Mensa is the name of a group of highly intelligent people and to join the organization you have to have a sufficiently high IQ level. To say you are a member of Mensa has a certain cachet to it. Many people take the IQ Mensa test as they wish to become part of an elite group of highly intelligent people.
Here I will tell you when Mensa first started and how you could become a member.
Many people mistakenly think Mensa is actually an acronym. It is not. Mensa comes from the Latin word for ‘table’. Like the round table from Arthurian legend, the round table for Mensa was chosen as a symbol as the intention is not for there to be a leader. Mensa is intended to be an association of like-minded people of exceptional intelligence with membership now gained through passing the Mensa test.
Though having a Latin name, Mensa was only formed in 1946 in Lincoln College Oxford by Roland Berrill, a barrister from Australia, and Dr Lancelot Ware, who was both a scientist and a lawyer. Their only original conditions were that the Mensa was to remain a non-political organization and that there were to be no social or sexist barriers. Mensa was to be accessible to anyone who was sufficiently intelligent.
The constitution of Mensa states their aim is "to identify and to foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members."
As the organization grew, it was decided that IQ would be an appropriate measure of intelligence and the IQ Mensa test was created. To join Mensa you have to achieve a Mensa test score of 132 on the Stanford-Binet scale or 148 using the Cattell scale. Mensa produces their own IQ tests which must be taken to become a full member of the association. However, there are many worldwide organizations that produce a range of IQ Mensa tests. These can be used as a guide and some affiliate Mensa associations use these for membership purposes.
Mensa itself is now made up of many international divisions of the organization. Interestingly it was the USA who was the first country to have a satellite organization of Mensa officially recognized. Today Mensa has over a hundred thousand members and there are 50 international satellite organizations.
There are two main ways of joining Mensa. Firstly, you can join your National Mensa Organization. However, if your country doesn’t have a national Mensa organization, then you can join Mensa directly. The main offices of Mensa are based in Caythorpe, Lincolnshire. There is no limit to the number of members and there are various additional groups. These are known as Special Interest Groups where specialists in a specific field tend to congregate.
Having told you how to join Mensa, clearly there is one thing that also needs to be made clear. Intelligence level. There are many tests you can take to accurately assess your IQ. However, taking one of these will not gain you access to Mensa. This applies even if you show you have an exceptionally high IQ. To join Mensa you actually have to sit the IQ Mensa test that is created only by Mensa. Not only do you have to pass it, but also you can only take it once.
If you fail the IQ Mensa test you cannot re-sit it. However, you are allowed to wait and sit the next test when it is released. There is no limit to the number of tests you can end up taking. Note that the IQ Mensa test is purely that. It is a test, and achieving a successful result only allows you membership to Mensa. The score you get in the IQ Mensa test is not an official IQ score.
The other thing to remember is that there is no age restriction on joining Mensa. This makes a lot of sense because age is a very relevant factor when it comes to calculating your IQ. As a result, the age range of members of Mensa is 2 years and five months old to 103 years!
Joining Mensa is quite an achievement. Putting that you are a member of Mensa on your CV will certainly be noticed. While very few people are actually a member of Mensa, many millions of people the world over are aware of what Mensa stands for.
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