Best MAT Prep Courses A Comprehensive Guide to MAT Prep Courses in 2020
How to Find the Best MAT Prep Course for You in 2020
The Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to the GRE for graduate school admissions. As the name implies, the test uses a series of analogies to assess your intelligence and analytical thinking skills. It sounds simple enough, but it can be quite challenging if you haven’t prepared yourself properly. A MAT prep course can provide the support you need. We created this guide to the best MAT prep courses to help you sort through your options and decide which is the best program for you.
Our research team explored 7 MAT prep courses and tutoring programs to determine which provided the greatest value to students. We made sure all of the courses we looked at were available online, so you can attend from anywhere. Each program was measured on its comprehensiveness and the study materials it provides. We also gathered insights from former students of the programs to get a sense of how well each course prepared them for the exam.
We ended up with three finalists we felt confident recommending. Pocket Prep was our favorite because it enables you to study at your own pace from anywhere. You may prefer one of our other picks, however, especially if you enjoy learning from an instructor. We suggest checking out all of our reviews before you make your decision to ensure you find the right MAT prep course for you.
A Full List of Every MAT Prep Course Worth Considering
Our top three MAT prep courses are listed below along with the other companies we didn’t choose. Click on the links to learn more about our finalists and to view courses on the company websites.
The 3 Best MAT Prep Courses
|Pocket Prep||$9.99 - $11.99|
|MyGuru||$80.00 - $975.00|
|Next Step Test Prep||$699.00 - $1,799.00|
The 4 Other MAT Prep Courses We Reviewed
Atclyff: Atclyff offers a self-paced MAT program as well as private tutoring. The course appears comprehensive, but we didn’t feel comfortable recommending it because we couldn’t find much student feedback or information on the company. There’s also no way to sign up for classes online. You have to fill out a contact form and wait for the company to get back to you. Still, it may be worth a closer look if you’re interested in a traditional self-paced prep course.
MAT Study Prep Course: Hosted by Old Dominion University, the MAT Study Prep Course is a three-week program that covers all exam material through a series of in-person and prerecorded video lectures. If you can’t travel to the campus, you can still view the in-person lectures through your online account. We couldn’t make it one of our finalists because we couldn’t find a way to register for the program. The information on the site appears dated and there are no upcoming courses on the schedule.
Parliament Tutors: Parliament Tutors offers private tutoring for the MAT as well as a host of other exams. It wasn’t our favorite because it provides little information about how its tutoring programs work and you must purchase a minimum of 10 hours to start. Its rates are also higher than the tutoring companies that made our top three.
TestMasters: TestMasters says it will provide private MAT tutoring to interested students, but it doesn’t even earn a page on the company website. There’s also no information about pricing online, so you’ll have to contact the company directly for this information.
The Most Important Features: Access, Comprehensiveness, Materials and Support
We measured each company on dozens of features in order to determine the best MAT prep courses. The courses were rated in the following four categories: access, comprehensiveness, materials and support.
There are many universities and local organizations that host MAT prep courses, but we didn’t include these in our review because we wanted our recommendations to be useful to everyone. The companies that we considered offer online courses that you can attend from anywhere with an internet connection. Pocket Prep stood out as the only company that has its own mobile app for studying on the go. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can study at any time from your smartphone or tablet without using your data.
Then, we looked at how well each company covers the material on the MAT. To make our top three, a course had to cover all question types that might appear on the exam and provide detailed explanations of all practice items. They should also cover general test-taking strategies that can be applied to all question types. Student opinion weighed into our decision as well. All of our finalists performed well in this category.
A typical MAT prep course includes a study guide, practice questions, a workbook and full-length simulated exams. Of these, practice tests are the most important because they give you a feel for the exam format and an estimated score you can use to measure your progress. Each of our finalists offer multiple full-length practice tests as part of its program, but Pocket Prep deserves a special shoutout for its Custom Exam feature. This enables you to build your own practice tests with the number and type of questions you choose.
