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CultureQuest® XXXI Contest Rules

Following are the official CultureQuest XXXI rules, including information on player eligibility, entry fees, contest procedures, and more.

Contest procedures

Due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak, CultureQuest XXXI will take place virtually. The morning of the quiz, Team Captains will be emailed a survey link we’ll use to collect answers and an additional PDF copy of the quiz for reference. Only your Team Captain should open the quiz.

The PDF containing the quiz questions must not be opened until the contest starting time. Starting times will be staggered — 1 p.m. Pacific time, 2 p.m. Mountain time, 3 p.m. Central time, 4 p.m. Eastern time, and 5 p.m. Atlantic time — so all teams will take the test simultaneously. Teams from other time zones will need to make special arrangements with the CQ XXXI Coordinator.

The specified time limit for taking the test must strictly be adhered to. All work, including recording of answers on the official test copy, must stop after 120 minutes. Answers may not be consolidated from other test copies after the time period is over. A team alternate may keep time, but participation by or assistance or recording of answers from any other than the five test-takers is prohibited and will disqualify the team’s entry.

No reference materials of any sort can be used or consulted during the quiz. All maps, charts, calculators, measuring devices, or other reference materials (with the exception of simple timekeeping devices) must be removed from the test site. If team members cannot agree on an answer, the Team Captain shall rule on which answer to submit.

Team safety

Teams can choose whether to gather in person or virtually to complete the quiz based on each team’s local, state, and national safety guidelines. If all the team members feel it is safe to do so, they can meet in-person to complete the exam. However, if the teams prefer, they can meet virtually to complete the exam using the online meeting platform of their choice.

Note: Some video conferencing platforms have time limits on free accounts (e.g. Zoom’s free tier has a 40-minute max on group meetings), so you take care to ensure your team has something in place that will allow you the necessary time to complete the exam.


Teams may consist of up to five primary players and up to two alternates. Team members need not be from the same Mensa Local Group, but any prize money awarded will be paid to the Team Captain’s Local Group.

Should one of your primary team members be unable to compete, only a pre-designated alternate may substitute for that primary team member. No substitutions may be made once the competition has begun.

The national membership roster as of Sept. 15, 2020, will be used to determine eligibility of each team member. An ineligible team member will be removed from the team and will not be eligible to play. If an ineligible team member plays, this will disqualify the whole team. Teams cannot replace team members after Oct. 11, 2020.

CultureQuest: Classic is open to all members regardless of age. Each team member must be a dues-paid Mensa member (U.S. or Canada) for the 2020-21 membership year and must be renewed before May 1, 2020.

CultureQuest: The Next Generation is the Youth Division. All persons playing on a Next Generation team must have been born on or after Oct. 19, 2002. Only the Youth Division team captain must be a current Mensa member; Mensa membership is not necessary for a non-captained player.

Entry fees

The entry fee is $50 per U.S. team and $55 (U.S.) per Canadian team — payable at the time of registration.

Entry fees must be submitted with the team’s registration and must be received by 11:59 p.m., Central time, Sept. 14. Late registrants will not be accepted.

Winners and prize money

Prizes will be awarded to the 20 teams with the highest scores for the Classic Division, and to the top team for the Next Generation Division. The dollar amount of the awards will be determined by the number of entrants. Winners will be announced in the Mensa Wired newsletter, the Mensa Bulletin, and here on the website.

CultureQuest XXXI Deadlines

Sept. 15: Entry fee and complete team roster must be received
Oct. 11: Last Day to add/drop team members
Oct. 18: CultureQuest XXXI!
Nov. 2: Corrected tests and scores sent to Team Captains
Nov. 16: Challenges must be received
Nov. 23: Challenge rulings returned to teams
Nov. 24: Winners announced in Mensa Wired