Do MSW Programs Require the MAT?

If you're interested in a Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW), you may have already investigated several programs leading to the degree. You do not need to take the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) to be admitted to the majority of MSW programs. The Miller Analogies Test is an optional test that, in some cases, can be substituted for taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). In other cases, the graduate school you choose may use Miller Analogies Test scores to supplement a lower grade point average and increase the chances you will be admitted to their MSW program.

What is the MAT Test?

Unlike the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), which includes test sections and questions that cover analytical, quantitative, and verbal skills, the MAT consists of 120 "partial analogies" to be completed during a one-hour test period. The test is created by Pearson Education. The company advises test-takers that "cramming will not help much." The Miller Analogies Test is intended to cover the academic knowledge you have gathered over your years of study. The analogies are supposed to test your academic knowledge and ability to apply critical thinking skills to complete the analogies. The analogies fit in four broad categories: semantic (verbal), classification (matching like or unlike elements), association, and logical or mathematical.

Miller Analogies vs. GRE Tests

The GRE is similar to the SAT or ACT tests which are given to students to determine admission priorities for bachelor's degree programs. The GRE is divided into three main sections. The sections are similar to three of the four main categories on the Miller Analogies Test: verbal, analytical, and quantitative (math). The GRE also offers optional subject-matter tests, including biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, literature, and psychology. The psychology subject matter test is seldom required for admission to an MSW program, but you may see an admissions office suggesting it as an option for applicants to increase their chance of admission if they are able to receive a high score.

Ways to Waive the MAT Requirement

The majority of MSW programs do not require the MAT or GRE for admission. You can find the schools that accept the test on a list from Pearson Education. Being on the list doesn't mean the school will require the test, simply that they accept it. If your grade point average in undergraduate school is over 3.0, you may not have to take either of the tests. If your GPA is lower than 3.0, your chances of needing to take either the GRE or the MAT test are much greater. Job experience in social work and social services could help to waive the test requirement. Finally, if you have an advanced degree in another field, you could also waive either of the tests.

The Miller Analogies Test is considered by some to be more challenging than the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). You don't need to take this test in order to be admitted to a Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW) program. Most graduate schools offering MSW degrees focus more on the applicant's undergraduate GPA and work experience. Your ability to perform graduate-level work in social work is the main criteria for admission to master's-level programs, not a standardized test.