Here are some useful strategies you can use to study vocabulary for the new Miller Analogies Test.
Flashcards: General Vocabulary
A good deal of the vocabulary words found on the Miller Analogies Test are at a level found on other graduate exams like the GMAT or GRE. Both of these exams have a ton of premade vocabulary flashcards available. Magoosh has a free flashcard app covering 1000 of the most important GRE words. Whatever source you choose, you are going to want a good deck of general vocabulary flashcards to study.
Flashcards: Specialized Vocabulary
The method here is the same: you are going to be studying flashcards. However, you want a set of flashcards covering specialized vocabulary, like math or science specific terms. You are not going to find these in a typical set of flashcards and, in most cases, will have to make your own. MAT study guides from Barron’s or Kaplan contain specialized vocabulary lists that you can then transfer to flashcards.
Start with low context vocabulary
When sifting through the specialized vocabulary, you might be tempted to make a flashcard for every term from “neutrino” to “Impressionism.” I suggest that you start with low context terms; for example, “kelvin.” It’s low context because you don’t need to know much about it if it comes up on the MAT: it is a temperature measurement with 273.16 as the base. In contrast, I would refer to artists as high context vocabulary.
An MAT question about Picasso might ask you about what he painted, the artistic movement he belonged to, the place or period he painted in, etc. That is a lot of contexts you need to learn for one term. Memorize low context terms first (but do move on to high context eventually!).
Read! Read! Read!
Vocabulary tests send us running to flashcards; these are useful—I recommend them—but reading is everything. Read every day! Reading high level material will expose you to vocabulary in a rich and memorable way, vastly improving your chances of remembering it. Further, you will broaden your knowledge which is obviously useful on the MAT. Read challenging material on science, culture, art, etc. Here are some great resources:
- The New York Times http
- The Wall Street Journal
- The Economist
- The MIT Technology Review
- Art & Letters Daily
The MAT is a test about relationships. As you learn terms, connect them to others in your own mind. Make your own analogies. At first, this can be a clunky process. The first two or three terms that pop into your head might not relate to each other. But you will get better with practice, and this is something you can do literally anywhere. Analogies are puzzles; they might not be something you normally thought of as enjoyable, but if you approach them with the right mindset, the challenge of solving them is fun.