Hi, I am Kim Tran – the founder of this platform, and a former McKinsey consultant. Years ago, I was in the same position as you – a young candidate looking to join the most prestigious management consulting firm in the world. Fast forward a few months, I passed the PST comfortably, and went through the interview, and became the youngest consultant at my McKinsey office. How did I do it?
The McKinsey Problem-Solving Test is highly predictable…
Here’s the thing about the McKinsey PST – for many years, it has stayed consistent with the same kind of questions, and the same assessment criteria. That means if you can break the test down, you can nail it. And that’s exactly what I did! I went through countless practice tests online – from the easy to the ultra-difficult ones that mimicked the actual tests at McKinsey – and the patterns began to appear. 6 types of questions, and 6 definite ways to deal with each of them. Easy, isn’t it?
… but most people get their training wrong!
One thing I noticed during my training, as well as during my experience of coaching McKinsey candidates after I left the firm, is that most people do not set the right priorities, the right approach to PST prep. They download the practice tests, set the time limit, do the mock test, check the results and many of them start to panic. Where did it all go wrong?
First, focus on getting each question type right…
The McKinsey PST is a timed test, but most people who passed don’t even make it in time! That’s where most candidates make the single biggest mistake – they take timed tests right at the start of their training, then hit face-first into a brick wall. Fast answers mean absolutely nothing if they are not correct! Instead of repeating their mistake, this is where you focus on the logic of the questions, how wrong choices are made, and how to get it right every time.
Then, try to get it fast…
Even at this step, don’t try full-fledged tests yet – quick test-taking need quick reading, quick math, and test-taking hacks. Focus on those areas first – once you’re done, it’s time for the last phase of PST prep. An additional tip for the PST is to guess when you can’t decide the correct answer – there’s no penalty for wrong answers.
Lastly, do the mock tests with the cases
This is where you assemble all the building blocks you have gathered, and perform the mock tests with real time pressure. Once you’ve got the results, look for your weak points – the questions you got wrong, and why you might run short of time. Look back on the previous steps to fix the problem, then try the mock tests again. Rinse and repeat until you can consistently achieve a passing score.