What is Bill Gates’ IQ and How Smart is American Philanthropist?

Bill Gates has an IQ speculated to be between 151 and 160. These speculated figures come from calculations based on his academic records, including his 1973 SAT score, which is an impressive 1590 out of 1600 as well as his achievements.

Bill Gates’s IQ ranks him among renowned personalities and geniuses like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg who have an IQ of 160, 155, and 152 respectively. Going by this, it won’t be an error to also describe Bill as a genius.

A high IQ is arguably among the potentials needed for one to be considered successful, or at the least on the road to becoming successful. Although there is no reliable science behind this assumption, the fact that most successful people across the globe have reasonably high IQ levels seems to validate the theory.

Bill Gates, born William Henry Gates III, is one of the most successful people in the world as he is the second richest person on earth. Even though his IQ level is speculated to be quite high, the billionaire has not publicly confirmed the figures. However,  his academic records and achievements distinguish him as not just intelligent but also smart.

Gates has devoted much of his career life to computer science, philanthropy, and medical science. But for the war with academics, Gates is neither a computer nor medical scientist despite his immense contribution to both fields. The reason for this is not farfetched; he has no academic qualifications conferring such titles on him.

Bill Gates’ IQ Falls Within The Range of 151 and 160

Bill Gates’ IQ is quite on the high side as it is way above average. His IQ level is between 151 and 160. These speculated figures come from calculations based on his academic records, including his 1973 SAT score, an impressive 1590 out of 1600. His IQ level can be attributed to the quality of education he was exposed to and the environment that nurtured him.

Being born in a family that was not struggling financially, a young Bill was given the best early education. He proceeded to attend the prestigious Harvard University for his college education before his interest in the world of computers forced him to drop out.

Gates also deserves some credit for his supposed IQ level. While education plays an important role in intellectual development, not everyone that had the same chance at education as Gates did have a high IQ. Gates was a hard-working student throughout his student life as his teachers and colleagues attest.

He devoted much of his time to his books and took as many classes as he could manage. He is also an inquisitive person who is open to new discoveries. These qualities definitely helped to expand his horizon and broaden his intellectual capability, hence his high IQ level.

A Closer Look At Bill Gates’s Career

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Bill Gates is a household name for various reasons and this makes it somewhat difficult to describe a person of his caliber. He is an American business tycoon, entrepreneur, investor, software developer, and philanthropist. He also co-founded Microsoft Corporation with his late childhood friend, Paul Allen. The name Bill Gates has become synonymous with computer software although he is not the only one in the industry.

Bill Gates is an expert in many fields. He is, however, famous for his exploits in software development and philanthropy. Microsoft Corporation changed the future of computer science with Windows 95 and we have Gates and his bosom friend-turned business partner to thank for that. Since then, he has continued to develop software aimed at providing easy access to computer operations. Besides software development, Gates also supports medical ventures, especially research geared toward the production of vaccines for early childhood and recently, for Covid 19.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established in 2000 has served as a channel for most of Bill Gates’ philanthropic endeavors. Through the foundation, he has made a significant contribution to the eradication of the poliovirus in Africa. He has invested heavily in researches aimed at finding effective treatment and cures for malaria and HIV/AIDS. In March 2020, Gates stepped down from his administrative positions at Microsoft to focus on charitable causes close to his heart. These include education, climate change, poverty eradication, and global health.

His High IQ Kindled His Interest in Science and Technology

What many people do not know or often overlook is that Gates did not set off his career in the field of science and technology. He enrolled at Harvard University to study law and possibly follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a prominent lawyer. His parents’ dream of having their son become an attorney was aborted in 1975 when he dropped out of Harvard University to focus on Microsoft.

Bill Gates’ IQ
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Prior to Gates’ time at Harvard, he was already passionate about technology, especially computer programming and software development. His interest in computers dates as far back as when he was about 13 years old at Lakeside School in Seattle, Washington. The school’s Mothers’ Club used the money that was obtained from the school’s rummage sale to purchase a Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal and computer time on a General Electric computer for the students when Gates was in the eighth grade. This birthed his interest in computer programing.

His fascination for programming the General Electric computer led to his being allowed to not attend mathematics classes in order for him to pursue his interest. He would later write his first computer program on this machine.

Gates was not alone in this newfound love for programming ignited by the donation from the Mothers’ Club. After the donation by the Mother’s Club got finished, he sought time on other systems alongside other students. Among these systems was one that belonged to Computer Center Corporation (CCC) which later banned Gates and his friends for manipulating the bugs in their operating system in order to extend their computer time.

But the ban notwithstanding, the young boys did not give up on their quest towards mastery of computer programing. The four later formed the Lakeside Programmers Club for financial gains. Following the expiration of the ban period, they struck a deal with Computer Center Corporation to find bugs in their software and be paid with additional computer time.

Although he could have been using the system from wherever he was located through Teletype, Gates chose to go to CCC’s office where he devoted his time to learning source code for different programs that ran on the system. This pursuit for knowledge is the foundation for his incredible impact in the field of computer science without being a computer scientist.

