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What Is a High IQ Society?

By C. Mitchell
Updated May 17, 2024
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A high IQ society is a membership-based group of individuals who have scored in the top percentile range on an intelligence quotient, or IQ, test. Most high IQ societies are international organizations, but the heart of their activities is in local events. Regional society chapters will sponsor lectures, host dinners, and provide venues for members to share ideas and meet each other.

Membership in a high IQ society is typically dictated by one thing and one thing only: an IQ score. Members typically include children as well as senior citizens. Different societies have different rules for how high an IQ score must be in order to qualify. For some, a score in the top 95th percentile or above, taking a standard deviation into account, will qualify. More exclusive societies require a percentile rank of 99.5 or better.

There are several different IQ tests available, though the models of each are globally consistent. The Stanford-Binet intelligence scales are the most commonly used IQ tests in the United States. As with any IQ test, the goal is intelligence testing. Tests purport to measure a test-taker's general intelligence in a way that will classify how smart he is both subjectively and in reference to the larger population.

IQ tests are standardized tests, and questions typically include logic, reasoning, and math. They are administered in a time-compressed setting. Many schools test students’ IQ as a matter of course, to help identify gifted children and to give teachers a sense of the overall intelligence of their classes. Some employers also require IQ scores from new hires, or give tests when no scores are available.

High IQ societies typically accept scores from any of a long list of approved IQ tests. Test scores proffered as membership credentials must always be certified, endorsed, or otherwise guaranteed. Where they originated and when is not usually an issue.

So long as an applicant can prove that a high-scoring IQ test is his own, the date of that test does not usually matter. A student who scored in the 99th percentile in the eighth grade, for instance, may be able to use that score to qualify for a high IQ society membership well into his 20s or 30s. It is widely believed that IQ remains relatively constant throughout a person’s life.

Not all high IQ society applicants have documented IQ scores available. Individuals who believe that they have the intelligence quotient to join a society may either arrange to take one of the approved tests independently or in many cases may take a society-specific test. Some high IQ society tests can be taken online, but most require in-person, proctored administration.

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Discussion Comments

By Buster29 — On Feb 26, 2014

@Ruggercat, I had a friend who joined one of those high IQ organizations and he said it was like joining any other social or professional club. Members weren't obligated to prove their intellectual prowess at every meeting. There were special events and social mixers to attend, but the only difference was that all the participants were geniuses. He decided not to renew his membership after a few years, but he still enjoyed the fact he qualified for such an elite group.

By Ruggercat68 — On Feb 25, 2014

When I was a child, I tested at a genius level on a test proctored by a local university's psychology department. Within a few months, my parents were getting mailers from high IQ societies like Mensa. My scores were high enough to be considered for admission, but there were also testing fees and annual membership dues. My parents simply could not afford to pay those extra costs, and the nearest chapter was 20 miles away in a big city.

When I became an adult, I decided to take another look at the various IQ societies. I had always thought Mensa's requirement of a 150 IQ was the gold standard, but then I found there were other IQ societies that were even more selective. One of them required that applicants submit a proven IQ placing them in the top 2% of all the people living on Earth.

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