Bain Online Assessment

The New Bain Online Assessment Guide for 2021: How to Prep

Bain Online Assessment
Liz Kenney
Liz Kenney

Former McKinsey

Good news – you heard from a recruiter at Bain!

Also . . . they want you to take a test.

There’s no need to panic. This is really common practice at consulting firms these days. We’re here to help you prepare for the Bain online assessment.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What the new Bain online assessment looks like,
  • How the Bain online assessment differs from the Bain Multiple Choice Test,
  • How to prepare for the new Bain digital test,
  • What offices have rolled out the Bain assessment,
  • 6 Tips on passing the Bain online assessment,
  • Pitfalls to avoid, and
  • What you can expect in the recruiting process after you pass.

Let’s get started!

The New Bain Online Assessment – What It Looks Like

The Bain Online Assessment is a 75-minute test that can be taken on your own device from anywhere.

The test will examine how you react in certain situations and how you respond to new information.

The Bain digital assessment is powered by Sova assessments and includes 6 sections:

  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
  • Numerical Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Personality Questionnaire
  • Video interview

How the Bain Online Assessment Differs from the Bain Multiple Choice Test

You may have also heard about the Bain Multiple choice test. It is different from the Bain online assessment. Look closely at the email you receive from your Bain recruiter. If it mentions questions on your behavioral preferences as well as assessments on numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning, it’s the Bain online assessment.

If the recruiter’s letter mentions an online, one-way interview and a Multiple Choice Question test, it’s the Bain Multiple Choice test.

Be sure to prepare for the test you are invited to take. If you’re confused, simply reach back out to the recruiter to confirm which test you are taking.

The Bain online assessment is a blended test. That means there will be multiple assessments or questions incorporated into each section of the test. It is not as straightforward as the SAT, for example, where typically a single section focuses on a specific set of knowledge or skills.

The Bain digital assessment will evaluate situational awareness, numerical and verbal aptitude, and logical reasoning. Because of this, it’s good to practice this type of layered, complex assessments.

Review our tips for each section of the test so that you are not caught off guard by the structure or types of questions you’re asked.

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How to Prepare for the Bain Digital Test

Practice makes perfect.

Many of the questions will look and feel like GMAT questions. We’ve found that the more often you’ve seen various types of questions, the easier it will be to recognize them during the test.

But if you’ve already aced the GMAT, that doesn’t mean there’s no need to review. Jump down to our “How to Prepare Using the Sova Assessment” for the types of questions that will be new to you.

How To Prepare Using Practice GMAT Tests

The online case does not cover exactly the same material as the GMAT so this isn’t a perfect study guide, but it’s quite good. Like the GMAT, the Bain digital assessment has multiple question formats. Pay particular attention to questions in the quantitative and integrated reasoning sections. We recommend using these test-prep guides: a GMAT strategy guide, a GMAT prep book focused on quantitative questions, and a primer on Economics. Review your GMAT test practice questions for trends in the types of questions you missed. If your mistakes were careless errors, ask yourself what habits you can develop to limit those types of mistakes in the future. If your mistakes were based on a gap in your understanding of a concept, spend more time studying that concept. Most people simply do practice questions without reviewing their results for how they can study smarter. Don’t do this. Focus on the types of problems you struggle with until you can consistently get them right. The types of questions that we find people consistently struggle with include:
  • Comprehension – using data already provided in follow-on questions,
  • Unconscious bias – letting your own perceptions color your answers rather than using only the data provided, and
  • Math – careless errors or inability to set up the math equations.
Your score on the Bain online assessment will be based on your answers and how quickly you complete the test. So keep moving at a measured pace throughout the assessment.

How To Prepare Using the Sova Assessment

You should prepare for this test by understanding the various types of assessments based on the Sova assessment.

Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

The bain online assessment situational judgement

This part of the Bain digital assessment will evaluate how you react in various scenarios that you may encounter as a consultant.

You will be prompted with text, video, imagery, or animation and asked to select the “Most Effective’ and ‘Least Effective response list provided. The list will typically include three to four options.

Make sure to base your answer on only the information provided in the prompt. Do not allow your biases from previous experiences or assumptions about the situation to guide your answer.

It’s a good idea to review Bain’s values before you take the test. If you are unsure about which multiple-choice answer to choose, consider their values and what someone who shares those values would do.

For example, one of the Bain values you hear about most is: “A Bainee never lets another Bainee fail.” So if there is a question about whether you should help a teammate, the answer should always be “yes” unless there are mitigating circumstances (example: you will miss your own deadline by helping your teammate and another teammate has time to help them.)

Ability

Ability assessments will include information that may be presented as text, a graph, or a pattern and will gauge how quickly and accurately you can answer the ability questions. We describe the ability assessments below.

Numerical Reasoning

numerical reasoning as part of the bain online assessment

Numerical reasoning assessments will evaluate how quickly and accurately you can answer questions about numerical data. These questions are multiple-choice. You must select the best answer from a list of four.

These questions include business math questions like market share, profit margin, and break-even analysis, so you should brush up on your business math skills.

If you are struggling to reach one of the four provided answers, try to eliminate which answers cannot be right. Reducing the consideration set increases your likelihood of selecting the best answer.

Verbal Reasoning

verbal reasoning as part of the bain online assessment

This portion of the test will evaluate how quickly you can draw conclusions based on verbal and written information. You’ll receive a verbal prompt and be asked to select the correct answer from multiple-choice options.

Logical Reasoning

logical reasoning as part of the Bain Online Assessment

The logical test can be difficult, as the answers are not always intuitive.

If this section is late in the assessment, you may have been lulled into a sense of consuming and interpreting information in more traditional ways.

