Oliver Wyman, like many other consulting firms, uses a written online test as part of its selection process: the Numerical Reasoning Test. Compared to other problem-solving tests, this test is much more difficult and even considered as one of the most challenging tests in the application world. But don’t worry: with our tips and the right kind of preparation, you will be able to pass the test!
The Oliver Wyman Numerical Reasoning test is by far the most mathematical problem-solving test. Oliver Wyman focuses strictly on numerical reasoning whereas other consulting firms like BCG and McKinsey cover multiple dimensions and put a heavier focus on data analysis.
Usually, the test lasts 20 minutes and has a maximum of 30 multiple-choice questions. Unlike other problem-solving tests that are clustered around several case studies, Oliver Wyman Numerical Reasoning Test questions are solely focused on math problems similar to the GMAT format.
Generally, you will have less than a minute to answer each question, so time is a critical factor to pass the test. What makes the Oliver Wyman Numerical Reasoning Test particularly difficult, in addition to the heavy mathematical focus and the time pressure, is its negative marking. Whilst McKinsey allows you to just guess answers at the end of the PST, Oliver Wyman punishes each wrong answer with the deduction of one point. On the plus side, you are allowed to skip back and forth between questions. You may also use a calculator, as the test is conducted online from your home. However, don’t forget that the test is still extremely challenging which is why the right kind of practice is crucial for your success.
Oliver Wyman Numerical Reasoning Test questions can look like the following:
- One pen costs $0.6; you get a deal of 12 pens for the price of 10: what is the new cost per pen?
- A company’s sales just finished 8 years of consecutive growth, they are now 2x the amount 8 years ago. What is the CAGR?
- What is the least common multiple of 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 24?
- You have 10 apples, 2 of which are bad. If you select 4 apples what are the odds of picking at least 1 bad apple?
- If the chance of rain vs. sun is 50:50 what is the chance of having 2 consecutive rainy days in a 5-day period?
You can find more questions in our real Oliver Wyman Numerical Reasoning Practice Tests.
There is no official cut-off score, but getting less than 50% of the overall total score usually means you failed the test. Remember that there is negative marking which means that you get penalized with a minus point for each wrong answer!
Tip 1: Check whether the Numerical Reasoning Test is part of your selection process
Depending on your country or the office you are applying to, you may not have to take the Numerical Reasoning Test with Oliver Wyman. Before you waste precious time that you could have spent on your final case interview prep, you should confirm via email with your HR contact of your selected Oliver Wyman office whether the Numerical Reasoning Test is part of your selection process. If it is, get started with the preparation straightaway as the test is quite sophisticated!
Tip 2: Brush up on your maths knowledge
It might have been a while since you took your last math exam. Topics that you should revise and that are covered in the Oliver Wyman Numerical Reasoning test are the following:
- General algebra
- Probability theory
Make sure you know all the relevant formulas such as diameters, volume, and area of geometrical forms. You can prepare a formula sheet, but you should be able to find each formula within a second and know exactly how to use it! Even though you are allowed to use a calculator during the test, practicing fast math can additionally help you to cope with the time pressure. Plus, you will need it anyway for the rest of your case prep and the final actual case interviews.
Tip 3: Carefully select your practice material
Unlike other consulting firms and their PSTs, Oliver Wyman has not provided sample questions for its math test online. While practicing free online GMAT questions is a good start, material drafted specifically for the Numerical Reasoning Test is scarce both on and off the internet. This is why we at PrepLounge designed an Oliver Wyman Numerical Reasoning Practice Test for you. In close collaboration with a team of experienced Oliver Wyman consultants, we have created material that will help you grasp the underlying basis of the test. It will enable you to optimize your Oliver Wyman Numerical Reasoning Test performance and pass any test of a similar style.
Tip 4: Get insights from peers who have already taken the test
You might personally know peers who have gone through Oliver Wyman's application process. Ask them for advice and whether they can remember any test questions. Even though they probably won’t remember the exact questions and answers, they will probably be able to give you an idea of the concept and challenges you might face during the test. This can help you to identify areas to focus on and to make your preparation more efficient. If there’s no one you can ask, take advantage of online forums like our Consulting Q&A. Our community and experts are here to help you!
Tip 5: Practice the Numerical Reasoning Test under real conditions
When going through a practice test, put yourself in a real-life scenario: set yourself a timer for 20 minutes and see how far you get. Try to not spend more than a minute on each question and only look at results and solution paths once you have completed the full test. Check your score after each practice test and identify the type of questions you have difficulties with. Focus on them by doing extra exercises but if there are a few areas that you are just naturally weaker at, don’t stress too much about them. Get yourself to a level where you feel competent - you don’t have to be perfect. With practice, you will get a feeling for your strengths and weaknesses, and you will know exactly which questions to skip and which to compute.
Tip 6: Avoid any distractions and check your internet connection
Choose an environment where you feel most comfortable conducting the test. The library might be a good place to concentrate, but there is always the risk of being talked to. Pick a place where you are most unlikely to be disturbed by others! Your home is probably the best option and if you live in a shared apartment, ask your flatmates not to disturb you. You should be completely free from all distractions for the full 20 minutes of the test. Turn off your phone and all social media desktop notifications. It’s time to focus!
Before starting the test, make sure that your internet connection is up to speed. With slow internet and long loading time when skipping questions, you will lose precious time. It would be a shame to fail the test due to a slow internet connection!
Tip 7: Be ruthless and skip difficult questions
It is almost impossible to complete all questions in the short time given, so do not attempt to answer every single question! Work through the test and always leave blank any question you are unsure of or have no immediate grasp on for a potential solution. You can always come back to the skipped questions later if time remains. While in other tests it makes sense to just mark any answer option before you run out of time, the Oliver Wyman tests will deduct points for wrong answers. If you have no idea whatsoever, be aware of the risk when guessing as it will be punished with negative marking! We recommend to only take that risk when you are able to eliminate at least one answer that is certainly false.
Tip 8: Put things into perspective
The Oliver Wyman Numerical Reasoning Test is known as one of the hardest application screening tests in the consulting industry. However, it remains just one element of your application process. While we strongly advise you to spend enough time preparing for the test, keep in mind that performing well in personal fit and case interviews should always be the focus of your preparation! These parts will be the decisive factors that will finally get you that job offer. Therefore, split your preparation time wisely between all parts of your application process and don’t get lost in the preparation for online tests.
In close collaboration with a team of experienced Oliver Wyman consultants, we designed a Numerical Reasoning Test that is quite similar to original tests by Oliver Wyman. You can download it as PDF and use it to practice and optimize your test performance. Going through a sample will give you a feeling for the different types of questions Oliver Wyman likes to use. We made sure that the test has the optimal difficulty level to help you ace the real Numerical Reasoning Test. Practicing with the best and newest material online will save you a lot of time during your practice and will help you optimize your test performance. Follow our 8 Tips and start practicing Oliver Wyman Numerical Reasoning Tests now!
As a PrepLounge user, you will receive access to all these perks. PrepLounge will accompany you all the way from your application through to your contract negotiation. You strongly diminish your chance of success without sufficient preparation. Invest in your future and give yourself the best chance at acing your case interview! Exchange your experience with peers from all around the world in our Consulting Q&A. Join our case interview community today and embark on your journey into consulting!