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MAT: How to Prep for Classification Analogies

mat prep classification analogies

Prepping for classification analogies takes a combination of both general and specific vocabulary knowledge. As in other analogy categories, certain types of information come up more than others.

Classification Analogies

If you want an in-depth look at how classification analogies are structured, see our post on MAT Classification Analogies. The basic idea is that the relationship will be built on one of the following:

  • One term is a category/class and the other is a member (canine : dog)
  • Both terms are members of the same category/class (eagle : hawk)
  • One term is a part or building block of the other (atom : matter)

Now there are some general vocabulary terms that can create classification analogies, for example:

  • Emotion : Love
  • Crime : Theft
  • Weather : Hurricane

But if you are reading college level material daily and using a GRE/GMAT flashcard set (such as the one from Magoosh), you should be well prepared for classification analogies built on general vocabulary terms.

However, the MAT seems to primarily use classification analogies to test specific vocabulary.

Specific Vocabulary and Classification

Classification is where the MAT will often test your specific vocabulary for subjects like the physical or biological sciences or geometry. It is also a place to ask certain types of humanities questions: do you know that Napoleon and Wellington are both generals? Do you know the pantheon of Norse gods?

As with most areas of the MAT, it is possible to go too deep or to spend too much time trying to cover everything. Here is a list of areas that appear frequently on classification analogies, yet are easy to memorize through flash cards:

  • Biology — Taxonomic ranks (i.e. life, domain, kingdom, etc.)
  • Number categories (i.e. real, imaginary, rational etc.)
  • Geometric shapes (i.e. polygons, quadrilaterals, etc.)
  • Dry Measures U.S. & Metric
  • Liquid Measures U.S. & Metric
  • Distance Measures
  • Temperature Measures
  • Periodic Table
  • Measurement devices and units for wind, sound, electricity, and seismic energy (i.e. barometer)
  • Make a list of common farm and zoo animals. Learn the name of the species.
  • Common land forms and bodies of water (i.e. isthmus, fjord, peninsula, etc.)
  • Major geologic time divisions (i.e. epoch, era, etc.)

The above represents the bulk of where classification analogies are drawn from. You may get a wildcard, such as a question that requires you to know that pine trees are coniferous. But unless you are going to study for the next year, you cannot prepare for every possibility.

Memorizing the key terms from the above list will ensure a very high success rate with classification analogies.

Happy studying!

About Bertrand

Bertrand is a remote tutor and a MAT blogger for Magoosh. He received a B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University and studied education theory at Rutgers Graduate School of Education. He has been studying and working in education since 2010. Born and raised in New Jersey, he now resides in Philadelphia. When he isn’t helping students study or writing blogs for Magoosh, he spends his time practicing mixed martial arts and reading as much as his schedule permits.

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