MAT: How to Prep for Semantic Analogies

MAT prep semantic analogies

Semantic analogies deal with the dictionary definition of words. To prep for semantic analogies is the most straightforward of all the analogy types. Here are some tips that will make sure you’re prepared for the most common type of analogy on the MAT.


The vocabulary that falls under the semantic category is the same variety of words we generally think of as vocabulary. These are terms like “temerity” rather than subject specific terms like “photon.” Flashcards are the standard for learning this type of vocab. I highly recommend using any pre-made flashcard set suitable for the GRE or the GMAT. These have roughly the same vocabulary as the MAT.

Magoosh has a free flashcard app for the GRE/GMAT. The flashcards have a built-in monitoring system that differentiates between words you have mastered and those you still need to work on. Whichever product you choose, flashcards should feature prominently in your studies.

Daily Reading

To prepare for the MAT, you have to read material that is at a college level. This should definitely be a daily activity. I recommend articles from the following sources:

  1. The New York Times
  2. The Wall Street Journal
  3. The Economist
  4. The MIT Technology Review
  5. Art & Letters Daily
  6. The Atlantic
  7. Aeon

You may feel as though flashcards are enough, but the vocabulary you encounter in context is way more likely to be remembered. Not to mention, you will encounter a great many more words that you can convert to flashcards yourself using a site like or index cards. There is also the added benefit of increasing your knowledge for the other areas of the MAT.

Practice Questions

Finally, and most obviously, you should practice as many semantic analogies as you can. These make up 28-31 percent of all the analogies on the MAT. I would like for all students to complete a total volume of around 600-800+ analogies before test day. This level of volume is what most students will find necessary for attaining serious improvement.

Based on this number, you should try to complete around 300 semantic analogies. A good place to start is the free Magoosh MAT flashcard app. Following that, there are several useful resources for practice questions. See this post:

MAT Help (see “self-teaching”)

Happy studying!