WISC Test (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children) Online Preparation & Tips – 2024

G&T Tests

What Is the WISC Test?

The WISC (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children) is a psychometric test used to assess the intellectual ability and skills of children between the ages of 6-16. The WISC test is composed of five sub-tests, and students must complete two sub-tests per subject (10 in total) to produce a primary index score. Students who score high on this test are classed as highly/exceptionally gifted and have a better chance of gaining a place on a gifted and talented program.


The WISC Assessment

The latest version of the WISC test is the WISC-V, which was released in 2014. The full test takes around 90 minutes; however, this depends on the number of primary and secondary sub-tests being taken. If your child is sitting the WISC-V for entry to a gifted and talented program, the school board or independent school organization will decide which sub-tests they will take. Most gifted and talented programs will require students take either 10 primary scale sub-tests or 7 primary full-scale IQ (FSIQ) sub-tests.

There are 5 index scales on the WISC-V assessment, each of which contain their own subtests. They measure the following abilities:


Fluid Reasoning

This measures a student’s ability to identify conceptual relationships among visual objects and use reasoning to identify and apply rules. A high primary index score on this section indicates a strong level of inductive and quantitative reasoning, visual intelligence, and abstract thinking.

Subtests in this category include:

  • Matrix Reasoning – students are shown a series of pictures with something missing. They must determine which picture fits from a range of options.
  • Figure Weights – students are asked to balance a picture of scales by picking the appropriate weight.
  • Picture Concepts – students are shown a series of two or three pictures and must indicate the picture from each row that has something in common with the next row.
  • Arithmetic – students are given a series of mathematical questions to test their numerical accuracy, reasoning, and mental arithmetic abilities.


Processing Speed

This measures a student’s ability to process information accurately. It requires visually scanning images, attention, and concentration.

Subtests in this category include:

  • Coding – students are shown a series of shapes or numbers and need to find the equivalent symbol to each shape or number in a set timeframe.
  • Symbol Search – students are shown a row of symbols and target symbols and must determine whether the target symbols appear or not.
  • Cancellation – students are shown pictures and asked to find certain shapes and objects within a two-minute timeframe.


Verbal Comprehension

This measures a child’s ability to access and apply learned word knowledge. This score echoes a child’s ability to articulate important concepts, process verbal information and express themselves by using words.

Subtests in this category include:

  • Similarities – students are asked to demonstrate how two words are items are alike using words.
  • Vocabulary – students are asked the definitions of words; 2 points can be awarded on each question in this section depending on the child’s understanding of the word.
  • Information – students are asked a series of general knowledge questions and are measured on their responses.
  • Comprehension – students are asked to answer questions about everyday situations and concepts. 2 points can be awarded per question depending on the child’s understanding.


Visual Spatial

This measures a child’s ability to understand visual details and spatial relationships between parts.

Subtests in this category include:

  • Block Design – students are asked to look at a model and place blocks accordingly. This is a timed section, and if the student completes it quickly with accuracy, they are often awarded extra points.
  • Visual Puzzles – students are asked to use puzzle pieces to reconstruct a shape from their book.


Working Memory

This measures a child’s working memory ability.

Subtests in this category include:

  • Digit Span – students are asked to repeat back numbers given to them in a specific order.
  • Picture Span – students are asked to recall images in the order they were first shown.
  • Letter-Number sequencing – students are asked to reorganize a sequence of letters and numbers to a specific rule.


WISC Test Scores

Once your child has completed their WISC-V, they will receive a score for each index as well as an age percentile rank. The age percentile rank is based on data collected from 2,200 children and compares your child’s scores to children that fall within that age range.

Age ranges (commonly referred to as age bands) are represented by the year age of the child, followed by how many months after their birthday it has been when they sit the test.

  • A child who is 12 years old, born in January, and taking the test in March would be represented as 12:2
  • A child who is 8 years old, born in January, and taking the test in November would be represented as 8:10

Below is a table of the age bands for WISC-V:

WISC-V Age Groups (Years:Months)
6:0 – 6:3 10:0 – 10:3 14:0 – 14:3
6:4 – 6:7 10:4 – 10:7 14:4 – 14:7
6:8 – 6:11 10:8 – 10:11 14:8 – 14:11
7:0 – 7:3 11:0 – 11:3 15:0 – 15:3
7:4 – 7:7 11:4 – 11:7 15:4 – 15:7
7:8 – 7:11 11:8 – 11:11 15:8 – 15:11
8:0 – 8:3 12:0 – 12:3 16:0 – 16:3
8:4 – 8:7 12:4 – 12:7 16:4 – 16:7
8:8 – 8:11 12:8 – 12:11 16:8 – 16:11
9:0 – 9:3 13:0 – 13:3
9:4 – 9:7 13:4 – 13:7
9:8 – 9:11 13:8 – 13:11


The scores you see are not based on how many questions your child answered correctly, rather how they scored in comparison to other children within their age band.

While each program has their own entry requirements, the below scores summarize how your child has performed on the WISC-V:

Score Range Expectation
Borderline: 70-79 Children who score in this range may struggle at school and are eligible for assistance.
Low Average: 80-90 Children who score in this range may struggle at school but are not usually eligible for assistance.
Average: 90-109 Children who score in this range are average and likely get-by in school
High Average: 110-119 Children who score in this range do not struggle in school.
Above Average: 120-129 Children who score in this range are above average and do not struggle in school.
Moderately Gifted: 130-139 Children who score in this range are moderately gifted and do not struggle in school.
Highly Gifted: 140-159 Children who score in this range are highly gifted and do not struggle in school.


WISC Format

The WISC-V test is composed of 10 subtests which generate 5 primary index scores. Each primary index score measures a certain ability, working memory, visual spatial, fluid reasoning, verbal comprehension, and processing speed. In each index scale, your child will sit two subtests defined by the testing body. These make up the scale result.

The full-scale IQ WISC test is an average of these five primary index scores, so children must ensure they score consistently on each scale to be considered for a gifted and talented program. If your child is highly gifted in working memory for example but below average in verbal reasoning, this will pull the full-scale number down, making it look average.


5 Tips to Make the WISC-V Preparation More Fun

  • Make reading fun – a wide vocabulary helps children perform well on the WISC-V test. The more words they are exposed to and understand, the better! Consider using a word of the day calendar and challenging your little one to use it in a sentence.
  • Play memory games with them – children love to play games and games like picture bingo, pairs, or brain-training video games are a terrific way to build your child’s attention span and memory retention which are key for succeeding on the WISC-V test.
  • Make studying productive – some children love to learn, and others not so much. If your child struggles giving their attention to studying for long periods of time, make studying fun and productive. Start with short intervals and reward them for their hard work.
  • Ask your child open-ended questions – this encourages your child to develop their language skills, as well as express their thoughts and ideas and compose more meaningful sentences – all key requirements of the verbal portion of the WISC-V test.
  • Give your child ample time to study – if you truly want to prepare your child for the WISC-V test you should start studying as soon as you feel they are able. Some topics can be more difficult than others for your child to understand so start the preparations early to give your little one the best chance of succeeding.


How to Prepare for the WISC-V?

Because the WISC-V test is a traditional intelligence test, preparing for it can be difficult. Unlike many exams that children take in school, where information can be memorized, psychometric tests cannot.

The best way to prepare for the WISC-V is by utilizing online resources such as practice tests, study guides and practice questions. Although questions on the WISC-V do not have obvious answers, many of the questions on the test are similar so understanding how to read them correctly is key. Practice tests are a wonderful way to understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the areas in which they need to improve. Practice tests can be taken as many times as you like, until your child understands the topic they are unsure of.