Non-native English speakers taking the MAT must take extra care in their study prep. The exam is, first and foremost, a primarily verbal exam written in English. Further, while it does feature some math and science, most of the exam concerns subject matter taught in western, English speaking schools (e.g. U.S. and the UK). Here’s what non-native speakers can do to improve their odds on the MAT.
Increase your study time
Typically, I advise students to aim for at least 1-2 months of study. For non-native English speakers, 3-4 months is likely a better option. It will take this amount of time to build your verbal fluency while also expanding your knowledge of the western specific content areas. Not to mention, you still have to do all the normal studying that other students have to.
Read, Read, Read!
It is absolutely necessary that you read graduate-level English articles as much as possible. You need to be reading every day to build your fluency and content knowledge. At a minimum, you should be reading one high quality article everyday. Ideally, you should aim to read for an hour each day (but at least one article per day). Take a look at this article on how to practice MAT analogies in your daily life for some acceptable resources for daily reading.
You can ignore topics such as current politics or news. Instead, focus on subjects that may actually appear on the MAT: culture, art, history, philosophy, etc. While these articles will certainly be challenging, working through them each day will dramatically improve your abilities.
Magoosh offers a free flashcard app for GRE vocabulary. The vocabulary you see on the GRE is very similar to that seen on the MAT; practicing with the GRE flashcards is a great way to increase your English knowledge in preparation for the MAT.
MAT Study Plan
Lastly, you need to combine the above recommendations with a well thought out study approach. I suggest reading the following blog and applying it to your studies:
Lastly, be patient. Increasing fluency is a slow process; it will likely take the majority of your preparation time to reach the level of verbal ability you need. It might take two months of daily reading before you really feel like you’re progressing. The best thing to do is stay positive.