This section is specifically designed to break you out of your typical thought patterns. The questions may ask you to break down and process information in a different way, such as identifying patterns in a visual sequence.

The good news: the logical reasoning section is multiple choice so the answer is right in front of you.

The bad news: if you’re like me, your brain kind of breaks when you get to a question that looks and feels so different from the rest of the test.

This is completely normal!

The best thing you can do is prepare for logic questions ahead of time, so you easily recognize them and aren’t thrown when you get to one.

You can review study guides for the LSAT to learn more about logic questions.

Personality Questionnaire

personality questionnaire as part of the Bain Online Assessment

Your reward after preparing for the logical reasoning assessment is that there are no wrong answers in the personality questionnaire! This part of the Bain digital assessment is meant to help Bain understand your behavioral preferences.

There will be several statements grouped into buckets of four. You will respond to each statement with a rating of from 1 to 5, ranging from “Most Like Me” and Least Like Me”.

The Bain online assessment forces you to rank responses. It does allow you to use the same rating for multiple responses within a group of four.

Again, there is no wrong answer. Choose the rating that best reflects your response or reaction to any statement as it pertains to the workplace environment.

Before taking this test, it’s a good idea to read up on what a day in the life of a consultant looks like. (This article on what consultants do is a good place to start.) It will give you a sense of the behaviors and preferences that help you succeed in the field and consider whether you share them.

Video interview

Bain Online Assessment video interview

Questions have been pre-recorded and will play in the video interview with text. You will have 1 minute to review each question and prepare your response. A minute is really just enough time to think through the structure or key points of your answer.

Prior to the Bain online assessment, you should prepare some anecdotes or insights about yourself.

Once you hear the question, simply jot down some bullets to jog your memory or to help prompt you during your video response. You’ll then have 3 minutes to record your answer.

Before the interview portion of the assessment, you will be given a practice question to test your system. Be sure to test your equipment before starting the assessment so you know that your mic and camera work.

Choose a place to take the Bain online assessment that has a visually clear background and limited background noise. Your friends may love your cool Jaws poster, but it may be distracting in an interview.

Try to relax during your video responses. It’s just weird to have to record answers to interview questions. Pretend like you’re in a normal face to face interview.

Perhaps start your response with an enthusiastic and authentic “What a great question!” or “I’m so glad you asked that.” before you dive into your response. I know I’d get a chuckle out of someone making a transition as if they were speaking with an actual human.

We recommend that you practice the video interview once or twice before you start the Bain digital assessment. You can set up a video or audio recording on your phone and watch your interview to evaluate if your set-up looks professional, and to practice your responses. We have practice questions in our article on Bain Personal Experience Interview.

I hate watching myself on camera or listening to myself, but it may provide you comfort during the actual online assessment, or the ability to improve if you can practice a few times.

What Offices Have Rolled Out the Bain Pre-Screening Assessment

the bain online assessment: which offices have it? 

We’ve confirmed that the Bain online assessment is being used for candidates in the London office.

We’ll add additional offices as we see the Bain online assessment rolling out.

6 Tips on Passing the Bain Online Assessment

1. Practice, Practice, Practice!

The best way to be prepared for the test is to practice and become familiar with the types of questions you’ll see and what the right answers look like for those questions. Brain games will help you prepare for the logical reasoning section of the Bain online assessment. These games will not be the same as those on the test, but they will help you get a sense of what to expect. Free brain training apps include Peak, Mensa Brain Training, and Elevate.

2. Read Up on What Bain’s Looking for In Candidates and the Firm’s Values

Since your characteristics will be compared to those of successful Bain consultants, it doesn’t hurt to have a sense of what that looks like.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

The Bain online assessment is not terribly long, but it is mentally challenging. Make sure you’re rested.

4. Ensure You Have a Quiet Environment

You only have one chance to take this test and succeed, so find a place with no distractions so you can focus on the test.

5. Take Your Time Understanding the Bain Online Assessment Instructions

The time you spend reading the instructions is not limited, so make sure you understand them before you start.

6. Start With a Strategy

Since you’re not timed while reading the instructions, plan your strategy before you start the game. Adjust your strategy as you go, if needed.

Be ready to absorb data from images flashed quickly on the screen. You may need to respond to the images you see with keyboard entries or remember a number you’ll be asked to recall later.

Pitfalls to Avoid on the Bain Online Test

You will not be able to repeat the test once you have started it, so make sure you are ready with the following:

DO set aside enough time to complete the test in one sitting.

DO make sure you have pen and paper next to your computer to take notes or do math.

DON’T skim through the instructions. The time you spend reading the instructions doesn’t count toward your time taking the test. Read the instructions carefully and completely to ensure you don’t make avoidable mistakes. This is probably one of the easiest mistakes you can make but one of the easiest to avoid.
DON’T lose track of time or allow yourself to get stuck on one question. Work methodically through the problems, not rushing, but not taking too much time. You can always go back to difficult questions at the end of the test if you have extra time.

What You Can Expect in the Recruiting Process After You Pass

Whoo-hoo! You passed the test!

Now onto first and final round interviews. You will need to prepare for the Bain case and behavioral interviews. See our links that will help you prepare for these below.

In this article, we’ve covered:

  • What the Bain digital assessment is like,
  • How it is different from Bain’s Multiple Choice Test,
  • The best ways to prepare for the new Bain digital test,
  • Which offices use the Bain digital assessment.
  • 6 Tips to pass the Bain online assessment, and
  • How to avoid mistakes on the Bain digital assessment, and
  • What the rest of the recruiting process is like after you pass.

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about the Bain online assessment, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s coaches will answer them.
Other people prepping for Bain pre-screening tests found the following pages helpful:

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