Information Regarding The MAT

MAT stands for Miller Analogies Test. As its name implies, MAT is a test of analogies. It is a standardized test that forms one of the different admission criteria for graduate schools in US. The test is created and published by Pearson. The company offers its services in the fields of assessment, research, educational publishing, and information.

MAT has a success history of 50 long years. This test evaluates the verbal comprehension and analytical thinking abilities of candidates. These qualities need to be checked at entry level for graduation since they are crucial for success in graduation and the ensuing professional life.

The test is based on questions on analogies related with various subject areas. Thus, it tests knowledge of candidates that cannot be achieved from memorizing by rote. Researches conducted by Pearson and other researches show that success in graduate schools is directly proportional to the results of MAT. Hence, colleges give due consideration to these test scores for assessing students.

MAT Format

This test contains 120 testing items to be completed in 60 minutes. Out of these 120 items, 100 count towards your score while 20 are administered to check their suitability for future administration of MAT and do not count towards your score. Each question is based on analogies. An analogy is a set of two pairs of terms showing similar relationship among each pair. One of the four terms has to be fit in from the four answer options given. The testing items measure two types of abilities in applicants

      • Cognitive skills of recognition of relationships among words
      • Knowledge of content learnt during undergraduate education

MAT is conducted at more than 500 Controlled Testing Centers (CTCs) at educational institutions across the US and Canada and a few international sites as well. The test is administered in two formats, computer-based and paper and pencil based. If you can make a choice, decide which type of format you shall be most comfortable with and register accordingly. 

The content areas tested in MAT analogies are general knowledge, humanities, language, natural sciences, social sciences and mathematics. The questions are based on relationships of the following types among the given terms

    • Semantic
    • Classification
    • Association
    • Logical

Registration and What you Pay 

Registration for the test can be done at the CTC where you plan to take the MAT from. The CTC should be contacted for

  • Test fee
  • Test schedule
  • Application procedures
  • Testing procedure

Different CTCs charge differently for the test. The charges for the Score Report mailed to you and Official Transcripts that are sent to up to three schools are included in the fee. A list of MAT Testing Centers can be obtained from the website The list includes phone numbers of CTCs and information about which test format is administered at each, computer based, paper based or both. Most CTCs administer both the formats. 
It shall be ideal for you to contact the CTC where you wish to test from much in advance. Understand the time when taking the test shall be the most beneficial for you, keeping time for the scores to reach the schools you intend applying to. Gather complete information about the testing schedules and registration requirements. Accordingly, you shall be able to register at the best possible time.


The scoring of the test is done electronically. Only 100 items contribute towards your score, 20 items are meant for judging items for future administration of MAT and they do not count towards your score. 
The number of items answered correctly forms the raw score. The raw scores are converted to scores on a general scale based on a norm group. The group consists of first time candidates who tested between 1st Jan 2004 to 31st Dec 2007. This ensures that MAT scaled scores across different test formats are comparable.
You shall receive a scaled score and percentile ranks. The scaled scores lie between 200 and 600, 400 is the mean score. Percentile ranks lie between 1 and 99. These ranks represent the percentage of candidates who received scores lesser than yours. The candidates are those who constitute the norm group. Percentiles of two forms are reported.

  • Percentiles for intended major: Percentile according to the examinees in the norm group who intended to take the same major.
  • Percentiles for total group: Percentile according to the examinees in the complete norm group.

There is no passing score for MAT. The definition of a good score varies from institution to institution. Besides, the importance of these test scores as an admission criterion also depends on the institution.
It takes 10-15 days for the Score Report to be dispatched. The scores cannot be obtained through telephone or fax. The Personal Score Report also mentions the number of times you have taken the exam in the past five years and the date of your present attempt.

How are Scores Used?

Numerous studies are carried out from time to time to understand how these test scores are useful to colleges and schools. These scores are continuously being used as an important admission criterion. This is reflective of how useful the results of MAT are. While admission decisions are made, these test scores are not considered in isolation, but along with other indicators of the candidate’s capabilities.

The following are the main conclusions of some studies that bring out how effective these scores are.

  • There exists a positive correlation between MAT scores and performance in first year of graduation. Hence, these scores can predict performance in first year of college.
  • MAT is a better predictor than GRE or undergraduate GPA for first year graduate performance, overall graduate GPA and comprehensive exam scores.
  • The performance of a candidate in MAT depends on his
  • Cognitive ability and application of principles of cognition
  • Reasoning and vocabulary skills
  • Knowledge of different fields           

Colleges give importance to each type of score reported in the score report. Your percentiles for intended major are considered for granting admission in subject specific courses. 
It shall be in your best interest to score high in MAT. Not only does the exam show your knowledge of different subject areas but it also shows how you understand relationships between different words. A high test score shall put a good impression on admission authorities about your abilities. A low score shall put a doubt in their minds about your abilities. Even if you match up to other admission criteria, a low score in MAT shall make admission authorities reconsider their decisions. The very fact that a college asks for these scores indicates that it holds importance. Hence, you should not take the exam lightly.

Preparation for MAT

  • Preparation for MAT is particularly important and has a direct impact on your performance. The exam contains only one type of questions and hence you need to get familiar with it. Most students are not accustomed to questions on analogies and require training for it, in spite of possessing good cognitive skills.

  • The exam is timed; you shall have to complete two questions in one minute. Hence, optimizing your time is also important. To complete the exam and spot the correct answer quickly, you shall have to practice a lot.

  • The first step towards preparation, however, is gaining knowledge about the exam. The MAT Candidate Information Booklet contains complete information about the exam. It is available for free on the official website

  • Two complete MAT practice tests are available at the official website. These contain 100 analogy questions and explanations of correct answers. A score report shall be generated for the tests and you shall have to pay $23.99 for each practice test.


If you are familiar with analogy questions but cannot perform well in them, do not despair. Students are unable to solve these questions because of either a poor vocabulary or inability to recognize the connection among the terms. With practice, each of these shortcomings can be overcome. The best part about the exam is that one has to concentrate on one type of questions only. There are neither different sections nor different question types to concentrate upon. This makes you concentrate better and you can achieve quicker results. Hence, with sustained efforts, anyone can master analogies and score well in the exam.