Brian Reeves enjoys the intellectual interactions that are part of his job as a West Palm Beach mediator. Yet he found his social life lacking the same mental stimulation—until he joined Mensa, where he made friends, met his fiancé and, finally, stopped having to explain his intelligent jokes.
Mensa is a national organization for people who rank in the top 2 percent of the population intellectually. “Although it sounds like rarified air, one out of 50 people qualifies,” says Reeves, a member of the South Florida chapter who also serves as secretary for the national board.
There are two ways to be accepted into Mensa. One is to submit a score on a qualified exam, such as the SAT, that demonstrates a result in the top 2 percent. The other is to score in the top 2 percent on at least one part of the official Mensa-proctored exam, a two-part test that assesses verbal, math and relational skills to evaluate acumen in different areas. “I cannot paint like Rembrandt or do any kind of music, but that’s still a type of intelligence,” Reeves points out.
The Palm Beach chapter, which includes Martin and St. Lucie counties, organizes monthly social activities, with everything from dinners to polo matches to outings at a shooting range. The club awards scholarships to students, and members can also attend the annual national convention, which features speakers and events over a five-day period in a different city every year. The group's 350-400 local members, Reeves says, consist of people from all walks of life: writers, lawyers, doctors, professors, telephone installers, preachers, politicians and more.
“People tend to think people in Mensa sit down and talk about physics and astronomy. It’s actually the same type of people you meet anywhere else, only on average a bit more intelligent—and by that, I mean they test well,” he says.
So, of course, when a Mensa member says or does something incorrectly, the common response from their peers is, jokingly, "Retest."
Another inside joke: Married Mensas are nicknamed M&Ms. Reeves and his fiancé plan to display the candy on every table at their January 18 wedding as a nod to the group that brought them together—and that helped Reeves share his sense of humor.
"I've found the tagline for Mensa found to be true: 'where other people get your jokes,'" he laughs.
Think you're Mensa material? Take our quiz below, written by Dr. Abbie F. Salny.
For more practice questions, take the official Mensa home test for free using the code BOD3095RZ.
- What is the four-digit number in which the first digit is one-fifth the last, and the second and third digits are the last digit multiplied by 3? (Hint: The sum of all digits is 12.)
- Which of the words below is least like the others? The difference has nothing to do with vowels, consonants or syllables: MORE, PAIRS, ETCHERS, ZIPPER
- There is at least one nine-letter word that contains only one vowel. Do you know what it is?
- Jane went to visit Jill. Jill is Jane’s only husband’s mother-in-law’s only husband’s only daughter’s only daughter. What relation is Jill to Jane?
- Tabitha likes cookies but not cake. She likes mutton but not lamb, and she likes okra but not squash. Following the same rule, will she like cherries or pears?
- What is the number that is one more than one-tenth of one-fifth of one-half of 4,000?
- In a foot race, Jerry was neither first nor last. Janet beat Jerry, Jerry beat Pat. Charlie was neither first nor last. Charlie beat Rachel. Pat beat Charlie. Who came in last?
- Find the number that best completes the following sequence: 1 2 4 7 11 ? 22
- Marian bought 4 oranges and 3 lemons for 90 cents. The next day she bought 3 oranges and 4 lemons for 85 cents. How much did each lemon and orange cost?
- Start with the number of total mittens the numbered kittens lost, and multiply by the voting age in the U.S. What’s the answer?
BONUS: Name a famous member of Mensa.
Ready to find out your score? Check your answers here.