High-range IQ tests are designed to measure intelligence within the "gifted" range, and beyond the ceilings of most regular intelligence tests. This is an experimental branch of psychometrics that has been in existence for some thirty years, and started in circles of high-IQ society members. It will probably take another few decades before careful statistical analysis will tell to what extend it is possible to meaningfully test for intelligence at the very highest levels.

The attraction of these tests, to the testee, lies in three aspects: One may derive pleasure from taking them, similar to solving difficult puzzles. Also one learns how one's score compares to those of other high-range candidates, and thus gains insight into one's performance level on different types of hard problems. And finally, there is a wide array of high-IQ societies that accept scores on the tests.

Membership of such societies offers communication and discussion with others selected at various test score levels, which to some is an enriching experience. Nowadays these societies are mainly active over the Internet, thus avoiding the subscription fees of magazines and journals sent via regular mail. Membership is, in a sense, a reward for one's effort in taking the tests, and therefore encourages the candidate to do well. This in turn is in the interest of the test designer, who needs high-quality data from serious testees for statistical purposes.

Most of the high-range tests allow unlimited or virtually unlimited time and are unsupervised, so that one can take the test at home. It benefits both test designer and candidate if one puts in the time, effort and concentration needed to reach one's maximum performance.

Some mistakenly think or suspect the goal of these tests and societies is to gather the smartest people in the world in a kind of think tank, to solve mankind's problems or rule the universe. But in reality it is about the fascination for high intelligence and its statistics, and the research after its measurability. For the test taker, it is about the satisfaction of solving hard problems, learning where one stands compared to others, and getting in contact with them.

Author's Bio: 

Paul Cooijmans (1965) is the creator of a number of the world's hardest intelligence tests and founder of three high-IQ societies. His work can be found at http://paulcooijmans.lunarpages.com/ .