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Page 1 - Classification 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

The way things are categorized can indicate a relationship between them and the classes or categories to which they belong. Spotting this type of organization can help you with the classification relationship questions on the MAT® test. People or things may be separated into groups based on various characteristics and in different orders. But, if you know the nature of this type of relationship, you’ll be more able to find the correct answer.

Category

Relationships within the Category analogy type are established by constructing word pairs consisting of two terms representing two different levels within the same hierarchy.

Member of a Group

In the Member of a Group type of Category analogy, the upper level of the hierarchy is some type of a group and constitutes the second half of the word pair, with the first half being a member of the group.

Examples

THE WASTE LAND : POEM :: THE CRUCIBLE : (a. novel , b. essay , c. play , d. short story )

Among the three initial parts of this analogy, you can identify a relationship between the first two: THE WASTE LAND is a notable POEM among those written by T. S. Eliot. So, the missing part must specify the category of works written by Arthur Miller, among which THE CRUCIBLE is a notable member. Therefore, the correct answer is “play.”

COLUMBUS : DALLAS :: (a. Utah , b. California , c. Maine , d. Ohio ) : TEXAS

Among the three names given here, you can find a relationship between the second and the last: DALLAS is a member of a group of cities and counties known as TEXAS. Therefore, the missing name must be that of a group of cities and counties having COLUMBUS as one of its members. The correct answer is “Ohio.”

Group That Includes a Member

In the Group That Includes a Member type of Category analogy, the group constituting the upper level of the hierarchy serves as the first half of the word pair, and a given member of the group serves as the second half.

Examples

ALKALI METALS : BASIC METALS :: SODIUM : (a. tin , b. silver , c. radium , d. gold )

Among the three given terms in this analogy, you can identify a relationship between the first and the third: The group of elements labeled as ALKALI METALS has SODIUM as a member. So, the missing term must be a member of the group of elements labeled as BASIC METALS. The answer is therefore “tin.”

(a. Southeast , b. Great Basin , c. Plateau , d. Southwest ) : GREAT PLAINS :: APACHE : SIOUX

Among the last three names seen here, you can find a relationship between GREAT PLAINS and SIOUX in that the given region represents an area long inhabited by a group of Native American tribes which included the SIOUX. So, the missing name must be a region long inhabited by a group of Native American tribes which included the APACHE. Hence, the answer is “Southwest.”

Subordination

Instead of being formed by a group and an individual group member, the Subordination type of Category analogy consists of two groups. The first term or group is subordinate to the second, meaning that it is placed in a lower class, rank, or position with respect to its counterpart.

Examples

DOMESTICA : FELIS :: (a. Teuthida , b. sapiens , c. Architeuthis , d. dux ) : HOMO

Among the three terms given in this analogy, you can find a relationship between the first two: The species DOMESTICA is a subordinate group under the genus FELIS. Therefore, the missing term must identify a species that is a subordinate group under the genus HOMO. So, the answer is “sapiens.”

PROTEINS : (a. carbohydrates , b. vitamins , c. fats , d. water ) :: MACRONUTRIENTS : MICRONUTRIENTS

Among the given three terms here, you can identify a relationship between PROTEINS and MACRONUTRIENTS, given that the first term identifies a group that is subordinate to the one represented by the second term. So, the missing word must be the name of a group that is subordinate to the group known as MICRONUTRIENTS. The correct answer is therefore “vitamins.”

Superordination

The Superordination type of Category analogy again consists of two groups, but is the reverse of the Subordination type. In this case, the first term or group is the superordinate class or category of the second, which is to say, it acts as an umbrella term under which the other group is found. For example, vessel is a superordinate concept that includes submarines. Other groups found under this same umbrella might include ferries, barges, tankers, and yachts.

Examples

BIOLOGY : EARTH SCIENCE :: (a. oceanography , b. cosmology , c. botany , d. chemistry ) : GEOLOGY

Among the three terms given in this analogy, you can find a relationship between the second and the last: The scientific study labeled EARTH SCIENCE constitutes an umbrella group that includes GEOLOGY. So, the missing term must be an area of study included under BIOLOGY. The answer is therefore “botany.”

(a. Greek , b. Roman , c. Chinese , d. Mayan ) : OLYMPIANS :: JAPANESE : KAMI

Among the last three names given here, you can identify a relationship between the final two: Religious members of the JAPANESE civilization worshiped a group of holy spirits known as KAMI. So, the missing name must identify a civilization whose religious members worshiped the group of gods known as OLYMPIANS. The answer is “Greek.”

Membership

Relationships within the Membership analogy type are established by constructing word pairs in which both terms are a part of the same thing or members of the same group.

