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Chances are that if you are reading this, you are getting set to take the BCG Potential test and are looking for ways to prepare. For the majority of people, not knowing what to expect can leave your feeling unprepared and less confident.  While it impossible for you to know the exact case interview or questions in advance, there are ways that you can prepare and practice your skills prior to taking the test.

What Is the BCG Potential Test? 

The BCG Potential test is a skills test that measures your data assessment, numerical computation, and logical thinking skills. The test is a problem-solving test which uses a combination of math computation, text comprehension, data interpretation, and logical thinking assessments to collect comparable information. 

The Purpose of the BCG Potential Test 

The test is not structured with the purpose of measuring your knowledge but rather your skills. The test is also a productive and cost-effective way to collect directly comparable information and narrow down the pool of successful applicants that will make it to the first round of interviews. There are a number of variables that influence the results of case interviews that make direct comparisons difficult. With the BCG test, data collected is directly comparable as the test applicants are all completing the same test.


The test is also a cost-effective alternative to having to arrange interviews in person on such a large scale. The information collected makes it easier to narrow down the successful applicants who are then invited to another round of interviews. For this reason, as one of the first steps in its recruiting practice, BCG has also applied the logic and reasoning test to narrow down successful applicants.  

The BCG Potential Test Format

There are two formats of the BCG Test. In most countries the test is taken online, there is, however, some reported cases where the candidate was required to complete a paper version of the test at an agreed location.  It is important that you check out and confirm the format of your test prior to preparation and planning. Reach out to your local office and speak to their HR department to confirm your test details.

Online Testing Material and Content Notes

  • The BCG online test uses one case study
  • There are a series of documents that accompany the case study which you will have access to during the course of the test
  • These documents are a mix of tables, text and, graphs and, contain the information on which the test questions will be based
  • Initially, at the start of the test, you will only get access to one or two of these documents, while the rest will only be accessible as the test progresses
  • There are 45 minutes allocated to complete the 23 test questions

Paper Test Material and Content Notes

  • With the paper test, applicants will be provided a question book and an answer sheet
  • The question book remains the property of BCG and applicants cannot make notes or calculations in the books
  • The paper test has more questions than the online test
  • The test is made up of multiple sections and each section will have a summary description of the case details
  • There are between 3-10 questions for each section
  • There are 50 minutes allocated to answer 53 questions

Using A Calculator During Testing

In most instances, candidates were not allowed to use a calculator during testing. The BCG case interview samples also specify that the use of a calculator is not allowed. However, there have been a few reported cases where candidates who have taken the test in Israel and Greece have been allowed to use a calculator. It is advisable that you confirm details such as test the format and the use of a calculator prior to starting with preparation and planning. Speak to your HR connection at BCG and verify the details and information for testing before putting a preparation plan into place. 

Content and Questions

Questions are grouped into three categories and are made up as follows:


Test

Online Version

Paper Version

Maths Word Problems

40% of questions

45% of questions

Logic - Data interpretations

35% of questions

35% of questions

Logic - Reading comprehension

25%  of questions

20% of questions 

Documents

The test will also include a number of documents which refer to multiple sources of information which are all interrelated. Each of the documents will have information, either in word format, graphs, and charts, or a combination of both. A new document is introduced to the test, every few questions. To resolve the questions you will be required to review the document to find the answers.


You could be required to source the information from a particular document or even a combination of documents. Each question will refer you to the range of documents that will contain the information you will need to answer the questions. This will require you to quickly and efficiently scan the document to find the resources needed to respond the questions. 

Question Categories

As mentioned previously, questions are broken down into three categories. These include:

Math Word Problems

Math word problems are the most common type of question for both versions of the BCG Potential Test. These types of questions are not very complicated and use the basic actions of fundamental arithmetic to determine if you can solve the problems using different formats of information such as text, graphs, and tables to calculate the correct answers. The challenge is to quickly and accurately solve the math problems. The most common errors applicants make on these questions is misunderstanding the actual question or misinterpreting the data provided.

Data interpretation

Logic questions will ask you to assess different statements and to answer by determining whether the statements are true or false. Although the questions do involve some basic math and calculations, they are designed to test your logic and critical reasoning skills. The challenge with this category of questions is to quickly identify the correct statements based on the factual data available.

Reading Comprehension

You will be asked to answer a series of questions based on a paragraph of between 400 to 600 words. The questions will be based on the information in the paragraph. The purpose of this category of questions is to test your ability to be able to quickly read and understand the complicated and lengthy document, similar to what you would encounter as a consultant in the field. With this test, the outcome is based on your interpretation of the text provided.

