Online consulting tests and video interviews are assessments that screen for the skills and traits consulting firms look for in candidates. These assessments can ask you to answer multiple-choice questions, answer fill-in-the-blank questions, record a video of your answer, or even play an online game.
It can be hard to know where to start your preparation since each consulting firms’ assessments are different. We’ve written articles on the McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and Accenture online consulting tests, as well as those used by other consulting firms. We can explain the similarities and differences between these assessments.
This article rounds up all the information we have on how firms are using these tests and how to be successful at them. It also provides links to all our deep-dive articles so you can do further research.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Types of online assessments, interviews, and cases,
- Skills tested in consulting pre-screening tests,
- How to pass consulting firms’ video interviews,
- How to prep for online cases in round 1 or final round consulting interviews,
- What is the BCG chatbot interview?
- 6 tips to ace your consulting tests, and
- Links to all our deep-dive articles on online consulting tests.
Let’s get started!
Types of Online Consulting Tests, Interviews, & Cases
There are 3 main online consulting tests you’ll face during the recruiting process for most of the top firms:
- Pre-screening test. Often the first step in the recruiting process, this includes digital assessments like the BCG Pymetrics test and Deloitte Online Assessment.
- One-way or video interviews. Some firms use these to assess a candidate’s fit for the firm. These interviews are focused on behavioral competencies such as leadership and resilience. An example is the BCG Digital Interview.
- Online cases. Unlike face-to-face interviews, here you’re solving a case provided through your computer. You’ll still need to absorb and analyze data and offer recommendations. Questions are mainly quantitative in nature. An example is the BCG Online Case.
Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 85% of our clients pass the case interview.
Skills Tested in Online Consulting Tests
All the big firms use pre-screening tests as an opportunity to efficiently screen a large candidate pool for the traits that match those the firms require.
Pre-screening tests are also beneficial for candidates. This increased efficiency has allowed firms to expand their talent search beyond traditional on-campus recruiting at target schools.
While the specific skills being assessed differ by test, there are some that are common across most.
In some cases, the traits that are measured are termed “non-directional.” This means that there are no wrong answers, though some behaviors suggest a better fit for roles within the firm than others. In others, such as quantitative analysis, there are clear right and wrong answers.
Let’s look at a few of them in more detail:
Verbal reasoning tests allow firms to assess your aptitude for understanding and evaluating written passages.
In these types of assessments, you’ll be given a piece of text and asked questions about it. Based on the information presented, you’ll have to decide if the question is true or false or that you’re unable to say based on the data you have.
It’s essential to only focus on the information you’re provided with, even if you have additional outside knowledge of the subject being discussed.
There’s no getting away from the fact that consulting requires you to be good at math and data interpretation.
Quantitative analysis — or numerical reasoning — assessments allow firms to test your natural aptitude for handling and making sense of data and solving calculations quickly and accurately.
While the math is usually straightforward, there’s often a high volume of data to sort through to find the correct numbers to plug into the calculations.
So, take your time! Read through the data carefully and make sure you have all the information you need before solving the calculation.
These questions are usually multiple-choice. See our example below.
See our article on the Deloitte Online Test for how to complete this calculation.
Situational judgment tests use scenario-based questions to probe how you would behave in hypothetical workplace situations.
Depending on the firm you’re applying to, you usually answer these questions in one of 2 ways:
- Ranking the answers from your most likely response (1) to least likely (5)
- Dragging a slider along a scale that has 2 opposing answers at either end to indicate your preference
For a detailed discussion of this question, see Deloitte Online Assessment.
In situational judgment tests, it’s important to balance your answer so your preferred way of working is realistic. While some answers might be nice in theory, if they don’t work in practice you’ll be penalized for not using common sense.
Although situational judgment tests are all about your preferred way of working and there is no wrong answer, it’s worth checking out the culture and values of the firm you’re applying to. They can give you a good indicator of how the company likes to work, so you can weigh your answers to behaviors that align most closely.
Logical reasoning tests assess your problem-solving and decision-making skills. They focus on your ability to interpret, analyze, and draw conclusions from given information.
These tests are all about making logical connections between data sources.
Logical reasoning is an umbrella term for 3 different types of test:
- Deductive reasoning. These are word-based problems. You’ll be given a short paragraph of text and some possible answers. Based on the information provided, only one answer can be correct, and you need to apply logic to deduce which one.
- Inductive reasoning. Unlike deductive reasoning, in these tests you’ll be asked to identify the next probable item in a sequence. You’ll need to identify how shapes or images relate to each other in pattern to predict what comes next.
- Diagrammatic reasoning. These present a visual problem and ask you to draw conclusions about its logic.
For example, you might be presented with a diagram with inputs and outputs and asked to determine which “operator” logically completes the process. Or you’ll get the input and operators and have to determine the output, like the example below.