Members of Same Group

With the Members of Same Group type of Member analogy, both terms in the word pair are recognized as belonging to the same larger class or category, whether a group, concept, system, etc. Of course, this means the group to which they belong will have to be inferred by reasoning, since it will not be stated explicitly within the analogy itself, as is done in Subordination and Superordination types of analogies.

Examples

IGNEOUS : (a. sediment , b. stalactite , c. graupel , d. stratus ) :: METAMORPHIC : CIRRUS

Among the three given terms in this analogy, you can find a relationship between IGNEOUS and METAMORPHIC in that each is a different type of rock. Since CIRRUS is a type of cloud, the missing term must also be a type of cloud. The answer is therefore “stratus.”

MONET : RENOIR :: (a. Warhol , b. Michelangelo , c. O’Keeffe , d. Miró ) : DA VINCI

Among the three names given in this analogy, you can identify a relationship between the first two: MONET and RENOIR were contemporary artists who painted in a style known as Impressionism. So, the missing name must belong to a Renaissance artist who was a contemporary of Leonardo DA VINCI. The answer is “Michelangelo.”

Coordination

With the Coordination type of Member analogy, both terms in the word pair are a part of the same individual thing or entity. As such, chances are the two will work together in some capacity or fill complementary roles in a coordinated effort, facilitating the proper function of the entity of which they are a part. An example might be frame and engine, which are coordination members of an automobile (among other parts).

Examples

(a. resistor , b. synapse , c. ribosome , d. cartilage ) : CORNEA :: NUCLEOLUS : RETINA

Among the final three terms given here, you can identify a relationship between CORNEA and RETINA in that both are component parts of the eye. Given that NUCLEOLUS is the name of a structure found within a cell, the missing term must also be a component of cells. The answer is therefore “ribosome.”

SPARK PLUG : OIL FILTER :: AORTA : (a. sacral plexus , b. axon , c. capillaries , d. ganglion )

Among the initial three terms in this analogy, you can find a relationship between the first two: A SPARK PLUG and OIL FILTER are both component parts of a car engine. Given that an AORTA is a component part of the circulatory system, the missing term must also be a part of the circulatory system. So, the answer is “capillaries.”

Part and Whole

Relationships within the Part and Whole type of analogy are established by constructing word pairs in which one term is a component part of a single object or entity, which is what distinguishes it from the Member of a Group type of Category analogy. It therefore follows that the other half of each word pair identifies the object or entity constituting the whole.

Whole to Part

With the Whole to Part type of Part and Whole analogy, the first half of the word pair constitutes the object or entity that the other half helps form. Note that unlike Membership analogies, the Part and Whole analogy does not give two parts of the same thing. Rather, it identifies only one part, and then explicitly states what this part belongs to, eliminating any need to infer this information by reasoning (as is necessary with Membership analogies).

Examples

EAR : SKELETON :: COCHLEA : (a. clavicle , b. phylum , c. cerebrum , d. venule )

Among the initial three terms in this analogy, you can find a relationship between the first and the third: The EAR is an organ of which the COCHLEA is a part. So, the missing term must be a part of the system known as the SKELETON. The answer is therefore “clavicle.”

(a. arch , b. office , c. bridge , d. cathedral ) : STEEPLE :: HELICOPTER : ROTORS

Among the final three words given here, you can identify a relationship between the last two: A HELICOPTER is a vehicle that includes at least two ROTORS. So, the missing word must be something that includes a STEEPLE. The answer is therefore “cathedral.”

Part to Whole

With the Part to Whole type of Part and Whole analogy, the first half of the word pair identifies a part that helps to form the second half. Note that what distinguishes this type of analogy from the Member of a Group type of Category analogy is that the first half of the word pair helps to form an individual entity, and not to form some type of group.

Examples

CEREBRUM : (a. foot , b. brain , c. heart , d. skull ) :: FOLLICLE : HAIR

Among the given three terms in this analogy, you can find a relationship between the last two: A FOLLICLE is a sheath of tissue that surrounds the root of, and is therefore part of, a HAIR. So, the missing term must be something that a CEREBRUM is part of. The answer is “brain.”

DRAM : INCH :: (a. kilogram , b. pound , c. ounce , d. furlong ) : FOOT

Among the three terms given here, you can identify a relationship between the second and the last: An INCH is a part (one-twelfth) of a basic unit of measure known as a FOOT. So, the missing word must be a part of a basic unit of measure consisting of more than one DRAM. The answer is, therefore “ounce,” which consists of 8 drams if a fluid ounce, or 16 drams if an avoirdupois ounce.

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