Periodic Table Terms to Study for the Miller Analogies Test (MAT)

By Vince Kotchian, Edwin Kotchian

Luckily, you don’t need to be a scientist to do well with MAT science analogies. To do well on the chemistry part of MAT, you just need to know the basics of chemistry and the periodic table, a chart that organizes all the known elements according to their properties. Instead of memorizing the whole table, memorize just the following terms.

  • Actinide: Fifteen metallic elements with the atomic numbers 89–103

  • Alkali metal: Highly reactive elements; shiny, soft, and silvery

  • Alkaline earth metal: Moderately reactive natural elements; shiny and silvery white

  • Atomic mass: Total mass of protons, neutrons, and electrons in an atom

  • Atomic number: Number of protons in the nucleus of an atom

  • Chemical symbol: One- or two-letter code for a chemical element

  • Halogen: Series of very reactive nonmetals

  • Isotope: Variant of a chemical element; protons are the same, but neutrons vary

  • Lanthanide: Fifteen metallic elements with the atomic numbers 57–71

  • Mass number: Total number of protons and neutrons in a nucleus

  • Metal: Element that is a good conductor of electricity and heat

  • Metalloid: Elements that are a mix between metals and nonmetals

  • Noble gas: Six odorless, colorless gases with low reactivity

  • Nonmetal: Group of elements that are poor conductors of heat and electricity; dull and brittle

  • Periodic table: Display of the chemical elements

  • Post-transition metal: Metals to the right of transition elements on the periodic table

  • Rare earth element: Seventeen elements; lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium

  • Transition metal: Familiar metals such as iron, nickel, copper, and gold