As we have said time and again on this blog, the key to mastering the MAT is: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. And the key to good practice is to break down Miller Analogies Test practice questions.
Sometimes you will read the analogy and the answer will seem intuitive. Don’t worry that it seems too easy. There is a mix of difficulty levels and your familiarity with certain subjects will ensure ready knowledge of some of the terms. The following techniques will come in handy when an obvious answer doesn’t present itself.
First, try to decide what kind of analogy it is. Pearson’s Official Study guide indicates that there are 4 basic categories of analogies, although they are further broken down into subcategories. Semantic analogies use the definitions of different words. Classification analogies indicate a rank or hierarchy between the ideas represented. Association analogies are the broadest group and relate two different but related subjects. Finally, there are Logical/Mathematical analogies that can include logical relationships (like wordplay) or mathematical representations.
Examining the Pieces
With the thought of the 4 basic categories in mind, take a look at the sets of terms. There are three given and you have to find the match for the fourth. Match the 3 givens into pairs and test each of the categories for the terms. Once you find a relationship that might work, take a look at the list given and see if a term creates that same relationship with the last given. If it doesn’t, put the other two terms together and look for a relationship.
An example given in the official study guide is:
Pint : (a. cup, b. quart, c. liter, d. gallon) :: 1 : 2
At first, it might seem odd because this analogy is combining words with numbers, but if you take a closer look, you’ll see that the words represent parts of a whole. Once you determine that, you can look for a relationship between the ratios. 2 is twice of 1 and a quart is twice a pint.
Another example, taken from a different sample test:
Foot : Boot :: (a. cough, b. bout, c. plough, d. tree) : Bough
At first, it looks like it could be a simple relationship like, ‘ a foot goes in a boot,’ but then you realize that a bough is part a tree, not in it. Pairing the terms together, you then see that there are spelling similarities but differences in pronunciations. Using that deduction, cough has the same spelling but different pronunciation than bough.
Putting it all together
Don’t let these odd examples of Miller Analogies Test practice questions scare you off from the test. You will save this step-by-step process for initial studying. By the time you reach the exam, it will be like second nature. And the few questions that stump you and require this type of breakdown will be few and far between. Additionally, you have the choice to skip them initially and do all the ones that come easily and go back to spend more time on the more difficult questions. Just make sure to answer them all!