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MAT Strategies: Reordering The Analogy

MAT strategies

I’ve gone over the primary strategy for solving MAT analogies in another post, but sometimes you need other MAT strategies just to find the first relationship. Reordering the analogy is a great way to do this.

Forwards and Backwards

When solving an analogy, you will normally spot a relationship, form a bridge, and then create a matching relationship with two other terms. If this is unfamiliar, see the above link.

Let’s look at a completed analogy:

Tree : Pine :: Ruminant : Cow

Here are my bridges:

Pine is a type of Tree

Cow is a type of Ruminant

Now what happens if I reorder the analogy? Nothing. Nothing happens. Due to the structure of analogies, as long as I respect their inherent structure, I can reorder them.

Tree : Ruminant :: Pine : Cow

Pine : Cow :: Tree : Ruminant

As long as I remember that analogy relationships are either A is to B as C is to D or A is to C as B is to D, I can reorder them along these lines. If this is unfamiliar, see the Official MAT guide.  Furthermore, I can use the same bridge, no matter how it written. For any of the above, I can still write:

Pine is a type of Tree

Cow is a type of Ruminant

This is important because sometimes reordering the analogy will make something jump out at you.

When to Reorder

Sometimes you just can’t seem to spot a relationship between your three given terms. This is a situation where reordering might help.

Kyoto : (a. samurai b. nameless c. nippon d. Japan) :: Tokyo : Salesman

If the answer is not popping out at you, try reordering the analogy. How about:

Kyoto : Salesman :: Tokyo : (a. samurai b. nameless c. nippon d. Japan)

Maybe that doesn’t help. Let’s try again:

Kyoto : Tokyo :: Salesman : (a. samurai b. nameless c. nippon d. Japan)

It should be a little easier to notice now that “Kyoto” and “Tokyo” are next to each other that they are anagrams. You can spell “Kyoto” using the letters in “Tokyo.” Our bridge is:

Kyoto is an anagram of Tokyo

Therefore, our second bridge should be–

Salesman is an anagram of ________

The only possible choice is B (nameless).

It might not seem like much, but reordering the analogy is surprisingly effective at getting you to look at the analogy in a new way.



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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