Should I prepare for PST(and other similar test)

BAIN test BCG Potential Test McKinsey PST

Hi Experts,

I'm currently a Ph.D candiate in Japan, and want to challenge MBB by Advanced Professional Degree Process this year. I am wondering whether I have to prepare for test like Mck PST or something like that.

*For example, in this site, there is no any information about PST

Thank you! and Happy New Year!

on Jan 07, 2021
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on Jan 07, 2021
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Hi there,

I think the other coaches here are a bit confused by your question.

Yes, you need to prepare for tests LIKE the McK PST. These are known as online assessments. The other Answers are talking about Imbellus, which you do have to prepare for. However, if applying to BCG/Bain you will ALSO have to prepare for their online assessments!

Lucky for you the McKinsey PST, BCG Online Test, Bain SOVA test, etc. are all quite similar so you really can leverage the practice tests for all of them in order to prepare:

The best way is to really find online tests / questions and practice. Regardless as to whether is a new or old test, the principles are mostly the same:

  • Time management (need to think quick)
  • Business knowledge/context (incl key formulas)
  • Critical thinking (answers that are very similar to each other...clues "hidden" in the text)
  • Ability to interpret data/charts

Think of it as a merge of a case and the GMAT/GRE.

You need to be clear on some key case-related and account formulas (margin, growth, breakeven, etc) as well as be good at critically understanding the question (including nuance to questions) and parsing through complicated text with a fair amount of distraction.

You'll also need to be good at chart/graph reading.


The (old) McKinsey PST, BCG Online Test, Bain SOVA test, etc. are all quite similar so leverage resources across all of them.



Best Rote Practice

Rocket Blocks:

Best Practice Strategy

1) Read the Economist (especially the daily graph and Financial Time frequently

2) Ask case partners to focus particularly on your chart-reading skills (i.e. by providing you with cases with many charts) - Bain and Deloitte cases tend to be chart heavy

Graph Interpretation Tips

1) Read the title - and understand it

2) Read the legends - and understand them

3) Remind yourself of the objective / hypothesis in the case, to see where this might fit

4) Find the differences - where does the line graph plummet or spike? Which column is a lot smaller or bigger than the others? Where does change occur? The differences are what matter

5) Talk outloud while interpreting - first, it helps you think and process your thoughts, second, it lets the interviewer provide guidance and course correct if needed.

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Hi there,

I am helping right now a candidate in the process with the McKinsey Tokyo office. He had to take the Imbellus Test.

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McK substituted the famous PST with Imbellus, a gamified environment which tests the same skills as the PST.

I've developed some strategies on it and can tell you more if needed!



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Dear USK,

McKinsey Japan transitioned from the Problem Solving Test to the Imbellus Problem Solving Game last year.

Let me know if you need help with this test. I have interviewed more than 150 test-takers over the last year that went through this assessment.



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There is no need to prepare for PST anymore.

McKinsey has changed it to Imbellus test, but you may need to check to the recruiter if it applies for APD program in Japan (Tokyo Office).

Yet, no harm to check how imbellus looks like. There is a lot of resources about Imbellus in PrepLounge & internet that you can read/watch. Hope this helps.

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It depends on the office, since some have migrated to Imbellus test.

Worth clarifying with HR, they are there to help.

Hope it helps!



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Ian gave the best answer


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