Gates’s interest in medical science was inspired by the global health crisis. He is versatile in epidemiology and other aspects of medical science although he is not a medical researcher. He engages the services of experts in the field to carry out funded research under his foundation and educates himself on their findings.

This explains why he appears to be an authority in the field and even gave a TED Talk in 2014 on global health pandemics. This talk, however, backfired at the onset of the current Covid 19 pandemic.

What is Intelligence Quotient (IQ) in a Broader Sense?

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is a number that indicates a person’s intellectual capability resulting from a test designed for this purpose. It is used to ascertain a person’s ability to think constructively and proffer solutions to problems. It simply determines one’s ability to get creative with problem-solving. This means that the quicker you are at identifying problems and finding solutions to them, the higher your IQ is.

The abbreviation IQ was coined by William Stern from the German word Intelligenzquotient. Stern is a psychologist. He used the term to describe a scoring method for intelligence assessments at the University of Breslau. The term was featured in a book he advocated in 1912. The term and his advocacy have since gained popularity. Today, IQ tests have become both a fashion and a means to gauge a person’s intellectual ability.

Traditionally, to ascertain a person’s IQ, you had to divide the person’s mental age by the chronological age and multiply the result by 100: mental age/chronological age*100. As the world progressed, the method for deriving an IQ score also changed. To derive this in the present day, the raw score from an IQ test is transformed to a normal distribution with 100 as mean and standard deviation. Following this formula, about two-thirds of the test population score between 85 and 115 IQs while an estimated 2.5 percent score above 130 and below 70 respectively.

Meanwhile, an IQ score of 100 is considered average while more than 100 means a person is highly intelligent, and 130 or above means a person is extremely intelligent. A person who scores below 100 is said to have “below average” intelligence and scores below 70 often spell trouble as it may mean that a person has an underlying learning disability.

It is important to note that IQ tests may not reflect true intelligence but mere estimates as several factors can affect a person’s performance in a test. Considering the abstract nature of intelligence, it is difficult to accurately work out an individual’s level of intelligence. This is because the content of such tests may be familiar to a certain group within the population and strange to others.

IQ can impact people both negatively and positively. While a high IQ can give an individual an advantage over one’s peers or co-competitors, a low one can demoralize an individual. Take for instance the case of IQ tests as a measure for college admission; a candidate that fails to meet the expected score may feel inadequate and suffer psychological torture and give up on their dreams. Since IQ is only an estimate and not a true reflection of intelligence, it means that some people with high IQ levels may not necessarily be that intelligent.

Who Conducts IQ Tests?

IQ tests are administered by psychologists and to determine an individual’s IQ, he is usually served a series of questions, and afterward, his responses are graded and his IQ obtained. In case you do not know, a French psychologist named Alfred Binet was the brain behind the first IQ test in the early 1900s and he carried it out with the intention of testing the level of intelligence of school children in his country. Nevertheless, psychologist Henry Herbert Goddard is the father of modern IQ testing in the United States.

These tests come in a variety of forms and in addition to helping measure a person’s intellectual potential, they can also help detect if someone is intellectually disabled. There are a number of bodies and organizations that conduct IQ tests, but apart from these bodies, there are also various websites that offer the test, however, whether or not the result they produce are accurate remains questionable.

Also, there are different types of IQ tests. In the United States of America, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) for school-age test-takers and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) for adults are the most popular ones. Others include the following:

  • Cattell Culture Fair III
  • Wide Range Intelligence Test
  • Raven’s Progressive Matrices
  • Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test
  • The Differential Ability Scales
  • Das–Naglieri cognitive assessment system
  • The Cognitive Assessment System
  • Multidimensional Aptitude Battery II
  • The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children
  • Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test
  • Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities
  • Thurstone’s Primary Mental Abilities
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales
  • Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales

Why Is IQ So Important?

Possessing intellectual superiority comes with many benefits. People with high IQ are believed to have better grades in school, better chances of getting very good jobs that pay mouth-watering salaries, and also live longer lives.

To a great extent, having a high IQ can be the catalyst that’ll arouse your desire to achieve your life’s purpose and bring to life your imaginations and fantasies.

Specifically, your IQ level will determine the choices you make, and the higher your IQ, the better and wiser the decisions and choices you will make. Bill Gates has, no doubt, made many good decisions, which a lot of people all over the world, who have not and may never even meet him physically, are benefiting from.

As good as having a high IQ is, there is a downside. For instance, according to research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, having a high IQ may result in the illegal use of drugs. Also, when people take IQ tests at different times in their lives, the scores vary and this takes us back to what we said earlier about people’s IQ test scores being affected by several factors.

Bill Gates’ IQ
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Does A High IQ Have Anything To Do With Being Intelligent or Smart?

There is unfortunately no absolute answer to this question. IQ tests are carried out to measure intelligence. If you look at it in this light you can conclude that a high IQ equals a high intelligence level. The content of these tests also varies from place to place and may even be substandard. The only information that seems to support the claim that high IQ equals intelligence is the fact that the majority of the world’s billionaires have high IQ and their success stories kind of validate them as intelligent.