The best MAT prep courses give you a means of reaching out if you run into questions. This might be via email, phone or live chat. Pocket Prep enables you to ask questions directly within the app. One of the company’s qualified instructors will respond to you promptly. Private tutoring programs like Next Step Test Prep and MyGuru represent the highest level of student support. Programs are tailored to your needs and schedule and instructors move at your pace to ensure you’re understanding the material.
Full Reviews of the Best MAT Prep Courses
Pocket Prep MAT Review
Best for independent learners.
Pocket Prep’s MAT mobile app is the perfect choice for busy students who enjoy learning at their own pace. The app includes a guide to test-taking strategies and over 600 practice questions with detailed explanations for each answer choice. If you get stuck, you can reach out to trained instructors right in the app. The app tracks your performance with different question types, but it doesn’t make study recommendations. It’s up to you to target your weaknesses on your own.
What to Expect
The Pocket Prep MAT app is available for Android, iOS and Amazon devices. You can download a trial version for free to see if it’s something you’re interested in. The trial version contains 74 practice questions and a test-taking strategy guide, but if you want to unlock the app’s full features, you’ll have to pay $10 or $12 for an upgrade. Once you’ve downloaded the study materials, you can access them at any time from your mobile device without using the internet or your cellular data.
Pocket Prep doesn’t offer much in the way of formal instruction. Instead, you learn by answering practice questions and reading the explanations. You don’t just learn which answers are right — you learn why it’s right and why the other answers are wrong. The Exam Builder tool enables you to choose how many and what types of questions you’re asked, so you can home in on the ones that are giving you trouble. The app also measures your progress to show you how you’re improving over time and where you could use further practice. You can build as many exams as you want, up to 100 questions each, but there’s a chance you may start seeing duplicates after a while.
It’s largely left up to you to keep yourself motivated and on track, but Pocket Prep does provide a few tools to help. You can set regular study reminders at a convenient time, and the app will notify you so you don’t forget. There’s also a Question of the Day to challenge you and get you in the habit of using the app every day. If this still isn’t enough to keep you on task, you may be better off going with a private tutoring program like those offered by our other two finalists.
Pocket Prep MAT Details
MyGuru MAT Review
Best for flexible, personalized instruction.
MyGuru’s MAT tutoring packages are unmatched in terms of flexibility and affordability. You can start with as little as one hour, but you get bigger discounts for purchasing more hours upfront. The typical course is 15 hours and covers all sections of the exam with extra emphasis on the areas where you need the most improvement. In-person tutoring is available in select cities, otherwise you can connect with a tutor online.
What to Expect
Fill out the form on MyGuru’s website to request a MAT tutor. The company will reach out to you to learn more about your needs and pair you with one of its qualified tutors. Your tutor will assign you a diagnostic practice exam. During your first session, you’ll go over the results together and design a custom study plan that emphasizes the areas where you need improvement. You and your tutor schedule future sessions at a time that’s convenient for both of you. During each one, your will go over any previous homework assignments and you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
The 15-hour MAT prep package is the best choice for those who are new to the MAT. It comes with a workbook and 15 hours of one-on-one tutoring with a highly trained MyGuru tutor. If you decide you need more time, you can purchase additional tutoring hours at a 20 percent discount. You can also enroll in an optional financial aid planning session presented by Collegian Financial Group free of charge.
Hourly tutoring is also available, and this is a better way to go if you only need help with a certain question type. You can start with as little as one hour and move up from there. Discounts are available if you purchase five or 10 hours at once. Most tutoring is done online, but in-person tutoring may be an option for you if you live in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco or Seattle.
MyGuru MAT Details
|Private Tutoring - 1 hour||$80.00|
|Private Tutoring - 5 hours||$380.00|
|Private Tutoring - 10 hours||$720.00|
|Private Tutoring - 15 hours||$975.00|
Next Step Test Prep MAT Review
Best for quality of instructors.
Next Step Test Prep fell to the third spot on our list because its tutoring packages weren’t as flexible as MyGuru’s. You must purchase eight hours at a time, so it’s not the right fit if you only need help with a certain question type. But if you’re committed to doing a comprehensive study of the MAT, you couldn’t do much better. All of Next Step’s instructors have scored in the 99th percentile on a real MAT exam and they have several years of tutoring experience.
