2017 EDITION

GRE and MAT Guide

GRE and MAT Summary
What: The GRE and MAT are exams often required for admission to graduate school.
Who: GRE is administered by ETS, while MAT is administered by Pearson Education. The tests are taken by prospective grad students.
Where: GRE and MAT are offered at test centers throughout the world.
When: The exams are offered year round.
How: Both exams are offered in a computer and paper format.
Type: Both exams are multiple choice. The GRE includes a written essay, as well.
Why: Both exams are part of admissions requirements for graduate programs.
Time: Students should allow four hours for the GRE and an hour for the MAT.
Language: English
Preparation: Students can prepare with numerous study guides.
Cost: The GRE General Exam is $140; GRE Subject Tests are $130; and the MAT is approximately $75, depending on test location.

By Elizabeth M. Burkhart, Tests.com Contributing Writer

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Miller’s Analogy Test (MAT) are two different examinations that are often required for admission to graduate school programs.

The GRE General Test measures verbal ability, quantitative reasoning skills, critical thinking ability, and analytical writing skills. The MAT is an analytical test which measures the ability to solve problems through the use of analogies.

Test scores must be on file with the graduate school prior to admission and are considered part of the overall application process. The scores provide supplemental information to the admissions department and are considered in addition to undergraduate grades, letters of recommendation, a written essay and other factors.

MAT and GRE Exam Sections
The MAT is a narrowly-focused examination of the test taker’s ability to solve analogies. Most of the questions require strong verbal skills, although there are usually a few math-related analogies on the test.

MAT candidates have 60 minutes to complete the test, which is offered as both a pencil-and-paper exam and as a computerized test. There are a total of 120 questions and each test includes 20 questions which are used as experimental questions that may be used on future examinations. All questions are multiple-choice.

The MAT is scored from 200 to 600. Score reports also indicate the test taker’s national percentile rank from 1 to 99. MAT does not have a defined passing score, though most colleges and universities establish their own criteria for passing. Score reports are mailed within 10 to 15 days after the test date.

The GRE General Test is divided into three general sections: math, verbal and writing.

Candidates have three hours and 75 minutes to complete the GRE exam. Exams are offered both in paper and computer formats.

The math section measures the test taker’s ability to understand basic arithmetic, algebra, data analysis and geometry. It also tests one’s ability to quantitatively reason, and solve problems in a quantitative setting.

The verbal section measures the test taker’s ability to analyze written material and to bring statements together to form a complete thought. Additionally, it evaluates the test taker’s ability to see relationships between parts of sentences and tests whether the candidate can recognize relationships between words and concepts.

The writing section of the GRE measures the test taker’s ability to state complex ideas clearly, to examine evidence and see if it appropriately supports the information in a sentence. In addition, the writing section tests to determine if the test taker can maintain a logical discussion on a subject while maintaining the correct elements of English writing rules.

Some programs require an applicant to take the GRE Subject Tests instead of, or in addition to, the GRE general exam. Subject Tests are offered in:

  • Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology – 180 multiple-choice questions
  • Biology – 200 multiple-choice questions
  • Chemistry – 130 multiple-choice questions
  • Computer science – 70 multiple-choice questions
  • English Literature – 230 multiple-choice questions
  • Mathematics – 66 multiple-choice questions
  • Physics – 100 multiple-choice questions
  • Psychology – 205 multiple-choice questions


Those taking a Subject Test should allow at least three and a half hours to complete the test. Subject Tests are paper exams offered annually in October, November and April.

GRE General Test scores range from 200 to 800. Scores are assigned separately for math and verbal sections. A separate score is also issued for the writing section, and scores range from 0 to 6.

GRE Subject Test scores range from 200 to 990. Subscores are also issued on the biology exam, the psychology exam and on the biochemistry, cell and molecular biology exam. Subscores range from 20 to 99.

GRE scores are sent to the candidate’s home address within four to six weeks following the exam.

Registration and Fees
The MAT is offered at more than 500 test centers worldwide year round. Test candidates should locate a testing center on the MAT website (milleranalogies.com) and contact the test center directly to register. Fees for the MAT vary depending on the testing center, though they average around $75.

Candidates can register for the GRE online through Educational Testing Service (www.ets.org) by calling a local Prometric test center. The general test fee is $140, while subject tests are $130 each.

Preparation for the MAT and GRE is important! Are you ready to start studying? Check out our MAT and GRE directories for more! To learn more about the GRE, take a look at Tests.com's interviews with GRE preparation experts Neill Seltzer and Matt Cohn.

Sources: Pearson Education Inc. - pearsonassess.com; Educational Testing Service - ets.org