I am trying to solve question number 3 from the Mensa IQ test in the July 1981 issue of Omni, but can't find a pattern within the prices and letters.

Figure out the rule that is used to determine the prices below and find the price of the last item.

  • Watch \$46
  • Bracelet \$4
  • Earrings \$10
  • Chain \$6
  • Ring \$?
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is the watch 46 or 45 dollars? Seems unclear from the low-quality image $\endgroup$
    – Auride
    Commented May 15 at 1:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Damn the Mensa iq test was way easier back then. $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Commented May 15 at 6:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This wasn't an official MENSA test, it was a thing published in OMNI magazine. It's possible that part of the goal was to make readers feel good about themselves. (Like those advertisements with easy puzzles in that "95% couldn't solve" or whatever. I think the goal is to make you feel good about yourself and associate that with the product; in this case to think of reading OMNI magazine as something that makes you smart / shows you're smart / associates you with smart people.) $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented May 18 at 10:33
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    $\begingroup$ On the other hand, if I understand correctly it was produced by, or in conjunction with, MENSA, and they had a brand to maintain too, so maybe that theory is too cynical. I agree that it seems like a pretty easy test, especially if (as the preamble suggests) they're hoping to measure up to an IQ of 160ish. And also, as I said, a pretty bad test. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Commented May 18 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


Wow, this is one old-fashioned IQ test, from before there was any sort of attempt to make them culture-neutral. This particular question is about

your familiarity with the positions of letters in the alphabet.

The price of each item

in dollars is twice the alphabetical position of the first letter. So, e.g., W is the 23rd letter of the alphabet and so the watch costs \$(2x23) = $46.


This sort of thing is standard fare in puzzles, but being intelligent is not the same thing as doing a lot of puzzles. (And this is far from the only thing in the test that looks dubious to me.)

So, anyway, the price

of the ring is \$(2x18) = \$36.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much. I did not think that only the first letter would suffice for the answer! $\endgroup$
    – user89412
    Commented May 15 at 3:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1 Great answer, except that it forgot to "find the price of the last item." $\endgroup$
    – JLee
    Commented May 15 at 12:21

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