IQ FAQ

Should I be afraid of the Mensa test?

Absolutely not! Consider it a challenge or a game. If you are one of those people who likes to know themselves better or quantify their abilities, then there is nothing to lose. It is an opportunity to have a proper psychologist-supervised intelligence test. Tests and their results are treated secretly, unless you choose to let others know, or course!


Can intelligence be improved?

Not significantly in adulthood. Intelligence is a personality trait influenced by both genetic and environmental influences. Nutrition, a stimulus-rich environment and variety of the neonatal, infancy and childhood environment primarily gives rise to the development of good genetic conditions. Our cognitive abilities develop up to the age of 17-20 and our level of intelligence varies little after that. It is important to realise that there is a difference between one’s IQ and the result on any given test.  Test training and brainstorming can have a small positive effect on the test result; equally, if you are tired, ill or suffering from lack of concentration when you are tested, you will get a worse result on the test, but your intelligence ratio will not change significantly. Cognitive training can also play an important role in maintaining our abilities and intellectual capacity even into old age.


Why 2%?

Actually, that was an accident, and it could have been any other reasonable threshold figure (see Chapters from Mensa's History). There is no medical, psychological or other scientific reason, this is simply the arbitrary limit imposed by Mensa, as suitable.  Mensa does not differentiate above that figure and all its members are equal.


What is high intelligence good for in everyday life?

Intelligence also means good problem solving, and solving a series of problems in our entire life. It is good for everyone to solve problems faster and more efficiently, to recognize situations sooner. This will allow more time for other useful things, more effective in life, and so on. But for whom, what is more useful, what is considered to be a success, what kind of problem is to turn its intelligence, there is no general answer or recipe, everyone has to answer.


Intelligence = knowledge?

These two concepts are often confused, although the two are not the same. Intelligence is an inherited quality that many people define in many ways, but knowledge is acquired through learning. There can be an approximate correlation between the two: a person who is educated is not necessarily highly intelligent, but someone who is very intelligent is more likely to be open to new information, more interested, more curious about the world, and they will usually find it easier to remember what has been read or heard. Nonetheless, those who are intelligent but not specifically educated are not uncommon.


My child is smart, what should I do?

Parents sometimes contact Mensa, asking us to measure their child's intelligence. Unfortunately, testing of young children requires an individual test to be administered by a psychologist who specialises in such testing and Mensa currently does not have the facilities to conduct specialised tests for children.  We do accept qualifying test results from psychologists, however, and many national Mensa groups have active programmes for younger members.

Nurturing potential in gifted children can be demanding and challenging.  There is more advice on this topic in the ‘Recognizing potential’ section of this website. We would always advise parents to seek out an Educational Consultant in their district.


Who is the most intelligent person in Mensa?

There is no answer to this, because the test we use gives only ranges as a result, showing, for example, that a person has a higher degree of intelligence than 98% or 99% of people. Each member has reached the necessary intelligence quotient, and we do not have various grades of membership depending on IQ.  By completing additional tests, it is possible to achieve more accurate results, but Mensa as an organization has no interest in that. Our view is that, once you jump over the bar, it is not important how high you have jumped.


Why there are there more men than women in Mensa? Are males smarter?

No. The simple fact is that the number of females applying for the test is much less than males. Statistically, there is no significant difference, although the bell curve tends to be slightly different, with more females around the average, and more males at the extremes.  Interestingly, women are very well represented as the chairs or on the boards of national Mensa groups.  For example, at the annual meetings of the International Board of Directors, 48% of the representatives around the table were women, and this is pretty typical in most years.


Can I prepare for the admission test?

Not really. You cannot increase IQ by practice, although it may make a slight difference to the score in a specific test. There is no need to study for a Mensa admission test.

Proper sleep, being rested, concentration, focus will all help to give best performance.


Can I take a Mensa IQ test on the internet?

Mensa testing sessions are always conducted using an approved and supervised test. These are reliable, normed and, above all, official.

Many Mensa chapters provide ‘fun’ or ‘practice’ tests.  These are intended to give you an indication of whether you are likely to qualify if you take an official test, but there are currently no official on-line or internet tests that will qualify you for Mensa.  We are aware that there are several websites that claim to qualify you for Mensa if you pay for their test.  However, these are all fraudulent and you should not waste your money.


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