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!

19 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending

Originally answered:

McKinsey PST

Best Answer
Anonymous replied on Jan 25, 2017

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.

Vlad
Expert
updated his answer on May 24, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

365 Meetings

5,386 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

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)

Thank you very much Vlad :) I'll do as you said. Hope I'll crack it...cheers..!!! — Shree on May 24, 2017

Astrid replied on Jul 20, 2018
PrepLounge Community & Marketing Manager
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.

Originally answered:

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!

Originally answered:

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,

Thank you. That was helpful — Maua on May 08, 2018

Originally answered:

McKinsey Problem Solving Test

Francesco
Content Creator
replied on Jun 14, 2017
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (2.500+) | 1.100+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 6+ Years Coaching Experience
Book a coaching with Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

2,592 Meetings

2,828 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / 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

Hi Francesco! Thank you for your suggestions, I really appreciate it. — Paola on Jun 14, 2017

Originally answered:

McKinsey Problem Solving Test

Carlos
Expert
updated his answer on Jun 13, 2017
(On a break) Deloitte S&O BA l Certified by Cornell University for Interview Prep l First timers get 50% off second case
Book a coaching with Carlos

100% Recommendation Rate

23 Meetings

68 Q&A Upvotes

USD 109 / Coaching

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)

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! — Paola on Jun 14, 2017 (edited)

Originally answered:

McKinsey PST

Paul
Expert
replied on Aug 12, 2018
Senior Consultant at BCG - 5 years consulting experience|Coached 300+ candidates |Interviewer at BCG | 2nd Session free
Book a coaching with Paul

100% Recommendation Rate

13 Meetings

30 Q&A Upvotes

USD 139 / Coaching

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

Nicolas replied on Jul 22, 2018

I found the Fless video sessions on Youtube very helpful

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!

Carlos
Expert
replied on May 24, 2017
Former McK / Interviewed 100+ candidates at McK / Specialist McK interviews
Book a coaching with Carlos

2 Meetings

23 Q&A Upvotes

USD 219 / Coaching

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

Thank You very much Carlos.. I'll prepare my best from these sites and solve as many tests as possible.. — Shree on May 24, 2017

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

Related BootCamp article(s)

Which companies are currently using written tests ?

All major firms like McKinsey, BCG and Bain use tests to assess a candidate's analytical skills. However the design of those tests can differ a lot.

How to Read Charts and Data in Case Interviews

We explain and give tips on how to understand and analyze graphs, charts and data presented by interviewer to candidates in case interviews.

Quiz

Written tests such as the PSTs

Top tier consulting firms have started using PSTs to test for in-depth analytical skills needed to be successful as a consultant on a day-to-day basis.

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

Related case(s)

McKinsey Questions

Solved 33.2k times
4.5 5 835
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you a ... Open whole case