Ho Math Chess Research and Articles > Is High IQ Equal to High Math Marks

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17 Nov 2008


Is High IQ Equal to High Math Marks


Frank Ho, Amanda Yang


Canada certified math teacher and founder of Ho Math and Chess



After testing a few students we seem to get the conclusion that an above average IQ scores do not necessarily translate to high math marks. The categories tested including logic, memory, sequence etc, these are strong factors could influence children’s math ability. Why these above average to high IQ students do not score high math marks? Some of these students studied hard and yet could not do well in their math tests, why? We started to study how they tried to solve problems and what difficulties they encountered when trying to solve math problems and found out that there are still a few factors which affect their math ability but the general IQ test do not seem to find out these weakness areas which are not related to their math ability.


  1. They do not know math short cut or tips. General IQ test do not test these areas.

  2. The can not work backwards or do reverse thinking. Often the IQ test does not require formulas and even high IQ students have difficulties in applying equations.

  3. They can not put all conditions or information together and then solve problems. For example, the IQ test will test one’s memory, logic or pattern in separate pages but often the math problems require children to apply all on one problem and IQ test questions do not seem to have these kind of problems to test them all skills on one problem.

  4. IQ test does not teach children on something in advance and then test on their understanding so there is no cause and result effect of teaching involved. Math learning involves teaching (conceptual learning) and the later stage of practice, so if the children are not interested in carrying out the completion the fluency of procedural learning then their math marks will not be high when tested.

  5. Are children interested in study? If they are simply trying hard because their parents want them then the results will be different from those who are inherently interested in doing research.

  6. Are the skills shown in high scores of IQ test transferable to math test? This answer may not be a definitely yes.

  7. Often Math problems require learned knowledge to solve them and these learned knowledge require practice so even though some children have got high IQ scores but may not have high math scores since they did not put in efforts to do enough practice to master the skills. For example, I observed that some high schools do not remember how to use formula to expand (x – y)^2 or know how to factor x^2 – y^2 and these have very little to do with real life experience. The reason is they have not done enough practice so they will not do well when these skills are required to solve some algebraic problems even though they may have high IQ test scores.

  8. Some high IQ children do not care if what has been taught is clearly understood or not, no research spirit to find it out or ask someone to clarify the confusing points.

  9. Bad study habits or even bad living habits so they affect their learning ability that they can not organize or analyze their thoughts. For example, if some presentation points were not understood by high IQ children and if these children do not even bother to take notes or earmark on those points and review them then how can they get high marks if those points were tested later?


Frank Ho, Amanda Yang