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Test-taking Tips for the Miller Analogies Test (MAT)

Here you'll find common-sense test-taking tips for anyone wishing to perform their best on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). While these tips are similar to those in nearly any MAT prep book, they're well worth reiterating here.

Pace yourself properly.

The MAT test structure allows you 60 minutes to respond to a total of 120 questions. That's only 30 seconds per question, on average — a very quick pace. It's remarkably easy to dwell too long on questions and find yourself behind this pace. So whenever you finish answering 10 questions, check the clock. About five minutes should elapse from one time-check to the next.

Create a sentence that captures the key relationship.

At the heart of each MAT analogy is the type of relationship between the two capitalized terms given on one side of the analogy. Mentally compose a sentence that includes those two terms. Ideally, the sentence should reveal the essence of the relationship between them. It should not be so specific that none of the answer choices fit, or so general that two or more fit. Here are two examples of the types of sentences that might zero in on the correct choice:

  • One possible function of a [first word] is to [second word].
  • [First word] is a condition that is necessary in order for [second word] to occur.

Use process of elimination to improve your odds.

Eliminate any answer option that bears no relationship whatsoever to the capitalized terms. In many cases, at least one answer choice fits this description.

Be careful not to reverse terms.

You can read the general form (A : B :: C : D) in either of the following two ways:

A is to B as C is to D. (CORRECT)
B is to A as D is to C. (CORRECT)

Be careful not to reverse the order of the terms on only one side of the analogy:

A is to B as D is to C. (WRONG)
B is to A as C is to D. (WRONG)

Answer each and every question.

MAT scaled scores are based only on the number of correct responses. No penalties are assessed for incorrect answers. So even a random guess is better than no response at all.

Make reasoned guesses.

You can often guess the meaning of unfamiliar words. Any of the following might provide a clue about what a word means:

  • Another word that resembles the word in any way
  • The word's root or prefix
  • The meaning of another term given in the question (in capital letters)

When in doubt, go with your first instinct.

Second-guessing oneself is the leading cause of incorrect responses on standardized tests, and the MAT is no exception.