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Is the GMAT Math the correct math to start studing

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replied on 03/13/2018
Incoming Mck, Interviews: McK, Strategy&, L.E.K, OC&C, Parthenon-EY)

That’s an interesting question and I guess it depends what you’re practicing for. Maths comes up a lot during the consulting recruitment process but in different formats. For instance, it could be as part of pre-interview numerical/data reasoning test or in the case interview. Improving your general mental maths can be beneficial for all aspects of the interview process. However, I would recommend taking a more tailored approach for each type too.

For general mental maths:

There are many ways you can improve your mental maths. This will be beneficial both for the entrance tests and for case studies. Some of the methods I found to be most beneficial include:

  1. Using the Victor Cheng ( mental maths tool
  2. Integrate basic arithmetic into daily living e.g when shopping
  3. Doing a daily Sudoku puzzle

For entry tests:

Each company has their own style of test, it’s important to understand what the test is like before you start preparing for it.

  1. Research the type test your particular firm gives to candidates (use websites such as Glassdoor, Studentroom, Reddit, etc).
  2. Find suitable practice papers (websites such as
  3. Practice, practice, practice!

For case studies:

Case study math refers to the calculations you are likely to encounter during a case interview. In order to prepare, I recommend the following:

  1. Go through a case study book and complete all the math style questions. Case study math questions generally follow a similar style and as a result, with practice, it can easily be mastered (there are many case books available online but feel free to get in contact if you would like me to send over some material)
  2. Do market estimation/market sizing types case study questions. Market sizing case study questions are math heavy.
  3. Create a list of 10 sums per day such as 639 divided by 14 and solve them (make sure to work out the answer without a calculator and remember to round!)


Vlad replied on 03/13/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


If you are talking about PST, I recommend the following approach:

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

If you want to improve your math skills for cases or tests in general:

1) Fast math - train, train, and train again

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

2) Critical Reasoning

  • GMAT test CR and IR parts (Official guide and Manhattan prep)
  • Mckinsey practice tests
  • PST like tests from the web

3) Working with tables and graphs and deriving conclusions

  • Study "Say it with Charts" book
  • Check all available MBB presentations and publications. Practice to derive conclusions and check yourself with the actual ones from the article/presentation
  • GMAT IR part (Official guide and Manhattan prep)
  • Learn basic statistics (Any GMAT or MBA prep guides)

4) Case math

  • Practice common market sizing topics (Airport passenger flow, real estate volumes, subway passenger flows, car usage, etc.). You should become comfortable with making assumptions
  • Learn key financial topics (P&L and balance sheet and how to analyze them, Basic Valuation principles via NPV and comps) and case tips (e.g. Rule of 72, Perpetuity)

Good luck with your interviews!


Bruno replied on 03/13/2018
McKinsey Associate | London Business School consulting coach, with 300+ mock interviews | 100% recommendation rate!

Hey Shruti,

It depends on what you're preparing for: if it's for the pre-interview tests (e.g., PST, BCG online test, etc) that it can work as a proxy.

On the other hand, ff you are already preparing for the actual interviews, I found the math from GMAT to be much more difficult than the actual math in interviews (so I would say it's not really the best use of your time)



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