PST test

McKinsey PST
Recent activity on Sep 22, 2018
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 20, 2018

I just read on here that the PST is in a written form.

But how does it work?You go to the office where you applied (or the closest one where you are currently living) and:

a) do you take the PST on your own in a room the office assigned to you?

b) how do they count the passing time? Will there be someone checking on me while I am doing it or they will enter into the room when the time is over?

c) is it in ENGLISH or local language?

What can you recommend me about it? I am exremely afraid to take it: I never really performed well on SAT and GMAT like tests...

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Anonymous replied on Sep 20, 2018

Hey there,

The specifics of test taking really shouldn't matter too much. You will be taking a test, it will last 1 hr, and you'll have pen and paper. In any case, to answer your questions:

a) This entirely depends. If you are the only person applying, you will obviously be taking the test by yourself. However, if you are applying as part of a milkround/fall recruiting, you may be taking the test in a large room with lots of other applicants. Additionally, the test could also be done on campus for campus recruiting.

b) Usually there will be a clock in the room. You can also bring a watch (not a smart watch). As for whether someone will be checking in on you, probably but you won't necessarily have someone in the room with you the whole time. If you are thinking whether you can cheat, don't.

c) PST is in English, and I haven't heard of it being translated into a different language. However, for some offices where level of English is generally very low (e.g. Japan), this might be the case.

To Prep, you should start with practicing with the official tests on the McKinsey Website (they have 3). Additionally there are a number of (free and paid) practice tests online. PrepLounge is also offerring a new set of practice materials which might be worth investing in. I would also recommend:

  • Practicing speed reading
  • Practice quick mental maths
  • Practice being comfortable with estimating/rounding - a lot of questions in PST test your ability to calculate things in an order of magnitude / rounded way, as it would take far too long to do all calculations in a precise way
  • For the verbal questions of the exam, I would recommend practicing with GMAT critical reasoning and reading comprehension questions (many resources for this online + you can buy GMAT practice books)
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Emi updated an answer on Sep 20, 2018
Experienced T2 strategy consultant looking for partners to solve preferably interviewer-led cases.

Hi Anonymous,

To take the PST you will be invited to the office closest to where you currently live.
There, you will meet other people (4 to 20, roughly) who will also be taking the test with you.
An executive will repeat all of the PST instructions and will give you the countdown to start. Your room will usually be provided with a huge clock/alarm where you will clearly be able to see the time/time left. There will be an executive staying in the room in case there's any questions/clarifications. They will announce it when 30 min have passed, and after exactly 60min they will ask you to put your pens down and hand back a copy.
The PST is in English.

What is truly crucial for the PST are the following things:
1) Basic, GMAT-type maths
2) Practicing rapid calculations
3) Having a strategy (no one is expected to complete all 28 qs in the amount of time given)
4) Staying calm and composed as this is above all a test to see how you perform calculations & reasoning under pressure

Hope that helps!


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Content Creator
replied on Sep 20, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


1) It's in the room with a bunch of other candidates

2) Bring your watch. It's good to create and memorize a table with the # of questions / time left

3) English only


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replied on Sep 22, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

PrepLounge is building some very good material to help you prepare; a few of us are actively creating additional material as well -> check it out (no, I do not have any incentive since my own PST Test is not ready - but I sincerely feel like the existing material would be of tremendous help to you already)

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