Mensa Workout Test Results: Meaning?

Here’s what the Mensa workout test results mean:

Mensa workout test results don’t really mean a whole lot.

The workout test is not a formal IQ test, and the results you get from it cannot give you a meaningful estimate of your current IQ.

It’s just designed as a bit of a primer to help people feel more comfortable taking IQ-style tests and questions.

So if you want to learn all about what the Mensa workout test results signify, then this article is for you.

Let’s jump right into it!

Mensa Workout Test Results: Meaning? (Everything to Know)

What Is Mensa?

diverse group of people

If we’re going to take this learning journey, then I should probably make sure you’re properly acquainted with Mensa in the first place.

Mensa is a society that dubs itself the “high IQ society.”

It was originally founded in the United Kingdom, but today, it is an international society with members around the world.

It’s intended to be a resource for people of high IQ to communicate and collaborate.

There isn’t really an official goal beyond bringing high IQ members together.

The big thing about Mensa is that you have to be in the top 2% of the population in terms of IQ to be allowed to join.

That’s really the big hook.

What Is IQ?

Pretty, young college student writing on the chalkboard/blackboa

Ok. We’re tackling some big concepts today.

Since Mensa is all about high IQ, we’re going to have to establish a thorough explanation of IQ and IQ testing in order for this to all make sense.

I can’t really explain the workout test and how it might measure your IQ without going through the basics first.

So, let’s start with the prominent question.

What is IQ?

It stands for “intelligence quotient,” and it’s an attempted way to measure a person’s raw ability to figure out and understand things.

IQ and IQ testing is studied in psychology and sociology, and it’s a legitimate branch of those sciences.

IQ can be used to measure things about how a person or a group of people thinks.

The challenge, though, is that measuring intelligence is tricky.

You can’t just give people a trivia quiz; that would only tell you what information they know.

Instead, IQ tests try to assess your ability to take in information and figure things out.

Because of that, they have to try to account for language barriers, individual backgrounds, cultural differences, and other things that might impact test scores.

A perfect IQ test would account for all of this and put everyone on equal footing, but such a test doesn’t really exist.

So, IQ tests are usually designed for specific purposes.

Age, geographic region, and culture are usually accounted for in a given test.

That is to say, your score on a test given in Atlanta, Georgia, will probably differ greatly from the score you get on a test given in Dubai.

The tests would be in different languages and aim to measure intelligence amongst people who live very different lives.

This doesn’t suggest that one test is better than the other.

Instead, I’m trying to emphasize that measuring IQ is tricky, and there is no perfect universal test.

Statistical Distributions

It should clear things up a bit to talk about statistics.

You see, your IQ score isn’t telling you how intelligent you are in a vacuum.

It’s not like measuring your weight where you get an objective number that is the same no matter who is around you.

Instead, IQ scores are relative, and they’re based on a normal distribution.

I’m going to go light on the statistics here, but a properly designed IQ test will get predictable results from a large enough sample size.

You don’t know ahead of time what any individual score will be, but if the test is working as intended, then the average score will be exactly 100.

That’s the point.

What this means is that your IQ score is really telling you how you scored relative to everyone else who took the exact same test.

Some tests don’t turn out as expected, and the average score might not actually be a perfect 100.

That means that the test needs to be adjusted, but it also means that your score on that test is giving you a number that won’t successfully compare to standard IQ scores.

Again, this is all pretty tricky.

But, if you take an IQ test that is properly calibrated, and you’re among the intended test takers (meaning you’re in the right age group and geographical region and language), then there are some general scoring guidelines.

As I said before, 100 is the average score. From there, every 10 points higher or lower represents a significant difference.

So, if your score is 102, you’re still in the average range. If your score is 112, then you’re in the “high average” range. It’s a significant increase. If your score is above 130, then you’re in the top 2% of test takers.

What Is the Mensa Workout Test?

Young concentrated brunette woman in glasses working with laptop

So, Mensa offers this thing called a workout test.

You can go to their website and take the test right now if you want to.

What is the test?

What is it all about?

First off, it’s not an IQ test. 

I know. I just spend all of that time explaining IQ and IQ tests to you, only to hit you with this information now.

If you read the information about the workout test at the Mensa website, they make this pretty clear too.

The workout test is not designed to tell you your IQ.

Mensa won’t accept results from their own workout test for application to join the club. Seriously.

That’s because the workout test isn’t designed to measure your IQ.

It’s designed to help you become more familiar with IQ tests.

In other words, it’s a primer test.

It’s there for people who think they might want to try to join Mensa, but they’re not confident that they can do well enough on the real test.

So, you can take the workout test to see what IQ test questions are like, and you can even learn a little bit about how to think in order to do better on a real IQ test.

What Do the Mensa Workout Test Results Mean?

Happy Nice Woman Working on Laptop in Street Cafe

In fact, this can be a little frustrating as we get into the deeper meaning behind the workout test. 

