How does Mensa compare to an IQ test?

Mensa membership is recognized worldwide as a symbol of high intelligence. Members must be able to prove that their IQ is at least in the 98th percentile. Prospective members can take many tests to qualify. In fact, Mensa accepts 200 different intelligence test scores. These include college and graduate school preparatory exams, as well as tests administered by the military, schools and psychologists. Mensa also has its own admission test applicants can take.

Mensa admissions test

The Mensa admissions test is the most accessible of qualifying IQ tests. Anyone 14 years or older can take the admissions test. It is administered throughout the country at various times of the year and costs $40.

The exam takes two hours to complete and consists of two separate tests. The Mensa Wonderlic is a 12 minute test with 50 questions. The Mensa Admission Test is the second test. It has 120 questions and is comprised of seven different sections.

The score is based on percentage points rather than traditional IQ numbers. Anyone who scores at least 98 percent qualifies for Mensa.

Psychologist and school administered IQ tests

Mensa accepts scores from a variety of IQ tests for membership. Many of these tests are administered by psychologists and schools. Costs vary based on the test administrator and the reason for the exam. Two of the most common IQ tests are the Stanford Binet and the Weschler.

Stanford Binet

The Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale was first administered in 1905. The current version has 10 subsections designed to test both verbal and non-verbal reasoning. The test can be administered to people as young as two years old. The length of the exam varies based on the subject’s age, ranging from 15 minutes to over an hour. The score is based on the traditional bell curve model with 100 being the average score. Mensa requires a minimum score of 130 or 132 depending on the version of the test.


The Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale was created in 1955. It has 10 main sections and five subsections which test verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory and processing speed. The test is designed for subjects 16 years or older. A separate version for children is also available. The test typically takes 60 to 90 minutes to complete. Anyone with a score of 130 or higher qualifies for Mensa.

Other qualifying tests

For older applicants, Mensa accepts many military and college preparatory exam scores. Military test scores, such as the ASVAB Military Test, GT, or the Army or Navy GCT, received before 1981 are accepted. SAT, PSAT and ACT scores received before the early 1990s are also acceptable. Qualifying scores vary for each exam. Mensa still accepts test scores for graduate school exams, such as the LSAT, GRE and GMAT. Anyone with a test score in the 95th percentile or higher qualifies for Mensa.

Mensa makes it easy to join its society. Easy, that is, if your IQ is high enough. All you have to do is take a test.