Experience with McKinsey PST round?

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Recent activity on Oct 23, 2017
19 Answers
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Anonymous B asked on Oct 22, 2017

Hello PL community! Reaching out to ask for advice and experience/s with Mckinsey's PST? I have asked several peers about their experiences and how good/bad they felt after taking it and have received varied feedback!

Looking to hear about experiences, and what was the best way you prepared for it!

Please and thank you!

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Originally answered question:

McKinsey PST

Ignacio
Expert
replied on Jan 25, 2017
MIT MBA | Bain & Co | Ex-Google | 4+ year coaching experience

The PST is a battle against time but the favourable aspect of the test is that it is not negatively marked so it's a no-brainer to attempt every single question.

Bear in mind that it's very easy to get caught up in the moment with a question - you feel like you've invested a lot of time thinking about a particular one and so feel it's worth taking more time again to get it right. It's important to be ruthless. Imagine someone was looking over your shoulder and giving you objective advice about when to move on. Put yourself in that 'mode'. It's too easy to waste time.

Focus on areas where you are naturally good and try to get better. There might be some areas that you are naturally weaker - don't stress too much about these. Get yourself to a level where you feel competent. It's difficult to be top notch in all areas but easier to be fantastic in one and fine in another. There is only so much practice you can do and so it’s more about developing a strategy to ensure you don't lose against time.

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on May 24, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I suggest the following:

1) Do 1 case from mck website in 60 min. Check your score. Target score is 22 out of 26 correct. If you do 17-18 correct you have great chances to improve in 3 days. If lower - reschedule the test.

2) Buy Viktor Cheng test prep program - best materials I've seen so far. Works also for express prep.

3) Do the 2nd test and check the score

4) Use other materials: GMAT IR and verbal parts, PST-like tests available online. The key thing - you should train to do them, fast

5) Do the 3rd test and check the results

P.s. in parallel train your math. Check exercises on Cheng website. Key things - multiplication of 2 digit numbers, operations with zeros and division (Learn division table, ie. 1/8 = 12.5%, 8/9 = 88%, Learn up to 8/9)

Best,

Vlad

(edited)

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Shree on May 24, 2017

Thank you very much Vlad :) I'll do as you said. Hope I'll crack it...cheers..!!!

Originally answered question:

Action Plan to prepare for the McKinsey PST

Astrid
Admin
replied on Jul 20, 2018
PrepLounge Head of Product & Marketing
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Anonymous F replied on Oct 22, 2017

Hi,

I just took and passed the PST test.

I noticed the following things:

  • I did a lot of preparation. I worked through the McK practice tests a couple of times. I did some of the external tests provided by a few websites (they were on a different level most of the times - best preparation was the McK tests). Total maybe took 10 practice tests (2 times the 3 original ones, and whatever I could find).
  • Once you know the type of quetions they are asking, it is pretty straightforward.
  • I found a lot of people that showed up on the day were less prepared: They had only done 1 test, heard about the test a week before, thought it would be a 'either you have it or not' situation.

Therefore, my personal view is that the PST is a really good way for McKinsey to weed out applications that just apply for fun and games, and don't really want to put effort in. Those people may be capable to do the job, but doing the test without preparation is hard (I had to let go of some GMAT logic as I was just answering a wrong question...).

If you prepare with the materials available and speed up your maths, you should be good.

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Originally answered question:

McKinsey PST

Anonymous E replied on Jan 26, 2017

McK PST usually takes 60 minutes and you have to answer 26 questions in total, on 3 different business cases. Questions can be divided into math or logic questions (e.g. based on the given date, which statement is a valid conclusion?). Even tho the aim is not to test business knowledge, it’s good if you know the basic business terms.

As being said, the most difficult part of the PST is the limited amount of time you have. The questions are not actually that difficult, but since you have only like 2 minutes per question, it can be really tough to pass the test. Thats why you should be really fast at mental math (you also don’t get calculator or extra paper, so practice!) and take some sample tests (for example from igotanoffer) to get used to the type of questions they ask. It’s best if you go through the practice PSTs under real conditions, so 60 minutes, no calculator etc. Good luck!

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Originally answered question:

PST Additional Prep Material

Anonymous G replied on May 07, 2018

Hi

Firstly, please learn to use the search bar! A valuable skill for consulting if you can land a job.

Secondly, I was in your position 2 months ago.

In 1 month, i went from getting 30% on untimed tests, to passing the PST!

This is what i did:

  • Igotanoffer practice tests
  • Mconsulting practice tests
  • Official McKinsey tests
  • Practice speed maths - learn shortcuts like rule of 72, become a gun at the times tables, long division, estimation, growth rates, change %
  • Use youtube- Cant remember who exactly but there is this Russian guy who has great tips and logic around the PST.
  • I learnt to speed read - i went from 350 words per minute to 650. Youll also learn what info to read and what not to bother with by doing enough tests.
  • I went through McKinsey presentations and learnt about the type of charts often used, learn how to read them quickly as this will save you minutes in the test working out what the hell they are even representing!

