Whether you love the intricacies of politics or loathe them, you need to brush up on political science knowledge for the MAT. When studying for the MAT, you may find that’s interesting to learn more about what makes the wheels of government turn.

Political science deals with governments and politics, as well as with the systems involved with these entities. To prepare for this content area on the MAT, you need to know the basics of the U.S. government and U.S. politics, as well as be familiar with some important political figures from history.

Political science terms that appear on the MAT test

Brush up on your political science knowledge by studying these terms and their definitions.

  • Amendment: Alteration of a law

  • Aristocracy: Government ruled by a small group of (usually elite) citizens

  • Authoritarianism: A government in which authority rests with a small group of politicians and society is generally submissive to that authority

  • Autocracy: Government in which all political power rests with one person

  • Cabinet: High-ranking executive branch officials

  • Conservative: Someone who believes in retaining traditional institutions

  • Constitutionalism: Government limited by fundamental laws

  • Democracy: Type of government in which citizens have a say in decisions

  • Détente: Relaxed political and military tensions during the Cold War

  • Dictator: Ruler with complete power

  • Domino theory: Idea that, if one country becomes communist, its neighbors will follow

  • Election: Process in which voters choose their leaders

  • Electoral college: People appointed by each state who elect the President of the United States

  • Fascism: Radical authoritarian political ideology in which people are united by national identity and the state seeks to eradicate foreign influences

  • Federalism: Government that divides power between a central authority and smaller divisions

  • Habeas corpus: A person under arrest must be brought before a judge thereby preventing unlawful detention, translation of Latin: “you have the body”

  • Impeachment: Formal process by which an official is accused of illegal activity

  • Jury: Group of people who come to a decision in a courtroom trial

  • Liberal: Someone who believes in increasing freedom and equality

  • Nationalism: Ideology in which people strongly identify with their country

  • Pluralism: Nongovernment entities exert influence on the government and have the belief that there should be diverse and competing centers of power in society

  • Propaganda: Communication that tries to influence people to side with an issue

  • Red Scare: Two periods of anti-communism in the United States

  • Separation of powers: Government divided into branches

  • Totalitarianism: Government that controls every possible aspect of life

  • War Powers Resolution: Prevents the President of the United States from entering a war without approval from Congress

Important figures in the field of politics

The following lists important people in the field of political science you should become familiar with before taking the MAT.

  • Aldrich, John: American political scientist who wrote the book Why Parties? The Origin and Transformation of Political Parties in America, it asserts that parties exist for politicians to achieve their personal desires

  • Allison, Graham: American political scientist who analyzed government decision making in times of crisis

  • Hartz, Louis: American political scientist and proponent of American exceptionalism — the belief that America is different from other countries and has an obligation to spread democracy around the world

  • Huntington, Samuel P.: American political scientist who wrote Clash of Civilizations, asserts that in the post-Cold War world conflicts will be caused by the cultural and religious beliefs that people identify with

  • Machiavelli, Niccolò: Italian founder of modern political science; wrote The Prince

  • Sartori, Giovanni: Italian political scientist and expert on comparative politics

  • Scott, Dred: Slave in the United States who sued for his freedom

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.

This article can be found in the category: