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McKinsey PST and Numeracy Test

Umer asked on Oct 08, 2019 - 3 answers
Interviewing at McKinsey, Bain, Monitor, AT Kearney in the next few months. Please download 'BOTIM' app as I'm in UAE!

1. What is the best way to prepare for McKinsey PST?

A) Is there any book that I can buy that has more practise questions?

B) Is there a detailed solution guide to the Practise papers published by McKinsey?

C) Is there any book that teaches how to approach each type of problem?

2. What is the numeracy test? I have been invited to the PST and Numeracy test. Will the numeracy test also take place at the office or will this be online? How should I prepare for the numeracy test?

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Vlad
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replied on Oct 08, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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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. 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,

Francesco
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replied on Oct 09, 2019
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Hi Umer,

I replied below to your questions:

  • 1A) You should be able to find several PST online to practice
  • 1B) Yes, you can find them together with the McK PST practice tests
  • 1C) Some websites include guides on how to prepare for the PST (PrepLounge has one as well)
  • 2) This may differ according to the office, but usually the numerical assessment is a 30-minute test with 18 questions with probability, percentages and other math exercises. The GMAT math part should be good practice for it. I would clarify with HR to be sure this is the format in your case.

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 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

Giulia
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replied on Oct 08, 2019
Associate at McKinsey & Company|3-year working experience in consulting|Peer Leader Consulting at London Business School
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Hi Umer,

from my experience.

1. What I did to preprare the McKinsey test

A/C) Google PST test and practice on as much as you can (I did not use any book, but you could practice with the Intergraded Reasoning of the GMAT, since it basically reflects data analysis as in PST test and you may have some useful explanation there)

B) The PST I did for practising from the McKinsey website all had the solutions, so you should find the solutions there.

2. I didn't take the Numeracy Test in my recruiting process, so I cannot help you on that. I took my PST online, so it may depend from office to office.

Hope it helps! :)

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