Burnside schoolboy scores top marks on Mensa test

Taylor Smyth (11) shows his sister, Grace (9) the letter inviting him to join the high IQ society, Mensa. INNT 04-006-FP  Pic by Freddie Parkinson
Taylor Smyth (11) shows his sister, Grace (9) the letter inviting him to join the high IQ society, Mensa. INNT 04-006-FP Pic by Freddie Parkinson

A Newtownabbey schoolboy has become a member of the world’s foremost high IQ society, Mensa - and he’s just turned 11 years old.

Taylor Smyth, a P7 pupil at Kilbride Central Primary School, scored an incredible 162 in an IQ test, rivalling revered intellectuals such as Bill Gates, Professor Stephen Hawking and even Albert Einstein.

Taylor, who has Asperger’s and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), lives in Burnside with his mum Suzanne, stepdad Jamie and nine-year-old sister, Grace.

Able to read to the standard expected of a 16 year old by the time he was in P1, he was diagnosed with high functioning autism at the age of four.

Jamie and Suzanne decided to let Taylor sit the Mensa exam after he aced a number of AQE practice tests and showed a remarkable capacity for learning, including memorising the periodic table and completing mind-boggling mathematical puzzles.

Taylor was just 10 years old when he sat the Mensa test at Stranmillis College in Belfast in November.

“We got some funny looks on the day of the test,” Jamie explained. “When we turned up I think they thought it was either myself or Suzanne who was there to do it. There wasn’t anyone else there under the age of about 20 - maybe one teenager. Taylor was by far the youngest one doing it.”

Suzanne decided to sit the test while waiting for her son, scoring a very respectable 131 - just not quite enough to get an invite to join Mensa.

Taylor, who loves playing video games and wants to become a video game developer, says he enjoyed doing the two-and-a-half-hour test. And while admitting that there were a few questions he found tricky, he was ecstatic with the result.

“I actually did enjoy it, but there were a few questions that I did not understand at all.

“I outdid myself. I thought I might get about 140 or something,” he said.

Jamie and Suzanne are extremely proud of Taylor’s achievement, and are hopeful that he’ll flourish when he moves on to post-primary education, possibly at Slemish College.

“He astounds me sometimes with the things he knows. We knew he was going to do well in it (the test), but we’re really proud of him,” Suzanne added.

Taylor, who celebrated his 11th birthday earlier this week, was thrilled when he received the letter inviting him to become a Mensan. He is now part of an international organisation which has more than 100,000 members in around 100 countries across the globe.

Roger McCallum, Mensa PR officer for Northern Ireland, said that Taylor’s “excellent” test score puts him in the top two per cent of the population in terms of IQ.

“I would like to congratulate Taylor on scoring 162 in his IQ test and being invited to join Mensa. Taylor will certainly be one of the youngest members in Ireland and, indeed, one of the youngest in the world,” he commented.

• Mensa tests scheduled in Belfast on February 8 and May 17. For more information log on to www.mensa.org.uk