What is the Stanford-Binet?
The Stanford-Binet is a traditional intelligence test designed to assess your child’s IQ, or intelligence quotient. While the test includes both verbal and nonverbal sections, the exam skips around through different questions instead of grouping them together by subtest type in order to best assess each child’s unique cognitive abilities, strengths and weaknesses. While the SB5 is typically administered one-on-one by psychologists around age 4-5 (especially for kids applying to a gifted and talented program or private school), children as young as two may be tested. Composite FSIQ (Full Scale IQ) scores are derived from a composite of all 10 subtest type scores that have been normed against the national average.
The Stanford-Binet IQ Test measures five cognitive abilities in both nonverbal and verbal formats, or 10 total subtests:
- Fluid Reasoning
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Visual-Spatial Processing
- Working Memory
For examples of questions that test the skills on these subtests, sign up for our 100 free questions.
100 Free Practice Questions
In many instances, the Stanford-Binet will be a child’s very first testing experience and takes anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes. For this reason, we strongly recommend practicing basic test-taking skills with your child ahead of time to avoid making some common mistakes, like: pointing to the correct answer and holding your finger out without moving it around, knowing terms like column, row, in order, sequence, table, above, below, more than, less, fewer, first, last, beneath, etc.
The Stanford-Binet 5, like the WISC® test and WPPSI™ test, is an IQ test. The Stanford-Binet–5 test is the Fifth Edition of the test and the one your child is likely to be given. The purpose of this test is to assess your child’s IQ or intellectual quotient. The IQ refers to the composite intelligence test score that comes from combining all the subtest scores on the Stanford-Binet test (or any other IQ test). For examples of the types of questions found on the Stanford-Binet and other IQ tests, view our 100 free practice questions.
Most people have heard about IQ scores — 146 to 159 is “highly gifted,” 131 to 145 is considered “moderately gifted,” 116 to 130 is “high average,” and 85 – 115 is considered “average.” For many children, the difference between being labeled highly gifted or gifted can come down to a single point, and that one point may impact their ability to get into fantastic Gifted and Talented programs that will provide tremendous educational benefits. For example, last year, children needed to score at least 148 to be invited to the second round of testing for admission to Hunter College Elementary, one of the top gifted programs in the country that is located in New York City. At TestingMom.com, we had a number of families whose children scored just one or two points below that threshold. While it was wonderful that their children did so well on the test, it was also frustrating that they just missed the opportunity to be considered for such a fine program.
Because an IQ test is so different from a skills or achievement test, it is harder to study for. Additionally, since it is given to children so young, there is a chance that a child might get scared or nervous, and make mistakes that could cost him many points. Most children taking the Stanford-Binet test at age-4 have never taken a test before in their lives. They may not know how to sit still for a long period of time, listen carefully to what is being asked of them, how to think through a question and look at all the answer choices before jumping in and responding. This is a brand new skill set for little (and even many older!) children. Developing these test-taking abilities is as challenging to young children as knowing the answers to the questions they are being asked.
The Stanford-Binet test is a particularly hard test because it includes so many different subtests. While many tests group the same types of questions together, which allows children to become more comfortable with the material, a psychologist administering the Stanford-Binet test will skip around and mix different types of questions together. This can be confusing for some children. For these reasons, we believe it is critical that (at the minimum) you give your child exposure to the types of questions that he or she will encounter on the test.