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Online Analytical Tests

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?

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?

(edited)

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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:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/bootcamp.php/interview-first-aid/master-the-problem-solving-test/which-companies-are-currently-using-written-tests

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:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/bootcamp.php/interview-first-aid/master-the-problem-solving-test/guide-to-improving-speed-in-written-tests-such-as-the-pst

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

Best,

Francesco

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:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/bootcamp.php/interview-first-aid/master-the-problem-solving-test/which-companies-are-currently-using-written-tests

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:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/bootcamp.php/interview-first-aid/master-the-problem-solving-test/guide-to-improving-speed-in-written-tests-such-as-the-pst

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

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

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Hi,

I believe McKinsey PST is the hardest one, so I recommend starting and tracking your prep using PST materials. If you have good results with PST, other tests are not a problem.

Thus 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. 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,

Vlad

Hi,

I believe McKinsey PST is the hardest one, so I recommend starting and tracking your prep using PST materials. If you have good results with PST, other tests are not a problem.

Thus 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. 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,

Vlad

(edited)

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You can start with PrepLounge's PST material, it will give you a solid start (and they are rapidly expanding the current offering, so have another look if you haven't recently); obviously the various companies should also have some mock tests on their websites.

Most tests will challenge you to quickly figure out what information is relevant and make you do some quick math. Beyond this, there will indeed be variations (data sufficiency, triangulation/inference, restatement of hypothesis...). All of this are skills you would need in consulting, so hopefully you find the questions fun and exciting :) good luck!

You can start with PrepLounge's PST material, it will give you a solid start (and they are rapidly expanding the current offering, so have another look if you haven't recently); obviously the various companies should also have some mock tests on their websites.

Most tests will challenge you to quickly figure out what information is relevant and make you do some quick math. Beyond this, there will indeed be variations (data sufficiency, triangulation/inference, restatement of hypothesis...). All of this are skills you would need in consulting, so hopefully you find the questions fun and exciting :) good luck!

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!

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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Hello A!

BCG test includes 23 questions and you will be given about 45 minutes to complete it. This means you will have two minutes to solve each question on average.

The BCG online case is very similar to a regular case the only difference being that your direction in the business case is guided by the questions being asked. So it will be similar to an "interviewer-led" case format. There are a lot of resources online for case solving and all you need to do is Google. If you want to sharpen your case skills in general I would recommend Victor Cheng's Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng and his book.

However, since the BCG Online Case is also a single-choice test, you can also use this format to your advantage. You’ll receive+3 points for correct answers and -1 for wrong answers. Currently, the inofficial cut-off score is below 70-75%.

Message me if you have any other specific questions and all the best!

Best,

André

Hello A!

BCG test includes 23 questions and you will be given about 45 minutes to complete it. This means you will have two minutes to solve each question on average.

The BCG online case is very similar to a regular case the only difference being that your direction in the business case is guided by the questions being asked. So it will be similar to an "interviewer-led" case format. There are a lot of resources online for case solving and all you need to do is Google. If you want to sharpen your case skills in general I would recommend Victor Cheng's Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng and his book.

However, since the BCG Online Case is also a single-choice test, you can also use this format to your advantage. You’ll receive+3 points for correct answers and -1 for wrong answers. Currently, the inofficial cut-off score is below 70-75%.

Message me if you have any other specific questions and all the best!

Best,

André

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

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

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