You will identify trends with answers, question types and the flow with time. Its frustrating and hard work, but worth it to pass! Youll also learn about time traps and which questions to estimate, leave and compute.

Start off doing the tests untimed, and re do tests over and over again.

Then slowly introduce time constraints and work to doing them in just 1 hour.

All the best.

Cheers,

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Maua on May 08, 2018

Thank you. That was helpful

Originally answered question:

McKinsey Problem Solving Test

Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 14, 2017
#1 Coach for Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (www.case.tools/results) | Ex BCG | 8Y+ Coaching

Hi Paola,

in addition to what mentioned by Carlos, I would recommend you the following:

  • 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 a lot of math before (GMAT or online resources from Victor Cheng and/or PrepLounge)
  • Use elimination process when in doubts
  • Practice graph interpretation
  • Practice quick reading and quick understanding of key information only
  • Remember there are no penalties in the test, so you should try to answer all the questions

The best practice you can have is doing the higher number of tests you can find online; besides the 3 on McKinsey website, you should find additional 3-5 that you can buy online (or simply ask an expert if they can provide them and book a session – many of us have samples available. In this way you would get both the tests and a session).

You can also find some additional tips from Vlad at the following link:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/i-have-my-mckinsey-pst-in-another-3-days-i-have-a-basic-idea-of-the-test-please-anyone-help-me-how-to-crack-it-with-only-3-days-preparation-609#a1226

Best,

Francesco

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Paola on Jun 14, 2017

Hi Francesco! Thank you for your suggestions, I really appreciate it.

Originally answered question:

McKinsey Problem Solving Test

Anonymous updated the answer on Jun 13, 2017

Hi Paola,

First of all, congrats on the invitation and best of luck in the process. A few of my friends have had experience with the PST and I'd be happy to share a brief overview of their suggestions / best practices.

In short, since the PST tests business acumen along with math abilities, it is important to practice both of these areas. The main difficulty with these tests happens to be the fact that you will not have enough time to comfortably answer each question. Therefore, it is important to be agile and precise.

In terms of tips and tricks, I would suggest the following websites (see below) to go through some sample questions. At the same time, it is always great to work on your mental math (PrepLounge offers some good resources for this). *Note: I've included GMAT and GRE questions because these are challenging and, in some ways, reflect the mental process you'll need to solve the PST math problems.*

https://mconsultingprep.com/problem-solving-test/

http://www.majortests.com/gre/problem_solving.php

http://www.majortests.com/gmat/data_sufficiency_mark.php

If there is anything else you need help on, please feel free to reach out.

Mucho éxito!

Carlos

(edited)

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Paola on Jun 14, 2017

Gracias Carlos! I've been practicing my mental math skills and I've reviewed McKinsey's online sample tests. I would take a look at the other resources you've recommended. Thank you again!

(edited)

Originally answered question:

McKinsey PST

Paul
Expert
replied on Aug 12, 2018
Project Leader at BCG - 5 years consulting experience|Coached 300+ candidates |Interviewer at BCG | 2nd Session free

Hi,

for many people using the GMAT test books was helpful.

I would reccomend you use Manhattan GMAT books about the quantitative part of the test - in terms of general preparation

Another suggestion that I would give you is to really make the best out of the tests you do by

1) Re-analyzing them in deep, understanding the errors, categorizing the possible questions type and patterns - trust me it seems obvious but it is a huge effort to go back and look carefully - you can gain a lot from that if you really become "structured" about it

2) Maybe you already have explored - but just googling you find many resources that teach you basic strategies for the different type of questions of PST

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Paolo

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Originally answered question:

Action Plan to prepare for the McKinsey PST

Nicolas
Skilled
replied on Jul 22, 2018

I found the Fless video sessions on Youtube very helpful

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Alberto replied on Oct 22, 2017
Senior analyst @McKinsey (2+ years experience). Looking for solid partners, with a focus on candidate led cases

I also practiced a lot with GMAT preparation books, and it worked!

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Carlos
Expert
replied on May 24, 2017
Former McK Associate Partner / Interviewed 200+ candidates at McK / Specialist McK interviews

Hi

3 things in this order

- do all the tests in McK web page

- do tests in BCG web page (it is somehow similar)

- practice GMAT exercises - math part obviously:)

with this is more than enough!

cheers

Carlos

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Shree on May 24, 2017

Thank You very much Carlos.. I'll prepare my best from these sites and solve as many tests as possible..

Maria replied on Jun 27, 2017

Hi Shree

i have my exam tomorrow :O how did yours went?? any tips? remember what were the topics on the cases??

thank you!! :D

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Ignacio gave the best answer

Ignacio

MIT MBA | Bain & Co | Ex-Google | 4+ year coaching experience
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