The MAT is not computer adaptive. Computer adaptive exams respond to your correct vs incorrect answers by increasing or decreasing the difficulty of the questions that follow. While graduate exams like the GRE and the GMAT are designed this way, the MAT is not. Instead, the MAT assigns different levels of difficulty depending on the question number.
How Difficulty Works on the MAT
There are three levels of difficulty on the MAT: easy, medium, and hard. While the MAT does not technically have sections, the difficulty increases after each group of forty questions. There are 120 questions total on the MAT: #1-40 are easy, #41-80 are medium, and #81-120 are hard. The difficulty level is not effected by your correct or incorrect answer choices, and the difficulty level always corresponds to the same question numbers.
Adapting to the MAT
Since the difficulty level is static (not adaptive), this makes pacing on the MAT rather straightforward compared to other exams. You should spend very little of your time on questions #1-40; 25 seconds, or less, per question is ideal. For questions #41-80, you should aim for 30 seconds or less. Questions #81-120 will likely take between 35-40 seconds each.
Now, the MAT does allow you to skip questions, and I would suggest using this to your advantage. If you know your strengths and weaknesses well, you can make quick decisions about whether to work on a question immediately or skip it to save for later. This will allow you to save the most time possible.
A very important note, once you complete question #120, you will be asked if you want to “see all questions” or just “skipped questions.” Be sure to choose “skipped.” If you choose to see all questions, you will be sent back to question #1 and you will have to manually click through all of them one by one — a mistake that can eat away at your time.
It’s always possible that Pearson will, at some point in the future, decide to make the MAT computer adaptive, but for now this isn’t the case.