Page 1 - Association Relationships Study Guide for the MAT

First, an Introduction to the Miller Analogies Test® (MAT®)

There is a brief review of the analogy concept and a broader explanation of how analogies are approached in the MAT® test at the beginning of our MAT® study guide on Semantic Relationships. Here’s a link to that information.

General Information About This Type of Question

People, things, ideas, and words in general can be associated in a number of ways. If you are familiar with this type of relationship, you’ll be able to spot it in analogies on the MAT® test and choose the correct answer. An association relationship may involve attributes of the terms in the analogy, the order of two terms in time or procedure, or even a cause and effect situation. Use this study guide to help you discern an association relationship when you take the test.

Object and Characteristic

The Object and Characteristic type of Association analogy is defined by a relationship in which one half of any corresponding word pair will give an attribute, component, description, source, location, or lacking quality of the other half.

Characteristic

In a Characteristic type of Object and Characteristic analogy, one half of a word pair will either identify an attribute or component of the other half, or will instead give an extremely brief description of it.

Examples

BOOR : CRUDE :: CURMUDGEON : (a. conniving , b. dumb , c. crabby , d. miserly )

Among the three terms given in this analogy, you can identify an attribute type of Characteristic relationship between the first two: A BOOR is someone who evidences CRUDE behavior. So, the missing term must be a type of behavior evidenced by a CURMUDGEON. The answer is therefore “crabby.”

TALL TALE : FAIRY TALE :: (a. tragic , b. far-fetched , c. epic , d. factual ) : MAGICAL

Among the three terms given here, you can identify a description type of Characteristic relationship between the second and the last: A FAIRY TALE is generally described as a MAGICAL story. So, the missing term must convey how a TALL TALE is generally described. The answer is “far-fetched.”

Absent Characteristic

In an Absent Characteristic type of Object and Characteristic analogy, one half of a word pair identifies an attribute that the other half is lacking.

Examples

STRENGTH : (a. maverick , b. narcissist , c. tyro , d. weakling ) :: COURAGE : COWARD

Among the three given terms, you can identify an Absent Characteristic type of Object and Characteristic relationship between the last two: A person who is a COWARD lacks COURAGE. So, the missing term must identify a type of person who is lacking in STRENGTH. The answer is therefore “weakling.”

(a. desert , b. ocean , c. foothills , d. rainforest ) : OUTER SPACE :: WATER : AIR

Among the last three terms seen here, you can identify an Absent Characteristic type of Object and Characteristic relationship between OUTER SPACE and AIR, given that the first is void of the second. So, the missing term must identify a place that is lacking in WATER. The correct answer is therefore “desert.”

Source of Other Term

In a Source of Other Term type of Object and Characteristic analogy, one half of a word pair either identifies the source of the other, or identifies the material out of which the other is made.

Examples

CLOTHING : THREAD :: TISSUE : (a. sodium , b. cells , c. silicon , d. bone )

Among the given terms in this analogy, you can identify a Source of Other Term type of Object and Characteristic relationship between the first two: CLOTHING is made out of THREAD. The missing term must, therefore, be what body TISSUE is made of. So, the answer is “cells.”

SAND : CLOUD :: (a. dust , b. radium , c. humus , d. glass ) : RAIN

Among the three words given here, you can identify a Source of Other Term type of Object and Characteristic relationship between the second and the last: The word CLOUD identifies the source of RAIN. So, the missing word must be something that comes from SAND. The answer is therefore “glass.”

Location of Other Term

In a Location of Other Term type of “Object and Characteristic* analogy, one half of a word pair gives the location or setting of the other half.

Examples

CHINA : (a. yen , b. dirham , c. yuan , d. koruna ) :: UNITED KINGDOM : POUND

Among the three given terms in this analogy, you can identify a Location of Other Term type of Object and Characteristic relationship between the last two: The UNITED KINGDOM is the location where the POUND sterling is the official currency. So, the missing term must be the official currency of CHINA. The correct answer is “yuan.”

