How To Optimize Your Dual N-Back Training

When you train with HighIQPro, ensure that you maximize the ‘core dual n-back training’ effect by adopting the following principles.

  • Minimize going into ‘automatic pilot’ in the game. Ensure you are always putting in effort and the task is always challenging and absorbing.
  • Ensure that you work at successfully ignoring distracting information – focusing on only what is needed for target ‘matches’. When interference is high, focus and keep your accuracy levels high.
  • In the continuous stream of information, ensure that you continually update the contents of your working memory ‘workspace’, keeping track of the order.
  • Monitor your ongoing performance and try to develop effective intuitions about how to channel your effort, provided you try to stay clear of chunking, attention-hopping and playing the odds strategies.
  • Don’t assume that there is a linear relationship between n-back level and IQ level, and that by doing everything you can to improve your n-back will pay off in terms of IQ gains.
  • Don’t focus on your n-back level at the expense of the principles above.
Completing your full 20 Sessions with HighIQPro dual n-back apps requires a serious, sustained commitment. As this article explains, for brain training to work it requires this kind of time commitment.
For this reason, it may be helpful to sign up with a goal-tracking, scheduling app that helps you achieve your 20 day ‘Profile completion’ goal.
Some people use the application Lift. We recommend signing up to Irunurun which is Desktop and iOS mobile compatible. Simply sign up and set your weekly training goals (e.g. ‘8 half sessions per week’). Irunurun enables you to not only track your n-back brain training progress, but also any other goals you are working on – such as an exercise routine or an alternate day fasting routine if you are doing brain cross training.  You can also invite others by e-mail to share in tracking a particular goal.
The guidelines for your training to build into your schedule are the following:
  • After a brief practice period you need to put aside time for two half sessions of 20-30 minutes, for 20 days, making a total of 20 full Sessions. These 20 days should be completed within a maximum of 6 weeks.
  • You can combine the half sessions together in one sitting (really tough) or you can divide them into morning and afternoon/evening sessions. This means that on average for each week, you need to train 3-4 full Sessions a week. We do not recommend that you train for more than 5 full Sessions a week.
  • After you have completed your 20 full Sessions, you are eligible for the guarantees. After this period, your training will have resulted in long term neuroplasticity change. However, we recommend you continue training for 1-2 hours per week to maintain the gains at their highest level.


I am a cognitive scientist with a joint Ph.D in cognitive psychology and neuroscience from the Center of the Neural Basis of Cognition (Carnegie Mellon/Pittsburgh). At IQ Mindware we develop brain training interventions to increase IQ, critical thinking, decision making, creativity and executive functioning.


  • Hi, let me know if this is still relevant. The online help pages explain the games, but I can give additional support.

  • Hello. I have a doubt. You say to “make two half sessions of 20 minutes, making a total of 20 full sessions.” I must check the option 20 or 10/10 in the options box?

    Pedro 05.11.2015
  • You can use 10/10, but we recommend doing two of these (half) sessions a day.

  • Can you elaborate more on “attention-hopping” or other strategies that boost n-back without strengthening WM?

    Also, when you talk about “updating” WM, is this done reviewing the letter-position pairs going forward, or going backwards?

    Thank you!

    Andrew Brack 09.07.2017
  • Working memory capacity in the task is the total set of items that can be accessed from short term memory reliably – if you have a WM capacity of 5, you can reliably ‘keep track’ of the items doing a 5-back. One strategy may be to have momentary lapses where you lose track, but then ‘catch up’ – this is an attention hop (!). This may enable you – on average – to maintain or go up an N-Back level but it’s not a real mastery of that n-back level in terms of WM capacity. Updating is sliding the item window of e.g. 5 items forward to keep pace with each new item pair as it is presented.