What to Expect
You start with a free consultation to determine what kind of help you’re looking for and which tutor and plan is best for you. Choose between eight, 16 or 24 hours. You can pay for this in full or spread it out over two payments. Each course has a standard schedule that’s spread out over three to 10 weeks, but this can be adjusted to match your timeframe. The Crash Course includes a basic MAT prep book, but the Comprehensive and Intensive courses come with a proprietary coursebook developed by Next Step Test Prep that covers all aspects of the exam.
Your tutor will ask you to complete a diagnostic practice test before your first session. Your results will be used to design a custom study plan that focuses on the areas where you need improvement. If you’ve taken the MAT in the past, your tutor will look at your previous score report and factor these results in as well. After this first session, you’ll have a clear schedule to follow for the rest of the program.
You usually meet with your tutor once or twice a week for two hours at a time. During these sessions, you’ll review the homework assignments from the previous session and you can get clarification on anything you didn’t understand. Then, you start on the next section. All tutoring is done online, which is good news if you live far from a major city. But if you’re interested in in-person tutoring, you may want to explore some other options, like MyGuru.
Next Step Test Prep MAT Details
|Crash Course (8 hours)||$699.00|
|Comprehensive Plan (16 hours)||$1,299.00|
|Intensive Review (24 hours)||$1,799.00|
Frequently Asked Questions About the MAT
We asked graduate students what questions they had about the MAT exam before they took it. The most common ones are answered below. Don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything else you’d like us to add.
Should I take the MAT or the GRE?
There are pros and cons to both tests. The right one for you depends on the school you’re applying to and the skills and knowledge you already have. When choosing between the two, consider the following.
Availability and Acceptance
The GRE is considered the standard for graduate school admissions, but the MAT is gaining popularity. Check with your school’s admissions department to see what tests it will accept. If it only takes the GRE, then your choice is made for you. You should also look into the testing centers in your area to make sure they offer both tests. Pearson, the creator of the MAT, maintains a list of all approved MAT testing centers on its website.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The GRE is the more traditional of the two tests. It requires you to read and analyze arguments, solve equations and write essays. But you don’t need to have much prior knowledge beyond algebra, geometry, reading and writing. It’s a measure of skills while the MAT is a measure of knowledge. It only contains a single question type — analogies — but they’re not as simple as they sound. Questions draw on a broad range of topics from geology and botany to geography and grammar. It forces you to recall information you’ve learned throughout your entire education.
Choose the exam that best plays to your strengths. If you’re weak in math, you may feel more comfortable with the MAT. But if you struggle to remember the concepts you learned in high school science class, the GRE may be a safer bet. You can always take a practice test for both exams and compare the two results. Go with the one you score higher on.
Money and Time
The GRE is the longer and more expensive of the two. It runs about four hours and costs $205 per test. The MAT is only an hour long. Fees are determined by the individual testing centers, but they’re almost certainly going to be more affordable than the GRE. These factors aren’t as important as the ones mentioned above, but they might serve as a tiebreaker if you’re having trouble deciding between the two tests.
What are the most important things to know prior to taking the MAT?
You should know your school’s policies, how the exam is formatted and what procedures you’ll be expected to follow on test day.
First, make sure your school accepts the MAT. Then, try to find some information on what kind of score you need. Some programs may list a minimum score or an average, while others may give a range of acceptable scores. Use these numbers as your goal. If there’s a range, aim for the high end of it to be on the safe side. You should also look up when your school’s application deadline is and plan accordingly. Take the exam early so you have plenty of time to retake it if you don’t get the score you want the first time.
The MAT consists of 120 multiple-choice analogies. They may cover any academic topic and require a wide breadth of knowledge and an extensive vocabulary to solve. You have one hour to complete the exam, which comes out to 30 seconds for each question. Only 100 of the questions are actually scored. The remaining 20 are unscored pretest questions added by the test makers to assess the difficulty and fairness of the items. You won’t know which questions are unscored when you’re taking the exam, so it’s best to treat all of them as if they were going to count.
