How can I best prepare for my PST within two weeks?

math McKinsey PST
Edited on Jul 31, 2020
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 21, 2019

Hello, I have my PST in exactly two weeks and needless to say I have freaked out. I would like advice on how best to chisel my math skills, I am good at it but horrifyingly slow. Any advice on what tools to utilise, any must know tricks and videos I must watch would be very beneficial.

Thankyou!

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Francesco
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replied on Nov 22, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

as general practice for the PST, I would recommend the following approach:

  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 around 70% and you have 26 questions, your target score should be above 18 (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 that 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 Nov 21, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi!

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 - the best materials I've seen so far. It 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 updated the answer on Jul 31, 2020

Dear A,

For PST Practice you can find some guidance on PrepLounge https://www.preplounge.com/en/bootcamp.php/interview-first-aid/master-the-problem-solving-test/guide-to-improving-speed-in-written-tests-such-as-the-pst

To McKinsey PST you can approach with:
• Buying Viktor Cheng test prep program - best materials I've seen so far.
• Practicing your math.
• Do the 2nd test and check the score

Also you can find a good number of PST test online for free.

And also some guides here https://www.caseinterview.com/mckinsey-problem-solving-test

and here https://igotanoffer.com/pages/mckinsey-problem-solving-test

For time restraints you can find good guidance here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/bootcamp.php/interview-first-aid/master-the-problem-solving-test/guide-to-improving-speed-in-written-tests-such-as-the-pst

If you need any further help with securing your future interview, feel free to reach me out.

Best,
André

(edited)

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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 wuold suggest you to practice with 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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