How to prepare the Mckinsey PST math part effectively. Welcome comments and tips . Thanks

Math problem McKinsey PST
New answer on Jul 18, 2020
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 08, 2019

Hello, I'm into preparation for Mckinsey PST currenlty. I need help and advise cause the time is so limited and calculation within the given time almost is impossible .

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 09, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of 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. The rumored minimum score is 70%, thus your target score should be 19 or more. 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 - seems in your case that's math, but there may different kind of math mistakes as well, such as simple computation of math derived from graphs). 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. This seems to be the main issue you have with the PST, thus you should dedicate more time to that. 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

Best,

Francesco

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Vlad
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replied on Jun 09, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I suggest the following:

Do one full case from the 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 it quite fast. If lower - it will take a couple of months

If your score is high:

  • Buy Viktor Cheng test prep program - best materials I've seen so far. Works also for express prep.
  • Practice your math. Check exercises on Cheng website. Key things - multiplication of 2 digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo), operations with zeros (Using powers of 10) and division (Learn division table, ie. 1/8 = 12.5%, 8/9 = 88%, Learn up to 8/9)
  • Do the 2nd test and check the score

If your score is low you need fundamental prep:

  • GMAT IR, quant and verbal parts
  • PST-like tests available online

Best,

Vlad

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Serhat
Expert
replied on Jun 09, 2019
BCG | Kellogg MBA |82% Success rate| 450+ case interview| 5+ year consulting | 30+ projects in ~10 countries

Hi There,

I recommend you to study with 2 step target:

First target: Being able to solve those problems

Sample tests at McK website are great resources First, you can try to solve those questions without time constraint. Then check the ones you could not solve if there are any and make sure you understand solutions. At the point that you feel like you can solve those questions without time limit, you can pass to the next step.
.
Second target: Increasing your speed

There is some other sample PST tests available on different websites. You can solve those with a time limit and try to improve your speed.

Hope it helps

Cheers

Serhat

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Anonymous replied on Jul 18, 2020

Dear A,

I would follow the complex approach:

• Practice case interviews.

• Take some GMAT tests .

• Practice calculations

That is how you can prepare to the test problems. And of course you have to remember about time speed, so keep in mind while practicing it.

Best,

André

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Clara
Expert
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 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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