How Hard is the Miller Analogies Test

Exactly how hard is the Miller Analogies Test? This is a tough question to answer simply, but I think we can get a pretty good idea if we look at it both objectively and subjectively.
 

Objectively, how hard is the Miller Analogies test?

Unlike other graduate exams, perfect scores on the MAT are not just rare, they are almost unheard of (MAT Percentiles). The exam is scored on a scale of 200-600, but it is designed so that most of the population will score at about 400. Out of 120 questions, most people will get about 49 correct. Getting 79 questions correct would put you in the top 2 percent for IQ, even though you technically only got 66 percent of the questions correct. What would be a “D+” performance in other cases is an exceptional performance on the MAT.

This could easily characterize the MAT as a “hard” test. But the actual experience of taking it is quite different.
 

Subjectively, how hard is the Miller Analogies test?

The MAT takes just 60 minutes to complete. The questions are always formed the same way and do not require you to switch your “thinking style” between sections (there are no sections). The test starts off easy, allowing many students to answer the early questions with almost no strain.

Moreover, even though the test gets progressively harder, it doesn’t necessarily feel that way. As you progress, you will get an instant sensation that you either know the answer or you don’t. For example:

Assiduous : Mawkish :: Sedulous : (a. Maudlin b. Industrious c. Intractable d. Sanguine)

Now, for those who struggle with vocabulary, this analogy might as well be written in another language. But choice “a” will seem completely obvious to the avid readers. Questions within your expertise will feel almost effortless. Those that are outside of your knowledge will simply stump you. You are also able to skip back and forth, as well as guess without penalty, which allows you to spend most of the test rapidly answering the questions that come easily to you. This makes it a lower stress experience compared to many other exams.

Sure, you will end up getting many questions wrong. But you won’t have to spend six minutes on a math calculation or a dense passage before you realize you don’t know the answer. You will be able to skip or guess quite early.

So rather than being difficult by forcing you to perform challenging calculations, engaging in dense reading, or sitting through a four hour exam, the MAT is only “hard” in the sense that high scores are rare. Overall, I think many will find the MAT to be a lower stress test and easier than other exams in several ways. Plus, with high scores being so rare, a little improvement on the Miller Analogies goes a long way.