Here’s what a person with 250, 500, and 1000 IQ would be like:
At 250 IQ, the person would be overwhelmingly smarter than any individual who has ever lived or probably ever will live on this planet.
At 500 IQ, the person no longer resembles human intelligence.
At 1000 IQ, the person is so smart that they are beyond any real description, possibly even an actual deity.
So if you want to learn all about what it’s like to have a 250, 500, and 1000 IQ, then this article is for you.
Let’s jump right in!
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How Does IQ Work? (2 Things)
I could be lazy and tell you that 250 is a really high IQ, so someone with that score would be super smart, but you’re here for more than that, and frankly, that’s a boring answer.
To really get into the concept of insanely high IQs, we really need to spend a minute breaking down what IQ scores really mean.
As you might already know, an IQ test tries to measure the intelligence quotient.
That’s a fancy term that is basically saying that IQ tests compare the scores of an individual to the scores of everyone.
In other words, the number that is your score is really showing how you compare to the masses.
Even though there are a bunch of different IQ tests that are designed with different specific ideas in mind, they’re typically built on a standard model.
In that model, a score of 100 is exactly average.
That means that if 1 million people all took the same IQ test, then whatever the average score is on those tests would be rated at 100 IQ.
That’s not clear enough.
Imagine that the test in our example has 50 questions, and after you average out all one million tests, it comes out to 25 questions answered correctly.
That would mean that if you took the test and got 25 right answers, the IQ score that the test would spit out for you would be 100.
In other words, the IQ rating isn’t fixed before you take the test.
The number of right answers it takes to get to 100 IQ depends on how well people actually do when they take the test.
What this means is that IQ is really a statistical representation of measured intelligence (and no IQ measure is ever perfect).
And, that idea of statistics matters a lot.
You see, the other important aspect of an IQ test is the standard deviation (I’ll explain this in detail in a bit).
The standard deviation for an IQ test is 15.
So, every 15 points you get above or below a score of 100 is a big deal.
With that in mind, 250 is a lot higher than 100.
In fact, it’s 10 standard deviations higher, and that’s a really big deal.
I’m going to take you through the math, but to give you a bit of an idea up front, even an IQ of 250 is so high that it doesn’t really make sense.
IQs of 500 and 1000 are truly in the realm of science fiction—if not beyond even that.
#1 Standard Deviation
But before we really play with those concepts, let’s talk about standard deviations.
A standard deviation is a statistical tool that helps researchers understand how well an average actually represents a set of data.
Let’s make up a new fictional IQ test.
This test has 1,000 questions, and three different people take it.
Two of those people answer 200 questions right, and the third person gets a perfect score.
The average of those three tests is 466.7.
That’s the average score, and it’s what you would need to get to have an IQ of 100.
Here’s the thing, though.
That average number of 466.7 doesn’t actually reflect what anyone got on their individual tests.
It’s more than twice as high as the score that two people got, and it’s less than half of the third score.
If you’re trying to understand what taking the test is actually like, that average is not a useful number.
And, that’s why we have standard deviations.
A standard deviation compares the average of a data set to all of the individual numbers in the set.
It then tells researchers exactly how good or bad that average is at actually describing what was measured.
With IQ tests, the tests are designed specifically to produce a standard deviation of 15.
Since the average score is 100, a standard deviation of 15 means that the average is a pretty good indicator of how people actually do when they take the test.
That’s a good start to understanding standard deviations, but there’s a little more that we need to know.
#2 Confidence Intervals
Standard deviations aren’t just giving researchers an idea as to the quality of the average.
A standard deviation is a mathematical tool with very precise meaning.
To better understand that meaning, we have to talk about standard models, or the bell curve.
If you have seen a bell curve, it’s always symmetrical, and the highest point in the curve is right in the middle.
I’m going to skip a lot of derivations and calculations here and just tell you what you need to know.
Using the bell curve model, standard deviations are used to give us confidence intervals.
