Mensa Switzerland

The high IQ society


Mensa was founded in England in 1946 by Roland Berrill, a barrister, and Dr. Lance Ware, a scientist and lawyer. They had the idea of forming a society for bright people, the only qualification for membership of which should be a relatively high IQ. The original aims were, as they are today, to create a society that is non-political and free from all racial or religious distinctions.

The word "Mensa" means "table" in Latin. Mensa is a round-table society, where sex, age, race, color, creed, national origin, age, politics, educational or social background are not valued as entry criteria. The society welcomes people from almost every walk of life whose IQ ranges in the top 2% of the population, with the objective of enriching each other's company and participating in a wide range of social and cultural activities.

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Mensa is a worldwide association of intelligent people. A certain intelligence quotient (IQ) is required for admission to the association. Anyone who achieves a better result on a recognized, supervised test than 98 percent of the population would achieve can enter. There are no other criteria for admission. That's why you'll find a wide variety of personalities in Mensa - and that's what makes the club exciting.

Fun with intelligence
Yep, you read that right, Mensa is also - not only - about the pleasure of using your own head, and perhaps finding surprising answers to seemingly long-settled questions.

What is intelligence? Scholars argue about it, and laypeople speculate. In science, there are elaborate paraphrases such as intelligence is "the state of mental functions (memory, learning ability, perceptual ability, concentration ability, will) in accomplishing new tasks," but also the shorthand formula "intelligence is what the intelligence test measures."

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), biochemist, science fiction author, and honorary vice president of Mensa, put the difficulties of describing and measuring intelligence this way:

"The human brain is [...] incomparably more complex than, say, a star; and that is why we know so much more about stars than we do about the human brain. And the most complex aspect of the human brain is its intelligence."

An informed discussion of the multifaceted topic of intelligence requires extensive expertise in the state of research. Here, however, let's hear from a Mensan, who said with a wink that intelligence is like concrete: "It's what you make of it that counts." Intelligence is a gift that can be used or stunted.

How it began
In 1946, an Englishman and an Australian happened to be sitting together on a train rattling through the bombed-out suburbs of London. The two came up with the idea of using intelligence for peace and for the good of mankind. They named their club Mensa (Latin for table) because their goal was to bring intelligent people together at one table. At the same time, the name contains the Latin word "mens", which means spirit or mind. Today, the founders' "crazy" idea has grown into an association that has more than 130,000 members in 80 countries around the world.

Membership in the international community Mensa is independent of nationality, race, religion and social origin. Mensa does not seek material gain and is not dependent on religions or world views. The association has committed itself to strict neutrality according to the principle "Mensa itself holds no opinions". Only the members have opinions - and very different ones at that. This always leads to exciting discussions.

What does Mensa "do"?
Mensa aims to bring intelligent people into contact and to promote intelligence research. These goals are enshrined in the statutes of Mensa International (based in London).

However, Mensa only provides a framework - it is up to the members to fill it with life. The offer is broad, the list of activities long - anyone and everyone can participate, but no one has to. Whether someone has the time and inclination to go to meetings, is sociable or rather reserved, does not play a role in belonging to the association. Even introverts can find their place at Mensa. Passive members can keep in touch with the association through the membership magazine, for example.

In larger cities there are regular, usually monthly meetings. If you want to organize something beyond that, you don't have to hold back your imagination - from a visit to a restaurant or a movie theater to seminars and sightseeing tours to a New Year's Eve get-together, everything has already taken place. Not to forget: International meetings, where it is not uncommon for all five continents to be represented if a handful of people are standing together somewhere.

Non-members and not-yet-members are always welcome at meetings. Nobody will ask them about their IQ - by the way, Mensans don't do that among themselves either.

Hobby groups
Anyone interested in sharing knowledge and contributing to discussions on a particular topic can join a "Special Interest Group" (SIG for short) - or start one. There are more than 300 SIGs worldwide: alpinists meet in the GamSIG, puzzle lovers in the EnigmaSIG, motorcyclists in the EaSIG Riders and experts in the LexiG.

International meeting: SIGHT and Mensa World Connect
The abbreviation "SIGHT" stands for "Service of Information, Guidance and Hospitality to Travellers". Behind it is nothing other than worldwide hospitality on a reciprocal basis. In many cases, the hosts act as guides, showing visitors around their city and pointing out the country's sights.

The purpose of the Mensa World Connect program is to bring together local groups from different countries.

The wavelength
No one can describe it exactly, but most members and visitors to Mensa meetings quickly know what is meant when "common wavelength" is mentioned. Here, they don't have to worry about being thought arrogant or quaint if they use sophisticated language or venture leaps of thought.

Members have therefore described Mensa as "a cross-over between a mental sports club and a self-help group," as "Eggheads Anonymous," but also as "one of many ways to spend your free time."
Mensa is not a substitute for friends and acquaintances - Mensa is an add-on.
Become a Member
If you would like to join Mensa Switzerland, please register for a test.

Become a Member

You can join Mensa by passing one of our standardized group tests in your area.
Scheduled dates until the end of 2021:

06.12.21: 18:00 - Genève (F)
06.12.21: 19:00 - Geneva (E)
07.12.21: 18:30 - Bern (D)
14.12.21: 18:30 - Zurich (D)
18.12.21: 10:30 - Bern (D, mit Sprachteil in Deutsch)
23.01.22: 14:30 - Lausanne (F)

Please note that a valid Covid certificate is required to attend our tests.

The tests we are conducting are approved from the age of 15 (language independent) resp. from the age of 14 (with language part, currently only available in German). The language independent tests in the different regions are conducted with explanations and instructions in the local language (D, F, I) or in English if the test is advertised as “English Test”. The test costs 80.00 CHF (40.00 CHF for students) for the language independent test, 100.00 CHF (50.00 CHF for students) for the test with language part in German. Students receive 50% reduction upon presentation of a valid student legitimation.
If you have passed an IQ test in the past you can also join Mensa via Prior Evidence.
Please find the compilation of accepted tests for becoming a member of Mensa Switzerland using the link "Accepted Documents" below.
Children under the age of 15 (resp. 14) can only become Mensa members through Prior Evidence with an accepted IQ test conducted by a registered psychologist. All tests are evaluated by our National Supervisory Psychologist, results are only shared confidentially by postal mail. The cost for evaluation of Prior Evidence is 60.00 CHF, 30.00 CHF (50% reduction) for students with valid legitimation. Children under the age of 18 don’t have to pay for the evaluation. Please do not submit any proof of testing or other confidential documentation without request. Upon registration through this website you will receive further information by email on how to proceed with the evaluation of your Prior Evidence.

Please note that apart from the information on our website plus the information given at the test itself no further communication will be maintained regarding the nature and results of our tests!

For individual enquiries or special questions you can also send an email to the Testing Coordinator using the form below.

Register for a test by filling out the form below. Make sure to include your location to offer you the next available appointments near you.