To work out these types of tests, always look at the parts that are already complete.
For example, if we look at the downward arrow in the image above, this shows that PSTD modified by the heart symbol flips the letters to read the other way around.
If we apply that logic in the other completed part, we can assume that ABCF is flipped by the heart modifier to FCBA. It’s then followed by a star modifier to give FCBAA.
This means the star modifier adds another of the final letter in the sequence.
Putting this information into the unsolved part we get the following:
- RLZF modified by the heart gives FZLR
- FZLR modified by a star gives FZLRR
- FZLRR modified by a star gives FZLRRR
So the final answer is FZLRRR.
All of the consulting tests mentioned above are types of psychometric assessment.
They’re used to judge a candidate’s suitability for a particular role based on their intellectual capabilities and personality traits.
As well as the individual skills tested above, all psychometric tests also test other skills that are important for would-be consultants. These include:
- Working successfully under pressure
- Focus and concentration
- Critical thinking
How to Pass One-Way Video Interviews
One-way video interviews differ from online interviews in that you’re not talking to a member of the recruiting team in real-time. Instead, you’ll have to respond to questions asked through your computer, which will be recorded for the hiring team to review at a later date.
There may be minor differences in approach between individual firms, but commonly a question will be generated, you’ll have a minute or 2 to prepare your answer, and then you’ll have a further few minutes to record your response.
These types of interviews tend to be behavioral in nature and, while they seem a bit different, you should prepare for them in the same way you would a face-to-face behavioral interview.
Acing One-Way Video Interviews
Remember that behavioral interviews are about 2 things for the recruiting team:
- Could I work with this person?
- Would I feel comfortable putting this person in front of my client?
To make the grade on the first question, be engaging. Make sure you have stories ready in advance that show a bit about you and what makes you tick.
Even though you’re communicating through a screen, don’t forget to make good eye contact and smile!
When testing your competence at working with clients, the recruiting team will assess your ability to communicate effectively and portray confidence in your answers.
Make sure you take the time to think through what you want to say and then share your answer clearly and without rushing.
If you forget what you want to say at any point, take a breath, collect your thoughts and get back on track. This shows resilience under pressure and clear thinking, which are valuable traits for a consultant.
Typical Behavioral Interview Questions
Behavioral questions are about fit. This means that exactly what you’re asked will be determined by the characteristics and culture of each specific firm.
However, there are some common behavioral interview questions that most recruiting teams like to choose from:
For more on this, see our article on Behavioral Interviews.
As you can see, many of these questions start with the phrase, “Tell me about a time when…” They help the recruiting team to understand your experience and appreciate what you’ve learned from those experiences.
Make sure you have a strong reason for wanting to work in consulting and, more specifically, for the firm you’re applying for. Maybe you’re excited to work in a job that can create real impact. Or perhaps you feel motivated by tackling challenging and complex problems in a team made up of the best problem-solving minds out there.
Research your chosen consulting firm thoroughly so you’re clear how they differentiate themselves from other firms and why this firm appeals to you. This is not the time to be generic, make it personal.
In fact, stories are often the best way to tackle behavioral questions. Stories are more engaging and will stick in the recruiting team’s minds after they’ve sifted through dozens of other applications.
The ASTAR(E) Framework
However, just because you’re using stories to interest and engage the recruiting team, this shouldn’t look like a long-winded, rambling yarn.
Using a framework brings structure to your answer, ensuring you cover all the main points and deliver the story in an impactful way.
For more on the ASTAR(E) framework, see our Behavioral Interview article. )
How to Pass Online Cases in Round 1 or Final Round Interviews
Some firms are adding an online case to their recruiting process.
Online cases differ from traditional case interviews in that candidates are asked to solve a business problem via a computer rather than face-to-face with an interviewer.
Information about the client and their current challenge plus data that’s relevant to the case is provided to candidates via the computer. This might include information about the client’s operations, finances, and competitors, plus market data such as market size and growth history.
Most of the questions in an online case are quantitative with multiple-choice answers.
Skills Assessed in Online Case Interviews
Firms use online cases to show candidates examples of typical problems they solve for their clients. It’s a good opportunity for candidates to confirm that they enjoy doing this type of work.
The skills assessed are similar to those tested in other online tests, including:
- Quantitative analysis
- Logical reasoning
- Situational judgment
The key difference is that online case interviews assess these consulting skills within a business context rather than a standalone test or game.
Online Case Example
There are many different online case examples. BCG is the most well-known consultancy firm to use them, and an example question from their online case interview is shown below.
In the BCG online case, the screen is split as shown. On the left, you have a question and several possible answers. On the right, information is displayed that will help you solve the case.
