The GRE and IQ tests both measure elements of intelligence.
The GRE and IQ tests both measure elements of intelligence.

The Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, aims to predict the likely success of a student aspiring to complete a graduate program. IQ tests attempt to determine the natural giftedness of an individual, regardless of the current level of education or knowledge. Both tests assume no knowledge of the subject matter tested. The suitability of each test rests on the goals, needs and purpose for taking the test.

GRE Test

The GRE tests analytical ability, quantitative analysis, logic and comprehension as it relates to the activities required to succeed in a graduate program. GRE testing aims to target specific abilities that correlate with intelligence, concentrating on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical ability. The GRE uses a combination of essay writing and multiple-choice questions. The information needed to answer each question appears within the test. Because of this, you don't need specific knowledge of a subject.

IQ Test Variants

Like the GRE, an IQ test attempts to measure the likelihood of educational achievement. However, the types and breadth of IQ tests make the testing of IQ less standardized than the GRE. In general, an IQ test places a high emphasis on abstract reasoning abilities. While many different types of IQ tests exist, each one attempts to evaluate a person's ability to store and recall information, reasoning ability and aptitude for picking up new skills. Some of the most common intelligence tests include the Stanford-Binet, Differential Ability Scales, Otis-Gamma and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test. Psychologists and other qualified professionals must administer these tests for accurate results.


IQ and GRE tests both measure vocabulary knowledge, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, fluid reasoning and working memory. Fluid reasoning measures your ability to react and respond to novel and unpredictable situations. IQ tests attempt to measure this by providing you with puzzles and word problems to solve. The GRE measures your ability to understand and respond to situations outlined within a paragraph of information. Fluid reasoning requires the ability to combine abstract reasoning, logic and working memory to solve problems. Unlike the GRE, IQ tests generally don't require you to complete essay questions and may require you to work with physical objects.

Improving Scores

IQ tests purport to measure your intelligence regardless of background and educational level. Many professionals believe that because of this, an IQ score should stay consistent throughout life, provided you receive a typical education as measured by the content knowledge of your peers. The GRE test structure provides a way to improve your scores by studying aspects of the test on which you perform poorly. Taking GRE practice tests, learning specific strategies and gaining familiarity using a calculator helps improve scores on the test.

Test Scores

American Mensa provides membership services specifically for individuals with a high IQ. The members come from all types of backgrounds. Qualifying for membership requires that you demonstrate high intelligence. High scores on IQ tests commonly administered by schools and the GRE both qualify individuals for membership into Mensa. However, only candidates that took the GRE before September 30, 2001 can use test scores from the GRE for membership qualification. Since the GRE provides a general testing of intelligence, you can use your GRE score to determine what you might score on an intelligence test.