Online Tests

Free Guide to the BCG Potential test

Overview

The BCG potential test is one of the candidate screening tools that BCG uses to filter their applicant pool down from thousands to hundreds. In the autumn of 2020 each of BCG’s network firms received between 2000 – 5000 job applications for c.20 job openings. In order to filter that number down they used a combination of the BCG Pymetrics game and the BCG potential test.

The purpose of these tests is to assess the skills that will be useful at BCG. Whilst most candidates will have exemplary academic records, strategy consulting firms are looking for a combination of quantitative competence, business acumen and soft skills. The combination of the BCG Pymetrics game and the BCG potential test builds a picture of the candidate for BCG based on these attributes.

 

Test structure

The test is online (with the exception of one or two territories such as Russia) and consists of 23 questions to be answered within 45 minutes.

The layout of the test is the 23 questions down the left hand side of the page and 9 supporting documents on the right hand side of the page. The 9 documents form the ‘case’ to be solved and replicate a real life client engagement. These documents contain all of the information required to answer the 23 questions.

The test is negatively marked, similar to the Oliver Wyman numerical test, with a negative weighting on incorrect answers of -1 and a positive weighting on correct answers of +3.

To pass the BCG potential test you are required to score 48 out of a possible 69, which is 16 correct answers with no incorrect answers. If you answer all of the questions, you will need 18 correct answers to compensate for the -5 received from the 5 incorrect answers.

Note: a condensed version of the test has been used in African offices consisting of 9 questions in 25 minutes

Look and feel of the test

The test is taken on a desktop with a portal type appearance. The screen is split into 1/3 down the left hand side and 2/3’s right hand side.

The left hand side is where the 23 questions are, each question is always available to the candidate and you can flick between questions if you discover new information and want to change your answer as you work through the test. The question you are currently answering is displayed in a simple box with four possible answers and is multiple choice.

The right hand side is where the supporting documents are displayed and you can flick between the documents using a tab bar at the top. Each document contains a mixture of text information and graphs that you are required to read, understand and generate insights from in order to answer the questions on the left hand side.

Challenges

There are three challenges that we commonly see when candidates take the BCG potential test:

  • Going back and forth between documents

  • Time pressure (2 minutes per question)

  • Calculations

The first challenge is always an issue as questions span across more than one supporting document so analysis can be required using more than one of the information sources. Flicking between documents is time expensive and confusing. To reduce the amount of moving between documents, organised and concise note taking is important. Being able to apply analysis from previous questions to current questions will save both valuable time and increase accuracy in the BCG potential test.

Time pressure exists in all online assessments and becomes increasingly challenging towards the end of the test as time becomes increasingly short. Due to the score weighting on the test (+3 for correct, -1 for incorrect) it is best to stay disciplined and move on to the next question once you have spent the recommended 2 minutes on a question, especially if you are still uncertain how to reach the answer. By working on the questions you are most confident, you can bank as many correct answers as possible, as quickly as possible, before returning to the ones you skipped. Remember, as you only need 16 correct answers to pass, you can skip up to 7 questions and still pass the test.

Calculations are an important part of any online test and are of course much simpler with a calculator. However being comfortable with simple formulas such as percentages, currency conversions etc. will improve your chances of passing the BCG potential test greatly. The quicker you are at performing these types of calculations the more time you will create for yourself overall, allowing more time to answer the more difficult questions that require more cognitive thinking.

 

Question types

The BCG potential test consists of three types of questions:

  • Math problems

  • Mathematical logic

  • Verbal logic

Math problems are the most common question in the BCG potential test and are similar to most numerical reasoning tests used by other graduate hiring companies. The questions consist of a dataset (e.g. graph, table or text summary) and the candidate is required to identify the key numbers and perform a calculation to find the right answer.

Mathematical logic questions require candidates to interpret data in order to confirm or reject a list of statements such as ‘Company A will have higher revenues than company B within 5 years’. The data will be sufficient to calculate the projected revenues for both companies and therefore take a view on whether the statement is true or false.

Verbal logic questions involve the understanding of 400-600 words and deciding whether the point of view or summary it gives supports or contradicts the given statements. This is similar to the mathematical logic but aimed at testing your ability to understand written documents, similar to the business materials you will have to digest as a consultant.

How to prepare

The number one way to ensure that you pass the BCG potential test is with practice. By practising, you will achieve four benefits that enable you to overcome the three challenges outlined above:

Understanding the ask – The types of questions do not vary but the exact question will. This means that through practice you can learn to recognise the type of question and understand the ask associated with it. This will reduce the amount of time spent trying to understand the question when you come to take the test.

Navigating the test - The structure of the online test does not change from test to test but the case that you are required to answer will. Being able to identify and retrieve the right information per question is important and reducing the time it takes you to find the necessary information will increase both the speed and accuracy of your answers. Practising gives you the opportunity to develop a note taking method that works best for you and reduces the amount of time spent flicking between documents.

Fast maths – Mathematical calculations are required throughout the BCG potential test with the exception of the verbal logic questions. Being able to identify the right calculation and compute the calculation is critical. By practicing these types of questions in detail, the ability to select the right calculation and compute it becomes easier.

Reduced time pressure – All of the elements above contribute to reducing the amount of time taken to answer the 23 questions of the BCG potential test. The quicker that you can answer each question the less time it will take to answer the questions you recognise and are comfortable with. This creates more time to spend on the questions that are harder and require more time to answer increasing the probability of a correct answer and improving your overall score.

Examples

Below are three examples of the questions you will be asked in the BCG potential test, one from each question type.

Q1. What was the average number of pitches won per sales rep in France last year?

a) 4

b) 12

c) 14

d) 6

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Answer:

 

a) 4

There were 43 pitches done with a 28% success rate between 3 sales representatives. 43 multiplied by 0.28 all divided by 3 equals 4.

Q2. Which of the following statements is NOT true based on the information below?

 

a) The UK’s low forecasted growth compared to strong sales in the year-to-date is due to the UK market dynamics that causes more sales to occur in the first half of the year

 

b) The US is currently the largest market for Hypersquare Ltd.

 

c) Germany is forecast to achieve 16 license sales this year

 

d) 11% growth in France has been driven by the decision to not go ahead with expected legislation

Answer: 

 

d) 11% growth in France has been driven by the decision to not go ahead with expected legislation

There is forecasted growth in France of 11% AND there has been a decision not to go ahead with expected legislation however there is no evidence to suggest that this decision is the reason for the increase in sales. It is certainly a point that would warrant further investigation but the information provided does not support the statement.

Q3. Which of the following statements is supported by the information below?

a) Hypersquare inc. operates in a regulated market in all of the countries it has operations

b) There may be an opportunity for Hypersquare to be acquired by one of it’s customers

c) 8% of customers are located in the US

d) Revenue grew 6% in FY21

Answer: 

 

b) There may be an opportunity for Hypersquare to be acquired by one of it’s customers

The movement of retail banks (Hypersquare's customers) to either build or acquire payment gateway technology signals an opportunity for Hypersquare to be acquired as they are owners of such technology. 

If you are preparing for upcoming consulting interviews and interview questions then check out our other online resources:

 

Market sizing

Case interviews

Psychometric games

Numerical reasoning

Resume and cover letter templates

Grad Interview Prep

_____________________________

Forum

Members

Courses

Jobs

Privacy

Contact us

Social Links

_____________________________

  • Facebook
  • YouTube

©2021 Grad Interview Prep.