Another reason high IQ is associated with high intelligence or smartness is that it is needed for admission into elite schools and entry into high profile jobs. It is close to impossible to find graduates of such schools who are not leading very successful lives. Bill Gates for one does not believe that one needs to be a genius to be successful. You just have to have an open mind and be willing to learn and take on new challenges.

Intelligence also comes in different forms and no testing format can contain all the components required to adequately test intelligence. Some may not pass the aspects of intelligence tested for IQ scores but excel in other aspects. Intelligence is more of a natural ability or skill. Smartness, on the other hand, can be acquired and built upon as one learns. It becomes difficult to draw a line between intelligence and smartness. Gates for one has become a force to contend with despite dropping out of college. That said, a high IQ opens doors of opportunities for you.

Bill Gates’ IQ Compared With Other People With High IQ

Bill Gates’ IQ Compared With Other People With High IQ

Mark Zuckerberg – IQ Score of 152

Mark Zuckerberg is speculated to have an IQ of 152. Again, this is within Bill Gates’ IQ range. And yet again, Zuckerberg is one of the richest people in the world and among America’s famously rich entrepreneurs. You need to be a genius to be able to found and sustain a venture such as Facebook. Zuckerberg is also involved in other tech ventures aside from Facebook.

Elon Musk – IQ Score of 155

The South African-born billionaire is said to have an estimated IQ of 155. This falls within the same range as Gates’. Like Gates, Musk did not make this information available to the public. The SpaceX and Tesla owner is a combination of “smart and intelligent”. Both men are at the pinnacle of America’s extremely rich and famous people. Although both men have won international acclaim for working towards making the world a better place, Gates has some reservations about Musk. Both were educated at high-profile schools.

Warren Buffet – IQ Score of 155

Warren Buffet’s IQ is speculated to be about 155, which is on the high side and also befitting of the American money bag and genius investor. Note that the 93-year-old does not attribute his success to intelligence. He believes that there is a clear difference between intelligence and wisdom and both are needed to be in his class of wealth and success. The investor and philanthropist is on top of his game for having the discretion to always invest in the right ventures. He seems to have an eye for potentially successful businesses even before they fully emerge. It is difficult to tell if his investment skill has anything to do with being intelligent and smart or just wisdom.

Steve Jobs – IQ Score of 160

Steve Jobs IQ is estimated to be 160, with some people suggesting that it could be more than that. Either way, he could be considered a genius with such a high IQ level. We can dare to say that he is as intelligent as Gates and that is not surprising. The engineer and Apple Inc co-founder was a tech guru and was in the league of the world’s wealthiest people before his life was cut short in 2011.

Albert Einstein – IQ Score of 160

Truth be told, there is hardly anyone who can give you first-hand information about Albert Einstein’s IQ. There is nothing to prove that he was tested and at the beginning of the 1900s when the physicist first emerged as a leading light in the world of science, IQ tests were still crude and unpopular. However, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV), one of the most utilized IQ tests in recent times, assigned an estimated maximum IQ score of 160 to Einstein.

Although we do not know what they put into consideration before assigning this score to Einstein, it has been accepted as his IQ. Although it is not certain what Bill Gates’ IQ is, one can easily agree that it is up to 160 when the level of impact he has made in the world is placed side by side with that of Albert Einstein.

William Shakespeare – IQ Score of 210

Shakespeare is believed to be the greatest writer in the English language and the greatest dramatist the world has ever known. He wrote several classical dramas, the most popular of which are Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet. His IQ score is estimated to be around 210, way more than Bill Gates’ speculated IQ range.

William Siddis – IQ Score Between 250 and 300

With an IQ estimated to be between 250 and 300, Siddis is supposedly the man with the highest intelligent quotient ever. His mathematical and linguistic skills were exceptional; he got into Harvard at the age of 11 and could understand 40 languages. According to a projection by an MIT professor, Siddis was the best Mathematician of the 20th century.

However, despite his intelligence, Siddis could not meet up with Bill Gates in terms of being successful as he crashed during adulthood and could not live up to the expectations of society. So in his case, his extremely high IQ did not reflect in some of the important choices he made and as a result, he failed to end up becoming as successful as Gates and many other people who had lower IQs than he did.

As the debate on the relationship between high IQ, intelligence, smartness, and wealth rages, one thing is certain; all four are interconnected. All the billionaires discussed so far have high IQs and were able to get into elite schools because of it. Most of their business connections were made while at school which undermines the idea that intelligence alone got them where they are. Add that to their family backgrounds and make up your mind as to how the rich and famous are made.

Chidimma Eze
Chidimma Eze
Chidimma is a Mass Communications graduate with about 4 years experience. She has a flair for all things entertainment and when she's not writing, you would most likely find her either spending time with her family, binge-watching whatever television series that holds her interest at the time or silently editing other people’s grammar.


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