Frequently Asked Questions About Mensa

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What is Mensa?

Mensa is an international organization with only one requirement for membership -- a score on a standardized I.Q. test higher than 98% of the general population.

How Many Members are there in Mensa?

American Mensa now has nearly 50,000 members; another 45,000 members belong to national Mensas in over 98 countries throughout the world. Columbus Area Mensa has over 400 members.

What is Mensa's Purpose?

Mensa has three major purposes: To identify and foster intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research in the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members.

What are Mensa Members Like?

  • All ages from 4 to 94 ...
  • Every educational level from preschoolers to high school dropouts to Ph.D.s ...
  • All economic levels, from people on welfare to millionaires ...
  • A broad range of occupations, including executives, factory workers, scientists, farmers, authors, engineers, lawyers, doctors, truck drivers, homemakers, teachers, computer programmers, secretaries, politicians, the military, actors, musicians and hundreds more.
What does Mensa Mean?

Mensa is Latin for table. We are a round-table society that makes no distinctions as to race, color, creed, national origin, age, or economic, educational or social status. Only intelligence matters.

What Can Mensa Offer Me?

In many ways, other than intelligence, Mensa is a self selecting group. Mensa membership gives you some assurance of meeting others at your own intellectual level. Mensa dares you to use, exercise and, ultimately, expand your intellectual potential. The entire organization is structured for that purpose.

How Do I Know Whether Anyone Shares My Interests?

Mensa has hundreds of SIGs -- Special Interest Groups -- composed of members with personal or professional interests in common. SIGs are started and maintained by members and cover a vast range of topics. Many SIGs have newsletters of their own. If your special interest doesn't have a SIG, it's easy to start your own.

What do Members Talk About?

Unless there's a specified theme at a particular meeting, pretty much the same things people everywhere talk about -- current events, sports, sex, the future, music, politics, art, computers, the economy, kids, cars, values. It isn't so much a question of "what". It's more a matter of "how."

Are There National Activities?

A national convention or Annual Gathering (AG) is held every June or July -- in a different city each year -- where over 1,000 members attend workshops, participate in seminars, attend social functions, renew old friendships and start new ones. The AG is a special, never to be forgotten experience.

Regional Gatherings (RGs) are held annually in various parts of the country with most of the excitement and activities (both intellectual and social) of the AG on a smaller scale.

The Mensa Annual Colloquium is sponsored by the Mensa Education and Research Foundation. It is designed to provide a stimulating intellectual forum where members may meet with experts to spend a few days discussing a chosen topic.

Does Mensa Have Its Own Publications?

The Mensa Bulletin, published ten times a year, is sent to members as part of their membership. It incorporates the International Journal, and these publications contain views and information about Mensa as well as contributions by Mensans on a wide variety of subjects.

Local newsletters, ours is called Col/M, are published by almost every local group, informing members of local activities and events and other items of interest.

Interloc (also published ten times annually) is free to officers and to other active members on request. It contains news and information about various society, administrative and internal matters.

The Mensa Research Journal, published periodically by MERF, reports on Mensa-supported research. It also publishes original articles in diverse fields of interest and is available for a subscription fee.

Isolated-M is a popular and informative newsletter published by the Isolated M SIG. It is sent to those members who are geographically isolated from a local group and is available to other members by subscription.

The Mensa Register, or other membership directory, published periodically, lists all the members and may include such information as geographic location, areas of expertise and/or interest and other professional and personal data.

How Can I Become a Member?

There are many paths to membership. Our Proctor coordinator tries to schedule IQ tests every 4-6 weeks. She will help you to get signed up to take the IQ test and may invite you to attend a local Mensa event in the meantime. You will be invited to take our supervised tests, which requires prepayment of the $40 cost and are administered by one of our proctors at a convenient location. Should your score on one of the proctored tests indicate your IQ to be in the top 2% you will be offered membership in the Society.

Not sure you want to take the test yet, may we suggest you begin with a valid, at-home IQ test. These tests are not accepted as proof for admission, but they can give you a good idea as to how you might do on the proctored test.

Our tests, however, are not valid for persons under the age of 14. You can qualify for membership by submitting prior evidence, over 200 standardized tests are accpted as an alternate path to admission.

Is Taking Your Test the Only Way I Can Become a Member?

Absolutely not, you can qualify for membership by submitting prior evidence, over 200 standardized tests are accpted as an alternate path to admission. A score in the 98th percentile or higher on one of many standardized IQ tests -- if approved by our Supervisory Psychologist -- previously administered in school, the armed forces, or by any licensed psychologist, is satisfactory evidence of qualification for membership.

Are there Membership Dues?

Yes, there are membership dues and part of your dues is returned to the local groups to provide a greater range of activities and benefits for the members on a local level. Mensa is a not-for-profit organization. You do not need to register for access. You will need to be current on your membership as well as having your member ID ready and the password assigned to you by national. If you have forgotten your password you can find it on your most recent renewal letter or go to the National Website to have it sent to the email address they have on file for you.