Which test should I take: the MAT or GRE?

Many graduate programs, especially those involving the social sciences and humanities, accept scores for the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) as an alternative to GRE General Test scores. If the MAT option is available to you, consider taking both exams and then submitting whichever scores best enhance your profile as a candidate for admission.

But if you must choose between the GRE and MAT, which exam you should take depends on a variety of considerations:

  1. The MAT emphasizes vocabulary and subject-matter knowledge far more than the GRE revised General Test. If you're a life-long avid reader with a strong vocabulary and a wide breadth of academic knowledge, you're likely to rank high among MAT examinees, and so the MAT may be the better choice for you.

  2. The GRE includes an Analytical Writing section. If you have difficulty composing polished essays under time pressure, the MAT may be your better option.

  3. Quantitative Reasoning questions account for a significant portion of the GRE, but not the MAT. So if you're weak in math and the graduate programs that interest you look at GRE Quantitative Reasoning scores when making admission decisions, then opt for the MAT.

  4. Don't underestimate the role that endurance plays in timed testing. The timed MAT runs only 60 minutes, while the timed GRE runs at least 3½ hours. If you're not confident that you can "go the distance" during the GRE without fading, then opt for the MAT.

  5. The computer-based versions of both the GRE and the MAT are offered year-round. However, the paper-based version of the MAT is administered only a few times a year, depending on the location. If your admission-application deadlines are looming, contact an MAT Controlled Testing Center near you to determine which version of the MAT (paper-based or computer-based) it offers and how soon you can sit for the exam.

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