You might think that you can convert your workout score into a relative IQ and at least ballpark where you stand.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

The workout test gives results in terms of total right answers and the total number of test questions.

As you now know, this is not how IQ tests work.

They’re not based on a percentage of right answers.

Instead, they measure population distributions of scores.

Mensa—as far as they tell the public—does not perform population distributions on the workout test, so it can’t give you anything even resembling an IQ score.

Again, that’s not the purpose of the test.

In reality, the results of the workout test don’t really mean a lot.

If you take the test multiple times, the score can tell you if you’ve learned anything, but that’s about it.

According to Mensa, the one thing you can take away from the workout test is whether or not you’re ready for the home test.

The group says that if you score well on the workout test, you should seriously consider taking the home test.

What Is the Mensa Home Test?

young woman sitting on the couch with laptop

More or less, I just told you that the workout test is a practice or warm up to get you ready for the home test.

In that case, what is the home test?

This is a longer, more comprehensive test that was created by Mensa.

It’s designed so that you can take it in the comfort of your own home.

It’s supposed to take about 45 minutes, so that makes it a much greater undertaking than the shorter, easier workout test.

Considering all of this, you might be tempted to think that the home test is what you can use to qualify for admission into Mensa.

But, that’s not the case.

The home test is more comprehensive, and the scores on the home test can loosely translate into IQ scores, but it’s still not a formal IQ test, and it still isn’t sufficient to qualify for membership.

Instead, it’s the next step in preparation.

If you do well on the home test, then you’ll probably do well on a real IQ test, but there are still problems with trying to derive your IQ from this test.

In particular, two issues come to mind.

First, it’s not a proctored (or supervised) test.

This means that people can pretty easily cheat on it.

If you look up answers on your phone while you take the test on your laptop, Mensa has no way to recognize that.

Similarly, if you get help from someone else in the room, Mensa can’t tell.

I’m not suggesting that you, the individual reading this right now, would do these things.

Instead, I’m pointing out why Mensa doesn’t trust this test for membership.

It’s too easy to cheat.

So, you have to take a proctored test in order to get into Mensa (more on that in a bit).

The second problem is that this test isn’t proctored.

I know that sounds like what I just said, but in this case, it has nothing to do with cheating.

One of the reasons that real IQ tests are supervised is so that the proctor can help overcome test-taking obstacles.

If there is a language barrier or other fundamental issue inhibiting your ability to take the test, the supervisor can account for that.

They can provide resources to compensate and enable you to take the test correctly.

Or, if that can’t be done, they can take note of it and suggest an alternative testing scenario.

Similarly, if something disrupts your test, like a fire alarm going off when you’re only on the third question, then that could impact your test results.

A supervisor can again account for this, and if necessary, arrange for a retake of sorts.

The supervisor is vital to ensuring the integrity of the testing scenario, and that’s another reason why Mensa requires supervision.

With all of that said, what actually is the home test?

It’s a simulation.

It’s very much like a real IQ test, so it can help you gauge your own readiness.

If you take it legitimately and get a high score, there’s a good chance that you’ll do well on a supervised test.

But, the home test doesn’t translate perfectly to IQ, so even in this case, you don’t really know your IQ after taking the online test.

What Is the Mensa Supervised IQ Test?

alarm clock with time running out. Students hands to take exams, write examination room with pencil holding on optical form of standardized test with answers

We have taken a journey to get to this point.

What is the supervised IQ test?

This is a formal IQ test, given by Mensa, that will provide you with a reasonable and reliable IQ score upon completion.

This test is proctored, and because of that, it has to be taken in person.

This is an IQ test that was developed by Mensa specifically for the purpose of membership admission.

In simpler terms, this is the test you can take if you want to try to join the club.

The results of this test can qualify you for membership, provided you score high enough.

I’ll get into Mensa membership processes in the next section.

The supervised IQ test isn’t always the same (to avoid people from learning the answers and retaking the test), so I can’t tell you exactly how many questions there will be or how long it will take for your specific experience.

But in general, the test takes under an hour and is a real IQ test.

How Do You Join Mensa?

Attractive young woman is using a notebook

This all led somewhere.

In order to join Mensa, you have to provide evidence that you are in the top 2% in terms of IQ.

That’s the criterion.

You can take a Mensa supervised test, and if your score is 132 or higher, that’s good enough.

You can also provide proof of your IQ via other formal, supervised, professionally recognized IQ tests.

In other words, if you took a formal IQ test with a psychologist and scored 132 or higher, that’s good enough for Mensa.

Once you can demonstrate your IQ, joining is a matter of paperwork.

You can fill out the forms online, and there is an annual membership fee.

At the time of this writing, that fee is $79 USD.

The Mensa website pointed out that this is less than the annual cost of a Netflix membership, for whatever that information might be worth to you.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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