Word Jam

Our friend Mangan has sent along a link to an online vocabulary test that I thought all of you, being of course among the upper echelons of the world’s cognitive elites, might like to have a go at.

Here it is. Pro tip: check your answers twice before submitting; the test is hard on the eyes, and it’s really easy to make sloppy mistakes.


  1. Bill says

    OK, I got this message:
    You got 175 out of 200 correct.

    It comes from reading a lot, having had a course in Greek and Latin derivatives 50 years ago, and luck. I don’t buy his high IQ stuff. People who worry about that usually are not very successful. They are so smart they are stupid. The really smart ones are too busy doing things to worry about whether they are smart or not.

    Posted June 23, 2013 at 5:57 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Bill, it isn’t that high IQ guarantees much of anything; it’s that low IQ sets limits that are very hard to overcome.

    Those “really smart ones” you talk about, the ones who are too busy “doing things” (i.e. becoming successful by industry and ingenuity), almost certainly have above-average IQs too.

    Posted June 23, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink
  3. Kevin Kim says

    Bill and Malcolm:

    I can see both your points. The so-called “g,” for “general intelligence,” is primarily a measure of problem-solving ability, whereas a vocab test has much more to do with lower-level cognitive skills like simple rote knowledge/memorization, and maybe application (I’m thinking of Bloom’s taxonomy here). Score one for Bill.

    At the same time, I agree that a low IQ sets limits that are hard to overcome: smart people can do goofy impressions of stupid people, but stupid people can’t do impressions of smart people; it’s beyond their capacity. That means smart people have more freedom. Score one for Malcolm.

    Posted June 23, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  4. JK says

    178. 3 wild guesses.

    Now I just wish I could string sensible sentences. (As I’m sure ya’ll do too).

    Posted June 23, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink
  5. I got to the word “myrmidon” and opted out to avoid spending a lot of time just to prove how stupid I am . . .

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted June 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink
  6. Bill says

    I completely agree with you Malcolm. My concern at the time was all the above average IQ people who then obsess over how much above average they are.

    When discussing the lower boundaries of mental capability, I am of the opinion that with hard work there are a lot of things people can do that they are not given the chance to do. That said, I also one time had a customer that was so stupid he couldn’t even keep track of the notes he took, which were quite detailed.

    I have my problems with the so-called general ability tests of IQ. They focus on analytical skill, yet there is much more to life than analysis. My son is an artist, and I have watched him work. It is obvious he does not think anything like me, yet produces some really powerful works. I could not begin to do what he does. He would not score particularly well on an IQ test yet can do phenomenal art, and also has a tremendous personal integrity. Those things are just as important as problem solving ability, and in some cases, more so.

    Posted June 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Yes, Bill, quite right. The qualities you mention — personal integrity and artistic vision — as well as others such as empathy, reliability, industriousness, courage, courtesy, loyalty, friendliness, humility, cheerfulness, general decency, and the capacity to love — are all orthogonal to IQ, and they matter very much.

    Posted June 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink
  8. Porter says

    Enjoyable little quiz. Though with only a 168, I appear to be the pansy at this poker table. Fortunately though, no results as yet reported from that imbecile Unz. To learn that my IQ was inferior to his…I don’t think I could bear it.

    Posted June 25, 2013 at 12:55 am | Permalink

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