Are You Clever Enough for the High IQ Society?; Testing Times for Mensa Hopefuls

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), March 2, 2002 | Go to article overview

Are You Clever Enough for the High IQ Society?; Testing Times for Mensa Hopefuls


Byline: David Charters

WHY am I doing this? That is perhaps the only question beyond the reasoning power of the people juggling words and leapfrogging numbers in an effort to join the world's mental elite.

If, however, you are the sort of idle fellow who is not very interested in calculating the cost of a kiwi fruit if a turnip is fourpence farthing, a cauliflower 19 shillings and elevenpence ha'penny, and a buzzard's egg 17p, Mensa is not for you.

But plenty of people are willing to tease their grey cells for a coveted place in this organisation, which calls itself the "high IQ society".

And today 18 of them will be sitting the tests for membership at the Southport Bridge Club on Albert Road.

Successful candidates will be eligible to apply for membership of Mensa, which costs pounds 40 per year.

They will be sitting two tests, each of which lasts an hour. The first is Cattel B (named after its creator) which emphasises word skills and has a pass mark of 148.

The second, Culture Fair, is more diagrammatical for people whose first language is not English. Its pass mark is 132.

You have to take both, but a pass in either entitles you to join Mensa. The benefits of membership, apart from the certificate, a sense of superiority and the monthly magazine, are difficult to pin down.

It is not a qualification asked for in job advertisements and and it can hardly be slipped into conversation at a dinnerparty. unless you want to appear boastful. "As a member of Mensa, I must insist . . ."

But such considerations did not prevent Sir Clive Sinclair, Sir Jimmy Saville and Carol V orderman, allowing us all to know they are members.

Caroline Garbett, Mensa's communications manager, whose IQ is "148 or above", said many celebrities enter the tests under their real names to hide their identities. …

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