Thursday 20 June 2013

Test your vocabulary Part 2


In the spirit of relentless self enquiry, the moment I finished the Vocabulary post on the cognitive challenge of learning words and using them accurately I came upon a demanding vocabulary test. It requires that you decide whether two words are the same or different.

The test does not lack challenge. It bills itself as a test for people of above average intelligence, so it is likely to maximize stereotype threat. As a consequence, there are two categories of failure. You may be discouraged because you are a sensitive soul who does not like the implication that the test is testing you, and realise to your embarrassment that have blundered into an adult conversation while still wearing short pants, and that you are too dull to understand the concept of above average. Conversely, you may be discouraged by the simple fact that, after having started the test you realise that your vocabulary is not quite as good as you imagined. Either through threat or a paucity of vocabulary, potential failure stares you in the face. Mercifully, there is no way to know your results unless you post them, yet another clear example of the distorting effects of publication bias.

On a more technical note, there are 200 items, which ought to provide a high alpha, but there are no reliability stats available, nor any population norms at the moment. Consequently, it would be wrong to call it a vocabulary test in the psychometric sense, but rather a vocabulary competition. The only benchmark I can find is that 165 out of 200 is considered a reasonable score, which allows you to be posted up on a list somewhere, in the quiet precincts protected by the teachings of the wise. I have yet to receive an embossed certificate or discrete invitation to a sumptuous gathering of wordy interlocutors, but I live in hope.



  1. "short pants": the Americanisation of this blog must cease!

    You'll be discovering chemical weapons next!

  2. Pole position to Mangan! Welcome!

  3. "You got 169 out of 200 correct." (English is my second language.) However, I always find these results strange since according to most vocab tests I should have an exospherical IQ, but I suspect I'm not even a two sigma case.

    Ps. one of the questions has two correct answers. So 170/200.

    1. Excellent score for a second language. Hadn't noted the two correct answers. Exospherical ! but remember that although vocabulary has a high g loading of .78 it it not the only ability which is included in the general concept of intelligence.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. 177/200 I claim the bronze.

    I left 17 questions unanswered.

    I started out intending not to guess, but many dubious pairs seemed to signal an answer, so I took a stab.

    Of the six answers marked incorrect, I was consciously guessing on five. On the other one, no. 169, "extended" v. "compendious", I feel like making an appeal.

  5. Well done, and thanks for posting your scores. All appeals on dodgy items welcomed. Need to contact the test creators, though.

  6. 175 correct and 25 incorrect with wild mass guessing. If I deduct my incorrect answers from my score to penalize guessing as the SAT does, I scored a "corrected" 150.