Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Mensa

Rate this topic


tnunamak
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have taken a few IQ tests online, and from the ones that I have looked into that appeared to be accurate, my IQ would seem to fall somewhere around 125-130. That is only an estimate and I would have to take a real, live test to get a more accurate score, but I think I can refer to it to get a rough idea of where it is.

I found out that Mensa accepts the top 2% of the population, based on IQ. That would be an IQ of about 131, which is just above what I estimate my score to be. Mensa accepts scores from a number of different tests, you just take the test and have the institution send your score, so if I take enough of the tests maybe one of them will just fall within their boundaries.

My question is, what would potential employers think when they see "member of Mensa" on a resume? Would it be a great credential to have? Would it be worth trying to get? I don't know if I could make it, but if it would really help... it might be worth a shot.

What do you guys think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What field are you going into? I think this depends heavily on who your potential employer is.

Also, this may be similar to GPA. If you're fresh out of college, employers look at GPA. If you have a few years of work experience, GPA doesn’t matter much.

My guess is that it won't matter. In industry, I don't see how anyone would care how well you can take an exam. Even in academia, such as graduate school, your GPA does not matter, what matters is how well you can do research.

Of course it won't hurt. I just think it won't help much. Personally, I've never heard of Mensa.

Edited by xavier
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found out that Mensa accepts the top 2% of the population, based on IQ. That would be an IQ of about 131, which is just above what I estimate my score to be. Mensa accepts scores from a number of different tests, you just take the test and have the institution send your score, so if I take enough of the tests maybe one of them will just fall within their boundaries.

My question is, what would potential employers think when they see "member of Mensa" on a resume? Would it be a great credential to have? Would it be worth trying to get? I don't know if I could make it, but if it would really help... it might be worth a shot.

Xavier is right. A good gpa would do more for you than being a member of Mensa. Also, try going to a meeting if there is one close to you. The one time I went in college I found the people at the meeting to be pretty egotistical. So when I see someone is a member of Mensa, it doesn't create a positive image in my mind.

When I was in college, you didn't have to take an IQ test per se, you could submit high SAT scores to gain entrance. So there, at least in my days, used to be more than 1 way in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My feeling is that an IQ says something about intelligence, but says nothing about willingness to buckle down to work. I've seen way too many test-bright youngsters with poor or even bipolar GPAs who simply will not perform, so I now pay a lot of attention to bad grades. The only people I've known who are in Mensa have been annoying. There are probably a bunch of members who I'm acquainted with who aren't obsessive about it, which probably makes a lot of difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a co-worker once who was a member of Mensa. She may have been smart I guess, and she was nice enough as far as I knew, but she had the dopiest bunch of nonsense ideas you could imagine. Bigfoot and conspiracy theories and loony liberal leftism, etc. Since that time I associate Mensa with that type of nonsense (which is not to say that there're not Mensa members with good ideas... my point is: what's the point of high intelligence if you use it to incubate that sort of nonsense?). As an employer I wouldn't give it any consideration.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know how an employer would view it. Either they would think it is a bonus but non-essential, or they just wouldn't care. Personally, I wouldn't care. I've read the Mensa newsletters; there are a lot of vocal mensans who seem borderline crazy. Ghosts, UFOs and the like.

Edited by FeatherFall
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am an employer and have hired a number of young people over the years. I practice law and intelligence is important in the people I hire. I have seen resumes which list membership in Mensa. I have never hired such an individual. I think that joining Mensa, and listing membership in your resume does say something about you. It says that you think that membership in Mensa is important and that you think that a high IQ is impressive. It also conveys the sense that the candidate believes he is more intelligent and therefore superior to others. Employers don't want employees who think they are smarter than everyone else around an office. That type is often disruptive and not conducive to an efficient work environment. That type is also often lazy and unprepared for criticism or the possibility that those around them may have valuable knowledge to bring to the table.

These stereotypes may be inaccurate, but in a hiring process where the employer really has little to go on other than impressions, they are often deal-makers or deal-breakers.

Employers look for accomplishment. A high IQ is a tool, not an accomplishment. Membership in Mensa is neither.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok thanks guys, I didn't really know much about Mensa other than that they were an organization of people with high IQs. I guess I'll spend my time on more important things.

