The Real Way to Figure Out How Smart Someone Is

It works every time.

Jessica Wildfire
6 min readAug 25, 2021

IQ tests are torture. I took my first one at the age of five. I remember one question that drove me to tears:

“Circle the picture that looks the most like a lamp.”

There were four pictures. A desk. A bed. A couch. And last but not least, a lamp. The question didn’t make any sense. One of the pictures didn’t just look like a lamp. It was a lamp. In my mind, there should’ve been a picture of something that only resembled a lamp.

Every question posed the same kind problem. It was open to ten interpretations, at least for me. In the end, I didn’t finish the test. The school tried to place me in special education courses, but my parents objected — mainly out of shame and embarrassment.

For about ten years, they treated me like a total idiot. They yelled at me for making simple mistakes. My dad called me stupid under his breath. It was around that time they started planning to have another kid. That turned out to be my brother, who they considered bright.

Everything changed when I turned 14.

My school gave everyone another one of those IQ tests. This time, I didn’t waste a lot of brain power on it.