We previously compared the Miller Analogies Test vs GMAT with a focus on the particulars of test structure. This time, I want to talk more about what type of personalities will excel at one exam over the other.
The MAT uses analogies to test both your logical reasoning and your knowledge on a wide variety of topics. It’s a broad exam. If you want a full overview of topics that can appear on the test, check out pg. 5 in the candidate information booklet.
This may be hard to believe, but it is genuinely possible to enjoy the MAT. It is essentially a series of logic puzzles that get harder as you go. For anyone who enjoys brain teasers, logic games, or trivia, this is really an enjoyable way to challenge your skills.
For people who enjoy diverse learning, the MAT is a great excuse to dive into subjects you haven’t gotten to spend much time with. Being interested in information and how disparate subjects connect is extremely useful on the MAT. If you like thinking for thinking’s sake, this is going to be a fun exam for you.
In contrast, if you hate logic puzzles, if you find most subjects boring, if you prefer practical learning, and if you hate operating under tight time constraints, the MAT is going to be a nightmare for you.
The goal of the GMAT is to hone in, with laser focus, on verbal and quant skills associated with business. Much of this is about accuracy: can you discriminate between the perfect answer and the “nearly” perfect answer.
In verbal, this means proficiency in grammatical structures and the ability to discriminate between options that nearly meet the “rules” and those that do so perfectly.
Doing well on quant requires an in-depth knowledge of all the basic math facts and operations from arithmetic up to college level math (excluding calculus). However, you won’t be robotically plugging in numbers. There are multiple ways to solve most quant problems; the GMAT wants to see if you can discern the best one and that takes creativity as well as understanding.
As intense as the GMAT may sound, there are plenty of people who would prefer the GMAT to the MAT. For example, students who like to learn something in-depth will prefer studying for the GMAT. Also people who have a good memory for rules and an excellent ability to negotiate between them, knowing when one rule applies more than another.
Lastly, people who prefer practical learning will prefer the GMAT. It can be hard to see when MAT information will be useful outside of the exam itself. With the GMAT, all the skills you are working on have an obvious connection to your future career.
Of course, it is possible to study for an exam even if you are not “naturally” suited for it. But if given the choice, you might as well pursue one you might actually enjoy.