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Types of analogies on the MAT

There are several types of analogies on the MAT. When the answer to an analogy is not immediately apparent to you, considering the different types of analogies possible can help you figure out the relationship. There are four broad analogy types on the MAT: Semantic, Classification, Association, Logical/Mathematical. You can see how many of each will be on the exam in the MAT vs. GRE blog.

Each type has several sub-types as well. Anyone interested in taking the MAT should definitely read through the official study guide to get an in depth review. For now, let’s take a look at the broad categories.

MAT Analogy Type 1: Semantic

Semantic analogies relate to each other through the definition of terms. These analogies might be seen as tests of vocabulary: answering correctly depends on your ability to recognize definitions, synonyms, antonyms, etc.

Furious : Sad :: Angry : (a. Depressed b. Joyous c. Ill d. Greedy).

In this example, the answer is probably obvious: “Furious” is to “Angry” as “Sad” is to “Depressed” (choice “a”). These can be more or less difficult depending on how common or obscure the words being used are.

MAT Analogy Type 2: Classification

Classification analogies use terms that relate to each other through hierarchy: one term exists within another, one term is part of another, or both terms are in the same group.

For example, Elephant : Pachyderm; an elephant belongs to–or within–the order of Pachyderm (although it now belongs to Proboscidea—the MAT enjoys testing obsolete terms).

MAT Analogy Type 3: Association

This is the largest group on the MAT and has by far the most subcategories. Overall, “association” deals with the relationship between two distinct ideas or concepts. This type of analogy can range from rather easy associations to hard ones.

Cartoon : Drawing :: Video Game : CGI

Cartoons are drawn animation, and video games are CGI animation. This association is not too hard to recognize. But it is very easy to make more difficult associations, even while using similar terms:

3: Cartoon :: Video Game : (a. Cel b. No. 2 c. 8 d. 2).

In this case, the correct answer is “d.” Cartoon images have 2 dimensions, just as video game images have 3 dimensions.

MAT Analogy Type 4: Logical/Mathematical

There are just a handful of these on the MAT. Analogies in this last category will be related logically or through math concepts such as equations or operations (multiplying, dividing, etc.). Quite often, mathematical analogies will be straight forward if not obvious to those familiar with math concepts:

½ : ¾ :: 0.5 : 0.75.

In this case, ½ is equivalent to 0.5, just as ¾ is equivalent to 0.75. Again, this is pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, many students taking the MAT are verbal focused, and so math can be a real sticking point. It is definitely an area worth brushing up on in preparation for the exam.

Logical analogies require you to see a connection that generally falls outside the others described here:

Emit : God :: Time : (a. ex nihilo b. miracles c. dog d. scripture).

What you should notice is that “Emit” is “time” spelled backwards; similarly, “dog” is “God” spelled backwards. Although somewhat silly, these can catch students off guard. They are especially troublesome towards the end of the exam when students are looking for complicated, less obvious, relationships.


This should do as a broad overview. It is possible to go much deeper into the subcategories than this, and I highly recommend reading the official guide multiple times to get a feel for these relationships.

About Bertrand

Bertrand is a remote tutor and a MAT blogger for Magoosh. He received a B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University and studied education theory at Rutgers Graduate School of Education. He has been studying and working in education since 2010. Born and raised in New Jersey, he now resides in Philadelphia. When he isn’t helping students study or writing blogs for Magoosh, he spends his time practicing mixed martial arts and reading as much as his schedule permits.

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