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What is the MAT?

The Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is one of several graduate level exams that students can take for the purposes of entering graduate school. Additionally, many people take the MAT to gain entry into high IQ societies like Mensa. To answer “what is the MAT?” Pearson describes it as a high-level mental ability exam that tests a variety of cognitive abilities. Let’s look at some other aspects of the exam–

What is the MAT Format?

The MAT is comprised of 120 questions, often referred to as “items.” 100 of the items will count towards your final score; the other 20 are just experimental questions. Experimental questions do not count towards your final score. You will have a total of 60 minutes to answer as many questions as possible. Each question counts for the same amount of points, and there is no penalty for guessing or wrong answers.

Each question is in the form of an incomplete analogy–

Love : Emotion :: Physics : (a. science b. geology c. calculus d. fear)

To solve the analogy, you must first determine which two of the three terms form a relationship pair. You must then choose an answer that will create a second relationship pair that matches the first:

Love is a type of emotion; physics is a type of science (a).  

In this case, the relationship was based on category: one thing is the category to which to the other belongs.

(Here’s more on solving MAT analogies.)

Questions on the MAT can be drawn from any area of knowledge that can form a major in undergraduate study: English, history, mathematics, etc. A full list can be found on pg. 5 of the Candidate Information Booklet.

Lastly, the difficulty of the MAT increases as you progress through the exam: 1-40 (easy), 41-80 (medium), 81-120 (hard).

MAT Scoring

The MAT is scored using the MAT scaled score which ranges from 200-600. The MAT has a normal distribution, or bell curve, and this means that most test scores cluster around the 50th percentile score: 400. Standard deviation on the MAT is 25 points, and close to 70 percent of all test takers will score between 375-425. It is fairly rare to score outside of this range.

At the conclusion of the MAT, you will receive a score report featuring your percentile rank–comparing you to your peers–and your scaled score.

For more information on MAT topics–like “how to study?”–be sure to look through the blog. We have a ton of great information to help you improve.


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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