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The Definitive Practice Test Guide for the MAT

About the MAT

The Miller Analogies Test, or MAT, is a standardized exam used to assess one’s ability to solve analogies. It is sometimes used as an alternative to the GRE, or the Graduate Record Examination. The MAT was designed and is administered by the testing company Pearson, Inc. The analogies found on the MAT exam assess background knowledge, comprehension of the English language, and how well an individual can recognize relationships between things.

The MAT consists of 120 questions that must be completed within 60 minutes. It is computer administered. There are no sections in this test. Examinees complete the entire test in one sitting with no breaks. Twenty of the questions are unscored, but there is no way to tell which questions those are. Final scores are derived from the 100 scored questions, and range from 200 to 600, with an average score of 400.

The questions themselves each contain one set of words that have a relationship, and another where one of the elements is missing. The examinee is then provided a list of four possible choices and must select the answer that would represent the same type of relationship as the other set of words.

The MAT may be the preferred option for graduate school candidates who excel in spotting the relationship between words, or those who want to avoid math and/or essay questions. However, it isn’t accepted by all graduate schools. Before scheduling your exam, you will want to verify that it is accepted by the school of your choice.

Sections of the MAT

Association Relationships

Association relationships involve word meanings, but go further than that relationship. They might illustrate characteristics, order, or things like cause and effect, and pair words based on these traits.

Classification Relationships

In a classification relationship, the word pairs are somehow related regarding how they can be organized. It may involve inclusion in the same group or category, or the words may show a part-to-whole or whole-to-part relationship.

Content Areas

Questions on the entire MAT exam might contain any of the four types of word relationships (semantic, classification, association, and logical/mathematical). Each is also based on one or more of these subject areas: general life experience, the humanities, language, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences. While you cannot possibly review all the knowledge in each of these areas, you can learn how to apply what you already know.

Logical/Mathematical Relationships

These relationships do not involve semantics, but are, instead, formed by logical and mathematical characteristics. They may involve things like multiples of numbers or sound/letter patterns in words. Understanding the concept of proportion could help you with these questions.

Semantic Relationships

This type of relationship in MAT questions involves the meanings of the words in the analogy and how they relate to each other. The meanings could vary from similar to opposite. In another semantic relationship, words denote a relationship of intensity or size, and in still others, the related words may be two parts of a whole word or phrase.

What to Expect on Test Day

Taking the MAT can be stressful, especially since the exam is so brief. You have a very short amount of time (60 minutes) to answer many questions (120). This aspect of the exam tends to make people nervous. But understanding the question types and knowing what to expect on exam day can ensure you are ready to focus and perform your best on the test. As with any important event, you should plan to arrive early so that you have some extra time to find the correct location or deal with any issues that may arise during the registration process.

What to Bring

You must bring two valid forms of identification with you when taking the MAT, and you must know your Social Security number. One ID must be government-issued and contain both your photograph and signature, such as a driver’s license or passport. The other can be any form of ID, such as a school-issued one, a credit card, or a utility bill. You can also bring a list of the schools that you would like to receive your scores.

What Not to Bring

The MAT is computer administered so there is no need to bring any testing materials, such as pencils or scratch paper. All testing aids and reference materials are prohibited, including books, notes, and calculators. All electronic devices—including cell phones and wearable devices—are also prohibited. Examinees should also refrain from bringing food or beverages, backpacks, purses, or hats. These items will not be allowed in the testing room, although you may be able to store them in a locker if one is available at your testing center.

Best Ways to Study for the MAT

Take Practice Tests for the MAT

The nature of the analogies found on the MAT exam are unlike any other standardized exam. The test is very different from the format of most other standardized tests. It is highly likely that examinees will be dealing with this type of question for the first time ever when preparing for the MAT. For this reason, practice tests are the best way to prepare. Taking practice tests for the MAT allows you to really think about relationships and recognize patterns in relationships. The more you practice, the quicker you will be able to spot these relationships.

Use Alternative Study Methods

Many examinees find it helpful to supplement their study experience with alternative study methods. Flashcards for the MAT are an easy way to prep for the exam in your spare time, no matter where you are. Study guides for the MAT are also great since they can ensure you study all of the content areas that will be represented during the exam.

Simulate the Testing Experience

One of the most difficult elements of performing well on the MAT is mastering your use of time. You have only 60 minutes to complete 120 questions, which leaves you with only 30 seconds, on average, for each question. Because of this, you must be able to spot relationships quickly and know how to pace yourself so that you get through all of the questions. The best way to ensure you are ready for this aspect of the test is by simulating the testing experience. The more you do this, the better you will be able to keep the right pace on your actual test day.

MAT Tips and Tricks

When in Doubt, Go with Your First Instinct

Many who have completed the MAT have reported that second-guessing their answers led to more incorrect answers. When in doubt, it’s good to go back and re-read the question to make sure you understood it properly. However, unless you are certain that your initial answer is wrong, it’s usually better to leave your answer as the first one you thought was correct.

Answer All the Questions

The MAT issues final scores based on the total number of correct responses from the 100 scored questions. There is no penalty for guessing, which means that even a random guess is better than no answer since it could be correct. If you are running low on time, and still have many questions, it’s worth guessing on the remaining ones in your final few minutes.

Keep an Eye on the Clock

Pacing yourself during the MAT is crucial. The test has a lot of questions and a tight time limit. Since there is no additional penalty for incorrect answers, you want to be certain you have enough time to answer all of the questions, even if you are only guessing on some. So, keep an eye on the clock and adjust your responses accordingly.


1. What is considered a good score on the MAT?

Like many other standardized exams, the MAT is not a pass/fail test. You only receive a score based on your performance. However, the graduate school that you would like to attend will have a set minimum score for admission. You should check with your favored schools beforehand to know what their minimum score is so that you know what score to set as your goal.

2. How much does it cost to take the MAT?

The fees for taking the MAT vary by testing location, but they are generally around $75. You should check with your local testing center for more information before scheduling your test date.

3. How long will it take to receive my Official Score Report?

Score reports are mailed to examinees within 10-15 days after your testing date. Score reports are only mailed; they are not available online or via email.

4. Can I retake the MAT if I am unhappy with my score?

Yes, you may take the MAT up to eight times in a 12-month period, although you may be assessed additional registration fees for each attempt. You should contact your local testing center for more information on their retake policy.