I belonged to Mensa for a number of years, and was not impressed. I went solely in order to try to socially meet some smarter people. Many of them however are really, really neurotic. That said, you can sometimes meet interesting people, if you don't mind the concept of weeding through a lot of chaff to get the wheat.

I have always been far more impressed with the intelligence, and nature, of people at Objectivist clubs/conventions, or technical conferences, or venture capital meetings/conferences, than with Mensa.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My feeling is that an IQ says something about intelligence, but says nothing about willingness to buckle down to work. I've seen way too many test-bright youngsters with poor or even bipolar GPAs who simply will not perform, so I now pay a lot of attention to bad grades. The only people I've known who are in Mensa have been annoying. There are probably a bunch of members who I'm acquainted with who aren't obsessive about it, which probably makes a lot of difference.

I can only agree. I have a high enough IQ to enter MENSA, yet I don't, because I know it's not intelligence what it's about. Even with all the intelligence in the world, you still have to sit on your butt and study, or later: work. In the end persistence and responsibility are each at least ten times more important that your results in a strange test. I never thought of myself as something special because of my IQ, maybe that has kept me at least halfway sane. :) Those who have high IQs AND think that this is a major issue enter MENSA. That should make you think. These are people who are very intelligent (at least they have the potential to be so) yet have not yet found out that other things are more important. They have to be nutcases or at least not very proficient in philosophy. Well, most of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Online IQ tests have a reputation for being fairly terrible. Remember that the companies who are running them will normally try to sell you an 'extended analysis' of your results afterwards, and people are more likely to buy these if they got a 120 IQ than if they got 95. Whenever I read an internet forum thread where an online IQ test is posted, the average result always seems to be around 115-120. Unless people on the internet are just far better at IQ tests than non-internet users, theres something very wrong with the tests.

'IQ' is a pointless number anyway. You cant quantify intelligence like that.

Edited by Hal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Appears to be an old, frayed thread, but, what the hell, so am I.

I think the subject was well covered. If you're going into a field where intellect is a prerequisite, Mensa might be a plus.

I heard Mensa described as being like a club for women who were 44DD or bigger. They basically have nothing in common but the number and it's considered gauche to talk about the number. I joined and dropped out because there was no commonality among the members. Everybody else wanted to talk about what interested them. How rude. :D

A thing I learned: There is a direct correlation between intelligence and success up to an IQ of 120. There is continued rise in success with a rise in IQ up to 129, but it isn't a direct correlation. There is no further correlation after IQ 129.

The scant research is mostly anecdotal, but it appears that up to 120 the person is smarter than the average but is close enough to relate effectively with the average population. Higher IQs don't seem to relate as well.

Also, the higher IQs seem to lose the ability to focus on a single thread. They have a lot of interests and seem to get distracted more easily.

May be over-simplification there, but it sounds plausible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Well, I have an interesting confession to make: I joined the Triple Nine Society in 2004, qualifying based on my old SAT score. My GRE score would also have qualified me, but I did not use it. Either score, according to TNS, is equivalent to an approximate IQ of 149. I was only a few points above their minimums, in both cases.

Some of the people in TNS are active in philosophy, but they tend to look down their noses at Objectivism, which disappoints me. They hold the same opinions of Objectivism, and believe the same modern-philosophy drivel, as most academics. I suppose that is to be expected. I find that the other members are most interesting when they are writing about more concrete disciplines such as physics, mathematics, or neuroscience. The least interesting ones are the ones who try to take over the society and get voted out for it (as happened recently). There are a few kooky ideas that get presented from time to time, but I suspect that there are fewer than Mensa (which I skipped over), and the point of having them is only to discuss them, not to force people to accept them. It is permissible to explain why they are wrong -- this street goes both ways, of course.

Ayn Rand says not to join the wrong groups or movements in order to "do something." I figure TNS is safe because it doesn't do anything. The IEEE (of which I am also a member) is less safe, because it occasionally intervenes into politics, and I am not sure of the correctness of all its interventions.

