Understanding Different Types of Intelligence

Many students, parents, and teachers become curious about the different types of intelligence. Although possible, it is very rare for a student to be gifted or talented in all areas of the brain. Additionally, intellectual gifts should not be confused with high achievement (READ: “Ask a Nerd! IQ vs. SAT“). Students who struggle with a particular subject can still study hard, work with a private Orange County tutor one-on-one and learn appropriate educational techniques and still improve. In the same vein, a student could be very talented in a particular subject or subjects but not receive a high grade. The latter type of student is sometimes referred to as an underachiever. So what are some of the different types of intelligence?


Book smarts

Some students have what we refer to as ‘book smarts’. These are students who can read and fully comprehend a text or a novel and who can study the right information for an exam without prompting and later recall the information for a test. These types of students tend to do very well in the traditional American school environment.

High IQ

Students with a high IQ, generally perceived to be about 130 or above (this particular number is highly debated by scholars and has changed throughout the decades), are often gifted in one or two areas but may be considered “average” in other areas. This presents somewhat of a problem for gifted and talented students in a traditional school setting. For example, if a student is heavily gifted in STEM subjects but struggling to comprehend character development in a novel, they may be confused as to why they do so well in some classes but receive C grades in others. Some private schools may be able to accommodate students who fit into different levels but it may be frustrating for the students and their parents nonetheless (READ: “4 College Prep Tips From an Irvine Tutor“). It is important for high IQ students to know that it’s normal for them to do very well in one subject and struggle in another. Resilience and determination are part of growing up in our educational system.

Social intelligence

Some students may be considered “average” in certain academic subjects but may have a very high social intelligence. This is a valuable skill that can be used throughout life. Students who later become professionals will find that they probably interview well, get along with their coworkers, make good managers, and tend to have vibrant social lives. Students with high social intelligence are also good at finding loopholes and thinking outside of the box, and can generally find a way to make a situation work out whether they take the traditional path or an alternative one (READ: “How to Balance Sports and Academics“).

Students with high social skills may still need help from a tutor in certain subjects. They may or may not test well and they may or may not have superior study skills. Students with a high social IQ social may find that they enjoy careers working with other people or serving in a leadership capacity.

Technical intelligence

Although this is not yet a recognized term, students with technical intelligence are generally very skilled at working with computers, machines, and other technology. For example, one student may be able to fix a computer or other electronic device by pressing two or three buttons while, on the other hand, one of their peers may struggle desperately to get their computers to work properly. Technical intelligence is becoming more and more of a lucrative skill as our society becomes more dependent upon and enticed by the convenience of electronics and other technological devices.

Regardless of a talent in any particular type of intelligence, it’s important for students, parents, and teachers to know that each student is a unique individual and that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Even the most brilliant students will likely need help or guidance at some point in their educational career.

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