Mensa is a high IQ society who’s only qualifying requirement for membership is an IQ in the top 2% of the population on an approved test. There are a variety of well-known IQ tests which are administered by schools or by private psychologists alike. If you have taken one of these tests, you may be able to gain access to Mensa by submitting ‘prior evidence’ of having achieved a test score that was in the top 2% of the population at the time of the test. What is interesting about prior evidence is that people may be able to gain access to Mensa based on a score which they achieved a long time ago. Based on the fact that IQs vary over time and decline as we age, this suggests that it is possible for people to gain membership to Mensa even though they may not be able to achieve a score in the top 2% if they were to sit that same exam today.
So the way to view Mensa membership, is that people with a qualifying score that have, once upon in their lives, achieved a score in the top 2% of the population. On this basis, it probably fair to say that people who have recently been tested and are ‘fresh new members’ will probably have stronger cognitive ability than people who have maintained their Mensa society membership for a long period of time.
IQ for Mensa – what is the standard deviation
IQ for Mensa is a top 2% IQ score, once upon a time in your life time. IQ is assumed to be normally distributed and a normal distribution can be described by its mean and standard deviation. We also know that most IQ tests will have a mean of 100 and that 98% of test results (if normally distributed) will be within two standard deviations of the mean. Most IQ tests will have a standard deviation of 15, 16 or 24 points. This means that IQ for Mensa is likely to be 130, 132 or 148 respectively.
So if you take a verbal Mensa test with a standard deviation of 24, and you score 148, your IQ is believed to be in the top 2% of the population, just as the person who score 132 on a Figure Reasoning Test (FRT) with a standard deviation of 16 points.
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