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12-year-old girl scores 162 in the Mensa IQ test, beats Einstein and Hawking

Killing it.

FIONA MACDONALD
9 SEP 2015
 

A young girl in the UK has outperformed geniuses Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking in a Mensa-supervised IQ test. Twelve-year-old Lydia Sebastian from Essex took the test in an attempt to enter the society, which only accepts the top 2 percent of IQs, and scored 162 - the maximum possible score for people under 18 years old. Einstein never took a modern IQ test, but it's believed that he had an IQ of 160, the same score as Hawking.

Only 1 percent of those who sit the Mensa test achieve the maximum mark, and the average score is 100. A 'genius' test score is generally considered to be anything over 140.

 

This is the second time in a month that a young female has outperformed some of the best minds in science - 12-year-old Nicole Barr, also from the UK, achieved the same score in August - and it's pretty encouraging news that shows age isn't a limiter for intelligence.

However, its also important to note that IQ tests, or intelligence quotient tests, are notoriously bad at determining how smart someone really is. Neuroscientists have shown that while the tests can adequately measure memory, mathematical ability, verbal reasoning, and logic, they're not great at predicting overall intelligence, which requires the interaction of several brain regions at once. 

"While having a sufficient cognitive ability or IQ is important for any individual to succeed, both emotional intelligence and social intelligence are also critical," Amanda Potter, a psychologist from the British Psychological Society told Aisha Gani over at The Guardian. "We test IQ because we want to understand to what extent will they have learning agility and be able to take on new information, deal with ambiguity and complexity and think on their feet."

Still, it's a pretty impressive result for someone so young. "At first, I was really nervous but once I started, it was much easier than I expected it to be and then I relaxed," Lydia told The Guardian. "I gave it my best shot really." 

The Mensa IQ test is split into two sections that measure people's reasoning skills with reading comprehension and visual questions. Although the maximum score for under-18s is 162, adults can only receive a maximum score of 161. 

There's no word as yet on whether Lydia will be accepted into Mensa, but Nicole, the other 12-year-old to receive the maximum score earlier this year, has now been admitted, and if Lydia's score is anything to go by, she'll be a shoo-in. We can't wait to see what the future holds for these bright young women.

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