When something is one standard deviation away from the average, we know that right around 68% of all test scores were within one standard deviation of the average.
In other words, 68% of people score between 85 and 115 on a good IQ test.
At two standard deviations, 95% of the population is accounted for.
Or, 95% of people score between 70 and 130.
At three standard deviations, we’re up to 99.7% of the population, and that’s a score range from 55 to 145.
If you score above 145 on an IQ test, you outperformed more than 99% of the population.
We’re going to be discussing IQs astronomically higher than 145, and this concept of the standard deviation is very important.
If you take one thing away from this section, let it be this.
Each standard deviation represents an exponential increase in representation.
As you pile on more and more standard deviations, the numbers explode toward infinity very quickly.
Let me tell you one more thing as a point of reference.
Particle physics is arguably the most precise branch of experimental science in the world.
People in this field can literally film electrons.
It’s insane what they can accomplish.
Particle physics experiments aim for five-sigma (five standard deviations) certainty.
Comparing that to an IQ test, a 5-sigma IQ would be above 175, and such a person would have outperformed 99.9999% of the population.
In other words, an IQ of 175 is better than 1 in a million.
It’s almost 1 in 2 million.
In the United States, roughly 165 people would be able to score this high.
What Would People With 250, 500, and 1000 IQs Be Like? (3 Scenarios)
That was a lot of math.
The good news is that we can calm down a little.
I’ll still throw some numbers at you here and there but only for the sake of emphasis.
Before we dive into these specific IQ numbers, I need to better explain IQ tests.
The truth is that IQs as high as what we’re about to discuss really break what IQ is actually telling us.
They’re not realistic numbers, and any cognitive scientist or psychologist working on IQ research would tell you that such high numbers don’t actually mean anything.
But, that’s not really a fun answer, so let’s pretend that such numbers are possible and that we have a perfect IQ test that can reliably tell us when someone scores so high.
It’s a science fiction idea, but for the sake of a little fun, what would it really mean for someone to have such a high IQ?
What would they be like?
#1 250 IQ
We’ll start with the dummy in the room.
An IQ of 250 is 10 standard deviations above average intelligence.
This would represent an IQ that is roughly 1 in 390 trillion.
Let’s remember that there are currently about 8 billion people on the planet, so someone with an IQ of 250 would be the smartest person in the entire world by a very large margin.
In fact, they would be the smartest person in the history of the world with a lot of room to spare.
A person this smart would be able to piece ideas and concepts together in a way that no other human ever has (or likely ever would again).
You could think of this IQ as being the smartest that a human being can possibly get.
If they were any amount smarter, then they would stop really seeming human to the rest of us.
Arguably, they’re already inhuman even at this point.
It’s possible that someone this smart would really struggle to relate to other people or even be able to communicate clearly at all.
They would probably seem extremely strange, but still human.
If they could communicate usefully, they would very likely advance entire fields of human understanding on a regular basis.
Because of their raw powers of understanding and logic, they would definitely comprehend things that no one else in the world could.
But, for a normal person like you or me (and compared to an IQ of 250 we’re both extremely normal), it would be difficult to even have a meaningful conversation with this world-changing intelligence.
We couldn’t even conceive of a useful question to ask them.
Instead, it would probably just be a handful of the very smartest people in the entire world who could even converse with the 250 IQ person, and even that would be difficult.
That’s how smart 250 IQ is.
#2 500 IQ
Now, things get crazy.
You might be thinking that 500 IQ is twice as smart as 250 IQ.
After all, 500 is twice as much as 250.
But, dear friend, that’s why we spent all of that time talking about standard deviations.
500 IQ is much, much more than twice as smart as 250 IQ.
Remember that 250 is 10 standard deviations above average.
Well, 500 IQ is 26.67 standard deviations above average.
That’s more than double the number of standard deviations, but we also took the time to learn that standard deviations scale exponentially.