I did not discover what my IQ really was until after I had graduated from college. I consider that a loss, as the discovery helped me to find some optimism at a difficult point in my life, when I was unemployed and seemingly unable to find a job anywhere. I was thinking that I was worthless. I was glad to find I was wrong, at least in some regard.

When I was young I had a difficult time in school. I was always socially ostracized, and the teachers encouraged this; their attitude was "he needs to learn to get along, he needs to learn to be more like normal kids." My IQ was tested, but no one told me the results; it was taboo; I was not supposed to think I was smarter than anyone else. I was always treated differently and I couldn't figure out why, and somehow it was wrong for me to get the right answer even though it was right for anyone else to get it. When I finally discovered how high my IQ really was, in 2002 (I didn't join TNS until later), this finally made sense.

My parents were told that I should not be put in the Gifted program, that the people in Gifted were "arrogant." What the teachers did not say, but believed, was: It is "arrogant" to think you are smarter than anyone else. If the facts back up such an assessment, that makes you even more "arrogant." Such facts must be suppressed. A student should not be allowed to show off his high test scores to other students. It is not fair that some kids should be smarter than others. After all, high IQs are a myth anyway; they don't exist. High IQ people should not be allowed to get ahead; they should be punished.

The trouble actually started when I changed schools. The teachers and administrators at the new school obviously had a whole different philosophy of what was acceptable student behavior. I had done just fine at the old school, but the old school had allowed me to get ahead a little. At the new school, they were teaching that with two minus three, you can't subtract, and, after raising my hand and being called on, I said, "You can too, it's minus one!" and that got me into trouble. Defiance of authority, I guess. The teacher marked a whole bunch of my perfectly correct answers wrong, publicly, to humiliate me.

I would change schools a few more times. I had to take the same math four years in a row. I mastered rational arithmetic in the fourth grade, and the next move was algebra, but I was made to wait until eighth grade like everyone else, in the meantime doing the same thing over and over. My seventh-grade math teacher gave a pre-test on the first day of school. I got a 57 out of 60 (raw score), the next highest score was in the 30s. That got me into MathCounts.

Luckily for me, after that, my parents finally decided to ignore the charges of "arrogance" and put me in a magnet school, where I actually won Mu Alpha Theta math contests (I would never have imagined that there was such a thing as a math contest, as if math were a sport! I won quite a few trophies), and I graduated from high school with two Advanced Placement math credits (and several others in other subjects). But I think I could have done a whole lot better if I had been allowed to learn at my own pace instead of being punished for my abilities.

Even at the magnet school, my grades were "bipolar" because I would get bored in class and stop paying attention and miss important things. (In some classes I would sit there reading the textbook, and I actually had a professor in college get offended by that behavior.) I didn't fail completely; sometimes I could be massively productive, especially when I could rely on the textbook. Also, I faced constant social ostracism. There was a lot less ostracism at the magnet school, but it still existed, and I was hyper-sensitive to it. I suspect it is because I started to be treated badly at such a young age, just when I was supposed to be learning to socialize.

I was not able to afford anything but state college, and my bipolar grades disqualified me from most scholarships. I got my degree, but now I find myself bored at work, not qualified for the jobs I really wish I could do. I admit that sometimes I am too bored to study what I should be doing. Sometimes, though, I knock things off my to-do list so quickly I amaze people.

I am a programmer. I am an outcast among programmers. I have written my own Scheme implementation, but I am sometimes castigated for writing code that is too hard for people to understand. (No, I am not using call-with-current-continuation at work. I wish I could, though; I wish it were that kind of job. Not that there are very many of that kind.)

I still face ostracism. Sometimes people regard me with envy and disgust; they think that I have wasted my intelligence and that they could have done much better, but their mistake in this is that they imagine they could have my intelligence while still keeping their social lives. I am aware that lots of intelligent people have normal social lives. I suspect they went to schools that were more accepting of intelligence and even fostered and encouraged it. None of them seem to have gone to public schools in the South. I did not have their good fortune, and though my parents encouraged me to develop my mind, they did not know how to find others who could teach me, and they did not have money.

