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Any guidebook out there is useful for practicing numerical tests?

David asked on Nov 16, 2018
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Vlad replied on Nov 16, 2018
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Quant skill is quite a broad definition. Let's split into the following:

1) Fast math - train, train and train again

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

2) Critical reasoning

  • GMAT test CR and IR parts (Official guide and Manhattan prep)
  • Mckinsey practice tests
  • PST like tests from the web

3) Working with tables and graphs and deriving conclusions

  • Study "Say it with Charts" book
  • Check all available MBB presentations and publications. Practice to derive conclusions and check yourself with the actual ones from the article / presentation
  • GMAT IR part (Official guide and Manhattan prep)
  • Learn basic statistics (Any GMAT or MBA prep guides)

4) Case math

  • Practice common market sizing topics (Airport passenger flow, real estate volumes, subway passenger flows, car usage, etc.). You should become comfortable with making assumptions
  • Learn key financial topics (P&L and balance sheet and how to analyze them, Basic Valuation principles via NPV and comps) and case tips (e.g. Rule of 72, Perpetuity)

Good luck!

Francesco replied on Nov 16, 2018
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Hi David,

it would be useful to know which test you are preparing for, since, as Harri mentioned, tests can actually be pretty different in different consulting companies.

Each test has its own criteria, and in general the best kind of preparation is to prepare in advance on the same type of test – for all of them you should be able to find free and/or paid version online.

Some general tips on analytical/numerical tests that can be useful are:

  • Commit to a time for each question, and go on if you surpass that time. If you do not set discipline, you will end eating too much time for some questions (these tests sometimes are actually structured to have some questions it is better to skip and review at the end). If time and test allows, you can then go back to the questions at the end.
  • Practice math before – it is normally a key component of all the tests. You can find a lot of free and paid resources online for mental math. The specific type of best resource depends on the test you have to do.
  • Use elimination process when in doubts in multiple choice question
  • If needed (eg PST and Potential test): Practice graph interpretation
  • If needed (eg PST and Potential test): Practice quick reading of key information only

Finally, it is important you understand in advance if you get penalized for wrong answers (eg Potential Test) or not (eg PST), since this may change your strategy.

Hope this helps,


Anonymous replied on Nov 16, 2018


One small thing I would like to add - make sure to check the style of test you’re preparing for. Numerical tests can vary a fair amount for different firms. It’s important to prepare with material which is representative of the test you’ll be doing, so check!

Although I don’t have a specific book in mind there are plenty of good resources available online:

- (some free material but I’d recommend buying a subscription and splitting the cost). Great for verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, diagrammatic/logic etc

- Victor Cheng’s math tool. Very good to practice mental maths

- YouTube for tutorials and test examples

Hope that helps.


Caren replied on Nov 16, 2018
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replied on Nov 16, 2018
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The first thing you want to do is get really good at mental math. There are various tools on the web, and PrepLounge has material as well. My personal go-to is, which will give you a set of rapid fire math questions and rank you on speed accuracy against fellow candidates. Your first ranking might be a bit humbling, but the nice thing is you should progress fast by doing just 10 to 15 minutes/day

Second, I suggest you get familiar with basic profitability and break-even formulas. Google that stuff, not rocket science

Third, you want to get comfortable with fractions. Some here suggest learning fractions up to 15 or 20 or 30... I was always way too lazy to bother, and somehow still got in. Common sense and fourth point below will help

Fourth, you simply need to practice and practice some more. Cases, market sizing... anything with math really

PS: Yes, there are also a ton of mental math books available on Amazon for example.