People who find maths hard can fall into a trap of thinking they’re not clever, or at least not as clever as those who find the subject easy.
But that’s not the case according to Mensa, the world’s oldest and most exclusive high IQ society.
Mensa says many of its members don’t excel at maths, proving you don’t need to know your cuboids from your cube roots to get in.
The society’s tests only include basic arithmetic like adding, subtracting and multiplication, and numbers only appear in Mensa tests for the purposes of pattern recognition.
Ann Clarkson, a spokesperson for Mensa, said: “People always assume high intelligence and maths correlate. Actually, they don’t.
“There are a lot of Mensa members who will tell you they are rubbish at maths – and there are a lot who are very good at maths.
“I think the problem arises because people see maths puzzles which are labelled as ‘IQ tests’ and assume that to score highly on an IQ test you need maths.
“In reality, a genuine IQ test doesn’t have maths in it, beyond very basic arithmetic. An IQ tests assesses logic, pattern recognition and speed of thought, not learned knowledge.
“There are often numbers in an IQ test, but they are generally there just to test the ability to recognise sequences and patterns quickly.”
Can you work out this Mensa test?
Giving an example of Mensa tests with numbers, Ann explains: “If a Mensa question asked you to find the missing number in this sequence: 1, 3, 6, 10 ? 21 28, the only ‘maths’ you would need to know is the number order, and the number of missing numbers between each one.
“So, there are two numbers between 1 and 3, three between 3 and six, four between six and 10 and so on, so the missing number is 15.”
This is a simplistic example, but it shows how IQ tests shouldn’t test learned knowledge.
London-based graphic designer Katja Koggelmann has a Mensa IQ score of 142 and admits to finding maths hard at school and still struggles with numbers.
The 45-year-old, who took the Mensa test a couple of years ago, said: “I am really bad with numbers. I am okay at basic maths but with anything more complicated I find it hard. I can work things out to solve equations but find it very hard and have to really concentrate.
“For some people when they’re confronted with a maths issue their brain activity goes up, but with others it goes down and they get stressed.
“Some things don’t translate in your head, I am better with words. You are not stupid if your brain has a glitch in maths.”