There is only one sure way to do well on a numerical reasoning test and that is to prepare. There is no quick fix, magic wand or pill that can be taken to enhance your reasoning skills – the only thing you can do is prepare, study and then prepare some more. Most top-tier management consulting firms require the numerical reasoning test for all of its qualifying job candidates. Below are some strategies and tips on preparing for this type of exam.
The majority of numerical reasoning tests are timed to check for your speed and demand a sophisticated level of numerical understanding and a grasp of statistics and data synthesis. The numerical reasoning test offered by some of the top-ranked consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain or BCG test speed and power. The numerical speed questions involve basic types of arithmetic, such as division, percentage, ratios and fractions. Quick and accurate calculations must be made in order to score favorably on these types of questions. A calculator cannot be used during the exam; therefore, your computation, calculation and estimation skills must be accurate and quick.
According to hiring firms, such as Booz and AT Kearney, power as well as speed are under examination as a part of these exams. These types of tests require the examinee to interpret the questions in order to logically answer them. The question must be analyzed in order for the answer to be derived, rather than answering through a formulaic calculation. Management consulting firms want to know how well a candidate synthesizes material and derives an accurate answer. The firms are testing much more than simple math skills with the numerical reasoning exam.
You don’t need to have been a math major in college in order to score well on a numerical reasoning test. The tests offered by consulting firms assess more than the basic math skills. Your reasoning skills are under the microscope. Preparing for a consulting numerical is the key to doing well on the exam. Most hiring committees recommend taking a practice exam prior to the real thing in order to see what kind of questions will be asked. There is no way to actually study for the exam, but exposing yourself to the kinds of questions asked is a great way to increase your readiness.
Preparation and study guides are widely available online and offer you an excellent array of sample questions. If you are told by the consulting firm that a numerical reasoning test is required it is okay to ask about the format and the types of questions that will be asked. This will help guide you on how to prepare for the exam. When looking for a practice exam, make sure that it is appropriately designed to test management consulting personnel. Finding a good practice exam or exams makes a big difference in your preparedness, as there are several different kinds of numerical reasoning tests.
There is no substitute for practice and preparedness; getting a feel for the kinds of questions you will face on the exam by taking a practice exam will give you the needed edge. Aside from the practice exams, reviewing and analyzing business articles that detail charts and data can be helpful. Management consulting teams do a lot of data analysis in an effort to find best practices and improve functionality. Another technique for preparing thoroughly is to familiarize yourself with charts, graphs, infographic data and other means of presenting information and work through interpreting the data therein.
Preparation is the key to success when it comes to performing well on the numerical reasoning test for a management consulting career. Begin early and ready yourself ahead of time in order to do well. Cramming the night before may have worked in college, but will not prove to be beneficial in this case.