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How is the MAT Different from the GRE?

Just like the Miller Analogies Test (MAT), the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is also a standardized test that is required for admissions to many graduate school programs in the U.S.

How is the MAT different from the GRE?

Here are the main points of difference between the MAT and the GRE:

  • Test structure. The GRE tests candidates through three types of questions – analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. The MAT consists only of analogies. These analogies are of four main types (semantic, classification, association, and logical/mathematical) and cover a wide range of subjects such as humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and mathematics.
  • Length. The GRE has six sections, with two essays and 100 multiple-choice questions. The MAT has only one section of 120 analogy-based questions.
  • Total time. The GRE lasts for 3 hours and 45 minutes while the MAT is much shorter at 60 minutes.
  • Time per question. The questions in the GRE are longer and more complicated, and you get an average of 1 minute 40 seconds per question. The questions in the MAT are shorter, with an average time of 30 seconds per question.
  • Subject emphasis. The GRE has equal emphasis on questions from verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. In the MAT, there is only one section (logical/mathematical) with math questions, so the greater emphasis is on vocabulary and subject-matter knowledge.
  • Verbal reasoning. Even in terms of testing the candidate’s knowledge of English, the types of questions between the two tests differ significantly. The verbal reasoning questions in the GRE require interpretation of short passages and focus on skills like critical reading skills, analysis, and summary. Verbal questions in the MAT focus more on word definitions and analysis of phrases.
  • Essay writing. A very important component of the GRE is essay writing. Candidates are required to plan and write two essays, with 30 minutes allotted for each. There are no essays required in the MAT, although there are questions related to parts of speech and formation of clear sentences.
  • Scoring. Candidates receive sectional scores for the GRE. There is just one overall score for the MAT.
  • Cost. The MAT, typically, has a lower fee compared with the GRE. The registration fee for the GRE is $205. The fee for the MAT is not fixed, and each test center has the freedom to set its own price. The typical price range is between $70 and $100.
  • Availability. The GRE is much more popular than the MAT, so there are far more test centers for the GRE as well as dates on which candidates can take the test. There are approximately 500 test centers for the MAT in the U.S., with each center setting its own schedule for the test.
  • Acceptability. The GRE is much more widely accepted than the MAT. Most graduate school programs in the U.S. and abroad accept GRE scores. MAT scores are accepted by far fewer schools. Plus, STEM graduate programs generally do not accept MAT scores.

Should I take the GRE or the MAT?

Many graduate school applicants take both the GRE and the MAT. But, if you have to choose one, due to the wider availability and acceptability of the GRE as compared to the MAT, it might seem like a no-brainer to opt for the former. However, there are very valid reasons that might make the MAT better suited for your needs. Here are the key points you should consider when making your decision:

  • The MAT lays a greater emphasis on vocabulary and subject-matter knowledge than the GRE does. If you have a stronger vocabulary and wide academic knowledge, the MAT might be a better choice for you.
  • The GRE includes two essays that need to be written within 30 minutes each. If you are not comfortable writing polished essays under time pressure, the MAT is a better option.
  • Quantitative reasoning is an important component of the GRE. If you are not comfortable with math, you might be better off taking the MAT.
  • The MAT is a much shorter test, which can be completed in one sitting, while the GRE is more than three times longer. If you are not comfortable with a strenuous testing process, opt for the MAT.
  • The GRE scores are more widely accepted than the MAT scores, which can also justify the exam’s slightly higher fee. But, if you are not applying to a STEM graduate program and access to a MAT test center is not an issue, taking the MAT might be a smarter option for you.

Bottom line: Both the Miller Analogies Test and the Graduate Record Examinations have distinct features and benefits. You will have to evaluate which test works better for you. Once you have decided, get down to preparing for the test with complete focus and determination.