I do not think of myself as "arrogant." I have a high IQ, but there is a big difference between intelligence and knowledge. I frequently find myself starved for information that is not in books, or information that is in books I've never heard of. It took me 10 years to figure out how to implement Scheme. I had to learn how on my own. I don't know anybody else who knows much of anything about it, and I couldn't find books that told me what I needed to know. (I did find one or two, eventually.)

I do put my IQ on resumes, but at the bottom of page two. I don't mention TNS because I am not active in it and because I don't want there to be any assumption that I agree with the various views of its members. Sometimes I hope people will see the IQ point and surmise the entire above story, but instead they tend to draw their own conclusions. Almost as bad as people who think IQ itself is a sign of arrogance, are the people who expect me to be able to work miracles. Sigh...

[Edit: miscalculated how many years it took me to learn how to implement Scheme... how typical of me...]

Edited by necrovore
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Necrovore - Thanks for sharing, I can relate to your story.

Here's mine:

I remember when I just started first grade. I was very excited because I was told school is a whole different thing from kindergarden, and that you learn things at school and should try your best, so I did. I always rose my hand whenever the teacher asked a question. We sometimes read a book where each student would read some, then the teacher picked someone to continue reading from where the last pupil stopped. I remember a couple of times I used to pretend I was not following with the reading, hoping that the teacher would pick me (thinking she caught me because I would not know where we are) so that I could then read fluently. Silly, I know, but that was my moodset back then.

I don't remember when it stopped exactly, but I think my enthusiasm lasted most of the first grade. By second grade I was bored out of my senses. The pace of learning was so slow I felt like sitting in a classroom was an excruciating experience. So I skipped classes. I wandered the school yard for hours on end. Sometimes the principle or one of the teachers would spot me and make me go back to class. Sometimes I climbed the fence and went home, or to the public library where I read nonsense comics and children books (Parents would get mad if I returned home during school hours). One time the school decided to call neighborhood watch and a guy found me at the library and returned me to school. When I arrived I was somewhat surprised they were so worried since I often did that. I was told they searched me in school and that one of the children looked for me in the shelter where he fell and broke a tooth. That made me feel bad.

The first half of 2nd grade postcard did not have any grades in it, just a line 'due to lack of attendance, we were unable to determine your grades'. Then one day I arrived to a lesson, and was told that there is a test going. If I hadn't decided to go to that class, my whole life would've probably turned out a lot different than they did. It was a test for gifted children. I passed the preliminary and was invited for a second test. I passed that one as well and was invited to the gifted children program. I later found out I scored #1 from my entire city in that test.

The program (called RAM) was 1 day a week, instead of going to regular school I would go learn various courses with other gifted children my age. I had some of the best teachers there I could have hoped for. It was a few teachers who taught all of the subjects, they were all brilliant people who knew a lot of things. I had a great time in those classes and I had that one day to look forward to every week. It made going to normal school slightly more tolerable for me. More importantly, I learned there that I was smart. I often did not get along with the other kids in the regular school, and understanding that I was different from them and not for the worse gave me a lot of confidence that I needed. In RAM the teachers often talked with us about many things. I remember one time he mentioned how we should not flaunt our intelligence towards other people. It doesn't make you anymore right stating that you're smart, and other children/people will often just hate you if they think you're smarter than them. It was a good advice. And I wouldn't flaunt how I attend RAM once a week, but it did give me a lot of confidence and interest.

We studied a lot of things there, we had a course on psychology and one of advertising and misinformation (I don't remember what we learned there, but it was interesting) and quantum theory (David Harriman's lecture aside, it was very cool discussing atoms and quantum theory when in normal school everything was so boring and slow) and many more. While today thinking back on what we were learning I have some reservations (somewhat left-ish ideas, multiculturalism, how humanity spends money on space programs and advanced medicine when there are starving people on the planet, etc) overall going there helped me to the path of pursuing knowledge.

I went there from 3rd to 9th grade, then in highschool they wouldn't do it 1 day a week anymore (because supposedly we wouldn't have time for that in high school, we would have too much material to learn in public school to spare a whole day - hah! I laugh at that now) but 2 of the teachers organized a private meeting once a week couple of hours in the evening. I didn't go, (father wouldn't pay for it since he didn't like the political ideas of my teachers) but it was alright I got what I needed from that program.

