# McKinsey Problem Solving Test Top Tips

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1 McKinsey Problem Solving Test Top Tips

5 4 Question 1 Absorbing. In the question you should circle the words reason for the teams work in preparing. Then when you speed-read the text you are able to circle the words In preparation, which begin a sentence contained in the second paragraph. The key information needed to answer this question is in this sentence. Question 2 Absorbing. Circle Innovation Capital and skim over the response options. You should immediately see that they refer to different types of spending by organizations. Then when you speed-read the text you are able to circle three types of Innovation Capital at the beginning of the third paragraph. The key information needed to answer this question is in this paragraph. Question 3 Absorbing. Words to circle: can be concluded and Exhibit 1. Skim the responses to note that they refer to the three types of Innovation Capital. You will need to group the categories in Exhibit 1 into the three types of Innovation Capital using the paragraph you used to solve Question 2. Solving. Approximate and Eliminate. For A, sum the last three categories to make 3.3. Note that 1.5 is a little less than half of this, so this looks promising circle it. For B, sum the 2nd to 5th categories to make 8.3. This seems quite a bit more than half of 13.8, so you can cross this out. For C, 1.2 is 10% of 12, so it must be less than 10% of 13.8, so you can cross this out. Use a similar strategy to cross out D. Question 4 Absorbing. There are many key words in this question: Innovation Capital, Exhibit 1, 5% per year, MINIMUM and Human Capital, more than half, ten years. Solving. Approximate and Eliminate. This is a calculation and it s not easy but you can approximate. First you could estimate that 5% growth over 10 years totals 50% plus an extra margin for compounding, so say 60% total. So total Innovation Capital would grow by 60% to about \$22tn. Therefore, you are aiming to hit at least half of this, or around \$11tn. Remember from Question 3 that total Human Capital is \$3.3tn? Now you can look at each response option and use the same estimation method. For Option A, 10% growth over 10 years is 100% plus a bigger extra margin for compounding, say 150% total. So

6 5 \$3.3tn in Human Capital would increase by 150% to about \$8tn nowhere near \$11tn so you can cross this option out! For Option B 15% growth over 10 years is 150% plus an even bigger compounding margin, say 250%. So \$3.3tn increasing by 250% is more than \$11tn. Circle this response. Managing time. If this question looks really hard to you, why not skip it and come back later if you have time? If you give it a go, clearly mark the space you use for your calculation, so you don t get it muddled with other notes. Also, you might be tempted to perform the calculation for responses C and D to be absolutely sure, but is it worth the time? Question 5 Absorbing. Circle: if true, BEST, Exhibit 2, important. Look at Exhibit 2 and note that most of the countries shadings are dominated by Productivity. Solving. Remember that the over-arching topic here is Innovation. And Exhibit 2 is really about Productivity. What s the only response that mentions both of these? Circle it. Question 6 Absorbing. Circle: TRUE, Exhibit 2. Scan the responses and note that they all refer to growth in Hours or in Productivity. Solving. Decide your approach before launching in. How is growth in Hours or Productivity determined from Exhibit 2? By multiplying the overall growth on the top of the bars by the proportions inside the bars. Now you need to decide which option is true. Option A seems hard to verify so leave it for now; it also looks different from the other three. Looking at Option B, you can note that Slovenia has the highest overall growth, and is second only to Germany on the proportion of growth due to productivity. But Germany has very low overall growth, so this is enough to conclude that Slovenia has the highest growth due to Productivity. Circle it. What next? Try to complete questions 1-6 again, but try to employ the techniques above. Give yourself about 15 minutes to complete the first 6 questions. Then answer questions 7-10 on your own using the techniques explained above. Give yourself 8-10 minutes for the 4 questions. When finished, compare how you approached these questions to the guidance on the next page.

7 6 Question 7 Absorbing. Circle Germany s, Spain s, growth due to Productivity. Scan the responses and look how far apart they are from each other. Solving. Decide an approach before launching in. Given the response options, do you need to use exact figures? Managing time. Decide where to write your calculations and make sure it is not muddled with other notes. Question 8 Absorbing. Circle: LEAST, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Exhibit 2. LEAST suggests that you will have to read all answer choices and then make a judgment. Question 9 Absorbing. Circle: LEAST, Innovation Capital, ipod. Scan the responses. Is this similar to a previous question? Question 10 Absorbing. What are the key words in this question and where can you find the most relevant information? Solving. If you can t immediately identify the best response, consider eliminating. How did you do? We hope you found our Top Tips useful. You may want to try to use them to complete the rest of Practice Test A. Give yourself about minutes to try the rest of the questions. Good luck!

8 McKinsey Problem Solving Test September

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