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Get Familiar with MAT Playful Analogies

The Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is a standardized test normally used for graduate school admissions. The test is composed entirely of analogies. To do well on the MAT, it helps to understand that its analogies fall into several different categories.

MAT analogies are all about relationships, and familiarizing yourself with some of the general categories of relationships on the MAT can make it easier to identify them in questions.

The MAT officially lists four types of relationships: Semantic, Classification, Association, and Logical/Mathematical. The names for these types are not as simple and descriptive as they could be, so it helps to group the MAT analogies into these five major categories:

  • Description

  • Type

  • Parts

  • Similar/different

  • Playful

Playful analogies for example often involve wordplay, grammar changes, and sounds. Another way to think of them is as puzzles. You can divide this category into three types: wordplay, grammar changes, and “sounds like.”

Be open to looking past the meanings of words so that you can identify playful analogies when they appear.

Wordplay analogies on the MAT

Wordplay analogies usually play with the order of letters in a word, add or subtract letters, or use other such trickery. The question changes a word’s letters in a specific way and then expects you to pick the choice that accomplishes the same change.

Examples of wordplay that you may see on the MAT are anagrams, which are rearrangements of a word’s letters to make a different word, and palindromes, which are words that make a word whether they’re spelled backward or forward. Here’s an example of a wordplay MAT analogy.

  1. WARD: DRAW :: EVIL : _________________

    1. (A)live

    2. (B)veil

    3. (C)good

    4. (D)devil

Notice that the word draw is ward spelled backward. So the analogy is 1:2,3:4. Similarly, the word live is evil spelled backward. The correct answer is Choice (A).

Grammar change analogies on the MAT

Grammar change analogies usually involve a verb that changes tense.

To understand grammar change analogies, it’s important to recall that verb tense changes deal with differences in the time or duration of an action.

For example, the verb make is in the present tense as make and in the past tense as made. Here’s an example of how a grammar change analogy may appear on the MAT.

  1. SEE : SAW :: WRITE : _________________

    1. (A)wrought

    2. (B)right

    3. (C)rite

    4. (D)wrote

This analogy is a 1:2,3:4 because saw is the past tense of see. The correct answer is Choice (D): Wrote is the past tense of write.

“Sounds like” analogies on the MAT

Unlike wordplay and grammar change analogies, “sounds like” analogies involve only how words sound. The right answer to a “sounds like” analogy usually rhymes with or somehow has a sound similar to its matching term. For example:

  1. FRAY : FREEZE :: BRAY : _________________

    1. (A)battle

    2. (B)cold

    3. (C)breeze

    4. (D)brew

This analogy is 1:3,2:4 — fray and bray rhyme, and no compelling relationship exists between fray and freeze. Likewise, freeze and breeze rhyme, so the correct answer is Choice (C).

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