Leeds schoolboy achieves highest possible score in the MENSA IQ test
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It was out of sheer curiosity that Yusuf Shah, Year 6 student at Wigton Moor Primary School, went to sit the MENSA IQ test. Yusuf told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Everyone at school thinks I am very smart and I have always wanted to know if I was in the top two per cent of the people who take the test.”
He and his parents were looking at high schools to apply to and Yusuf was sitting admissions tests for grammar schools when they realised verbal and nonverbal reasoning were also on the IQ test. Yusuf’s father Irfan said: “It is a difficult test to prepare for. We just did what we were already doing – nothing specific for the IQ test.”
During a portion of the test, Yusuf was told he had 15 questions to answer in three minutes but he had mistakenly heard it be within 13 minutes and therefore took his time answering the questions. Despite this, Yusuf performed well – in the top one per cent and with the highest score possible.
The family celebrated the eldest son’s achievement with a meal at Nando’s. Yusuf’s mother Sana said: “I was so proud. He is the first person to take the MENSA test in the family. I was actually a little concerned too – he has always gone into a hall full of kids to take tests. We thought he might be intimidated by the adults [at the centre]. But he did brilliantly.”
"I still tell him that ‘your dad is still smarter than you’,” said Irfan, “We take it all lightheartedly. Even if you are talented, you have to be the hardest worker.”
With the certificate arriving a few days prior, Yusuf said: "It feels special to have a certificate for me and about me. I also never thought I would be on the news.” His mother jokingly tells the YEP that they weren’t even allowed to touch the certificate without watching their hands first.
Irfan also tells the YEP that while Yusuf is also interested in geography and flags, mathematics is his passion. In the past, he has been invited to study mathematics with the year above but his parents said: “for his social development, we want him to be with his year group”.
In 2019, when Yusuf was seven, he found a mathematical phenomenon which is now coined “Yusuf’s Square Rule” within the family. Irfan contacted a mathematics professor at the University of Cambridge who offered an explanation for this phenomenon. In the future, Yusuf wishes to study mathematics at Cambridge or Oxford but in the meantime, he will be practising his creative writing for secondary school entrance exams.
Spending his downtime doing sudokus and solving rubik cubes, Yusuf Shah enjoys anything that stimulates his brain. He first started playing with rubik's cubes in January of this year after he saw one at his friend’s house and by the end of the month, he was able to solve cubes of all difficulties with ease. Younger brother Khalid, aged eight, is also hoping to take the MENSA test when he’s older but has already begun following in his brother's footsteps by taking an interest in rubik's cubes.