Failed Mckinsey PST 2 times

and Bain BCG McKinsey McKinsey PST
New answer on Sep 05, 2020
4 Answers
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Jimmy asked on Jul 23, 2019

Hi all,

During last 3 years, i've failed Mckinsey PST 2 times.

Is there people who indeed pass this test? In both my attempts i felt like i scored at least 16-17 points. 100%

What am i doing wrong? Or i am not just cut out to be a consultant if i can't even pass the test.

Is that possible to score 26/26?

I still want to work there, but not sure whether i will be ever able to pass PST

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Francesco
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replied on Jul 24, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

the rumored score for the PST is at least 70%, thus you should reach at least 19 to be sure to pass. It is not really possible to assess what you are doing wrong without additional information, however below you can find some tips on how work through the PST:

  1. Try to find at least 5-6 practice cases online. There are several available for free, if needed you can purchase additional ones
  2. Do one of the tests immediately to check your score. As the passing score is above 70% and you have 26 questions, your target score should be at least 19 (keep in mind you are likely to score a bit less in the actual test than your average score at home due to time pressure/nervousness). In the first test you are likely to score lower than that - don't worry, that's pretty normal.
  3. Identify the type of questions where you made more mistakes. There could be different reasons why you are doing mistakes and there is probably a predominant type of mistake you are doing (eg slow math or weak critical reasoning). You have to identify the reasons for the mistakes and a way to fix them.
  4. Continue the preparation with the remaining tests. After you have identified the main reason for mistakes, you can continue the preparation with the other tests before the interview - I would allocate them at a regular time distance, with an increase in frequency closer to the day of the test.
  5. Go again through the questions where you did mistakes at regular intervals. Be sure to keep a "failure" spreadsheet, where you report all the mistakes and classify the reason for them each time.

The key areas where you may do mistakes and may need to practice are the following:

  1. Time management. Commit to an amount of time for each question, and go on if you surpass that time. If you do not set discipline, you will end dedicating too much time to some questions (these tests are sometimes structured with questions which are supposed to be skipped and reviewed at the end). If time and test allow, you can then go back to the questions at the end.
  2. Quick math. I would recommend practicing with online tools on a daily base to improve. It is better to allocate a small amount of time daily rather than to practice intensively few days only before the interview
  3. Quick reading. Get a Harvard Business School case or an equivalent long one, give yourself 2 minutes and check how much information you can absorb. Then repeat until you get a sufficient level of accuracy. You can also check speed reading tactics (eg Tim Ferriss ones) and see if they work for you.
  4. Graph interpretation. You need to practice on how to derive quickly insides from graphs. Take some random graphs, give yourself 30 seconds and check if you can get the main insides from them. Then repeat until when you get a sufficient level of accuracy
  5. Critical reasoning. The GMAT critical reasoning section should be a good support as practice

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Vlad
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replied on Jul 24, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

The answer is in your question - you should do more than 17 and less than 26. Probably 20-22.

The key question is - what is your current score with the official PST?

Do one full case from the mck website in 60 min. Check your score. The target score is 22 out of 26 correct. If you do 17-18 correct you have great chances to improve it quite fast. If lower - it will take a couple of months

If your score is high:

  • Buy Victor Cheng test prep program - best materials I've seen so far. Works also for express prep.
  • Practice your math. Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo). Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3). Learn how to work with zeros (E.g.: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Do the 2nd test and check the score

If your score is low you need fundamental prep:

  1. Understand where you have problems (Math, speed, critical reasoning)
  2. Work on them:
  • PST-like tests available online, GMAT IR part with the proper time tracking - for speed and math issues
  • GMAT CR and IR parts - for critical reasoning issues
  • Speed reading if English is not your native language and you need to improve the speed

Best,

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Anonymous replied on Sep 05, 2020

Hi A,

There are no impossible cases, so you just need to practice more and to try your best.

First of all, I would recommend you to find online practice materials and to buy Victor Cheng's book. Try to do the first test as fast as you can to figure out what you did wrong and how you can improve your results.

Practice GMAT with online free exams. It might be hard while getting started, but when you practice enough and finally feel you can manage it, the whole PST challenge will be much easier for you to pass.

Improve your time managment and quick maths skills to become more confident and to be sure you will be able to solve as many questions as possible under limited time conditions.

Best,

Andre

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on Jul 16, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I would practice PST leveraging GMAT.

GMAT unfortunately only gets better with practicing. Good news is that there are many ways of doing so!

There are free exams in the internet that you can use for practice (the one of LBS MBA page, Verits prep, as well as some free trials for courses such as the one of The Economist (https://gmat.economist.com/)

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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