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Online Analytical Tests

Someone asked on Mar 17, 2017 - 3 answers

Many consultancies have these online tests you have to do as first part of the application process. What are these tests like and how can I prepare for them?


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Francesco updated his answer on Mar 22, 2017
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Hi Anonymous,

the type of tests depend on the company you are interviewing with. The most common used I am aware of are:

  • McKinsey: PST, or more recently SHL
  • BCG: Potential test, or sometimes SHL + a logic test based on traffic lights color (two or more traffic lights are connected by codes; each code change a color of the traffic light; one of the code is broken and you have to understand which is the broken one)
  • Bain: Not common in Europe, sometimes present in other countries. In Russia and Australia: written test; in America: GMAT style test
  • Oliver Wyman and OC&C: GMAT style math test, sometimes in person, sometimes online

PrepLounge also provided a pretty complete list here:


Each one has its own criteria, and in general the best kind of preparation is to prepare in advance on the same type of test – for all of them you should be able to find free and paid version online. Preparing just on GMAT for - say - McKinsey PST is not recommended, you would not cover all the aspects of the test.

Some general tips on analytical tests that can be useful are:

  • Commit to a time for each question, and go on if you surpass that time. If you do not set discipline, you will end eating too much time for some questions (these tests sometimes are actually structured to have some questions it is better to skip and review at the end). If time and test allows, you can then go back to the questions at the end.
  • Practice a lot of math before – it is normally a key component of all the tests
  • Use elimination process when in doubts in multiple choice question
  • For PST, Potential test and Written test: Practice graph interpretation
  • For PST, Potential test and Written test: Practice quick reading and quick understading of key information only

Finally, it is important you understand in advance if you get penalized for wrong answers (eg Potential Test) or not (eg PST), that may change your strategy.

You can also find a pretty comprehensive list of tips here:


Hope this helps; if you have any specific questions on one of the mentioned tests feel free to ask.




Anonymous C replied on Mar 22, 2017

Hey! There’s a similar online test to Ravens called Athena. The process is the same as Ravens (time limit, you can skip questions and answer them later etc), but it tests your numerical abilities. You have to answer MCQs and also put in the numbers you calculated for some questions. The questions cover a wide range of business topics and you can use a calculator. You gotta still work on your speed of calculating and reducing your steps as Francesco mentioned, because the time is very limited

Anonymous B replied on Mar 21, 2017

To share my experience, I know about a test called Raven’s test that I had to complete at home as the first step of the interview process at some firms (in Germany). Usually they give you a time frame within you have to finish the test, but you have to do the test in one go and cannot save results and continue later. So the Raven’s tests logical abilities and you have to find missing patterns in matrices. First you get example questions that do not count and just show you how it works. The actual test consists of 23 matrices and their difficulty increases with time (you have 45 minutes). You can go back to questions and change answers. There are some websites where you can practise these tests, for example here https://www.123test.com/logical-reasoning-test . Good luck!

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