Nicole Barr, 12, earned a 162 — a perfect score — on her Mensa IQ test. (Photo: Jim Barr)
A 12-year-old in the U.K. has received a perfect score on her Mensa IQ test, ranking her two points above both Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking in the society’s elite group of members.
Nicole Barr took the test at the same time as her father did a couple of weeks ago, and got her results — a score of 162 — on Thursday, easily beating his score. Her father, Jim Barr, says he had a hunch that Nicole would be admitted to Mensa, despite the low acceptance rate — the honor is extended only to those who score in the top 2 percent. “I was expecting her to do well. I knew she had a quick mind for working out problems and puzzles,” Jim tells Yahoo Parenting. “I didn’t want to put any pressure on her, so we went for the fun of it. I had the idea in my mind that she would get into Mensa, but when I got the results back, I thought, ‘Wow that’s a high score!’ It wasn’t until later that I learned it was the top score possible on that test.”
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Ann Clarkson, communications manager for British Mensa, confirmed Nicole’s score to Yahoo Parenting. “[A score of] 162 puts her in the top one percent of the population, so it is exceptional by any definition,” she says.
Barr says he decided to sign his daughter up for the test because he thought she’d have fun. “She’s always loved numbers and puzzles, and she’s always been excellent at math, performing several years ahead of her age group in school,” he says. “It’s just the type of thing she likes to do. She likes challenging herself.”
And throughout the test, Jim could tell that Nicole was having an easy time of it. “It was split into several sections, each with a time limit, and she finished each one early,” he says. “In the last section, at the four-minute warning, I quickly glanced up to see if Nicole was feeling the pressure, and she already had put her pen down. There were questions I didn’t finish at all.”
In the end, Nicole scored significantly higher than her dad. “She was rubbing my face in it a bit,” Jim says, laughing. “She obviously beat me by a long way.”
Nicole has showed an above-average aptitude for problem-solving since she was very young. “Before she was 2, she was adding numbers up and doing calculations,” he says. “At 2, she could use a Nintendo DS with absolute ease — it would amaze family and friends how easily she could work anything technical.”
And while Jim says his daughter enjoys reading and solving math problems in her spare time – even during summer break – he points out that her interests aren’t all academic. “She likes playing soccer, and she’s performing in a Shakespeare play coming up,” he says. “She does enjoy acting, and she loves singing — even if it’s just to herself.”
As for how Nicole plans to use her superior IQ down the line, her father says she wants to be a doctor and “maybe invent a new medicine.” It’s a career path he thinks would suit her. “She often thinks outside of the box,” Jim explains. “She sees things with a different point of view, even when many adults might be scratching their heads.”
Jim, of course, is an exceptionally proud dad, though he says that has nothing to do with the test. “I was always proud,” he says. “The test hasn’t changed anything.”