Know how to get to your testing center and aim to arrive at least a half hour early. Late arrivals won’t be permitted to enter the testing room. You must present two forms of valid ID, one of which must be government-issued and contain your photo. You may also bring a paper with the addresses of any schools you would like scores sent to if you don’t believe they are listed in the MAT School Codes directory. You cannot bring anything apart from these items into the testing room with you. For a complete list of test-day procedures, visit Pearson’s website.
How much time should I spend studying for the MAT?
Committing to a regular study schedule is key to doing well on the MAT. To get started, ask yourself the following questions.
When is my school’s application deadline?
If your school has a rolling deadline, you have some flexibility in when you submit your application. But if not, it’s crucial to make sure you get your MAT scores submitted on time. Take the exam as early as possible. That way, you have plenty of time to retake it if you don’t get the score you want on your first attempt. Once you’ve chosen a test date, plan backwards from there, leaving yourself at least three weeks to study.
How well do I know the material?
Take a timed, full-length practice test to determine how close you are to your goal. If you have a long way to go, you’re obviously going to need to invest more time in studying than someone who is already within a few points of their ideal score. Use your results to determine where to focus your attention. You should go over all material covered on the exam, but spend more time on the areas that are giving you trouble.
What is my schedule like?
Set aside some weekly or even daily time for studying. You may have to balance other commitments, like work or school, but it’s important to study regularly in order to keep yourself on track. Consider signing up for a MAT prep course or private tutoring if you find you’re struggling to stay motivated on your own.
How is the MAT scored?
Your MAT score is measured in three different ways: your raw score, scaled score and percentile rank.
Your raw score is simply the number of questions you got right. This number is not listed on your score report. It is used to generate your scaled score, but the same raw score could translate to different scaled scores on different versions of the exam. There are no penalties for answering incorrectly on the MAT, so it’s best to make an educated guess if you’re not sure of the answer.
Your scaled score ranges from 200 to 600. It is calculated through a statistical conversion that accounts for differences in difficulty between different versions of the exam. It’s designed to ensure that the scoring remains consistent, so a 400 demonstrates the same level of knowledge on every test. When you complete your exam, you’ll receive a preliminary score report with an estimated score, but your official score reports aren’t released until 10 to 15 business days after the exam.
Your percentile rank tells you how you measure up against other MAT test takers. A 50th percentile ranking, for example, means you scored better than half of all students who have taken the exam. Your score report lists your overall percentile rank and the percentile rank for your intended major.
How do I send my MAT scores to schools?
Your test fee includes three free score transcripts. When you take the exam, you must specify which schools you would like to send your scores to. They will receive your transcripts as soon as they become available, usually within 10 to 15 business days after the test. If you’d like to send your scores to more than three schools, you can do so for an additional fee of $25 per transcript.
At the end of the exam, you have the option to cancel your scores. This generally isn’t recommended as it’s difficult to predict how you did right after the exam. If you choose to do so, you must select the “Do Not Process This Score” option at the end of the test. You will not receive a preliminary score report and your scores won’t be reported to your selected recipients. There will be no record of the canceled testing on future score reports.
A better alternative to canceling is to wait to submit your scores to schools until you receive your official score report. You won’t be able to take advantage of the three free transcripts that are included with the exam, but you won’t have to worry about submitting a low score. Bear in mind, though, that all MAT scores from the previous five years will appear on your future transcripts unless you cancel the results.
Key Statistics of the MAT
The MAT is scored on a scale from 200 to 600, with most students scoring between 350 and 450. To give you some idea of how your score stacks up against other students, we’ve gathered some data on MAT percentile rank. All data is rounded up to the closest percentile listed.
90th Percentile: 427
80th Percentile: 416
70th Percentile: 408
60th Percentile: 402
50th Percentile: 396
40th Percentile: 390
30th Percentile: 385
20th Percentile: 378
10th Percentile: 370