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How to Study for the MAT

The Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is a complex exam that looks simple but tells prospective schools a lot about your educational background, intelligence and problem solving skills.  In order to present your best scores, it’s important that you know how to study for the MAT.


The time you have until you take the exam can make a big difference in your preparation and performance.  Trying to cram enough information into your head in just a week is just barely possible and there are some strategies for doing this.  A month is a much less stressful timetable and even longer than that can be beneficial.  I would caution against scheduling too much time to prepare, though; even the most well-intentioned test-taker will slack off if the deadline is too far away.  The trick is to know your application deadline and schedule yourself accordingly.

Study Aids

The MAT is vocabulary-rich and knowing graduate-level words with their meanings and contexts is a must.  There are quite a few flashcards for learning GRE vocabulary through Magoosh (and other exams if you want to round out your knowledge) and other places to find vocabulary lists and flashcards.  Use them and try to incorporate these words into your daily vocabulary when possible to make sure you understand the nuances in meaning.


Practice tests abound online and are very handy for preparing you for the exam.  They give you the format so you understand the types of questions you will be answering and examples of the relationships you are working to identify between seemingly disparate ideas.  They also give you the opportunity to work on timing for the exam.  With 120 questions in 60 minutes, you have to budget your time wisely so that you aren’t caught with 15 questions left in the last 2 minutes.


Reading is a great study aid.  Reading creates context for subjects and the related vocabulary.  If you are weak in a particular area that will be covered by the MAT, find a book that addresses that area to familiarize yourself with the concepts and learn the verbiage associated with it.  If you’re not sure, visit your university or public library and ask the librarians–they can point you in the right direction.  You can also read articles from well-respected publications like the New York Times, NPR or the BBC and broaden your general knowledge of current events at the same time.

Analogies and Relationships

Knowing the types of relationships that will be shown in the analogies will make it easier to identify the missing term in the MAT questions.  Pearson Education identifies the main categories of analogies as: semantic, classification, association, logical/mathematical.  These are broken down still further; think about the categories and how the words you are looking at demonstrate that type of relationship.  You can even make your own relationships between ideas in your daily life to practice deciphering the analogy-solving puzzle by making your own.

Patience and Fortitude

Analogies demonstrate a complex mode of thinking and if you are not familiar with determining analogy relationships, be patient with yourself.  Spend time with the practice tests, take some to learn to budget your time but take at least one practice exam to slowly go through identifying the relationships and how the vocabulary indicates them.  Have the fortitude in learning how to study for the MAT and don’t give up, even if your first practice test score is dismal.  Determination and studying will catch you up in no time!

About Lisa

I am a professional Book Geek, a.k.a. librarian, and love to both learn and educate. Serving students of all ages and all stages--I live for the “Ah Ha!” moment. I am a reference librarian at the Alamogordo Public Library and am ready to answer questions at a moment’s notice; never be afraid to ask! Remember: when all else fails, go to the library!

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