What Are IQ Percentiles
IQ is often expressed in percentiles, which is not the same as percentage scores, and a common reason for the misunderstanding of IQ scores. Percentage refers to the number of items which a child answers correctly compared to the total number of items presented. If a child answers 25 questions correctly on a 50 question test he would earn a percentage score of 50. If he answers 40 questions on the same test his percentage score would be 80. Percentile, however, refers to the number of other test takers’ scores that an individual’s score equals or exceeds. If a child answered 25 questions and did better than 50% of the children taking the test he would score at the 50th percentile. However, if he answered 40 questions on the 50 item test and everyone else answered more than he did, he would fall at a very low percentile — even though he answered 80% of the questions correctly.
On most standardized tests, an IQ of 100 is at the 50th percentile. Most of our IQ tests are standardized with a mean score of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. What that means is that the following IQ scores will be roughly equivalent to the following percentiles:
IQ  Percentile 
65  01 
70  02 
75  05 
80  09 
85  16 
90  25 
95  37 
100  50 
105  63 
110  75 
115  84 
120  91 
125  95 
130  98 
135  99 
