I booked the test in April this year. I’ve done casual IQ tests before which say I’m around the 140 point mark, but they were online tests and I didn’t trust them. I always wanted to sit a real one. I was riddled with insecurity about my capabilities since young and for some reason, I thought that if I knew my IQ, I would understand myself better.
When I was growing up in Singapore, at the age of 9, everyone had to take a streaming test. It was just a test to determine who can go into the Gifted programme. The test results were never revealed to any of us, and those who scored enough to qualify for the Gifted programme simply continue to stay in the same school and class as they were, except they had to attend extra classes for the Gifted after school hours, and with it, additional homework. It was by no means an attractive prospect for me, seeing as I’ve always hated homework. But my parents placed a lot of expectations in me to perform well in school, so when I was a child, my self worth was completely based on how much I achieved academically in school. Sad, I know. I knew if I qualified to be in the Gifted programme, I’d earn my parents’ love. It still puzzles me as to the exact machinations of my mind which enable me to retain a sort of yearning for my parents’ love and acceptance, even to this day, even after I’ve moved away from them ages ago.
I remembered not being able to complete the Streaming test paper. I remembered the questions in the paper being exceedingly tricky – not dissimilar to the sort you’d find in Brainteaser and Math Puzzle books. I have never been very good at these things. Neither have I ever had any success in solving a Rubik’s cube. In short, I never thought I was naturally very bright. So when I didn’t qualify for the Gifted programme, I felt a bit gutted as I saw my parents looking a bit disappointed.
Eventually it came time to take the national Primary School Leaving exams and I achieved a mark that would place me in the top 10% of all the students who took the same exam. It was not that much a surprised, since I came from a rather well to do family where my father could afford to pay for after school private tuition for me from the age of 9, plus things like private piano tuition, ballet and swimming. The private tuition really helped me academically, as I was forever daydreaming in school lessons and never would have caught up with the syllabus if I did not have a private tutor coming to my home 4 hours a week to go over any part of the lessons I had missed. I was second place or top of the class (in a standard state school) every single year in Primary school, so my parents expected me to get into an elite school and did all they could to make sure I did.
Well, going to an elite school opened my eyes to a different world. I was now amongst geniuses who could say, spend only 2 hrs revising for the year end exam and pass with flying colours, but the schoolwork was extremely hard (the teachers were giving us college level questions to answer) and the stress was being piled onto every student from the school teachers and parents. From topping the class in a standard Primary school to now being almost bottom of the pile in an elite school., my parents’ complete and utter disappointment in me was plain to see and deep down, my self-esteem was crushed. I wasn’t the only one though. Me and my friends at school hated it too. Many of us had to seek help from therapists for anxiety or depression eventually, either when we were still in that school, or after we’d graduated. I was so demotivated about life from the elite school experience that I swore off academics for a good 7 or 8 years after I graduated from highschool, before regaining interest in academic subjects again and then going to night classes or colleges to learn more.
For years after graduating the elite school, I worked in dead-end jobs I hated just to earn money to pay the bills and to go out and enjoy myself. There was a purpose to that, which was to break free of my father’s financial hold over me. You see, he used to withhold pocket money if I refused to study the things he wanted me to study. So I decided after graduating that school that I was gonna take no more of that shit, and went out and applied for my first entry-level job. Deep inside however, I was dying to find my true calling in life and to work in something more meaningful. The fact I was not doing so well in those jobs I took, and just not feeling very happy about them, was an alarm telling me I needed to clarify my goals and priorities in life.
For a long time, I convinced myself that I didn’t want to be a banker, a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, or work in any highly-paid, high social status career which my parents felt were the only professions worth doing. Oh yes, did I forget to mention my parents were snobs? But because of this, I decided that I would reject any career possibility that would please my parents. I told myself to just go on earning a living to support my lifestyle, to be free of my dad’s control, and that it would be good enough for me. Yet it didn’t make me happy at all. After years of working in dead end jobs, I realised I was just no good as a minion. No good at bootlicking. No good at following orders when I felt there was a better way of doing things than the way the boss wanted. I was also no good at shutting up and putting up with obnoxious bosses.
Someone suggested to me I should consider being my own boss instead, and up to this day, I am still toying with that idea in my mind. On the other hand, I felt apprehensive about venturing out on my own in self-employment. I was afraid of the responsibility that came with it. I was afraid to fail.
So after years of wavering around, years of spending a lot of time going to Uni, night schools, college, to study whatever subjects took my fancy at the time… and still not finding what my true profession really is, really got to me. As I grew older, I feel life slipping away from my hands. At least I’ve achieved my goal of having all the kids I wanted to have while I’m young, so I would have more free time on my own as I near 40, to do what I wanted to do for myself. And now that time is nigh, and I feel like it’s time to move on a little more.
So there I was, in April of this year, deciding to take the MENSA Supervised IQ test. I wanted to know how “clever” I really am. I thought that it would reassure me of my capabilities and potential somehow, and then I’ll know if I am just wasting my time wanting to work in such and such a career.
But this morning, the day of the test, I awoke really dreading it. I thought to myself : What is the point? And aren’t I being stupid to even consider basing my life’s trajectory on a stupid test?
I felt at once ashamed and guilty of my decision to take the MENSA IQ test. I couldn’t even lie and say I took it because the test was interesting. No, I found the test exceedingly boring. What’s more, it took 2 hours to complete. Why would anyone want to sacrifice 2 precious hours of their own lives to do this? And why would I need a test like this to tell me that I can count, think logically and have a decent vocabulary? I already know that!
Oh well, what’s done is done. It cost me £21 plus.