(a. toe nail , b. hair shaft , c. liver , d. scalp ) : SKIN :: SCHIZOTRICHIA : ACNE

Among the given words here, you can identify a Location of Other Term type of Object and Characteristic relationship between the terms SKIN and ACNE, since the first states where the second is located. So, the missing word must state where SCHIZOTRICHIA (splitting of a hair) is located, which is at the end of a “hair shaft.”

Order

In an Order type of Association analogy, the two halves of a word pair have a sequential, reciprocal, byproduct, or transformation relationship with each other—though without one half being the cause of the other.

Sequence

In a Sequence type of Order analogy, the two halves of a word pair either have a time relationship or have some other type of sequential relationship. But again, one term does not cause the other. Also, the two terms do not have to be in the precise (i.e., successive) order. For example, the two could represent the beginning and ending steps, phases, levels, or sections within the same sequence.

Examples

SUMMER : AUTUMN :: DAY : (a. night , b. winter , c. light , d. dawn )

Among the given terms in this analogy, you can identify a Sequence type of Order relationship between the first two: AUTUMN follows SUMMER. So, the missing term must be what follows the DAY. The answer is, therefore “night.”

EXPOSITION : PROLOGUE :: (a. preamble , b. body , c. dénouement , d. paragraph ) : EPILOGUE

Among the three given terms here, you can identify a Sequence type of Order relationship between the second and the last: The PROLOGUE and EPILOGUE are the beginning and ending parts of a play or literary work. Since the EXPOSITION is the beginning part of the Freytag pyramid, the missing term must be the ending part of the pyramid. The answer is, therefore “dénouement.”

3 : 6 :: 5 : (a. 9 , b. 10 , c. 15 , d. 21 )

Among the first three terms in this analogy, you can identify a Sequence type of Order relationship between the first two: The numbers 3 and 6 are consecutive multiples of three. So, the missing term must be the next multiple of five. The answer is, therefore “10.”

Reciprocal

In a Reciprocal type of Order analogy, the two halves of a word pair have a reciprocal relationship so that one half cannot happen or exist without the coexistence of the other half.

Examples

LEADER : (a. fanatic , b. brother , c. doyen , d. follower ) :: UNCLE : NEPHEW

Among the given terms in this analogy, you can identify a Reciprocal type of Order relationship between the last two: One cannot be a NEPHEW without also having an UNCLE, and vice-versa. So, the missing term must be what one must have to be a LEADER. The answer is therefore “follower.”

(a. vacuum , b. sound , c. stream , d. water ) : WORK :: VIBRATION : EFFORT

Among the last three terms presented here, you can identify a Reciprocal type of Order relationship between WORK and EFFORT. This is because you cannot have WORK activity without EFFORT being made. Likewise, if EFFORT is being made, then WORK activity is taking place. So, the missing term must be something that has a reciprocal relationship with VIBRATION. Given that all vibrations create “sound” (though not necessarily audible), this is the correct answer.

Different Forms of Same Word

In a Different Forms of Same Word type of Order analogy, one half of a word pair is a grammatical transformation of the other half. For instance, one term might be written in the past tense with the other written in the present, or the first term might be the singular form of a word with the second being the plural form, etc.

Examples

TEACH : TAUGHT :: FEEL : (a. felt , b. feels , c. teaches , d. feeling )

Among the initial three terms seen here, you can identify a Different Forms of Same Word type of Order relationship between the first two: TEACH and TAUGHT are the present and past tenses of the verb “to teach.” Since the word FEEL is the present tense of the verb “to feel,” the missing word must be the past tense of this same verb. The answer is therefore “felt.”

STRATUM : THIEF :: (a. stratagem , b. strath , c. strata , d. stratus ) : THIEVES

Among the given terms in this analogy, you can identify a Different Forms of Same Word type of Order relationship between the second and the last: The singular noun THIEF is transformed into its plural form, which is THIEVES. So, the missing word must be the plural form of the singular noun STRATUM. The answer is, therefore “strata.”

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