What is Mensa?
Mensa was founded in England in 1946 by Roland Berrill, a barrister, and Dr. Lance Ware, a scientist and lawyer. They had the idea of forming a society for bright people, the only qualification for membership of which was a high IQ. The original aims were, as they are today, to create a society that is non-political and free from all racial or religious distinctions. The society welcomes people from every walk of life whose IQ is in the top 2% of the population, with the objective of enjoying each other's company and participating in a wide range of social and cultural activities.
What are Mensa's goals?
Mensa has three stated purposes: to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity, to encourage research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence, and to promote stimulating intellectual and social opportunities for its members.
How many members does Mensa have?
Today there are over 120,000 Mensans in 100 countries throughout the world. There are active Mensa organizations in more than 40 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
What kind of people are Members of Mensa?
There is simply no one prevailing characteristic of Mensa members other than high IQ. There are Mensans for whom Mensa provides a sense of family, and others for whom it is a casual social activity. There have been many marriages made in Mensa, but for many people, it is simply a stimulating opportunity for the mind. Most Mensans have a good sense of humour, and they like to talk. And, usually, they have a lot to say.
Mensans have ranged in age from 2 to more than 100, but most are between 20 and 60. In education they range from preschoolers to high school dropouts to people with multiple doctorates. There are Mensans on welfare and Mensans who are millionaires. As far as occupations, the range is staggering. Mensa has professors and truck drivers, scientists and fire-fighters, computer programmers and farmers, artists, military people, musicians, labourers, police officers, glassblowers--the diverse list goes on and on. There are famous Mensans and prize-winning Mensans, but there are many whose names you wouldn't know.
What does "Mensa" mean?
The word "Mensa" means "table" in Latin. Mensa is a round-table society, where race, colour, creed, national origin, age, politics, educational or social background are irrelevant.
What opinions does Mensa have?
Mensa takes no stand on politics, religion or social issues. Mensa has members from so many different countries and cultures with differing points of view that for Mensa to espouse a particular point of view would go against its role as a forum for all points of view. Of course, individual Mensa members often have strong opinions--and several of them. It is said that in a room with 12 Mensans you will find at least 13 differing opinions on any given subject!
How do I qualify for Mensa?
Membership in Mensa is open to persons who have attained a score within the upper two percent of the general population on an approved intelligence test that has been properly administered and supervised. There is no other qualification or disqualification for initial membership eligibility.
The term "IQ score" is widely used but poorly defined. There are a large number of tests with different scales. The result on one test of 132 can be the same as a score 148 on another test. Some intelligence tests don't use IQ scores at all. Mensa has set a percentile as cut-off to avoid this confusion. Candidates for membership of Mensa must achieve a score at or above the 98th percentile on a standard test of intelligence (a score that is greater than that achieved by 98 percent of the general population taking the test).
Mensa has no other eligibility requirements other than intelligence testing.