18 Ways to Tell if Someone Has a High IQ

If we’re being honest, most of us like to think of ourselves as pretty intelligent. While there is no 100% accurate way to determine whether someone has an above-average IQ without having them take an official test, there are a few common signs. Here are 18 ways to tell if someone has a high IQ.

Voracious Reading Habits

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Many people with a high IQ love reading many books across a wide range of subjects and genres, often including both fiction and non-fiction. This helps feed their need for intellectual stimulation and expand their knowledge base.

Curiosity and a Love for Learning

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As you may expect, a lot of highly intelligent people have a strong intellectual curiosity and love learning new things. If someone seems to have an insatiable curiosity for the world around them and is constantly learning new things, it’s likely they have a high IQ.

Memory and Recall Abilities

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According to Iris Reading, high levels of intelligence are linked to greater short-term memory storage. As such, it’s common for people with a high IQ to display an exceptional ability to recall details and experiences that others may struggle with.

Adaptability and Problem-Solving Skills

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There are several facets to a high IQ score, including problem-solving and logical processing. This means that many intelligent people can successfully put their minds to a wide range of situations and tasks, finding new and innovative solutions.

Keen Observation and Attention to Detail

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People who are highly intelligent are more likely to notice subtle details, changes, and patterns that others may overlook. If you’re someone with a keen eye for detail and strong observational skills, it’s likely that you have a higher-than-average IQ.

High Level of Concentration and Focus

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The BBC notes that high intelligence has been linked to an improved ability to ignore distractions and focus. Because of this, intelligent people can often be seen maintaining their focus even in challenging environments and finding it easier to get into the “flow” state.

Excellent Linguistic Abilities

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One’s vocabulary may be a better indicator of general intelligence than any other measure. Therefore, if someone has a strong command over language and a rich vocabulary, it’s likely they have a high IQ. To increase your vocabulary, Time Magazine says, “Being in good shape increases your ability to learn. After exercise, people pick up new vocabulary words 20% faster.”

Logical and Mathematical Reasoning

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High-IQ individuals also typically have a strong grasp of mathematical reasoning and impressive logical processing capabilities. Because of this, they are often drawn to puzzles, math problems, and other activities involving logical problem-solving.

Creativity and Innovative Thinking

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While you may not immediately think of creativity as a typical trait of someone with a high IQ, highly intelligent people are often able to think outside of the box more than most. They often display a keen interest in creative hobbies and pursuits that require innovative solutions and unique ideas.

Emotional Sensitivity and Understanding

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According to Psychology Today, there is a strong link between emotional sensitivity and high intelligence. This can help people with a high IQ to better empathize with others and use their emotional intelligence to better handle social situations and problems.

Strategic Thinking and Planning

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People with higher-than-average IQs often make great planners and strategic thinkers. This is because their strong logical and problem-solving skills help them think through potential future issues and outcomes, helping them ensure they are properly prepared for success.

Skepticism and Critical Thinking

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Skepticism can be a beneficial trait that allows you to question commonly accepted societal norms and truths. People with a high IQ are often exceptionally talented in this area, using their critical thinking skills to reflect on evidence before coming to conclusions.


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Autodidacticism is the skill of being able to teach oneself without the help of educational institutions or teachers. Highly intelligent people commonly exhibit this ability, teaching themselves about many different topics and skills without external guidance.

High Level of Perseverance and Resilience

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People who are highly intelligent are more likely to see challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and improvement, giving them a higher degree of perseverance and resilience. This also helps to keep them motivated in their journey to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge.


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Because people with a high IQ have exceptional critical thinking skills and are able to think outside the box, they are also often very open-minded to new ideas and possibilities. As a result, they will often value the diversity of opinions and perspectives.

Intuitive Insights

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Individuals with a high IQ are often gifted when it comes to making accurate intuitive judgments and predictions. This is because they are able to draw upon their knowledge base and ability to connect seemingly unrelated ideas when searching for answers.

Philosophical and Existential Thinking

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Because intelligent people typically have a strong appetite for abstract thinking and exploring new ideas, they are often drawn to matters of philosophy and existentialism. As a result, they commonly read many books or watch videos dedicated to such topics.

Adaptability and Flexibility

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A high IQ usually enables someone to put their mind to a wide range of problems and situations. Because of this, intelligent individuals are often exceptionally adaptable and flexible, embracing new and unique challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

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