Can IQ Level Go Down In College? 5 Factors That Lead To Decline In Intelligence Level

Standardized tests that score a person’s comprehension, reading, and general knowledge have been used for a long time to gauge a person’s intelligence. Most people consider IQ, or the intelligence quotient, to be a factor that depends on genetics. Hence people believe that if a person has smart parents, he would be smart, and if one has less smart parents, the child too would be dumb.

However, genetics is not the only factor that determines the IQ of an individual; the environment that a person grows in also has a role to play. So IQ can change with time, and if you want to find out if your IQ has remained the same over the years, you can go to to take the best IQ test that can measure mental qualities accurately.

Is There Any Evidence To Show That IQ Levels Fall With Age

Intelligence can decrease in older adults because brain cells that are dead do not get replaced. Hence people lose memory and concentration power with advancing age. But teenagers are different, and most teenagers do not have problems of failing memory or cognition. Despite this, a famous research journal has shown with magnetic resonance imaging that a teenage brain undergoes changes, and this might have an effect on their IQ levels.


In fact, in a group of teenagers who were subjects for the study, a few of them showed a change of about twenty points above and below their old IQ levels.

What Factors Can Lead To A Decline In A Teenagers Intelligence Level

1. The Levels Of Nutrition

Nutrition has a huge role to play in the healthy development of the brain. Teenagers who receive inadequate levels of fresh and nutritious food as young kids may lose IQ points by the time they become ready for college.

Many food items have been shown to have a positive correlation with cognitive abilities in an individual. For instance, omega three fatty acids are found in fishes that survive in cold waters. This fatty acid is considered vital because the human body cannot produce it, and hence the body has to get its regular supply from external sources.

Likewise, green leafy vegetables like spinach have been linked with improved cognitive function. Leafy, green vegetables are rich in minerals like iron, vitamins, etc. Moreover, they are rich in antioxidants that help the body fight against reactive oxygen species that accelerate the process of aging.


Apart from fatty acids and leafy vegetable nuts like walnuts have been known to affect brain function. There are many folklores that suggest that walnuts improve brain function because the shape of walnuts looks like a human brain.

Thus, a person who, through his childhood years, has been deprived of a diet rich in omega-three fatty acids, green leafy vegetables, and nuts etc is expected to show a reduction in brain functions with time. Although the changes may be minor, and it may take a long time to see any effects, nutritious food or the lack of it can affect a person’s intelligence by the time he enters college.

2. The Environment At Home And Education

The environment at home affects the intelligence of young children. Hence, a child who has a high IQ, to begin with, may see a decline in his intelligence levels by the time he goes to college if the environment at home is unsuitable to developing the brain

Education is a great tool that boosts a person’s intelligence levels. Researchers in Germany conducted a study to find out if education has a positive effect on brain power. So two groups of students from the same class were chosen. The first group had received one extra year of education as compared to the second group.

Data from the study showed that the first group performed better than the second group. Hence, a child who has not been nurtured well may lose their IQ by the time he is old enough to enter college.


In many cases, a child may be born to smart parents, and they may have high levels of intelligence as a child, but if they are given to foster parents, their smartness may decrease.

3. The Impact Of Reading Books Vis-A-Vis Online Resources

Many researchers and policymakers feel that access to online resources vis-a-vis physical books increases with increasing age. This overdependence on the internet to get information might make people more dumb as they grow older.

Young children are exposed to books more often than electronic devices. However, by the time a child becomes a teenager, he is completely dependent on his mobile phone. Since the internet gives readymade information, people do not spend time thinking or researching a topic. Hence, the overdependence on digital assets by teenagers versus young children might be one reason for the decline in IQ levels in college-goers.

Check out this article, to find out Are iq tests an accurate measure of intelligence!

4. The Impact Of Decline In Exercise Levels


Young children are quite active, and thus they have high physical activity as compared to an adult. Exercise boosts brain power by lowering inflammation. Moreover, exercise can stimulate the secretion of growth factors which has a role in improving brain function.

If a person becomes lethargic as he grows older, there is a chance that this lack of physical activity will have an impact on his intelligence levels.

5. Lack Of Quality Health Care

Young people do not need to visit a healthcare facility very often, but if children get diseases like encephalopathy, they may lose brain functions. Likewise, if tapeworms infest a child’s abdomen, he may not be able to utilize the nutrition despite eating the right food. Hence, the lack of good quality medical intervention is another reason why people can show a decline in IQ levels by the time they are in college.


Teenagers can see a decline in their IQ score compared to what it was when they were young. Many factors, like the level of nutrition, the quality of parental care, and the level of physical exercise, affect the outcome of an IQ test. And if any of these factors are compromised when his child is growing up, he might see a reduction in his IQ levels