We have, on a few occasions, talked about the MAT in relation to IQ (intelligence quotient). Pearson refers to the MAT as a high level mental ability exam. The MAT is accepted by high IQ societies, such as Mensa. I have also said that it is an IQ test for all intents and purposes. Those taking the MAT may be doing so specifically because they want to know their IQ score. It’s true that how well you do on the MAT does depend in part on IQ; it is fair to call it an IQ test in that sense. But an MAT score converted to IQ scores is not always possible.
IQ Tests vs MAT
IQ testing looks at your cognitive ability in verbal, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, and fluid reasoning. These categories represent the main ways that symbolic information (words, numbers, shapes, etc.) can be presented to us. Our ability to comprehend these forms of information characterize our intellectual life.
Immediately, you might notice that the MAT does not test you in all of these domains. Instead, it tests you in verbal reasoning (there are some numerical analogies).
Thus, it cannot be said that the MAT fully represents your IQ. It is not broad enough to do that. But intellectual abilities tend to correlate. Contrary to the popular belief that a person who is good at math is bound to be bad at verbal, research shows that people who do exceptionally well in one intellectual domain tend to do well in others. If a person scores quite high on the MAT, they probably have a reasonably high ability in other intellectual areas. This is why Mensa accepts high MAT scores as evidence of high intelligence. But this sort of estimation is limited to the high end of the spectrum.
The MAT does not provide you with an IQ score. Even though the MAT is not a full-fledged IQ test, MENSA accepts MAT scores in the 95th percentile as an indicator of an IQ in the top two percent of the population. Essentially, MENSA accepts that a person who scores that high on an exam measuring verbal reasoning would do well on an exam that measured the full IQ spectrum. This is what research suggests.
All of this is to say that high MAT scores can be used to estimate high IQ scores–
- A score in the 95th percentile (430-440) is equivalent to an IQ of 132 or higher
- A score in the 99th percentile (450-499) is equivalent to an IQ of 137 or higher
- A score in the 99.9th percentile (500+) is equivalent to an IQ of 147 or higher
But someone scoring beneath the 95th percentile will not be able to use the MAT to assess their IQ with much accuracy.