Sample WAIS Writeup
Evaluation of Cognitive Functioning:

It should be noted that "intelligence" is defined by the tests used here as the global capacity of the individual to deal effectively with the environment. IQ tests sample skills in select areas in order to estimate overall intelligence. Thus, IQ scores and intelligence are not the same thing. The scores obtained here should be used to predict the client's educational and vocational functioning. Use of these scores beyond that should be approached with caution, especially with clients of cultural minority groups, as the environment they must effectively manage is often very different from that of many Caucasian adults.


It should be noted that "intelligence" is a general mental ability representing the global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with the environment. Because of the potential misuse of intelligence testing, it is important to note that intelligence is more than what is represented by an IQ score. Because intelligence is such a complex construct, spanning psychological, cultural, and neurological fields of study, IQ tests were designed to evaluate the areas that could be measured in testing settings, and use this assessment to estimate overall intelligence. Thus, IQ and intelligence are not exactly the same thing. As the odds favor individuals with high IQ scores in our society, IQ scores are useful in predicting a client's likelihood of success in life in achieving goals. These scores should be used with some caution, however. Of note, in general people of every ethnic and cultural group fall at every level of intelligence. Nonetheless, differences in intelligence are not the only reason for differences in IQ scores, and the examiner takes this into account when interpreting the results.

The results of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III indicated that Ms. Smith had performed within the average range of adult intellectual ability. She obtained a Full Scale IQ score of 97, indicating that a "true" score, or the average score obtained if she were tested many times, would lie somewhere between 93 and 101. This level of performance corresponds to the 42nd percentile among persons of the same age range.

The difference between her average Verbal IQ score (VIQ=100) and average Performance IQ score (PIQ=92) was not statistically significant. However, an examination of the indexes revealed that her verbal comprehension and concept formation skills are better developed than her other nonverbal and visual problem-solving abilities, working memory skills for "on the spot" thinking, and processing speed for planning and organizing a response. This is often the case in individuals who rely less on their immediate problem-solving skills and work best when given time to reflect and think. They show greater ability to work with established information from long-term memory, than to work with new information used "on the spot."

The specific subtests scores Ms. Smith earned are listed below. They are based on comparisons of Ms. Smith to adults in her own age group. Scores of 9 to 11 are considered "average."

Verbal Subtests
Performance Subtests
Picture Arrangement
Picture Completion
Block Design
Matrix Reasoning
Digit Span
Symbol Search
Letter Number Sequencing

In the verbal areas, Ms. Smith scored in the average range on tasks that require traditional academic and verbal skills. Ms. Smith showed a superior fund of general information when asked different questions about common events, objects, places, and people, and high average vocabulary skills when asked to define words presented both verbally and in writing. She showed average abstract thinking and logic skills when asked to explain the similarity between common objects or the concepts they represent, and average common-sense reasoning skills and social judgment. Taken together with other scores, it would appear that she has a good fund of general information, but a less developed ability to use it. Her knowledge of the surrounding world appeared to be a strength for her.

Several test tasks rely on "working memory," or the active processing and reworking of new information prior to memorizing it. Ms. Smith showed high average skills on a task that requires remembering and correctly reordering letters and numbers. She showed low average short term memory and attention skills when asked to remember number sequences and reverse them in her head. She was able to correctly repeat up to five numbers forward and three numbers backward, where six and five are average. She showed a moderately deficient ability when asked to solve simple math problems in her head (e.g., making change and figuring the cost of her purchases in her head). Her everyday arithmetic skills appeared to be a weakness for her.

Ms. Smith demonstrated average abilities in the performance areas. Ms. Smith showed average range skills on a task using spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills to reproduce designs from a model with colored blocks, and average range skills on a task requiring visual information processing and reasoning skills to identify missing elements from abstract patterns. She showed low average understanding of cause-and-effect relationships when asked to organize picture frames into a meaningful story, and low average attention to meaningful visual details in presented pictures. This could indicate greater ease working with abstract visual stimuli than more complex "real world" stimuli.

Some test tasks assess processing speed, or ability to quickly analyze and use new information. Ms. Smith showed average concentration and learning skills when asked to learn associations between numbers and symbols. She performed in the average range on a task that required persistence and speed in the comparison of complex symbols.

Points to Consider:
Q How do I know what words to use to describe different scaled scores, or what percentiles describe a score? A Number Conversions and Equivalencies

Q How do I know if the Verbal and Performance or Index differences are significant? A WAIS III Interpretive Guidelines

Q How do I know what these IQs and Indexes assess? A The Factor and Index Structure of the WAIS III

Q How do I know how to explain differences between subscales and Indexes and IQs? A WAIS III Interpretations - The Verbal/Performance Split