I never liked tests in school. I usually didn’t do well and the tests that measured my abilities seemed flawed in a way I couldn’t explain. (One test put me in a remedial algebra class, and another determined I was a math genius when I came up with a perfect score.) Today I have a partial explanation of the flaws in the testing.

Standardize tests measure “convergent” thinking.  This type of thinking means a person is good at bringing material from a variety of sources to work on a problem, in such a way as to produce the correct answer – one answer.  This type of thinking is great for multiple choice exams, and for jobs in math and technology fields.

But how do you measure creativity? Flexibility? The ability to come up with more than just one solution?  This is where “divergent” thinking comes in, something our standardized tests do not measure.

Divergent thinkers come up with multiple solutions, creative solutions that are “outside of the box;” they look for options and blaze new trails as opposed to following the same path.  Since this type of thinking isn’t measured in schools or in most general intelligence testing, such as an IQ test,   I’ve attached a link for you with some ways of testing your divergent thinking ability.


One type of thinking isn’t better than another.  They are just different and both types of thinking are necessary.  Keep this in mind when you take your next test, either in school or for a job.


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