What’s Tested on the New Bain Online Multiple Choice Test? [2020]

Bain online multiple choice test. Image shows a row of 3 people taking tests on computers at a college library.
Rebecca Smith-Allen
Rebecca Smith-Allen

Former McKinsey Engagement Manager

Bain has rolled out new pre-screening steps as part of its recruiting process. The first was the Bain one-way video interview and now there’s the online multiple choice test.

Not every pre-screening step is being used by every Bain office and for every position, so you shouldn’t take a lot of time preparing for the Bain online multiple choice test or other pre-screening tests unless you’re specifically invited to take them.

But if you’ve gotten that invite to take the test, we’ll tell you everything we know to help you pass.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • Why Bain is adding to its pre-screen recruiting steps,
  • What the Bain Online Multiple Choice Test looks like,
  • How it differs from the McKinsey PST and the BCG Online Test. We’ll also share:
  • What offices are using the Bain Online Multiple Choice Test,
  • Common Mistakes on the Bain Online Test, and
  • 7 tips on how to prepare for the Bain Online Test

 Let’s get started!

Why Is Bain Creating Multiple Pre-screen Recruiting Steps?

The reason Bain, as well as McKinsey, BCG, and other top consulting firms, are using more pre-screening steps in their recruiting process is driven by the fact that they’re searching more broadly than ever for talent.

In the past, Bain filled the majority of spots in their incoming associate consultant and consultant classes from “core” schools that they recruit at on campus every year – think your Harvards, London School of Economics, Peking University. 

Now, the management consulting industry is trying to reach beyond these schools to consider a broader group of candidates. In order to efficiently identify qualified applicants from the higher number of candidates applying, they’re using pre-screening tests like their online multiple-choice test as well as their one-way video interview.

 My Consulting Offer has helped dozens of candidates pass these screens and we want to help you pass them too.

What Does The Bain Online Multiple Choice Test Look Like?

The Bain online test is similar to the GMAT in that it is a timed test that assesses analytical and critical reasoning skills.

It is comprised of 25 multiple-choice questions that are divided into multiple business cases.

We’ve heard from candidates who’ve taken the test that the time you have to answer these questions is not tight.

You’ll be presented with multiple multi-part business problems. Initially, you’ll get some background on a client, their market, and a business problem they face.

The questions that follow will provide more detailed information. You’ll be asked to interpret charts and do quantitative problem-solving.

Over the course of multiple questions, you’ll demonstrate not just quantitative skills but your logical reasoning and business judgment. 

Advanced Tip: Don’t look at the Bain online multiple choice test as simply a test of your skills. 

Also consider whether you’re interested in solving problems like the one you’re presented with in this test. This type of business problem is what consultants at Bain do on a day-to-day basis.

Do you find this work interesting?

What’s next? After you pass the Bain online test, you’ll move on to in-person case and experience interviews.

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How Does the Bain Online Multiple Choice Test Differ from the McKinsey PST and the BCG Online Test?

Bain online test. Image shows a woman sitting at a table with her laptop open and studying a sheet of paper.

Applicants who’ve taken the Bain online test report that it’s similar to the McKinsey PST and the BCG online case in that they all assess analytical skills, logical reasoning, and business judgment.

The Bain online test is reported to be less complex than McKinsey’s PST and the BCG online test. 

People who could not finish the McKinsey PST in the allotted time were able to finish the Bain test on time without a problem.

What Offices are Using the Bain Online Multiple Choice Test

We’ve confirmed that Bain is mainly piloting and testing the new online multiple-choice test as well as the one-way interview to pre-screen candidates in their Southeast Asian offices which include:

  • Bangkok
  • Jakarta
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Singapore

You may still receive a test invite if you aren’t applying to any of the Southeast Asia offices as Bain continues to expand their testing each month. 

But if you are mainly applying to Southeast Asia, we wanted to make sure you knew about the high chance of getting the pre-screen.  

Common Mistakes People Make on the Bain Online Test and Tips To Avoid Them.

DO practice ahead of time. Like with standardized tests, you’ll be quicker and more comfortable when you take the Bain online multiple choice test if you practice. Practice using sample tests for the McKinsey PST and/or BCG online case is the best option because these tests also use the case format.

The next best choice for practice materials is using GMAT test-prep books. See our BCG Online Case article for specific resource recommendations.

DO practice case math. Note the types of problems you’re good at and what you frequently get wrong. Master case interview math problems before you take the Bain online test. See our article on Case Interview Math for more resources to help you prepare.

DO understand what a case interview is. You don’t need to be a pro at this point, but familiarity with the type of questions asked in case interviews and how to answer them will help. See our Ultimate Guide to Case Study Interview Prep for everything you need to know. 

DO tell your friends and family that you’re taking an assessment so you aren’t interrupted.

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. 

DON’T skim 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.

7 Tips for Preparing for the Bain Online Multiple Choice Test

Bain online multiple choice test. Image shows a woman sitting at a desk working on her laptop.

1. Practice using sample material for the McKinsey PST, the BCG Online Test, or the GMAT. Also include case interview math questions in your practice.

2. Review Economics 101 principles if you’re weak in this area. Liberal arts students, in particular, will want to brush up on knowledge of business issues and lingo.

3. Gather all the things you’ll need to take the test ahead of time including a calculator, pad of paper to take notes on, and a pen or pencil.

4. Read test instructions carefully.

5. Make sure you won’t be disturbed so you can concentrate.

6. Move quickly through the problems. Don’t rush, but it’s best to answer questions you’re confident about and return to more difficult ones at the end rather than letting them bog you down.

7. Ensure your browser is up to date and compatible with the test platform. Also make sure you have a stable online connection.

With some practice time, you’ll be ready to pass the Bain online multiple choice test as well as other management consulting screening tests.

In this article we’ve covered:

  • Why Bain is adding to its pre-screen recruiting steps,
  • What the Bain Online Multiple Choice Test looks like,
  • How it differs from the McKinsey PST and the BCG Online Test. 
  • What offices are using the Bain Online Multiple Choice Test,
  • Common Mistakes on the Bain Online Test, and
  • Tips on how to prepare for the Bain Online Test.

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about the Bain one way interview, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s case coaches will answer them.

Other people preparing for screening interviews found the following pages helpful:

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