What is the best way to prepare for McKinsey's PST?

McKinsey McKinsey PST PST
Edited on Sep 30, 2020
6 Answers
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Abdulrahman asked on Feb 16, 2019

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Francesco
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updated an answer on Jul 24, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Abdulrahman,

as general practice for the PST, I would recommend the following approach:

  1. Try to find at least 5-6 practice cases online. There are several available for free, if needed you can purchase additional ones
  2. Do one of the tests immediately to check your score. As the passing score is around 70% and you have 26 questions, your target score should be above 18 (keep in mind you are likely to score a bit less in the actual test than your average score at home due to time pressure/nervousness). In the first test you are likely to score lower than that - don't worry, that's pretty normal.
  3. Identify the type of questions where you made more mistakes. There could be different reasons why you are doing mistakes and there is probably a predominant type of mistake you are doing (eg slow math or weak critical reasoning). You have to identify the reasons for the mistakes and a way to fix them.
  4. Continue the preparation with the remaining tests. After you have identified the main reason for mistakes, you can continue the preparation with the other tests before the interview - I would allocate them at a regular time distance, with an increase in frequency closer to the day of the test.
  5. Go again through the questions where you did mistakes at regular intervals. Be sure to keep a "failure" spreadsheet, where you report all the mistakes and classify the reason for them each time.

The key areas where you may do mistakes and may need to practice are the following:

  1. Time management. Commit to an amount of time for each question, and go on if you surpass that time. If you do not set discipline, you will end dedicating too much time to some questions (these tests are sometimes structured with questions which are supposed to be skipped and reviewed at the end). If time and test allow, you can then go back to the questions at the end.
  2. Quick math. I would recommend practicing with online tools on a daily base to improve. It is better to allocate a small amount of time daily rather than to practice intensively few days only before the interview
  3. Quick reading. Get a Harvard Business School case or an equivalent long one, give yourself 2 minutes and check how much information you can absorb. Then repeat until you get a sufficient level of accuracy. You can also check speed reading tactics (eg Tim Ferriss ones) and see if they work for you.
  4. Graph interpretation. You need to practice on how to derive quickly insides from graphs. Take some random graphs, give yourself 30 seconds and check if you can get the main insides from them. Then repeat until when you get a sufficient level of accuracy
  5. Critical reasoning. The GMAT critical reasoning section should be a good support as practice

Hope this helps,

Francesco

(edited)

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Abdulrahman on Feb 18, 2019

Francesco, this is really helpful. Thank you for your extensive comment.

Astrid
Admin
replied on Feb 18, 2019
PrepLounge Head of Product & Marketing

Hi Abdulrahman,

thanks for asking your question on our Consulting Q&A!

Have you already checked out our article: Battle against McKinsey’s PST - 10 Essential Tips to Get Outstanding Results

Besides using practice tests that you can find for free online, you may also want to invest in our PST practice material that we offer on PrepLounge: 

Best of luck for preparation!

Astrid

PrepLounge Community Management

PrepLounge Consulting Q&A Forum

Follow us on: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | twitter 

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Abdulrahman on Feb 18, 2019

Thank you Astrid for the information. I am designing my prep plan, and preplounge is definitely a big part of it. Thank You!

Guennael
Expert
replied on Feb 16, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

1. Use 3 PST tests on McK's website

2. If you don't get ~18 to 20, keep practicing & but material available on the web, including here at PST

3. Keep practicing. It will take time and won't be easy, but will be worth it

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Abdulrahman on Feb 18, 2019

Thank you for the encouragement Guennael. I appreciate it!

Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 30, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I struggled with the same thing.

I would strongly recomment you practice it with the Integrated Reasoning part of the GMAT exam.

There are free exams in the internet that you can use for practice (the one of LBS MBA page, Verits prep, as well as some free trials for courses such as the one of The Economist (https://gmat.economist.com/)

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous replied on Sep 12, 2020

Dear Abdulrahman!

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

• Buy Viktor Cheng test prep program - the best materials I've seen so far.

• Practice your math.

You can find some guidance on PrepLounge:

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

Also, you can find a good number of PST tests online

Best,

André

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 17, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

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 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. Check exercises on Cheng website. Key things - multiplication of 2 digit numbers, operations with zeros and division (Learn division table, ie. 1/8 = 12.5%, 8/9 = 88%, Learn up to 8/9)
  • Do the 2nd test and check the score

If your score is low you need fundamental prep:

  • GMAT IR, quant and verbal parts
  • PST-like tests available online

Best,

Vlad

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Abdulrahman on Feb 18, 2019

Thank you for the awesome insider tips Vlad! I appreciate your input.

Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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