Successful Intelligence Assessment: What’s Your Degree of Analytical, Creative, and Practical Thinking? A Quintessential Careers Quiz

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

Do you have the intelligence to do your job? To achieve success in life? But wait. Before you answer these questions or search for the results of an old IQ test, the intelligence we’re talking about is something called Successful Intelligence, which theorizes that a person’s overall intelligence is comprised of three distinct elements — that when you are trying to solve a problem you use a combination of analytical, creative, and practical thinking skills.

In his book, Successful Intelligence (Simon & Schuster), Robert Sternberg states that there is no one definition of intelligence. Instead, he suggests that successful intelligence determines one’s ability to cope in career and in life. Successfully intelligent people capitalize on their strengths and recognize and compensate for their weaknesses; self-motivating and flexible in their work style, they create their own opportunities, actively seek out role models, recognize and accurately define problems and know when to persevere.

Successful intelligence is the kind of intelligence you need to succeed in the real world. It is the translation of underlying skills and abilities into routines that lead to highly competent, everyday performances-on the job, in personal relationships, and in other aspects of our daily lives.

More specifically, Sternberg describes successful intelligence as the ability to balance analytical, practical, and creative intelligence and use these intelligences effectively. And the best news from his more recent works, is the belief that people can actually do exercises to improve their three types of thinking.

Analytical intelligence involves conscious direction of our mental processes to find a thoughtful solution to a problem. It is the ability to overcome obstacles to find a solution. Being analytically intelligent is having the ability to solve problems effectively.

Creative intelligence is the ability to come up with new ideas. With creative intelligence, a person can generate innovative solutions to solve problems.

Practical intelligence is common sense and deals mostly with social situations. Some might refer to this aspect of intelligence as street-smarts.

Wondering about your level of successful intelligence? Take our assessment!

Just complete this form. Click on Submit button when ready to send.

You will receive the answers and a scoring guide via e-mail.

IMPORTANT: To ensure that you receive a response to this quiz, please be sure to (a) enter your full e-mail address in the space provided and (b) please enter your email address twice to ensure that we get your correct e-mail address. We cannot provide you with feedback if your e-mail address is incorrect or not supplied. Read our Privacy Policy if you have any concerns about providing your email address to us. If you don’t want to take this quiz interactively, print out this page and mark your answers. Then go to our Successful Intelligence Quiz Scoring Guide to see an assessment of your creative, analytical, and practical thinking skills.

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Directions: Please chose a response, from 1 (least like me) to 5 (most like me), to the following statements:

  1. I tend to perform well on objective tests (true-false, fill-in-the-blank, matching, and multiple choice questions — where there is only one right answer).
    1 2 3 4 5

  2. I consider myself book smart. (I learn subjects easily and enjoy educational successes.)
    1 2 3 4 5

  3. I tend to resist true and tried ways of doing things in favor of doing something differently.
    1 2 3 4 5

  4. I consider myself to be innovative and imaginative.
    1 2 3 4 5

  5. I tend to be able to see patterns in how people behave — and how to deal with them successfully.
    1 2 3 4 5

  6. I feel I learn more from personal experience (street smarts) than from formal lessons.
    1 2 3 4 5

  7. In team situations, I like to tackle the details of a problem.
    1 2 3 4 5

  8. I sometimes over think things and miss my moment of opportunity.
    1 2 3 4 5

  9. In team situations, I like to brainstorm new ideas for solving the problem.
    1 2 3 4 5

  10. I dislike routines and seek out new experiences.
    1 2 3 4 5

  11. In team situations, I like to develop the steps in the plan.
    1 2 3 4 5

  12. I like things organized, broken down into steps to a goal.
    1 2 3 4 5

  13. I prefer problems with as little ambiguity as possible.
    1 2 3 4 5

  14. I believe problem-solving is all about finding new solutions to old problems.
    1 2 3 4 5

  15. I can apply what I have learned from different sources to solve a current problem.
    1 2 3 4 5

Don’t forget to check out our entire collection of Tests and Quizzes for Job-Seekers.

Questions about some of the terminology used in this quiz? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms. Founder Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of He is also founder of and He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at) Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.

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