Bill McGaugh's Thinkfast Page

     The purpose of   this page is  to share information that I have gathered in my three and a half years of playing with, and studying, Thinkfast. Thinkfast is both a tool for measuring the brain's speed and efficiency, and brain exercising software. Thinkfast is a commercial product that can be purchased at  The Braintainment Center.

My Personal Thinkfast History

I began playing Thinkfast in December, 1995, at age 46.  The first couple of days I basically just dabbled with the game.
Then I got serious, or obsessed.  I spent a few hours each evening playing TF.  My progress was steady.  I had started at Beta-yellow, and over the next few weeks, I rose to Brainmaster.

The following is a message that I posted to the Brain Board back in 1997:

"I keep seeing so many messages posted by people that have played TF
x number of times and they discuss their frustrations at still being
stuck at theta-gold (or something
like that). It absolutely blows me away. There seems to be this
attitude that if you can't get Brainmaster in the first couple of
weeks, or the first 50 games, that you are doomed to mediocrity...
and permanently stuck. I submit the record of the early part of
my "meteoric" rise to Brainmasterdom (sounds like a dinosaur):

I went back and checked my log file from the beginning.
My first game was beta-yellow...after 10 games I had progressed up to
alpha-red...and after 50 complete games (and a lot of practice on the

Some of my individual game bests after 50 games:
(version 1, of course)
game 1- performance 98, efficiency 93, speed 5208 (192 ms)
game 2- performance 105, eff.93, speed 4329 (231 ms), pt 24
game 3- performance 53!, eff. 90, speed 2040! (490 ms)
(my left-handedness killed me in game 3)
game 4- performance 83, eff. 71, speed 1501, 26 hits!!
game 5 (now game 6)- performance 164

overall eff.- 83% , speed 2624 (381 ms), 9% errors

and how did it go after that?? I improved to alpha-gold on game 69,
and to theta-yellow on game 71...I didn't improve to theta-green until
game 125! By that time, I was up to a whopping 30 hits on game 4...
(game 125 was on line 1038 of my log file...I had played the 5 games
about 200 times apiece)...

The amazing thing is that during this period, I was sure I would
rise to BM status...I knew that I could out-work everybody and I would
get results...

I am now about twice as fast in games 3 and 4 as I was at the 50
game mark...and this is not due to being less motivated at the
beginning and then getting's due to making my nervous
system twice as fast...

I think you should feel stuck if you play TF about 100 times
without improvement...

Perhaps I should win an award for slowest rise to Brainmaster?
(I'll figure that out sometime...must have been several hundred games
I hope everyone that feels stuck will read this and get fired up
to move up to the next level...improvement can continue indefinitely!"

I achieved Brainmaster at about 300 complete series'.  I continued to play the game very consistently  for a couple of years.  I was able to reach BM+17 on version 1 (more about that later) and BM+13 on version 2.

My Personal Best Performances

Individual games:

Game 1-  126 milliseconds- 7937 speed
Game 2-  6098 speed at 16 PT (perceptual threshold)
Game 3-  4255 speed (235 ms)
Game 4-  52 hits at 91% efficiency, 62 hits  at 65%
Game 5- 4854 speed at 91% with a PT of 19. Best PT: 16 ms.
Game 6- 384 (many times)
Oddmanout- 128 performance- 91% at 4082 speed

Best overall speed: 4505  (that series was BM+12 with 90% eff, 52 hits, 380)
Best overall efficiency- 95% (many times)

My best series (November 26, 1997):

Game 1- Performance 122 Efficiency 96 Speed 7692 (130 ms)
Game 2- Performance 114 Efficiency 95 Speed 5263 (190 ms) PT 16
Game 3- Performance 119 Efficiency 95 Speed 3676 (272 ms)
Game 4- Performance 132 Efficiency 91 Speed 2558 (391 ms) Hits 52
Game 5- Performance 117 Efficiency 93 Speed 4310 (232 ms) PT 17
Game 6- 384

Brainmaster + 13

Overall speed: 4425 (needing 4926 to get to BM+14)
Overall efficiency: 93 (needing 95% to get to the next level)
Hits: 52 (needing 55)
Memory: 384 (needing 395, but 384 is the limit)

My Research on Thinkfast and IQ

Over the last three years, I have attempted to collect data comparing subjects Thinkfast level and their IQ score. There are many problems with the collection of such data:  relying on self-reported scores in some cases (rather than direct measurement),  unequal/unsupervised TF playing conditions, unequal numbers of series played, etc.  Despite all of this, a pattern has started to emerge.  Taking all IQ scores and TF scores at face value, I have data on 97 subjects (77 subjects under "controlled" conditions, 20 with self-reported scores). These 97 subjects represent a restricted range of IQ scores:  the average IQ (sigma=16) was 135.6 with a standard deviation of 14.7.  The average Thinkfast level for the group was Theta-gold.
The correlation between IQ scores and TF scores was 0.654.   The expected correlation for the entire population would be a bit higher, due to the restricted range of the sample. When I eliminate the self-reported/unsupervised scores from the data set, the correlation rises slightly to 0.66.

Using the technique of equipercentile equating (score pairing),  I have arrived at the following predicted equivalencies:

BM+11= 164 IQ
BM+6 =  150 IQ
BM     =   137 IQ
Theta-Bronze = 130 IQ

Using a subset (n=22) of the data,  I found the following:

Correlation between IQ and TF- initial run:  0.18
Correlation between IQ and TF- 10 runs:    0.20
Correlation between IQ and TF- 20 runs:    0.27

A chart at shows that improvement tends to plateau at about 60 runs.  Most of my subjects did not get  60 runs.

I also tried giving the group of 22 a high-ceiling sequence test (50 minute time limit).  The correlation between the sequence test and TF was 0.54.

The correlation between TF Game 4 and IQ:  0.44
The correlation between TF Game 6 and IQ:  0.43

Correlation between speed of improvement in the first twenty runs and IQ: 0.00

Any earlier study, reported in the Prometheus Society Memcom Report,  paired TF levels and SAT scores for subjects (n=28) with one hour of play per day for three weeks.  The average SAT score for the group was 1304.5 and the average Thinkfast level was Theta-silver. The correlation was 0.71.

My version of the Hall of Fame

The list that follows are the best TF scores (version 2+) that I have witnessed (my own and my students).  If you would like to be added to my Hall of Fame, send both your log file and usr file to me by e-mail.  The log file should show your climb from initial
levels (particularly game six) to your maximum.  Scores made by presetting game six to high levels in one way or another do not count.  Players who think that TF levels attained that way are "fair" are just fooling themselves.

BM+13  Bill McGaugh
BM+12 Rostam Seddiq
BM+7 Alex Freund
BM+6 Alexis Beatty
BM+6 Gilbert Chin
BM+5 Lucas Meyer
BM+5 Rolimar Castilian
BM+4 Jacob Paino
BM+4 Alan Holt
BM+4 Adam Simmons
BM+2 Devin Foley
BM+2 Ryan Richardson
BM+1 Vic Agnihotri
BM+1 Duncan Johnson
BM Briana Sather
BM Edgar Banuelos
BM Aaron Coyle
BM John DePrato
BM Steve Chariyasitit
BM Jason Stone
BM David Teng
BM Nhut Tran
BM Debra Saucke