The program started I think 2 years before I joined it, and 2 years after I left it it was cancelled - lack of funding. In our society only the slow and the special needs and troublesome get funding and investment, smart kids don't need any programs.

I kept ditching some classes here and there until the end of high school. I would sometimes proclaim myself sick and argue my parents that I should stay home. Or just that I should not go. But it was more managble than when I was at 2nd grade.

I did not like history, or bible class (which we learn all the way until the 10th grade...), or literature or language (Hebrew class I didn't care much for. When they tried teaching me Arabic I wouldn't have any of it. English I loved and I learned it from the computer and television). Most of my humane teachers were aweful. History was about learning dates and going over jibbrish material that amounted to nothing. I remember we 'studied' WWII, the French revolution, the Russian revolution, the decades leading to the declaration of Israel, and the early years of Israel. We 'studied' all that, but we learnt nothing. Not a single thing. Until this day I have an innate resentment to these subjects. A resentment I'm working consciously to abolish, since there is much beauty and much wisdom to be learned from these subjects. It's pretty hard correcting the damage that was done in 12 years of schooling.

I loved the exact sciences, math, physics, electronics. My scores weren't that great in the humane subjects, and were pretty good in the exact sciences. Everyone kept telling me it's a wonder I got the grades that I did, considering how many hours I missed at school and homework, etc. In the end it turned out alright because with my psychometric score I had just enough grades to be accepted to my university where I learn computers/economics, which is what I wanted. I'm in my 2nd year of university now and in economics they teach a lot of wrong things. I have a class next semester where they are going to teach me about Kaynes. I can't wait... At least I got my head set up stright with the right ideas, and my economics I learn individually at home and very little at the university (though some of the stuff they teach is alright). So when the professor spouts in a class how 'nothing is objective unless everyone agree to it' I can spot how crap that is a mile away. Kinda makes me think of MrCropper from youtube (which I highly recommend) who dropped from college and has a video up regarding the crap they teach there - where Plato is the professor and Aristotle is the student, and whenever Aristotle disagrees with Plato Plato says "I'm the professor!", that makes me laugh because I encounter that attitute occasionally. Whenever I have a professor who I think is reasonable enough to talk to, I go to him at the breaks and bring up certain points and the general attitute is 'you're just a student, your points don't need consideration'. Oh well, if nothing else having the piece of paper probably will provide some help for me later in life.

As for IQ, I took some online tests, the results I got vary greatly. Internet tests are not much good I suppose. I'm kinda curious to take a real test someday, but I guess it's not too important for me because in the end it's just a number. It's not how much you score in a test, it's what you do with your mind. A smart person can be just as wrong as an average person. Having X IQ doesn't make you error proof.

I gave mensa's website a look some years back. I saw nothing that attracted me there. Being a member of some organization doesn't rock my boat. The fact that being a mensa member is often used as bragging rights makes it less appealing for me. The fact that they charge quite money for membership makes it even less appealing.

In the end it's like been mentioned here in this thread, if you want to persue interesting and brain intensive topics and occupasion and hobbies, then go persue them in society. I assure you you do not need mensa membership to do that, and I doubt it even gives you an advantage in doing it. Use your mind to determine what ideas you like and don't like and which philosophy you accept in your life. Objectivism definitely has a lot of the right ideas and I find the community to be on the smart side.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mensa is open to anyone who so much as once (like, on a good day) scores in the top two percentiles--which means more than two percent can get in. Which means there are dozens of potential members at Walmart every time you go there. My high school class had at least ten potential members.

I suspect the both of you would think it full of rather average seeming people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, the higher IQs seem to lose the ability to focus on a single thread. They have a lot of interests and seem to get distracted more easily.

I'm sorry, what? I was too busy thinking about what to write my ethics paper on and how to play Up the Neck while flipping through Facebook, petting the cat and replying to these IMs.

Yeah, I am totally guilty of that. My mom calls me her "Renaissance girl" because I have so many diverse interests, but as far as following through, not so much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a programmer. I am an outcast among programmers. I have written my own Scheme implementation, but I am sometimes castigated for writing code that is too hard for people to understand.

lol if you ever want to move to Salt Lake City, I will hire you on the spot :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...