The MAT aims to measure the ability of examinees to see relationships between objects and concepts. General knowledge in a number of fields is required to solve the MAT problems. Some questions require knowledge acquired through life experiences, while other questions require knowledge gained from more formal sources, such as undergraduate courses. The candidate cannot prepare for the MAT by studying any particular field. Questions on the MAT come from the areas of language and vocabulary, the humanities, the social sciences, the natural sciences, and mathematics.
Language and Vocabulary
Some MAT equations test comprehension of words and grammar, and the ability to recognize relationships between words. Most analogies in this category test knowledge of synonyms, antonyms, and words of intensity. Words of intensity deal with degrees such as cold and frigid.
MAT equations may involve material from humanities. The content of this type of equation can come from the fields of literature, philosophy, and fine arts. Equations drawing on the field of literature test the candidate’s knowledge of authors, works, classes of literature, and literary devices. Equations involving the field of philosophy may test knowledge of philosophers and their writings, and knowledge of the schools of philosophy. The content of equations involving the fine arts may include any area in music, drama, dance, painting, sculpting, film making and recording. Often equations of this kind involve creator and creation terms. For example, “Michelangelo : Sistine Chapel” which can be interpreted as Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Social science analogies may draw from any area of social science. Candidates are expected to have a general knowledge of historical events, physical and political geography, politics, economics, sociology, and various fields of psychology. The candidate is expected to know important historical figures and dates.
The natural sciences include the biological and physical sciences. Natural science MAT equations may test knowledge in either of these broad areas.
Equations testing mathematical relationships may deal with number theory, basic arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. An equation may be expressed in numbers, words, symbols, or any combination of these categories. To solve the equation, the candidate may be required to perform simple calculations. The use of a calculator is not permitted.