The difference between 500 IQ and 250 IQ is about the same as the difference between 250 IQ and 0.
You could take an IQ test in a language you don’t speak right now, and you’d still score higher than 0.
0 means that there is no measurable intelligence.
A literal potato might score a 0.
That means that our 250 IQ friend is as smart as an actual potato in the eyes of the 500 IQ beast.
I use the word beast because this is an intelligence that we would no longer recognize as human.
A person this smart would see the universe in a way that is truly alien to you and me.
At 500 IQ, numbers really struggle to make sense.
250 IQ is a 1 in 390 trillion intelligence, right?
Well, 500 IQ multiplies that.
This is a 1 in 390,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 intelligence.
I don’t even know the name of that number, much less how to put it in context.
But, I’ll try.
If humans mastered space travel and colonized every single planet in the galaxy, the person with 500 IQ would easily be the smartest person in the galaxy.
They wouldn’t be the smartest person in the whole universe in this context, but the smartest in the galaxy is still something that doesn’t make sense in any realistic terms to anyone reading this.
It’s too big.
Needless to say, someone with this IQ would definitely not seem human to the rest of us.
They might look human, but their perception of the galaxy around them would be so profoundly different from you and me that it really might be like trying to talk to a carrot (we’re the carrots in this scenario).
There would be a complete disconnect.
The 500 IQ person would be smart enough that they actually could bridge the communication gap, but why would they?
Have you ever seriously pondered the inner thoughts of a carrot?
The 500 IQ person probably wouldn’t either.
In fact, even the 250 IQ person would be an unintelligent object in the eyes of 500 IQ.
It’s beyond comprehension.
#3 1000 IQ
And yet, we’re not done yet.
I don’t have to remind you that 1000 IQ is a whole lot more than double 500 IQ in terms of intelligence increases.
At 1000 IQ, we’re beyond the realm of meaningful numbers.
I’m going to use an odd example to try to build some context.
There’s an old saying that a monkey hitting keys randomly on a keyboard could eventually write the complete works of Shakespeare.
That’s actually wrong.
To randomly hit keys and accidentally type out Hamlet – just Hamet – would take about 10^50,000 trials.
If you’re not familiar with scientific notation, that’s a 1 with 50,000 zeros behind it.
Keep in mind that there are only 10^80 atoms in the universe.
10^50,000 is a number so big that it doesn’t make sense.
There is no context where this number is useful.
It’s bigger than a universe full of universes.
In fact, it’s so big that you can substitute this number for infinity in any equation, and you’ll get the same answer.
That’s what it means for a number to be arbitrarily large.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Well, 1000 IQ is 60 standard deviations above average intelligence.
Remember that 500 IQ is 26 standard deviations above average, and standard deviations scale exponentially.
In other words, 1000 IQ is an arbitrarily large number.
At 1000 IQ, the person with 500 IQ doesn’t seem to be living.
500 IQ is about as intelligent as a leaf blowing in the wind next to 1000 IQ.
At this level of understanding, the universe itself is boring.
There is no mystery to anything.
In fact, the universe itself probably seems small.
I’m going to throw some more ridiculous numbers at you, one more time, just to try to impress this idea upon you.
I used a program to try to calculate how unique a 1000 IQ person would be (if you remember that 250 IQ is a 1 in 390 trillion intelligence).
My computer couldn’t calculate the number.
The number is too big.
Now, there might be more powerful computers or systems that could actually give us a number, but that really doesn’t matter.
A 1000-IQ person is so out of our league that my computer can’t calculate the number of people who would be less intelligent.
Do you see how ridiculous this is?
We’re beyond making sense.
If you really wanted to, you could probably describe this intelligence in religious terms more effectively than in scientific terms.
It wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable to consider this the intelligence level of a divine being – as in being able to create universes.
1000 IQ is just too smart to even try to explain.
Maybe if I had 250 IQ I could do it, but probably not even then.