Why IQ Tests Are Annoying and the Kardashians Are Successful

Academic Corner explains how Emotional Intelligence (EQ) compares to IQ.

I have always been put off by IQ tests. Not because of my sub-par score — actually I have no idea what my IQ is and don’t want to know because, judging by my lack of ability on those Mensa tests in the back of airline magazines, it will probably depress me.  I’m not a fan because IQ tests don’t look at the big picture. 

IQ tests can be useful in assessing a person’s cognitive ability and identifying learning disabilities. However, a student’s success is often related to far more than purely an IQ score. The majority of successful students possess a high EQ as well. EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, comprises four capabilities:

  • Self-awareness — the ability to identify your own emotions and their impact
  • Self-management — the ability to control your emotions and behavior
  • Social Awareness — the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others and act appropriately
  • Relationship Management — the ability to influence and connect with others

Students are assessed on much more than pen and paper tests. Most classes require students to work in pairs or on group projects to prepare them for real life work situations where employees are likely to work with a team. The bean counter working in isolation is a thing of the past. It is rare to find any job that does not require working cooperatively with colleagues, clients, students, patients, customers, managers, etc. Having a high IQ is very helpful depending upon the type of job you have, but having a good EQ is what will make you successful.

In addition to IQ and EQ, motivation is perhaps the biggest contributor to student success. I know all you parents of teenage boys are nodding like bobbleheads right now. I will often look at a bright student who is earning dismal grades and ask, “How bad do you want it?” Because really, a kid can have all the potential in the world, but if they don’t do their homework or crack a book before a test, it doesn’t matter. On the other hand, time after time I have seen “average” students work their butts off and become extraordinarily successful. 

Take a moment to think about the people you know. Are the really bright ones the most successful in terms of career? How about their personal lives? We all know people who are experts in their field but can’t function in interpersonal relationships. On the flip side, you probably also know people who are very successful based more on their EQ than IQ.  That would explain the Kardashians.




Sue Schaefer is a student advocate, academic coach, and certified teacher. We encourage you to visit her website: Academic Coaching Associates. You may email Sue at susan.schaefer@academiccoachingct.com.

You can also follow Sue on twitter: @sueschaefer1

steve o April 22, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Susan, I may not be as "smart" as you are, probably not. But I know a "fraud" when I see one, and Kim Kardashian is certainly "up there" besides the fact that she is obviously out there! Old-fashioned IQ may not be the best way to measure someone's societal worth, I actually agree! EQ is giving us a picture that is a lot closer to an individual's "societal value" if we can allow ourselves to use that term. But for you to personify the derivatives of what we have learned from studying people based on what we now call EQ in Kim Kardashian and her erratic behaviour, obvious to any "normal" person, indicates to me that you Susan, has a different agenda! Not one to create a more "fair and perhaps realistic picture of most people, I cannot speak for "the rest of them", or to de-stigmatize or perhaps "dethrone" IQ as a measure of a person's worth. If you were, I would be inclined to want to be on your team. However, your professional "worth" is now in question, at least by me personally, when you can sum up the value of our new quotient to help us better understand how to help people optimize their personal worth in a corporate setting. Disappointing Susan, very disappointing in deed!
Kristen Morgan April 22, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Interesting article, Susan! Working in academia, I have known plenty of people over the years who are, as you mention, brilliant in their particular fields, but who have difficulty with personal relationships. I wonder how many folks we ascribe as having a poor EQ are functioning with autism spectrum disorders or other social anxiety issues, which can often go hand in hand with an exceptional intellect?
Susan Schaefer April 22, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Steve, I am truly sorry you did not find my "Kardashian" joke humorous. I will try not to disappoint you in the future. Sue
Susan Schaefer April 22, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Excellent point Kristen. It does seem as if superior intellect and social awkwardness often go together. I don't know why but it is very interesting. Sue
samuel adams April 23, 2012 at 02:42 AM
I don't know what educational background you have Susan, but it appears as though dogmas have caught on to your idea of what it means "being informed"! Why not attempt to show a little more "compassion withe the ones of us that "just cannot help ourselves"! That is just the way we are. Anything in your little conformed brain about that argument? Oops, I probably should not ask, I might just get "the truth" from a professional such as yourself. Are you in the group that some people call "the intellectual elite"? You are obviously attempting to impress someone. Besides Kristen, another female wannabe intellectual, who else is there? Certainly not me!
king of we ha April 23, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I've always been attracted to superior intellect. Sue, you must have a high IQ. When can I buy you a drink?
Barbara Schwarz Bennett April 24, 2012 at 01:24 AM
I thought this was the opinion section of the Patch. Since when are the writers in an opinion section not allowed to voice their opinion? Obviously the Kim Kardashian reference hit a chord with Mr. O. I thought it was very creative.
Kristen Morgan April 28, 2012 at 03:36 PM
"another female wannabe intellectual" Samuel Adams, I will love you forever if you buy me a t-shirt with that slogan for my birthday!


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