Scoring System

Firstly it is important to remember that the scoring system varies between sections. In some cases, you get awarded a point for a correct answer. In other instances, you could be awarded up to 3 points. You could also lose points for choosing the incorrect answer.

You score points for the correct answer, no points are allocated for questions not answered and you can lose marks for choosing the incorrect answer. BCG uses this rule is to deter candidates from randomly picking answers when the time is running out. 

Best advice to dealing with the scoring variations is to pay attention at the start of each section on how the scoring will work. This information is specified so it is important that you read clearly and pay attention to this.


Planning For the Test 

There are few tips that will assist you while planning and preparing to take the test. These tips include:


  1. Ensure to read the question carefully. First, read the question and then look for the information to answer it. If you have read the question first, you will have a clearer indication as to what you are looking for in the data.
  2. During the test, it is important to remember to take into consideration the time constraints when answering questions. Being able to quickly scan the information for what you need, as opposed to reading the text, means you can quickly and accurately move through the questions
  3. Take the time to polish up your math skills. There is limited time for you to double check your calculations. Refreshing your skills and preparing for the test will help raise your confidence.
  4. Although you must take into consideration all documents provided,  also pay close attention to graphs and tables. When answering the questions, start with looking at the graphs and tables before moving onto the text. A lot of information is quickly and easily accessible from these materials.
  5. It is important to remember that the answer you choose must be supported by the data that is available. Although there are a number of answers that look like the correct answer, the important thing to remember is that it must tie in with the supporting data. 
  6. Plan your answers. Knowing how you will be answering a question will help you know what to look for in the documents provided. This will mean that you are purposefully scanning the documents. Knowing what to look for will definitely save you time. 
  7. Think before answering and ensure that your answers are clear and organized. One wrong digit can lead to calculation errors. Keep your answers clear and to the point.
  8. Do not waste time. If you cannot answer a question, skip it and move on to the next one. It is better to be able to come back and review the question you skipped than to run out of time and not get to answer the remaining questions. Work out how much time you will need to answer each question and discipline yourself to stick to it. Do not stall, move on!
  9. The key to success in testing is to be prepared. Researching, planning out and thoughtfully preparing yourself for the test will give you the confidence needed to give your best
  10. Practice makes perfect.  Take the time out to enhance your skills. Practicing will also help you identify the skills that you need to work on developing prior to taking the test. 

Additional Preparation Material and Support

There is a number of additional resources available that you can use to practice and prepare for the test. These resources include:

  • Additional manuals, case studies and preparation materials
  • Skills preparation tests
  • Online forums that offer case interview support and partnerships
  • Case interview simulators

Things to Remember 

  • Additional Preparation Material and Support is available. use these resources to polish up your skills and prepare yourself mentally for the testing
  • Practice your skills under interviewing conditions. This will enable you to simulate the testing requirements and prepare you under the same conditions of the actual test
  • Use preparation time to determine which of your skills you need to focus on improving and pay attention to those but, do not ignore the rest of the testing requirements
  • Use all available information and resources to prepare
  • Leave nothing to chance, be prepared, know what to expect and most importantly, be calm and look at each question with a fresh eye

Why Preparation And Planning Is Important

When taking the test, it is in your best interest to set yourself apart right at the start and score high. What you score on the BCG Potential Test is not only used to narrow down your position in the recruiting process but will play a critical part in the evaluation process from start to finish. It is crucial to remember that the data collected is comparable and is used to compare applicants. Your test scores will count as much in the final round of interviews as it does in the first.


Be confident and try your best.  If you have taken time to prepare, your best is all you can give!



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Our case interview method

Our case interview course has been developed by MBB consultants with clear goals in mind - To teach you how to think, act and communicate like a world-class strategy consultant. By going through it you'll become equipped not only to ace the interview process, but also to be a top performer at your firm.

Other methods focus on helping you memorize dozens of frameworks and pre-packed structures. We take a different approach. We believe that distinctive candidates and distinctive consultants don't rely on crutches and that they use their own minds to solve the toughest problems. We're here to help them master the concepts and processes they need to be able to shine. We can support you in:


1) Understanding business fundamentals: Get your mini-MBA with our Marketing, Strategy and Economics, Accounting & Finance modules

2) Learning how to crack a case:  Identify the problem, Build a problem driven structure, Lead the analysis and how to provide recommendations.

3) Shaping your approach with our building blocks: Master profitability analysis, competitive dynamics, pricing discussions, among others. 


Our coaching sessions

Coaching can help the best candidates to pinpoint their development points and turn them into strengths. They will give you self-awareness about your profile and how to best position yourself for that MBB offer. Equally importantly, they will give you the confidence to know you can succeed in such a challenging process.