Particularly engineering, computer science, math. I came across this quote from someone who specializes in psychometrics in response to this question.

Is it scientifically proven if hard work in STEM fields can compensate for a medium/low IQ?


If by “low IQ” you mean a score of 80 or below, there are absolutely no compensatory mechanisms, including hard work, for STEM fields. A person at such an intellectual level is unlikely to finish the first year of college-level work in any academic disciple.

IF, by “medium IQ,” you mean a full-scale score in the 90–110, it isn’t likely that compensatory mechanisms such as a high level of industriousness (hard work) will be advantageous. Exception being for those with exceptional working memory and an island of excellence for abstract/logical thinking in the higher end of average."

My question is whether or not this claim is true. If a person has average intelligence (an IQ of 100) and no "island of excellence", do they have very little chance of having a successful career in STEM no matter how hard they work?

Whether it's in engineering, computer science or obtaining a PhD in math, physics and so on? Thanks...

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. It is best to link to the original text when quoting somebody. It acknowledges the person who originally said such things. Sometimes, it also provides more context. I have helped by doing that for you. $\endgroup$ Jan 10 at 6:41
  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean with the 'island of excellence' you are talking about? The 'hard working' type, or a subskill within the IQ test? There are different types of intelligence being tested in a regular IQ test that ultimately get averaged. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Jan 14 at 10:06


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