Embarrass the Nation

Did any other Canucks out there watch Test the Nation? It’s a TV (and online) IQ test that has aired in some 40 countries so far. According to the format, six studio groups take the test live, and viewers can follow along or take the test online. Among the Canadian groups the surgeons were first (surprise surprise), but the millionaires were only one point behind. Looking at some of the past results, I am pleased to see that the vegetarians won the UK test last year, and fair-haired folks will enjoy knowing that blondes scored 11 points above average in the US in 2003 (equal to the highest UK score that year).

Since I can’t resist a good IQ test I followed along and discovered that I am hopeless at logic questions involving numbers (e.g., what number follows 3, 8, 3435, 77, 256 ?*). I also lost points on the baby video because they weren’t clear that there would be questions on it so I didn’t pay much attention (much of the audience fell into this trap, judging by the groans), and the puzzle piece questions were hard to see on my TV (I’m sure it had nothing to do with my 30-something eyes…). But enough excuses. I scored 128, which is not unreasonable given my technical difficulties.

The Test the Nation number-crunchers will be taking the data collected in studio and online and determining the smartest province, zodiac sign, hair colour, and other sillynesses. The results will be posted here later. They also have a great disclaimer at the bottom of their FAQ page which everyone should take into account:

Remember, IQ tests only measure verbal and visualization skills, reasoning, memory, logic, and mental arithmetic. They don’t measure other qualities like character, personality, or talent.

It’s unfortunate that we can’t test those other areas of human performance because they are all important and necessary in society.


*I made this question up, but it demonstrates the degree of sense these questions make to me.

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10 comments on “Embarrass the Nation

  1. i did it and came through with 125 … one of their answers was incorrect, however (the fraction of men question 12/18 is not 2/5 … it's 2/3) …

  2. JCR says:

    IQ tests prove very little, really… what's more impressive to me is a well-read mind, a person who lives for learning and enjoys appropriating experiences from books and other art forms.

  3. Chuck says:

    I played too. My score was 135 but that may be rather high. I'm not sure guesses should count.
    rogueclassicist, if I remember the question correctly, they wanted to know what percentage of the total number the 12 men equalled which would have been 12/30, or 2/5.
    Are IQ scores really good for anything?

  4. Sylvia says:

    Very impressive, Chuck. Must be all that Wagner. πŸ˜‰
    I suppose IQ tests are useful in recruitment for jobs or the military, just to make sure the candidates are capable of the work involved, or at least those aspects of the work that are measured by IQ tests. Other tests would be needed to determine if they play well with others etc. I suppose they might be useful in schools to determine if a child has a learning disability or just doesn't have much capability so that appropriate remedies can be applied.
    For me, it has actually been helpful to identify that I have a high IQ and to learn that it has its own set of problems. Believe it or not there are support groups for high IQ individuals and they really are helpful. It's always hard to be different, whatever the difference.

  5. Imani says:

    I don't think much of IQ's so I wasn't interested in the show. I took an IQ test in my teens but was never told the score. (We could ask for it if we wanted to know; I didn't.) I only knew that I did well enough to beat most in making it to the second round of some “Pick a Youth to represent country in overseas 'World Leadership' Conference” competition.
    (It should be noted that my attitude partly springs from my general 'f off' attitude to the “underachiever” label pinned on me for most of my high school years.)

  6. Dorothy W. says:

    I don't want to take an IQ test, because I might not like the results — although I am curious …

  7. Andrew says:

    127. Aced all parts except for memory. I think I might have early onset dementia or something, my memory's appalling! 😦

  8. wil says:

    Am I the only one that tried to figure out the number series (before finding out that you made it up)? The 3435 really threw me.

  9. Sylvia says:

    Andrew: Two words: salmon oil. It's done wonders for my memory, which was hit hard by CFS/ME (there was a time when I could barely remember my phone number). And it's not just me, it's been proven effective in proper clinical trials and all that.
    Wil: As it turns out, there really is an answer to that question. It's 5.4702i. Is that what you got?

  10. wil says:

    I'm sure there are multiple valid answers to the question…unfortunately, I don't know any of them. :?}

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