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Taking a break from case interview prep

Anonymous A asked on Jul 24, 2018 - 7 answers

I want to take a break from case interview prep since I have been exhausted for practicing cases. Do you think it’s a good idea?

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Benjamin updated his answer on Jul 25, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

If you feel you need one, take one !
I trust yoiur motivation and willingness to succeed, so if you feel exhausted you should listen to yourself :

- you will come back to case prep. with even more motivation

- you brain will have digested the work on case study and should be able to work faster when you return

In any case, exceeding 100+ case in a prep. doesn't seem the best idea. You will never be able to cover all the case possibilities you will face on d-day, so I always recommand to focus preparation on quality and not on quantity of cases. How to focus on quality : adjust continously your practicing to the dimensions where you need to improve. This require a good diagnostic and use of specific exercices such a structuring drills instead of running through tons of case studies.

Enjoy your hollidays !




replied on Jul 25, 2018
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You are answering your own question - like in all walks of life, balance is important, and if you feel like you are burning out from cases, then you should definitely take a break for a few days to up to a week to refresh.

Going forward, you should consider why it is that you feel so exhausted. - try find a more balanced schedule where you can prep a couple hours a day without burning out.

replied on Jul 25, 2018
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If you have at your disposal a few weeks/months before your interviews start it is definitely a good move to plot some breaks from cases ibto your schedule. From my experience as a coach I noticed that candidates who solve large quantities of cases without any breaks tend to get very mechanical in their approach and less creative. You can still do fine in this situation if you get to solve pretty standard cases, but the moment you get something very unusual you are in a big trouble. The process of gaining mastery in any field is not a continuous line, it is more like a bunch of stairs, where after getting one level up you have to stop for a while and let your mind incorporate new knowledge.

replied on Jul 24, 2018
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In general, yes, it is a good idea to have a break in order to make your brain "digest" the case resolution process.

Incremental improvement in solving cases become almost negligible once that you have done few dozens of cases. Much more important is to be able to set the right case structure. Keep doing cases with the wrong approach might be detrimental for your performance, so instead of doing new cases it might be a good idea to have a recap of the previous ones, trying to understand what you could have done to solve the cases in a better way. Doing nothing at all and just relaxing for a couple of days is also a good approach (brain needs rest exactly like a muscle).

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replied on Jul 25, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

that depends by your definition of break (how long) and when you have your interview (within days? Weeks? Months?)

In general an appropriate break would not be an issue. However, there is another question you should ask yourself. Why do you feel exhausted?

It is likely you have overdone with the preparation. Which could mean you have not prepared a correct plan for your interview.

One of the most important things in consulting preparation is to organize an appropriate and balanced calendar for your preparation. Doing cases is like going to the gym or learning a language: you cannot expect to be in perfect shape or have prefect knowledge in days or even weeks. Rather, you need a predefined program, from the moment you start until the moment you stop.

So, to answer your question: yes, feel free to take an (appropriate) break, but be sure you have a clear, sustainable program from when you start again, that you can follow from the day you start till your final round, in order to avoid to burn out again.



replied on Jul 24, 2018
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Solving the cases is a muscle memory skill that is quite easy too loose. You can have a break, but you need to:

  • Rewrite all the cases you've done so far to have the clear notes so that you could easily refresh them in your memory
  • Solve a bunch of cases before the interviews again in order to get back in shape. Pay attention to the fast math skills since you will lose 90% of them
  • Think of the partners to practice cases in the future, since if you take a break you'll lose your existing partners


Anonymous B replied on Jul 25, 2018

Yes- take the break. You will be able to get back up to speed fairly quickly.

I did not take a break, my interviews got delayed and i really struggled in the final round because of my mind being so tired and exhausted from doing too many cases.

Try not to do any more than 100-120 cases via prep lounge counting tool.I found after this level i struggled alot.

I wish those with 100+ cases on PrepLounge would read this thread. It's loaded with such truth! — Tyrion Lannister on Jul 25, 2018

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