To Test for Mensa or Not

I have thought for a long time “I am Smart”.  I have been told that I am smart.  I was a challenge for the teachers in elementary school.  I did not officially get tested or labeled for any gifted programs.  I changed schools too often probably.  I took lots of tests for college and grad school – SAT, ACT, MCAT, GRE.  All the tests said I was high average.  I used myself as a case study in my first master’s program.  One of the tests was the GATB and I scored high, but not high enough for the cut off point for my original vocational goal.  So everything is saying- yeah, you are smart, but no big deal.  There was still part of me in conflict.

I knew I could grasp concepts quickly.  I know I had “dumbed down” much of my work in most of my classes.  The struggle was, wanting to fit in and not be seen as “too” smart.  That behavior developed some habits to minimizing my abilities and increased self-doubts of being smart.

I had challenges at work of fitting in.  I made choices and was passionate to make a difference.  In employment settings the barriers for change were significant and I would move on.  I took a week long training and came to conclusion my message and purpose laid with creating opportunities of other smart people to understand themselves and express their potential with confidence.

I delved into the body of knowledge about gifted adults, smart people, and underachievers.  It validated my experiences and characteristics.  I expanded my understanding.  I recognized how I had been expressing my talents throughout the years.

I attended a conference and met experts in the field of gifted and talented.  I was asked about Mensa and testing in general for being gifted.  I indicated no I had officially been tested.  One person asked, don’t you want to know?  I did not want a test to define me. Yet, here was the self-doubt, what if I did not make the cut off?  Was I fooling myself?  What if it proved I was not as smart as others thought I was or I felt I was?

There also was my perception that Mensa was like academia and I did not fit in that circle.  Classroom education and the real world education were two totally different animals.  That is coming from someone with four degrees.  However, the last two degrees were non-traditional after the one graduate experience on campus.

A friend shared some stories about Mensa with me.  I read and explored the Mensa sites and blog posts on the gatherings.  It began to intrigue me and changed my perspective.  I thought maybe, just maybe, I would test.

My purpose is to acknowledge and develop my potential.  At the same time, I want to help others that had a similar journey.  I needed to know.  I took the home Mensa test.  The results showed I did not make the cut.  I accepted I was in the top 3-5%, but not the top 2%.  Mensa sent more information for the official testing.  Why bother?  I already knew I would not make the cut.  Then part of me said why not, make it official.  The testing process includes two tests so that there two chances to make the grade.  It I didn’t then it would be final.  I would know that was not my reality.  However, this little seed then said maybe I would need to connect with a colleague and complete some other testing.

I took the Mensa tests.  The testing process was simple and no surprises.  I received the results expecting not to have made the eligibility requirements.  I opened the envelope and it said Congratulations!  I had made the cut.  I was excited and validated.  I really was smart not just a smart-aleck.   I was not almost smart enough – I was smart.  Crazy response, but those feelings were going through me.

It amazed me that I felt a sense of relief.  I was not making it up.  I did fit in somewhere.  I was not in limbo land.   I knew what I thought and perceived about myself was real.  All this was the inner conversation and had been part of the conversation for a long time.

I have strength.  I have shared my talents and abilities.  I have explored a multitude of interests.  I have fine-tuned my ability to assist others in finding and developing their passions.  I felt even more confident now (kind of silly, but real) that I could further my mission of providing opportunities for others to know, overcome, develop, express, and connect with their talents.  I took the test.  I made the grade.  I am glad I did it.  Now the adventure continues the next steps on the journey of personal growth and sharing & caring.  Join me in the journey.  What is your next step of discovery?


  1. Andrea Terracciano says

    Hi, I have read your post. Do you really think that official test will good for my self knowledge and state of mind? I have already thought that mensa’ s test would be a good step for also my ” Journey”, I think that I’ ll probably go to do it! ( excuse me for possible not correct english… waiting answer)

    • To know helps alleviate the discomfort of the unknown. Any testing for intelligence would probably support you in what you already know. The advantage of Mensa testing is low cost, minimal time AND you get to meet other people like you. Do take the next step on your journey.

      • Edith,

        Thank you so much for writing this. As you know, I’m here in response to your FaceBook comment to me. The best thing about being in the group so far, is the commonality of feelings. While previously I was told to get counseling, I am becoming aware that the anxieties, depression, sensitivities, frustrations, etc., come from a feeling of not belonging. How can you not feel awkward or unaccepted if you are among only a small percentage?
        Thanks again. I look forward to more dialogue.

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