The BCG Pymetrics test is an algorithm-based online assessment similar to the new McKinsey problem solving game. If you’ve applied for a consulting position with BCG, you may have been asked to take the Pymetrics test.
The test is beneficial for BCG because it efficiently identifies candidates with traits that match those of successful BCG consultants and moves them forward to in-person interviews. It’s good for candidates too because this efficiency allows BCG to consider candidates beyond a small group of core schools where BCG recruits on campus.
If this is your first visit to MyConsultingOffer.org, start with our Ultimate Guide to Case Interview Prep. But if you want an overview of the BCG Pymetrics Test, you’re in exactly the right place.
Let’s get started!
What Is the BCG Pymetrics Test?
How Does BCG Use the Pymetrics Test?
Pymetrics does pioneering work on using neuroscience games and artificial intelligence to match candidates with jobs in a bias-free way.
Its short neuroscience games, like the balloon pump mini game pictured to the right, measure traits such as cognitive flexibility, attention control, risk tolerance, and more.
These traits are non-directional, meaning that there is “no wrong answer,” but rather some behaviors are better for a particular role at a particular company than others.
Job candidates’ traits are compared to those of high-performing employees for the hiring firm, as measured by the results of those employees on these same neuroscience tests.
Why Does the BCG Pymetrics Test Measure Personal Traits?
BCG, as well as other top management consulting firms, are looking for great problem solvers, which is why the case interview is important to their decisions on which candidates get offers.
But they’re also trying to hire a wide variety of people, particularly those who think differently.
Consulting clients face different types of business situations:
- stable, slow-growth markets,
- fast-growth markets with evolving technology,
- markets that can be manipulated by dominant players or new and disruptive business models.
The strategies and leadership traits that will succeed in these markets differ dramatically. Because of this, BCG wants different types of thinkers on its consulting teams. This will enable their teams to develop solutions that will be successful across a wide varies of industries and markets.
By measuring personal traits with the BCG Pymetrics test, the company hopes to hire people who think differently and will help their teams identify the best solutions for their clients.
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What Traits Does the BCG Pymetrics Test Assess?
Here are the skills the BCG Pymetrics test accesses and the examples of its 12 mini games:
- Attention & Focus – You’re shown a series of different colored shapes and asked to tap the screen when a particular shape or color appears.
- Emotional intelligence – You’re shown an image of someone’s face and given a short bit of textual information. You’re asked to determine the person’s emotion.
- Effort – You’re asked to choose between different tasks based on their difficulty-levels and the rewards for completing them.
- Fairness & Generosity – You’re given a scenario in which money is distributed across a group and asked to judge whether the distribution is fair or unfair.
- Decision making – You’re given a pattern of colors and asked to move the colors in a second pattern to match the first in the fewest possible moves. Or you’re asked to choose between one sum of money now or a larger sum in a set number of days in the future.
- Learning – You’re tested on the number of digits you can memorize and recall correctly.
- Risk tolerance – You earn points by pumping air into a balloon. The large the balloon gets, the more points you earn, but you lose points if the balloon pops. (See image above.)
Once your profile is established, it’s is compared to the profiles of successful BCG consultants. Good matches result in candidates moving on in the interview process.
After taking the test, candidates receive a Traits Report from Pymetrics that documents their personal traits as assessed by the mini games. For example, the feedback might say that your risk tolerance is high or your emotional intelligence is low. See the example below for more details.
What Is BCG Looking for When It Reviews Pymetrics Test Results?
While the BCG Pymetrics test is non-directional, certain skills and characteristics are valued in consulting and possessed by many successful consultants.
- Attention & Focus – Consultants need to be able to drive the analysis of a problem from formulation, through research & analysis, and to a recommendation. Doing this requires focus and attention to detail.
- Emotional intelligence – Consultants need to be able to read body language to perceive when a recommendation is being met with resistance by someone in the client organization. They also need to bring clients on board with recommendations and a process changes.
- Effort – Consultants work long hours to ensure their recommendations will result in the best outcome for the client.
- Fairness & Generosity – Consultants need to mediate conflicts on teams and be seen as even-handed in their recommendations.
- Decision making – Consultants need to have strong problem-solving skills and make data-based decisions.
- Learning – Consultants need to be able to absorb new information quickly and accurately. They need to adapt their hypotheses and recommendations to what they learn.
- Risk tolerance – Consultants need to use the 80/20 rule. They will never have 100% accurate information but need to move forward toward a recommendation nonetheless. Doing so means that they limit their risk, but must accept a certain amount.
7 Tips to Prepare for the BCG Pymetrics Test
The BCG Pymetrics test is non-evaluative—it’s not like a case math question that you can get wrong if you make an arithmetic mistake. Instead, it looks for similarities between your traits and those of successful BCG consultants.
To prepare, view this short Pymetrics video to get some sense of what the test will look like.
In addition, here are a few tips to help you do your best.
- Practice using other brain training apps. These games will not be the same as those on the BCG Pymetrics test, but they will help you get a sense of what to expect. Free brain training apps include Peak, Mensa Brain Training, and Elevate.
- Read up on what BCG’s looking for in candidates and the firm’s values. Since your characteristics will be compared to those of successful BCG consultants, it doesn’t hurt to have a sense of what that looks like.
- Get a good night’s sleep. The games are short, but they are mentally challenging. Make sure you’re rested.
- Ensure you have a quiet environment with no distractions so you can focus on the test.
- Take your time understanding the game instructions. The time you spend reading the instructions is not limited, so make sure you understand them before you start.
- 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.
Then, just relax and take the test.
How Is the BCG Pymetrics Test Being Used in Candidate Decisions?
The BCG Pymetrics test is now part of the application process for all undergraduate and experienced-hire applicants. MBA students outside of core schools will be asked to complete the Pymetrics test as well.
It’s not yet clear whether BCG is using the Pymetrics tests to make decisions on moving candidates forward to first round interviews. They may just be analyzing the predictive power of the tests or, in other words, looking to see whether candidates’ scores on the Pymetrics test correlate with hiring decisions made through the traditional interview process.
In the past, top consulting firms have tested changes to their recruiting process carefully before using new methods to make recruiting decisions. Because of this, you’ll want to ensure that your consulting cover letter and resume are as strong as possible, as these are still the primary things that will determine which candidates get interviews.
After reading this page, we hope you feel ready to take the BCG Pymetrics test. After you do, tell us what you thought of it in the comments below!
Still have questions?
If you have further questions on the new BCG Pymetrics test, leave them in the comments below. We’ll have one of MyConsultingOffer.org’s coaches provide more information.
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