BCG Pymetrics Test - What It Looks Like and Traits It Measures

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BCG Pymetrics test

If you’ve applied for a consulting position with BCG, you may have been asked to take the BCG Pymetrics test. Like the new McKinsey problem solving game, the BCG test is an algorithm-based online assessment.

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?

The BCG Pymetrics test is a series of short mini games you can take on your smartphone. There are 12 mini games which take 2-3 minutes each. They assess 91 skills and traits. Overall, the Pymetrics test takes 25 minutes to complete.

How Does BCG Use the Pymetrics Test?

Pymetrics test

Pymetrics does pioneering work on using neuroscience games and artificial intelligence to match candidates with jobs in a bias-free way.

Pymetrics games

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.

BCG Pymetrics Test feedback shows the trait that was being measured on the test and the candidates results.
Source: Pymetrics
Other companies use the data from Pymetrics tests not only to assess candidates for the position they applied for, but also to guide candidates who are unsuccessful in landing the position they applied for toward different positions better-suited to their trait profile.
 
It may be that BCG will use the test to direct candidates better suited to non-consulting positions to alternative roles in the company.
 

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.

  1. Practice using other brain training apps. These games will not be the same as those on the 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Get a good night’s sleep. The games are short, but they are mentally challenging. Make sure you’re rested.
  4. Ensure you have a quiet environment with no distractions so you can focus on the test.
  5. 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.
  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.
  7. 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.

People who are interested in the BCG Pymetrics test typically find the following other My Consulting Offer pages helpful:

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9 thoughts on “What You Need to Know Before You Take the BCG Pymetrics Test”

  1. Hi.
    I completed my pymetrics test and got my result but i didn’t receive any email from the company i had applied mentioning that they have received my game result. So I am in great confusion whether the company automatically gets my pymetrics test result or are there any other steps I have to take?

    Reply
    • My Consulting Offer’s head recruiting coach says it can vary by applicant, but on average it takes 1-3 weeks to hear back from a firm after the Pymetrics test. She believes the firms automatically send the Pymetrics test once an application is fully submitted. There aren’t any steps to take once the Pymetrics test has been completed. You just need to wait until they can review your application.

      Best of luck!

      Reply
  2. Hi! very interesting read,
    I took the Pymetrics test a day ago and 3 of the traits results don’t match with my personality at all. For example, in decision making, it says I have a gut-feeling approach, but I am always very rational. I am always told that I am very rational by friends, colleagues and even my psychologist. Now, I don’t think following intuition is bad, but if I don’t get the position, it will feel very frustrating. Also, if an HR person reads my results, I don’t think they can understand who I am really. To be honest, it’s quite disappointing. Let me know if someone resonates with this, or if instead your results match perfectly.
    Best,

    Reply
    • Christina,

      We’re sorry to hear that you didn’t think the results of your Pymetrics test matched closely with your personality and approach to problem-solving.

      Leah Frank, a former Bain & McKinsey recruiter who works for MCO, said that the first thing to remember is that for BCG, Pymetrics is used as another data point on your application but there are no specific answers they are looking for or a ‘score’ you need to get to pass it. It’s looked at just to know more about you in addition to your resume and cover letter (since it’s still under the application stage).

      With that said, you may want to think back through the test and reflect on which games/questions may have been used to make this determination that you have a “gut-feeling” approach rather than a “rational” approach. On these games/questions, did you let the data guide you in your answer?

      For example, did you have the “Towers” mini-game with the 3 towers of stacked colored discs? The objective of this game is to rearrange the discs between the towers, moving one at a time until your towers match the ones on the top of the screen. You are asked to do this with the fewest possible moves. Did you map out the moves in advance to ensure you used the least possible moves? Or just start moving discs.
      Mapping your approach out ensures you can test a couple alternative approaches and minimize your moves. This will make your problem-solving look structured or rational to the game’s algorithm. Structure problem-solving is also valued by consulting firms, which is why the games test for this.

      Of course, you need to do this within the time limit of the test.

      Another game which may have may have an impact on your decision-making score is the game with the card decks.

      If you apply to another consulting company or apply to BCG again in the future, this reflection can help ensure your rational problem-solving approach shines through.

      Reply
    • I also received the “gut-instinct” comment under the category Decision Making. This is not true because I am usually meticulous when taking further steps and putting my thoughts together.

      The game imposes a time limit, which means I need to respond as quick as possible before the game expires. I cannot believe the game “judges” that I did not learn from past mistakes after playing the game which required me to pick cards from four decks that may result in random gains and losses. Forcing someone to pick cards that result in gain or loss is simply gambling. How does the result from a gamble lead to the conclusion that I make decisions based on gut-instinct? Are we required to know any scientific or “non gut-instinct” method in picking cards from decks or guessing the lottery number?

      I was also “judged” as completing tasks using a familiar way as opposed to experimenting with new approaches. As a winner of several nationwide Maths competitions, I have been recognised for my ability to think critically and creatively, and to develop the most efficient plan when solving problems. During my experience with the Pymetrics test, I didn’t identify any game that was worth trying out a range of different strategies. By the time you decided on a new strategy, you would have run out of time and left stunned in front of the screen, regretting for not acting spontaneously. I aI also received the “gut-instinct” comment under the category Decision Making. This is not true because I am usually meticulous when taking further steps and putting my thoughts together.

      The game imposes a time limit, which means I need to respond as quick as possible before the game expires. I cannot believe the game “judges” that I did not learn from past mistakes after playing the game which required me to pick cards from four decks that may result in random gains and losses. Forcing someone to pick cards that result in gain or loss is simply gambling. How does the result from a gamble lead to the conclusion that I make decisions based on gut-instinct? Are we required to know any scientific or “non gut-instinct” method in picking cards from decks or guessing the lottery number?

      I was also “judged” as completing tasks using a familiar way as opposed to experimenting with new approaches. As a winner of several nationwide Maths competitions, I have been recognised for my ability to think critically and creatively, and to develop the most efficient plan when solving problems. During my experience with the Pymetrics test, I didn’t identify any game that was worth trying out a range of different strategies. By the time you decided on a new strategy, you would have run out of time and left stunned in front of the screen, regretting for not acting spontaneously.

      I am very confused to say the least. m very confused to say the least.

      Reply
  3. Hello,
    I am trying to complete my assessment, but it appears that the Towers game is bugged, as I cannot click on any of the disks.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear that there are bugs in the program. That must be extremely stressful.

      If you have trouble with the BCG Pymetrics test or any of the consulting firms’ pre-screening tests, you should contact the company that published the test directly.

      Reply
  4. Hi,

    When companies take pymetrics test? Does it mean the candidate is short listed or its just a initial stage of process?

    Reply
    • In the application processes for companies I’m familiar with, it means your resume and/or cover letter have passed their initial screen. This is a second pre-interview screen. I wouldn’t call it a short list, but it’s a good first step in the process. Congrats!

      Reply

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