International 'high IQ society' holds test in Saskatoon

Tim Freistadt has been testing hopeful Mensa members' IQs in his Saskatoon home for more than a decade.

Mensa Canada has 47 members in Saskatchewan

Tim Freistadt tests IQs in his kitchen for Mensa Canada. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)

Tim Freistadt has been testing peoples' intelligence in his kitchen for more than a decade. 

He is Mensa Canada's long-time proctor for Saskatchewan. Hopeful members of the international high IQ club come to Freistadt's Saskatoon home to take a run at the standardized eligibility examination.

Freistadt said he would consider holding the examination sessions somewhere else if there was more interest locally in joining Mensa.

"I am usually only testing one or two people," Freistadt said of the tests, which he offers once every six weeks. "I have actually had testing sessions where nobody is interested at that time."

Tomorrow, a young Saskatoon man will take a shot at the test. His task? Fifty hard questions in 12 minutes.

"Basically it is trying to find out how quick you are ... very few people answer them all," Freistadt said. "You don't have to answer them all to be eligible to join Mensa, it is a matter of being in the top two per cent."

Mensa Canada's website proclaims that it "welcomes people from every walk of life".

The organization was founded in England in 1946 and the Canadian arm opened in Montreal in 1967.

A place for the brilliant to make friends

Tim Freistadt is Mensa Canada's Saskatchewan proctor. (CBC News)

"The word 'mensa' means 'table' in Latin," reads its website's information page. "Mensa is a round-table society, where race, color, creed, national origin, age, politics, educational or social background are irrelevant."

Freistadt said this decree is what appealed to him. It is not always easy to fit in when one is brilliant.

"I've found that you hate to stick out, you know, especially when you're younger," Freistadt explained. 

"So, I would always dumb myself down a little bit when I was younger. I don't have to do that when I am at a Mensa meeting," he said, laughing.

Freistadt said over the years he has tested many people from all walks of life. About half of them end up passing.

"The good thing about being proctor is that you meet a lot of people but, you're not going to see half of them again," he said.

You might make some new friends and not just the kind where you push a button and it says "friend"- Tim Freistadt, Mensa proctor

Freistadt said there are 47 Mensa Canada members living in Saskatchewan right now. Saskatoon has the highest concentration of them.

"It takes a lot of concentration so, yeah, don't come here if you're hung over," Freistadt said.

To take the test it costs $90 for adults and $70 for students.

"It means shelling out a little bit of money but I think it is well worth it and you know, you might make some new friends and not just the kind where you push a button and it says 'friend'," he said. 

Freistadt said the group gathers regularly for drinks, movie nights and even the rare camping trip.

Internationally, Mensa said today, it has approximately 115,000 members in 100 countries.