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Step One to Tackling an MAT Analogy: Identify Its Structure

Even if you’re already good with the analogies on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) practice tests, it’s best to have an organized plan for tackling them. Working on the MAT analogies methodically can help you avoid multitasking, which can make it harder to think clearly during the pressure of the real test. It also gives you a process to fall back on if a certain question confuses you.

The first step in solving an MAT analogy is determining what its structural type is: 1:2,3:4 or 1:3,2:4.

In a 1:2,3:4 analogy, the first and second terms have a relationship, and the third and fourth terms have the same relationship.

In a 1:3,2:4 analogy, the first and third terms have a relationship, and the second and fourth terms have the same relationship.

Here’s an example of a 1:2,3:4 analogy:

  1. MITTEN : HAND :: _________________ : HEAD

    1. (A)toupee

    2. (B)hair

    3. (C)hat

    4. (D)eyeglasses

The first term, mitten, has a clear and compelling relationship with the second term, hand. A mitten is worn to keep your hand warm. The correct answer is Choice (C) because the same relationship is created between hat and head (a hat is worn to keep your head warm).

Note that 1:2,3:4 analogies can also be thought of as 2:1,4:3 analogies. The previous example works just as well if you say “A hand is warmed by a mitten like a head is warmed by a hat.” In some cases, it’s easier to make a sentence in that order. For example, check out the following question:

  1. _________________: SKY :: PINK : HOT

    1. (A)plane

    2. (B)cloud

    3. (C)air

    4. (D)blue

The second term, sky, goes with the first term, blue (Choice D), and the fourth term, hot, goes with the third term, pink. Sky blue is a color, like hot pink is a color. So the analogy is 1:2,3:4 — it just may be more clear to begin with the second term and think of it as 2:1,4:3.

Here’s an example of a 1:3,2:4 analogy.

  1. TIBIA : RADIUS :: LEG : _________________

    1. (A)hand

    2. (B)pi

    3. (C)arm

    4. (D)circle

In this example, the first and third terms have a clear and compelling relationship: The tibia is a bone found in your leg. The right answer is Choice (C) because the radius is a bone found in your arm.

So Step 1 in solving an MAT analogy is just to determine whether the analogy is 1:2,3:4 or 1:3,2:4. The next step is to build a sentence using the analogy to help you reflect on the analogy and the relationships being examined.

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