I'm trying to find a book that had an alien (in disguise) coming to Earth and taking intelligence tests that boosted you up in society. The levels were by color (purple, orange,...) and symbols (stars, circles). I think it was published in the late 50s or early 60s.

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    Not what your looking for, but Niven's short story "What can you say about chocolate covered manhole covers?" has the intelligence testing. It also seem to be available around the web, though it is not clear that this is copyright kosher. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jan 14 '14 at 2:24
  • I want more details, something, because I've read this as well, but now every time I try to come up with details, I end up recalling the Games Machine from World of Null-A... – ImaginaryEvents Jan 15 '14 at 5:57
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    What I may remember, or just making things up: I seem to recall the style as simple, either YA or aimed at the younger end of the spectrum. Pretty much the whole future society was based on the tests. There was a break at level blue while the plot was advanced? The main character reaches the top level - white star? Maybe learns the system had been rigged to let him win? Anything sound familiar? – ImaginaryEvents Jan 15 '14 at 6:08
  • I skimmed through my Null-A books and there's no testing, unfortunately. @ImaginaryEvents' second comment has familiar elements. I think the testing had a break and I think the main character decides to side with the society at the end rather than the people who sent him. – Kathryn Sullivan Jan 15 '14 at 18:15
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    A few more maybe fragments of memory. The testing may have been done at a purpose built small city, or campus? I've the impression gardens and pastel-lit buildings... Was the main competitor a beautiful woman who turned out to be the perfect mate at the end? – ImaginaryEvents Jan 15 '14 at 19:28

I have found it!

The novel is World Out of Mind (1953) by J. T. McIntosh

In chapter one, we meet Raigmore, a cipher with a black badge. The black badge means he is 'untested'. He engineers a meeting with Alison Hever, a young, beautiful, mover and shaker of the highest rank, white star.

As the elevator moved smoothly upward, Raigmore said abruptly: "I'm Eldin Raigmore. I suggest you remember the name, Alison, because one day you'll marry me."

It was the kind of thing that was only to be expected of a Black. Alison wasn't surprised. She smiled faintly but did nothing and said nothing. Only when she stepped out on the fourteenth floor did she acknowledge Raigmore's existence again.
"I liked the way you said that and nothing more," she admitted. Her manner was easy and pleasant, with only a hint of ironic amusement. "It suggested an understanding of tactics that's lost in a Black. Why not take the tests, Raigmore?" Her voice, inevitably, became more ironic as she went on: "If you should turn out to be a White Star -- why, then, what you said is probably correct."

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    How I found it- story was mentally associated with the library where I grew up. Visualizing the sf bookshelves as they were back in the sixties, I realized the librarians really loved buying books from Doubleday (and I love them for it!). I used ISFDB.org to search the Doubleday catalog backward from 1970 until I recognized the title. – ImaginaryEvents Jan 29 '14 at 3:30

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