Bengaluru: Saanya Verma, 11-year-old British Indian girl, born in Bengaluru, has scored the maximum possible scores in the Mensa Test (Cattell IIIB scale– 162 and Culture Fair scale – 142). The achievement has put her squarely in the top one percentile across the globe.
Saanya is a year 7 student at a leading independent school in North West London area. She is constantly being exposed to new choices. Saanya has always been interested in the cosmos and maths.
An avid reader, Saanya loves The Hunger Games Series (because of her fascination with dystopian fiction), The Winds of Change (due to its original plots) and finally Jane Eyre.
Saanya's achievement is not the first to her credit. In year 6, she got 6s in SATs, the highest one can score in Year 6!
"I have also participated in the Primary Maths Challenge in which I received a Gold certificate and was invited to the Bonus round. I was the Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA) Ambassador. In my current school I am the Library monitor and won the English story writing competition for original prose," she says adding that her parents are largely responsible for every achievement she has made.
"They opened many doors for me, taught me the correct values and spent time to teach and play with me," she says adding that her father Sunil Verma, a banker by profession, spends a reasonable amount of time with her discussing science and robotics.
"Saanya has always surprised me with her questions and her reasoning skills have often put me in situations where I have felt overwhelmed. We are proud of her and are constantly challenged by her,"says Verma.
Saanya's mother Sunita Pati Verma, a HR & Recruitment professional says, "It has been a proud moment for us and I think it’s an equally proud moment for the community that has provided her with the support and encouragement to achieve these unique objectives."
"We have always engaged with her, encouraged her to work hard, participate and experience as many different things as possible. We have also prepared her to tackle failure as much as success. For her, family does come first. Culture and values like respect for elders etc are extremely important." says Sunita.
Saanya spends a large amount of time working on robotics and electronics and more recently, she has been developing codes for the robots (Lego Mindstorms) and electronic instruments (Arduino).
"I have started developing robots which can do some basic tasks such as follow a line, keep within a boundary, solve a maze etc. Arduino is a more recent thing I have started working on. I am at the initial stages where I look at inputs from various sensors such as light sensor, heat sensor etc and provide outputs to display screens and motors." says Saanya.
Among various career choices she has been considering, the few that seem to come up more often than others are: scientist, mathematician, biogenetics, robotics, economist and may be banker (like her Dad).
When asked about her professional and personal goals, Saanya answers, "I hope that I will find myself in an extremely well established and academic university. I also would love to gather more knowledge and experience and perhaps to follow a career path relating to healthcare, robotics, space exploration etc. As for personal goals I hope to increase my singing, tennis and chess abilities."
The Mensa supervised test for IQ, or intelligence quotient, is divided into two sections to measure IQ. The first paper is 'Cattell III B' which has 150 questions and the maximum score that can be achieved is 161 for adults, and 162 for under-18s. The second paper, Cattell Culture Fair III A, uses diagrams. A score which leads to top 2 percentile would result in an invitation to join Mensa, and there are close to 1,500 MENSA members who are below 18 years of age.
Mensa was formed in Oxford in 1946 by Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister and Dr Lance Ware, scientist and lawyer. The organisation later spread around the world.
MENSA scores are an attempt to measure intelligence which per MENSA refers to quickness of mental apprehension (or mental agility). It is often confused with knowledge, wisdom, memory, or a myriad of other attributes and in general has a variety of meanings depending on the context in which it is used. IQ invariably refers to the attempt to quantify the attribute in its meaning of mental comprehension.