What is the best way to prepare for the MAT?

related pages Related: MAT and GRE Vocabulary Prep (new browser window)

According to the official MAT website, the Miller Analogies Test is designed to measure the sort of analytical abilities and subject-matter knowledge that one acquires over a lifetime, and so it makes little sense to "cram" for the test.

To some extent, this is true. Nevertheless, there are a number of positive measures you can take, time permitting, between now and your testing date to ensure that you perform as well as you can reasonably expect on the MAT:

  1. Find a few good MAT books. Work through at least two comprehensive MAT prep books. Look for features recommended in tips 2, 3 and 4 (below). You can easily compare book features at any major online bookstore. Keep in mind that some of these books may be available at your college or local library as well.

  2. Take full-length practice tests. Take as many full-length practice tests as you reasonably have time for. Most MAT prep books include at least 4 or 5 such tests. In doing so, be sure to simulate timed exam conditions as closely as possible.

  3. Take a "dress rehearsal" computerized MAT. If you plan to take the computer-based version of the MAT, you should become comfortable and familiar with the testing interface before you sit for the actual exam. One way to accomplish this is through the official MAT website, where for a fee you can download two computer-based MAT exams for practice. You can also look for MAT prep books that include CD-ROMs with simulated computer-based testing.

  4. Review your academic knowledge. To a great extent, the MAT is a test of vocabulary and subject-matter knowledge. Even a few weeks can be enough time to fill in significant gaps in your knowledge of the four academic areas covered on the MAT. A good comprehensive MAT prep book will include extensive lists of key terms (people, places, things, concepts) from these four areas. Though these lists are unlikely to cover each and every term you'll encounter on exam day, it's a good bet that they will cover many such terms.

  5. Bolster your general vocabulary. To gauge how prepared you are for MAT general vocabulary, attempt this 5-part multiple-choice vocabulary quiz (new browser window). If your performance suggests that your general vocabulary could stand improvement, supplement your MAT study with suitable vocabulary-building books and/or software. One widely recommended choice is my book Words for Smart Test Takers, published by Peterson's. (I receive no royalties from sales of this book.)

  6. Begin your MAT prep early. Pace your study and practice testing over a period of several weeks, rather than put yourself through a cram session a few days before the test. But beware burnout. If you start too early, you may very well lose interest and motivation. Additional study and practice beyond a certain point can amount to wasted time, and may even be counter-productive. 4-5 weeks should be ample time to become comfortable with the MAT testing format and the exam's time constraints, and to round out your subject-matter knowledge and your general vocabulary.

Widely recommended for MAT prep:

MAT book    Miller Analogies Test (MAT) with TestWare, 6th Ed.
Published by REA

This book/CD package provides testing information and tips, substantive reviews of all major content areas covered on the exam, and 8 practice tests (on CD).