Preparing For The MAT

Introduction

When you take an exam, you should ideally score high in it. This is particularly true for competitive exams. The reason behind this is that most competitive exams are taken voluntarily and you choose to take them for your own benefit. Then there is little reason for you to put up a bad performance. Besides certifying your capabilities, your score shall exhibit the attitude you have towards studies and your future.
Those institutions that understand the uniqueness of MAT and its reliability ask candidates to take the test. Their considering MAT scores as a supplementary admission criterion signifies that they give importance to this different method of assessment of your skills and you should thus perform well in it.

Importance of Preparation





There are numerous excuses that one can think of if he wants to avoid preparing for MAT. However, rational thinking makes us believe that there is enough reason for even the brightest student to prepare for the test. The following points shall illustrate the same.

  • The testing items of MAT are of a typical type. Analogy questions are the only type of questions asked in this test and hence you shall have to study how to solve them. There are no alternative question types or sections in this exam that can help in scoring.
  • This test cannot be cleared on the basis of rote memory. In fact, you shall not find a single item in the test that you can hope to answer by mugging up some formula or concept. The most that you can do in terms of learning is study the meanings of words from some word lists. However, you shall have to arrive at the correct answer through reasoning. Hence, you need to practice specifically for analogy questions.
  • MAT challenges your reasoning abilities. You have to spend time on each item and think hard for arriving at the answer. Comprehension of the meanings of the words is just half the battle; understanding the rationale and arriving at the correct answer is the real challenge.
  • There is a severe time constraint on this exam. You have to answer 120 items in 60 minutes. This means that you shall have to answer each question in 30 seconds. This can be very challenging for most applicants and the chances of leaving out some items are high. You need to thus practice speed enhancing tricks for the MAT.

Indispensable Preparation Sources

The official source of preparation for MAT can be very helpful. There are sample questions in the Candidate Information Booklet that shall give you a fair idea of the types and difficulty levels of the questions.
You can buy two Practice Tests from the following website: www.milleranalogies.com. Each contains 100 analogy items. The items cover the content areas that MAT analogies typically cover and represent those relationships as well. You can purchase the test for $23.99 each and take it in simulated conditions. Thereafter you can view the answers and their explanations online and also see your scores.
These practice tests form the ideal preparation tool for MAT; you can be sure of their authenticity. However, they may not suffice. For analogy questions, you require extensive practice. The initial understanding of relationships among words is mere familiarization with the basics of analogies; after that, it is practice that one needs, to get the knack of analogy questions. Hence, you require more than the official sources of preparation.

MAT Preparation Tools

The good thing about MAT preparation is that you have to prepare for only one type of testing item. Mastering techniques for analogy questions and conditioning your mind for it should not be a great challenge if you have access to the right study material and can get good guidance. Let us consider some preparation tools that one can utilize for this test preparation.

Flashcards: These are very useful for analogy questions since they are easy to access and help in drill work. You can use the same flashcards time and again; this shall help you revise concepts previously learnt and you shall learn from your mistakes. Look for flashcards that shall last for long and are easy to carry.

Books: Besides details about the types of analogy questions, your books should have numerous examples and practice questions along with answer explanations. Since analogy questions are interesting to solve, they are also offered in the form of word games. Such books help to break monotony and remove boredom.

Software: Check that the software you buy is compatible with your computer. Gather information about the utility of the software before you shell out any money. It is best to use software for practice if you are taking the computer based  test.

Online Practice: There are numerous websites that offer online practice for analogy questions free of charge. However, you cannot depend on such websites for quality content. Paid online practice is also offered and it shall be a better option if you approach some well-known names in the business.

Tutorial Classes: You can take coaching for the test as well. You shall be trained by experts in the field and can personally clarify any concept if need be. Check the reputation of the institute before you enroll for any course.

Software for Mobiles: Some software can be loaded in mobiles also for practice of analogy questions. This is useful for those who are on the move. This tool however is only for practice purpose and can assist you in revision and drill.

For selection of a source, you must see to it that there are ample sample questions, practice questions and practice tests available. It is over time and with practice that you shall master the technique of answering analogy questions and get familiar with the items frequently appearing in analogy questions.

MAT Analogy Tips

There are some tips that can come in handy for solving analogy questions. You can pick up tips from the Internet. Tips for analogy questions appearing in other exams like GRE, SAT etc. can also be used for the test preparation. 

  • Go through all the answer options. Do not ignore any word unless it is clearly a misfit.
  • Delete any answer choice that seems obviously wrong. There should be at least one such answer option.
  • In case you do not know the exact meaning of a word, try to estimate what the answer is by framing sentences you must have often seen the word being used in.
  • Try to recognize the relationship between the first pair of words. At times there exist more than one possible relationship. For recognizing the actual relationship the third given word shall be helpful.
  • The order of words and the relationship they show in the given pair is the same as is in the incomplete pair. Be careful not to pick the answer option that shows a reverse order.
  • The words should convey the same type of emotion. If one word has a positive meaning then the corresponding word in the answer choice should also be positive.
  • If you are stuck at the meaning of any word in the question, try to fit in all the words one by one from the answer options and estimate the meaning of the unfamiliar word.
  • To guess the meanings of unknown words you can use your knowledge of the root word, suffix and prefix. The corresponding word in the incomplete pair shall also give you an idea of the meaning.
  • Form a sentence to understand the relationship between the pair of words. The sentence should be such that the words can be replaced by suitable synonyms and you can hence arrive at the correct answer.
  • Consider all the possible meanings of words. We tend to stick to the sense in which we generally use the word and don’t give heed to its multiple meanings.

Note: Your performance in anything in life depends on your confidence level. If you are sure about yourself, you shall exude confidence and crack every problem with ease. Reversely, if you are not sure of yourself and lack confidence, you shall not be able to solve the simplest of problems. You shall be in doubt about every answer you give and by the end of the exam, you shall feel exhausted and frustrated. The only way to avoid such a situation is extensive preparation. A preparation schedule spread over two to three months shall help you take corrective measures in time. You can retrospect and improve your performance accordingly.

Conclusion

Do not assume that only those who have a good vocabulary can excel in the test. Remember that it is an assessment of not only your knowledge in different subject areas but also your reasoning skills. These reasoning skills are more crucial to your performance than content knowledge is. With practice, you can gain mastery over these questions and excel in the exam; and it is only through persistent efforts that you can do so. There are no shortcuts to scoring high in MAT and hence you must put in your sincere efforts.




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