If you’re anxious about taking the MAT, remember that feeling anxious is normal. It means you care about your outcome on the Miller Analogies Test. Test-taking anxiety can actually be a good thing — it can inspire you to work harder.

You should respect the MAT. It’s not a cakewalk, which is why preparation is a smart idea. But if you’re feeling really anxious or you’ve had trouble with nerves during similar tests, you may want to take stronger measures.

Control your anxiety during the MAT

Anxiety before the test often evaporates when the real test opens on the computer screen and your brain kicks into gear to solve the analogies. However, some people feel anxious during the real test as well. If you experience an attack of the nerves, follow these tips:

  • Accept your anxiety. Fighting your body and yelling at yourself to calm down probably isn’t a great idea. If you’re anxious, you’re anxious. Acknowledge it.

  • Take a breath. Breathing deeply may not completely banish your anxiety, but it helps, and it keeps oxygen going to your brain, which is good!

  • Focus on the question in front of you and your technique for solving it. Do something with your pencil. Staying active forces your thoughts away from the anxiety and onto something productive.

  • Use positive self-talk. Being negative won’t help you feel calmer, but saying encouraging phrases to yourself, like “You can do this,” can help. Treat yourself as you would an anxious friend in the same situation. What would you say to your friend? Also, remind yourself that you’ve prepared intelligently for the test.

Maintain focus during the MAT test

If you’re having trouble focusing and your mind starts wandering during the test, try not to beat yourself up. Go back to the question in front of you and do something active. It’s okay if your attention wanders — just catch yourself and go back to the question.

Prepare your body and mind for the MAT test

The expression “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” isn’t an empty saying. Taking several practice tests under realistic testing conditions goes a long way toward reducing anxiety and increasing your focusing power. In addition to focusing on your mental preparation, taking care of your body is a good idea, since your mind and body are closely linked. Try things like:

  • Engaging in aerobic exercise

  • Eating whole foods

  • Staying hydrated

  • Taking time for relaxation, friends, and family

Although your MAT prep is important, you’ll do better on the test if you’re leading a balanced, healthy life as best you can. Both your body and mind will thank you for it!

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Vince Kotchian is a full-time standardized test tutor specializing in the MAT, SSAT, ISEE, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. He teaches a GRE prep course at the University of California, San Diego, and has an extensive understanding of analogies and the MAT.

Edwin Kotchian is a MAT tutor and freelance writer who has contributed to a variety of test-prep material.

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