Researchers at the University of California Riverside and the University of California Irvine have developed a quick, simple to use, and completely free test that measures so-called intelligence, or IQ.
According to a study published in the journal Behavior Research Methods, the University of California Matrix Reasoning Task (UCMRT) is a reliable calculator of nonverbal problem-solving ability, which can predict the user's academic proficiency and what the researchers refer to as "fluid intelligence". That is intelligence concerned with reasoning and problem solving rather than anything that relies on pre-existing knowledge.
Even better, it can do all this in just 10 minutes. In contrast, Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices (APM) – the standardized test currently used to measure reasoning ability – takes between 40 and 60 minutes to complete.
To test out its accuracy, researchers recruited 713 undergraduate students and had them complete the test, which is comprised of two two-relation problems, 15 three-relation problems, and six logic problems.
"Performance on UCMRT correlated with a math test, college GPA, as well as college admissions test scores," Anja Pahor, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California who helped design the test, said in a statement. "Perhaps the greatest advantage of UCMRT is its short administration time. Further, it is self-administrable, allowing for remote testing. Log files instantly provide the number of problems solved correctly, incorrectly, or skipped, which is easily understandable for researchers, clinicians, and users. Unlike standard paper and pencil tests, UCMRT provides insight into problem-solving patterns and reaction times."
Of the 713 students, 230 also took the APM. Even though the UCMRT has just 23 questions in comparison to APM's 36, the study suggests it is just as accurate.
"UCMRT correlates with APM about as well as APM correlates with itself," Pahor added.
What's more, it may be better than APM at predicting standardized test scores, said Aaron R. Seitz.
But – and perhaps just as importantly – is the cost factor," said Seitz. "The APM costs hundreds of dollars whereas UCMRT costs precisely zero dollars and because it is designed for mobile devices, like tablets and cell phones, it is extremely accessible.
"Intelligence tests are big-money operations. Companies that create the tests often levy a hefty charge for their use, an impediment to doing research. Our test, available for free, levels the playing field for a vast number of researchers interested in using it."
Scientists who would like to use the UCMRT can access it via Pahor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next steps, the researchers say, is to diversify the test for different ages and abilities, adding that variations of the UCMRT could be used to help with early intervention programs.
"We are already working on a project with California State University at San Bernardino to move forward with that," Seitz added.