Numerical/Verbal tests: scoring & speed

McKinsey PST numerical online test numerical reasoning test Online Assessment Online Tests verbal reasoning tests
Recent activity on Nov 06, 2017
2 Answers
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Costas asked on Nov 03, 2017
Currently preparing for McK interview


As I understand it, someone can be invited to the first round of interviews only if he/she achieves high scores at the numerical/verbal tests. So, my questions are the following:

1. How is it decided if we have high enough scores?

2. What if we don't manage to answer all questions? I think that's a common concern among applicants. I know that more practice is needed, but is it better answering all questions and make some faults or spend some extra time giving as many correct answers as possible?

3. Verbal tests can be tricky some times. How can we be more efficient and spend the tme wisely?


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replied on Nov 06, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


1) It depends on the current hiring needs and the position (Intern, analyst, associate). At McKinsey it may vary from 20 to 24 correct answers out of 26 questions. You'll never know the exact number though

2) Since the questions are different it's impossible to check the time after each question. What you can do is to calculate how much time you should ideally have left after every 4-6 questions and memorize this table. In that case, if you feel that you are running out of time you can prioritize questions and skip the hard ones to get back on track.

3) Here are some tips:

  1. Try to find as many people in your country as you can who have done the test. Ask them for the topic, industry, and questions they remember. For example in one of the countries there was a test about airlines and reading a couple of articles / company reports / wikipedia artticles with industry terms could significantly improve performance
  2. Try to practice tests with strict time-management. McKinsey PST from the official web site and all mck and bcg -like tests you can find online
  3. Buy Viktor Cheng test prep program - best materials I've seen so far for Mck PST
  4. Additional resources can be GMAT Integrated reasoning from the official guides and apps if you feel that you are not p[erforming well
  5. Practice your math. Check exercises on Cheng website. Key things - multiplication of 2 digit numbers, operations with zeros and division (Learn division table, ie. 1/8 = 12.5%, 8/9 = 88%, Learn up to 8/9).

Good luck!

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replied on Nov 03, 2017


Usually such tests are screening process for many firms and getting a high score can be challenging.

For your specific query-

1) You can check for the cutoff on google. Sometimes people have posted on different forums and that can serve as benchmark. For few firms 70% is considered as a good score. (percentage can vary)

2) Time is always a crucial factor, answering all questions would be difficult, especially if there is a penalty for a wrong answer. If there is no such penalty, try to read the question and if you are absolutely sure that you can do it then invest your time. If not, guess it.

If there is a penalty, I would advice you to quickly go through all the questions and solve those which you are sure of(assuming you can move around the questions).

In any case- Invest your time if you are certain you can solve it, if you have some hesitation then gauge the time and decide.

3)For verbal test, the idea is to test critical reasoning and sometimes english. I believe there are plenty of practice material which you can look into online.

Practice will only make you stronger.

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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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