Mensa, the high IQ society, is a forum that allows for intellectual exchange among its members. There are members in more than 100 countries around the world. Activities include the exchange of ideas through lectures, discussions, journals, special-interest groups, and local, regional, national and international gatherings; the investigations of members' opinions and attitudes; and assistance to researchers, inside and outside Mensa, in projects dealing with intelligence or Mensa.
Mensa has many events for members, from the local to the international level. Several countries hold a large event called the Annual Gathering (AG). It is held in a different city every year, with speakers, dances, leadership workshops, children's events, games, and other activities. As a Mensa member, you are entitled to attend Mensa meetings anywhere in the world. Large national and regional gatherings are held frequently in Europe and in the USA. All national Mensa organisations throughout the world have an agreement to accept the transfer of membership with no additional subscription fee for that financial year.
Mensa's constitution lists three purposes: "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". To these ends, the organisation is involved with programs for gifted children, literacy, and scholarships, and it holds numerous gatherings including an annual summit.
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Mensa's requirement for membership is a score at or above the 98th percentile on certain standardised IQ or other approved intelligence tests, such as the Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales. The minimum accepted score on the Stanford–Binet is 132, while for the Cattell it is 148. Most IQ tests are designed to yield a mean score of 100 with a standard deviation of 15; the 98th-percentile score under these conditions is 131, assuming a normal distribution. This means that only people with an IQ in the top 2% of the population can join Mensa.
There is an annual membership fee of $30 USD (adult) however, there are family, student and beneficiary discounts available. For the supervised Mensa test, there is a fee of $30USD.
An IQ score at or above the 98th percentile on certain standardised IQ or other approved intelligence tests is needed in order to become a member of Mensa.
The amount of time committed to Mensa is at the discretion of the member. There are a number of events and meet-ups that take place annually, however, these are not compulsory.
In order to apply for a Mensa membership, you must meet the IQ requirements. Most national groups test using well established IQ test batteries, but Mensa has developed its own application exam. This exam is proctored by Mensa and does not provide a score comparable to scores on other tests; it serves only to qualify a person for membership. In some national groups, a person may take a Mensa-offered test only once, although one may later submit an application with results from a different qualifying test.
Generally, there are two ways to prove that you qualify for Mensa: either take the Mensa test, or submit a qualifying test score from another test. There are a large number of intelligence tests that are "approved". More information on whether a test you have taken is approved, as well as information on the procedure for taking the Mensa test, can be obtained from the nearest Mensa office. There are no on-line tests that can be used for admission to Mensa.