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What to Expect With Your Child’s First IQ Test – Part One

What to Expect With Your Child’s First IQ Test – Part One

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - August 31st, 2018

If your young child is being given an IQ or intelligence test to qualify for a TAG, gifted and talented, GATE program or private school entry, parents want to know what they can do to help their child do his best. Here is some guidance on what you can expect, and what you can do to help your child feel more comfortable during his first testing experience.

Here are a few suggestions to make your child’s first IQ test experience go smoothly:

Health and Restfulness

Make sure your child is rested and feeling well on the date of the test. If your child feels ill on the day of the test, cancel! If you wouldn’t send your child to school, don’t send her in for a test. If she becomes ill within days of being assessed, contact the psychologist to let her know. If the results seem atypical for your child, the validity of the appraisal should be questioned. If this happens, consider getting your child re-tested using a different instrument [retesting with the same IQ test would be invalid since the questions are the same]. If these results are much better, you can offer them to the schools where you are applying.

When to Test

Avoid scheduling the appointment after he has had a long day at school and don’t take him out of school to go for a test. If you drag him away from an activity he enjoys, he may be upset and uncooperative during the exam.

The Waiting Room

Bring along some snacks, books and games in case you have to wait. If, due to a snafu, they keep you sitting there for a long time and your child gets hungry, tired or cranky, reschedule the appointment.


If your child has trouble separating from you, have your spouse or caretaker bring her to the testing site. Whoever your child separates from most easily is the person who should bring him to the test. Be sure that this person assures your child that he or she will wait for her the entire time.

What to Tell Your Child

Try not to use the word “test” when describing what will happen. You might tell her that you are going to “meet a special teacher who wants to find out just how smart four-year-olds are. So, do your best to answer her questions and show her just how much four-year-olds know.” Kids usually take the responsibility seriously and give it their all. Explain that she’ll be working with blocks and puzzles, pencils and paper and that the teacher will ask her to draw some things and to answer some questions. Challenge her to try as hard as she can on every task. Let her know that many of the things she’ll be asked to do will be fun. Don’t tell her she will be playing games or she may not take the experience seriously.

We worked with one parent whose child was very apprehensive about his upcoming experience. Her son loved science and aspired to be a scientist someday. She told him that he was going to take the Future Scientist’s of America Test, and he happily went in for his test and absolutely nailed it! You know your own child and what will motivate him, so use your best judgment and adjust your explanation accordingly!

To Bribe or Not to Bribe

If your child is reluctant to go, you can promise to take him for something he considers special afterwards (i.e. for ice cream, to the zoo), but don’t make the treat too extraordinary or your child might rush through the test to get to the reward.


Stay tuned for more next week!

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