To prepare for the MAT, you should familiarize yourself many aspects of history, including memorizing the most important figures in history. The following lists important people in history that you should familiarize yourself with before taking the MAT.

  • Anthony, Susan B.: American civil rights leader who worked to get women’s suffrage

  • Bandaranaike, Sirimavo: Ceylon’s (now Sri Lanka) and the world’s first female head of government

  • Bonaparte, Napoleon: French emperor who conquered most of Europe and was then exiled to the island of Elba

  • Burr, Aaron: Vice President of Thomas Jefferson, killed his political rival, Alexander Hamilton, in a duel in 1804

  • Carnegie, Andrew: Scottish-American industrialist who expanded steel industry

  • Castro, Fidel: Communist dictator of Cuba

  • Charlemagne: Founder of the Carolingian Empire in 800, united Western Europe

  • Churchill, Winston: Prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II

  • Cleopatra: She was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, aligned with Mark Antony after the assassination of Julius Caesar

  • Columbus, Christopher: Italian explorer who sailed for Spain to the Americas and began the Spanish colonization of the New World

  • Douglass, Frederick: Escaped slave who worked to free all slaves

  • Gandhi, Indira: India’s and the world’s second female head of government

  • Gandhi, Mohatma: Indian leader who opposed British rule of India through nonviolence

  • Garvey, Marcus: Jamaican political leader and proponent of Black nationalism

  • Gorbachev, Mikhail: Final head of state of the Soviet Union, introduced glasnost and Perestroika

  • Grant, Ulysses S.: Union general in the Civil War and U.S. president

  • Guevara, Che: Communist revolutionary in South America

  • Hamilton, Alexander: A Founding Father of the United States and its first Secretary of the Treasury, killed by Aaron Burr in a duel in 1804

  • Henry VIII: King of England who removed the Catholic Church from England and began the Church of England

  • Hitler, Adolf: Austrian-born German leader of the Nazi Party, led Germany and the Holocaust during WWII

  • Ho Chi Minh: Vietnamese communist leader who was a key figure in the founding of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong

  • Jefferson, Thomas: This Founding Father authored the Declaration of Independence and was the third U.S. president

  • Joan of Arc: French heroine who led the French army to victories in the Hundred Years’ War

  • Kennedy, John Fitzgerald (JFK): Thirty-fifth president of the United States and noted for his handling of the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis, assassinated in 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald

  • Kennedy, Robert Francis (RFK): United States senator, attorney general, and brother of JFK; assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in 1968

  • King, Martin Luther: American civil rights leader who worked for racial equality

  • Lee, Robert E.: Confederate general during the American Civil War

  • Lenin, Vladimir: Leader of the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union

  • Louis XIV: King of France who believed in the Divine Right of Kings

  • Magellan, Ferdinand: Portuguese explorer who led the first circumnavigation of the world though he died during the journey

  • Malcolm X: Muslim minister and human rights activist, preached black supremacy before becoming more moderate

  • Mandela, Nelson: Former president of South Africa who spent 27 years in prison, prioritized reconciliation, and won Nobel Peace Prize

  • Marx, Karl: German philosopher who first created the principles of communism

  • Meir, Golda: Israel’s first and the world’s third female head of government, known as the “Iron Lady”

  • Mother Teresa: Roman Catholic nun known for her missionary and charity work

  • Peter the Great: Russian czar who modernized Russia and expanded the empire

  • Rockefeller, J. D.: American industrialist who founded Standard Oil

  • Roosevelt, Franklin D.: President of the United States during World War II

  • Stalin, Joseph: Leader of the Soviet Union during World War II

  • Thatcher, Margaret: The longest-serving and only female prime minister of the United Kingdom, her conservative policies are known as Thatcherism

  • Washington, George: General during the American Revolutionary War and first U.S. president

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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