Bain Online Assessment Guide for 2024: How to Prep


Bain Online Assessment
Picture of Liz Kenney
Liz Kenney

Former McKinsey

Good news – you heard from a recruiter at Bain!

Also . . . they want you to take an online assessment.

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.

The assessment takes different forms in different offices, but ultimately evaluates candidates on the same criteria as interviews: problem-solving, leadership, ability to deliver results, and passion.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • What the Bain online assessments looks like
  • How to prepare for the Bain online test
  • The Bain video interview, another type of online assessment
  • What offices have rolled out the Bain assessments
  • 6 tips on passing the Bain online test
  • Pitfalls to avoid
  • What you can expect in the recruiting process after you pass

Let’s get started!


The Bain Online Assessment – What It Looks Like

Major consulting firms leverage online assessments to gain a deeper perspective on candidates than they get from resumes. Bain is known for strong local cultures in each of its offices, so it’s not too surprising that local offices take varied approaches to online assessments.

The primary online assessment offered by Bain is the Sova assessment. We’ve confirmed that the Sova assessment is being given to candidates in the London office. Bain says that their European and Middle East offices mainly use this test.

The Amsterdam office uses the TestGorilla assessment.

The Bain Pymetrics test is used in Germany.

The San Francisco office uses the Bain video interview.

The fact that Bain has multiple different online tests can be confusing, so we’ll go through each one. We recommend asking your Bain recruiter if you’re not sure which one you’ve been asked to take.

Bain Online Assessment – the Sova Assessment

This Bain online assessment, also called the Bain online test, is a 75-minute test that can be taken on your own device from anywhere. The test may not set a time limit for questions or sections, but you should know that your speed impacts your score.

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

The test is powered by Sova assessments and includes 6 sections:

  • Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
  • Numerical Reasoning
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Personality Questionnaire
  • Video interview
This Bain online test 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 online 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 you aren’t caught off guard by the structure or types of questions you’re asked.


Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 89.6% of our clients pass the case interview.

How to Prepare for the Bain Online Assessment – Sova

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 test 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 guidea 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
  • Math – careless errors or inability to set up the math equations

Your score on the Bain online test 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 by familiarizing yourself with the various types of questions in the Sova assessment.

Situational Judgement Test (SJT)

The bain online assessment situational judgement

This part of the Bain online test 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 in the list provided. The list will typically include 3-4 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. Candidates will receive higher scores in this section if their answers correspond to Bain’s values.

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 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 identify one of the 4 provided answers as correct, try to eliminate answers that cannot be right. Reducing the consideration set increases your likelihood of selecting the best answer.

You are allowed to use a calculator on these tests, so practice these types of problems to get familiar with with them and to improve your speed. Don’t do the math by hand like you would in a case interview.

There are typically 15 questions in this section.

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.

Most responses in this section will be True, False, or Cannot Say. Be sure to answer the question based only on the information provided. Don’t include outside information or your own opinion. That’s a trap!

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 questions in this section will show you object that appear in a sequence, and you will be asked which of the optional answers fits the pattern.

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. Your score will be impacted by how quickly you answer the question, so if you’re stuck for a while, it’s probably best to shake that one off and move on!

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

The personality questionnaire is meant to help Bain understand your behavioral preferences. The questions may come in 2 forms:

Personal preference rankings: There will be several statements grouped into buckets of 4. You’ll be asked to respond to each statement with a rating from 1 to 5, ranging from “Most Like Me” to “Least Like Me.” The Bain online test forces you to rank responses. It does allow you to use the same rating for multiple responses within a group.

True/False/Cannot Say: You may be shown workplace scenarios that measure strengths, weaknesses behaviors, and characteristics. Your response will include True/False/Cannnot Say + a rating of how strongly you feel about that scenario. Your answers will give an indication of how you might react in workplace situations.


Technically, 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.

The Bain Pymetrics Assessment

The Pymetrics assessment is a set of games used to assess how you learn, process information, and react to different interpersonal situations. Bain suggests that no preparation is required, but we recommend learning a bit more about this assessment before you take it. If nothing else, it will calm your nerves.

While the games appear very simple, they each test for different traits and skills. Some of the things the Pymetrics games test for include: attention to detail, altruism, motivation, risk tolerance, pattern recognition, processing instructions, impulsivity, memory, emotional intelligence, and more.

You could just play the games and see how you do, but the smart thing to do is to learn about the types of games before taking the test, and understand how you’re being evaluated.

BCG also uses the Pymetrics test and we’ve got a full article on it here.

The BCG and Bain Pymetrics tests are very similar, so if you’re applying to both firms, you won’t need to do much extra preparation for your second round of the test. But keep in mind that different firms prioritize different skills, values, and behaviors. For example, BCG may place more value on the speed at which you complete quantitative questions, and Bain may prioritize your willingness to take risks. If you get the same scores, you could still be more appealing to one firm than the other.

The Bain 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 starting the Bain online test, prepare some anecdotes or insights about yourself. Our article on Consulting Behavioral Interviews can help you with that.

Here are some question prior candidates taking the Bain online test have been asked:

  1. Why are you interested in working for Bain?
  2. What are your responsibilities at your current firm? What does success in your position look like? Do you work as part of a team?
  3. What is your proudest accomplishment and what steps did you take to achieve it?
  4. Why are you interested in this office?
  5. Are you interviewing with any other firms? What is your timeline for changing firms?

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 online 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.

Bain Online Assessment – The TestGorilla Assessment

The Bain TestGorilla online assessment is similar to the Sova assessment as it also focuses on numerical, logical, and verbal reasoning sections. The key difference include:

  • TestGorilla does not always have a personality questionnaire or video interview but it does offer
    personality tests like enneagrams.
  • TestGorilla assessments are timed.
  • TestGorilla can create custom assessments for their clients that include pre-recorded videos, essays, uploads, and additional multiple choice questions.

 The TestGorilla assessment is a series of timed exercises, each tailored to assess a different consulting skill. Overall, TestGorilla offers 6 standard types of test:

  • Numerical reasoning (similar to Sova)
  • Abstract reasoning (similar to Sova)
  • Problem-solving: a psychometric exam that asks you to solve problems including things like quick timetable and rate questions. 
  • Critical Thinking:  (tests inductive and deductive reasoning)
  • Attention to detail (visual)
  • Attention to detail (text)

For the Bain online assessment, there will likely be 4 tests, each 8 to 15 minutes in length in a digital format similar to the GMAT.

Here’s a link to more info on the Bain TestGorilla online assessment.

What Offices Have Rolled Out the Bain Online Test & Video Interview

the bain online assessment: which offices have it? 

Table of Bain Online Assessments by Office

We’ll continue to update additional offices as we see the Bain online assessments roll out. For the most accurate information, ask the Bain recruiter in the office you’re applying to.

6 Tips on Passing the Bain Online Assessments

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 ask clarifying questions of your recruiter. You’ll want to know if you need to record a video or any other logistics before you start the test.

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 online assessments are like
  • The best ways to prepare for the new Bain online assessment
  • Which offices use the Bain online assessment
  • 6 Tips to pass the Bain online test
  • How to avoid mistakes on the Bain digital assessment
  • What the rest of the recruiting process is like after you pass

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about the Bain online test, 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:

Help with Consulting Interview Prep

Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for advice on consulting interview prep. My Consulting Offer has helped 89.6% of the people we’ve worked with to get a job in management consulting. We want you to be successful in your consulting interviews too. For example, here is how Lucas was able to get his offer from Bain.


Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 89.6% of our clients pass the case interview.

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