Frequently Asked Questions About Testing

What are the options for testing for admission for Mensa?

If you don’t have scores from prior testing, there are two options for taking a test from American Mensa.

Test with the Local Group:  This is a paper and pencil test in a group setting (between one and ten persons in the group). Either the Standard Mensa Admission Test or the Culture Fair may be administered (but not both in the same session),

Private Testing: The electronic version of the Standard Mensa Admission Test is administered at a local testing center. You can schedule your test based on your availability. For more information and to schedule a test, go to:  Take the Mensa Admission Test

How long does a testing session take?WomanTesting

The standard test session takes approximately two hours. The Culture Fair session takes between two and three hours.

How many tests are given?

The standard test session includes two tests. The Culture Fair session includes three different tests.

You only have to score in the top 2% on any ONE test to qualify for Mensa.

How much does the test session cost?

Private Testing: $99. See the American Mensa website for instructions on registering and how to pay.

Local Group: $60, payable on the day of the test.  We accept cash, checks, credit cards, or American Mensa vouchers. Make out checks to American Mensa, Ltd.

What are the upcoming Local Group test sessions in Orange County, California?

The upcoming test schedule is listed on this website:

  • On a computer: the schedule  (Upcoming Tests) is on the sidebar.
  • On a mobile device: if no sidebar is visible, scroll down to the bottom of the page to look for Upcoming Tests.

Or, send an email to to inquire about upcoming test dates.

How long does it take to find out the test results?

Private Testing: A few days.

Local Group Testing: 2 – 3 weeks (sometimes less). The tests are scored at the American Mensa National Office, not locally.

Will I find out my IQ and/or percentile?

Mensa’s tests are given solely for the purpose of admission to Mensa. The results you are emailed will not include the percentile nor the equivalent IQ. If you score at the 98th percentile or above on just ONE of the tests, you will be told that you have qualified for Mensa membership and invited to join Mensa.

Does Mensa test children?

The test-taker must be 14 or older on the day of the test (because our tests are not normed for children under 14). Gifted youngsters may join by submitting evidence of prior testing based on school- administered tests or testing by a private or school psychologist.

I took the Mensa test and didn’t qualify. However, I feel I was just having a bad day. Can I take it again?

No, Mensa does not allow applicants to take the same test twice (because familiarity could help some test-takers score higher on subsequent tries.) However, after taking the standard test, you can take the Culture Fair and vice versa. Also, you can submit prior evidence of testing.

Is there anything I can do to prepare for the test?

The most important thing is to get a good night’s sleep the night before, so you are well rested and can think clearly when you take the test. Also, give yourself enough travel time so that you arrive early and you have enough time to relax and you aren’t frazzled when the test begins.

I have always scored just under the 98th percentile on tests I took in school or in the military, so none of my prior scores qualify me for Mensa. Does it make sense for me to take the Mensa test?

Absolutely! Your past test performance may have been affected by how you were feeling on the day when you took the test or there may have been distractions during the test session that kept you from doing your best. So, sometimes folks who do not have high enough scores on prior testing may score at or above the 98th percentile on the Mensa test (and vice versa).

What is the Culture Fair Test? How does it differ from the standard test? And, who should take the Culture Fair?

The standard test has many different types of questions that test logic and reasoning, as well as verbal, vocabulary, and math abilities. Moreover, each section of the test is timed. This test may favor persons who can read and think fast in English.

The Culture Fair, on the other hand, is “non-language” (although the instructions are in English). This set of tests is designed to measure intelligence without the influence of cultural climate, level of education, or verbal fluency. All the questions involve pictures — similar to picture logic puzzles. The test-taker is asked to indicate, for example, which picture is next in a sequence or which one is different from the others. Of the three tests administered during the Culture Fair session, one is timed, but two are not timed.

We generally say the Culture Fair is for persons whose native language is not English, but actually anyone may take the Culture Fair test. It’s all about the individual’s test-taking preferences.

We recommend the Culture Fair test to persons who:

  • Grew up speaking a language other than English;
  • Are dyslexic or have ADHD;
  • Are concerned about their ability to read and/or think quickly in English;
  • Previously took the standard test, but didn’t qualify for Mensa, and want to test again.

I have scores from my college entrance exams. How can I find out what tests and scores are accepted by Mensa?

American Mensa accepts scores from more than 200 tests. Click here for complete information about submitting evidence of prior testing. 

I’ve already qualified and I have received an offer of membership from American Mensa. How do I join?

You need to pay your annual dues to American Mensa. Your dues include membership in the local group. Click here for more information on joining.

What does the term “IQ” mean? And how do standarized tests measure IQ?

Click here for facts about IQ and IQ testing.

I have another question about Mensa testing not listed on this page. Or, I want to sign up for the next test session. Who can help me?

Send an email to:

Why should I join Mensa?

Check out this short video to learn some of the benefits of joining Mensa.