The BCG online case is 45 minutes long with over 20 questions to tackle. During the test, you can move back and forward through the case information if you need to check something. You are also able to change your answers at any time.
Online cases are used in addition to traditional case interviews but don’t replace them.
The BCG Chatbot Interview – What to Expect
The BCG chatbot interview is unique from other consulting tests. BCG has rolled it out to a number of its North American offices, including Mexico. This new online case framework is expected to be rolled out further next recruiting season so check our article on it for the latest on this.
The chatbot interview is part of the first-round recruiting process for BCG. In addition to a traditional case interview, there is also a chatbot interview conducted by “Casey,” the chatbot. The chatbot case is interviewer-led.
The chatbot interview is 90 minutes long and structured around 3 online cases. Candidates are allowed 25–30 minutes to answer 8–10 questions on each case.
“Casey” will outline a business problem and then ask a series of questions. Questions are both qualitative and quantitative, and answer formats are both multiple-choice and free-response.
Make sure you take notes as information is shared by “Casey,” as you can’t return to review exhibits once they have left the screen.
At the end of each case, candidates need to provide a recommendation to the client. You are given 1 minute to prepare and are then required to record a video presenting your recommendation.
Click on the link to find out more about BCG’s Chatbot Interview, including a number of sample questions.
6 Tips to Ace Your Consulting Tests
Here are our top 6 tips for success in your consulting tests:
1 | Check What Skills the Test Assesses
There are many different types of online consulting tests, and they differ between firms and even between offices of the same firm.
As more firms move at least some of their recruiting online, requirements are changing rapidly, so do your homework on what to expect. When you actually sit the test, read the instructions carefully!
2 | Prepare In a Structured Way
Once you’re clear on the type of test, prepare for it in a structured way. Review our articles for ones that can help you with specific firms and assessment types.
For each assessment type, make sure you practice several in advance. There are a number of free online resources that can help you prepare for psychometric tests.
Ensure you’re familiar with the ASTAR(E) framework. Ask a friend or coach to ask you some typical behavioral interview questions and practice responding to them using the framework.
3 | Be Smart With Your Scheduling
If you have the chance, take the test when you know you function best. If you’re a morning person, plan your test for early in the day when you’re likely to perform best.
If you’re more of a night owl, schedule your test for later in the afternoon when you know your focus is at its peak.
4 | Check Your Tech And Choose Your Environment
Before you take the test, check your tech. These types of assessments are best taken on a PC or laptop rather than a smartphone or tablet.
Whatever you’re using, make sure it’s charged, and you have a good internet connection. Switch off notifications so nothing pops up during the test that could distract you and cause you to lose focus.
Choose a place where you’re less likely to be disturbed by others watching TV or the dog barking at the postman. Make sure it’s an environment where you feel relaxed and clear away anything you don’t need for the test.
5 | Tell Your Friends and Family
Speaking of distractions, make sure you let your family, friends, or roommates know you’re interviewing. This makes sure they don’t wander into your room or study and interrupt you during your test.
It’s also nice to have people to chat to about the test after it’s over. Consulting tests can be stressful, and — whether it’s gone well or you found it more difficult – having the support of people who care about you can make it feel less daunting.
6 | Manage Your Time
All online consulting tests have an element of time pressure.
Make sure you’re clear on how long you have to prepare for and answer each question. Keep a watch or clock visible so you can track how long you’ve got left.
Don’t rush your answers though. Use all the time you have available to prepare and think through your answers. When you’re answering questions in a video interview, speak clearly and without rushing.
At the end of each question or halfway through the test, take 10 seconds and take a few deep breaths. It will calm you and help you refocus on what’s to come.
Links to all our deep-dive articles on online consulting tests
Here are the links to all our deep-dive articles on consulting tests for specific firms:
- McKinsey Problem Solving Game
- BCG Pymetrics Test
- BCG One Way Video Interviews
- BCG Online Case
- Bain Online Multiple Choice Test
- Bain Online Assessment
- The Accenture Digital Assessment
- The Deloitte Online Assessment
- The PwC Psychometric Assessment
- Oliver Wyman Online Test
- The McKinsey QuantHub Test
- LEK Digital Assessment
We’ll continue to add to this list as we hear about more online consulting tests.
In this article, we’ve covered:
- The different online assessments, interviews, and cases you might face,
- The skills assessed by consulting pre-screening tests,
- How to tackle online video interviews,
- How you should prepare for online case interviews,
- What exactly the BCG chatbot interview is,
- Our top tips to pass your online consulting tests, and
- Links to all our articles on specific consulting tests.
Still have questions?
If you have more questions about online consulting tests, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s case coaches will answer them.
Other people prepping for online consulting tests found the following pages helpful:
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Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 85% of our clients pass the case interview.