Thursday, June 16, 2011

The MAT Booklet.

Hey guys,

I did get a response from the guy who sent me a booklet about the MAT.  He does not want me sharing it with anyone, so I will honor that.  No worries, though, I doubt it would help anyone any better than the little "cheat sheets" in the back of ordinary MAT books.  It wasn't at all a magical solution or anything. 

For what it is worth, I'd encourage those reading this to take some advice from me.  With questions you don't know, rely on your intuition rather than on your recently acquired general knowledge!  My friend, Nathan Grimsley, gave me this sage advice, and I didn't listen.  Perhaps that is why he scored 517 on the MAT and I only scored 481.   Yes, the MAT is a highly culture-loaded test, but it is first and foremost a reasoning test (for US Americans, anyway). The best advice I could give someone (other than learn mnemonics and cram) is to learn how to hone your intuition (i.e. tacit reasoning).

Don't believe me?
Try this approach for yourself and compare.  Just take a practice test where you let your *first* instinct--your gut and heart-- answer the questions you're uncertain about. Now compare the results to your original method. I did this, and was astonished at my score, 113 out of 120, which I'm figuring is in the 520's or so. I doubt Nathan and I are unique.

Lessons from this in order to be a better mentathlete:

1. Don't overstress.  Relax.  I was a little stressed when I took the test; there was a scholarship on the line, after all.   Nathan, on the other hand was not.  He was just interested in what the high IQ society's were like.  Since they almost all accept the MAT (and it's a rather inexpensive and quick test) he opted for that.  I went in with a mildly stressed mind, Nathan went in with a curious and relaxed one. Look who did better.

  By the way, he dropped out of all of the high IQ groups he joined out of sheer disinterest and a little disappointment.

If you're struggling with relaxing, try these techniques. I personally use autogenics

2. Trust your reasoning powers.  Not just your linear and sequential reasoning powers,  your nonlinear tacit reasoning abilities (your intuition) too.  Intuition is scary, I suppose, because it means different things to different people, but it always involves some bit of a mysterious process.  For what it is worth, I'm talking about the kind of intuition mentioned here, not ESP or anything else that also uses the term (although I guess that wouldn't hurt, if you have it).  I suppose #2 is another way to say believe in yourself, in what is already inside of you. 

3. Have fun learning.  I came across this funky site which, in retrospect, could be applied to the MAT.  Perhaps I enjoy the site so much because I go there with a kid-like attitude. "Oh, I didn't know that! Cool."  It's never work. As a mentathlete, having fun learning is equivalent to an athlete having fun training.  

Best of luck, whatever you all choose to do.


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