ may vary considerably. Education, experience and life-style also contribute for better scoring in this sub-test.

2- Arithmetic

The WAIS IQ test offers simple arithmetic problems to identify your mental alertness. This sub-test is commonly called math IQ test when it is administered separately. It focuses upon your attention, concentration and arithmetic reasoning. The questions are asked in a story telling way and you are asked to reason arithmetically to answer them.

Your education, vocation and practice play great role in IQ test results. When you have daily life interaction with arithmetic or practice such puzzles and questions, you shall have better IQ then those who don’t have such opportunities.

3- Information

The WAIS IQ test measures your general knowledge with this sub-test. It focuses upon your capability to understand simple information correctly. Culture, education, residence and life-experience strongly influence your IQ test rating. The questions originate from a particular culture to know your general knowledge attainment.

4- Comprehension

The WAIS IQ test measures your social awareness and common-sense with this sub-test. It focuses upon your social sense and your conception of cultural values. When such sub-test is prepared for the USA citizens, others may get low IQ scoring. Secondly, no candidate shall like to answer in a fashion that his society rejects. For example, you are asked about your reaction on finding a bag full of dollars. You may need that bag in your heart but you shall like to answer as the society demands.

5- Digit Span

The WAIS IQ test assesses your auditory short memory, concentration and attention with this sub-set. You are given digit strings and asked to repeat them first forward and then backward. When you are encountering this sub-set with full attention, calmness and fresh mind, your IQ test rating shall boost. However, when you are in anxiety, tension or depression, your IQ test score shall fall considerably.

6- Similarities in Dissimilar Objects

The WAIS IQ test measures your abstract reasoning and power of conceptualization. You are given a set of apparently dissimilar objects to identify abstract similarities amongst them. This is also a culturally influenced test.

Performance IQ Test Scale

This main scale has five sub-tests which analyze different performing capabilities. The sub-tests include picture completion, picture arrangement, block design, digit symbols and objects assembly.

1- Picture Completion

The WAIS IQ test measures your visual perception by asking you to perform completion of a picture. You are given a set of nineteen pictures and are required to complete the story with the twentieth missing one. This sub-test measures your capability to visually separate essential details from unessential information. The complete set of pictures tells a reasonable story.

2- Picture Arrangement

The WAIS IQ tests measure your capability to understand social interaction through non-verbal skills. Your ability to find out arrangements and sequential order is also analyzed. You are offered a set of pictures and are asked to arrange them in a way that tells a story.

3- Block Design

The WAIS IQ tests measure your non-verbal reasoning by requiring you to organize blocks as per the given patterns on cards. The colorful blocks design tells how much performing reasoning you have.

4- Digit Symbols

The WAIS IQ tests measure your short term memory through this sub-test. You are given a key to match series of numbers or shapes. Your performance shows your capability to understand coding patterns. The psychiatrists use this sub-test to measure alertness of your visual nerves.

5- Object Assembly

This performance sub-test measures your visual spatial capabilities. It consists of four jigsaw puzzles to complete them. Parts are required to be converted into a whole. It is optional sub-test for a WAIS IQ test.

WAIS underlines that the both verbal and performance scales should be administered separately. When standard deviation between the both scales is 15 point, it is a normal phenomenon. However, if the standard deviation is more then further investigation into the subject is required. Without a prejudice and contempt, if you are going to encounter a WAIS session, you are at least average and at the maximum a super genius. The lower rating is for the mentally retarded people. And we don’t expect mentally retarded people, as per the WAISE intelligence rating, capable to read these pages.

Whatever your IQ test scores may be, you can develop your vocabulary, arithmetic and visual-spatial capabilities. Proper training may improve your general knowledge, social awareness, and short term memory. David Wechsler may be right that no amount of training can convert an idiot (mentally retarded person) to a mathematician. However, an average can win with persistence, focus and hard work.

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What Other Visitors Have Expressed

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IQ 44, how to interpret? 
My son is 15 year old is autistic and tested FullScale IQ 44. His school told me to disregard and it is impossible to obtain an accurate IQ with learning …

A High IQ, Yet a Dummy. 
I have to admit, I was never the best for taking directions from others. Questioning what made them an expert, and why are they lecturing me always bothered …

My IQ 
Is it normal for my age to have the IQ of 136 and I am only 10 years old? Editor's Note: 136 at the age of 10 shows that you are gifted one provided …

How is the WAIS graded? 
I was just curious how the test is graded. Is there a set scale?

Just Curious Not rated yet
I took two IQ tests in elementary school. One when I was eight, and another when I was ten. I can't remember which score belongs to which test, but apparently, …

Retardation Not rated yet
Retardation can be of various type, but one thing is common, the persistent movement backwards, may be in behaviour, thought or physical activities.

Psychiatrists? Not rated yet
Psychiatrists almost never use psychological testing, especially cognitive tests like the WAIS-IV. These are almost always given by clinical psychologists, …

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