BCG Potential test

The BCG Potential Test is your ticket into the world of consulting careers. What is the test all about, and how can you ace it?

If your career interests run towards the field of strategic & business consulting, you must have surely heard of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). It is an American management consulting company that operates worldwide, with over 90 offices spread across fifty countries.

The firm undertakes the operation of advising clients belonging to the non-profit, public, and private sectors, with a clientele occupying two-thirds and even more of the Fortune 500 companies. For many years BCG holds #2 position in the overall global VAULT ranking for consulting companies not only for its scale and top-notch expertise but also for the opportunities it gives to the employees in terms of compensation, benefits, and promotion policies.

What is the BCG Potential Test?

When you apply for a consulting position in some BCG offices, during the first selection steps, you will have to attempt the BCG Potential Test. Candidates need to prove problem-solving capabilities in this test, using a combination of data interpretation, assessments of logical thinking, and data comprehension. Comparing with standardized psychometric tests and GMAT-like tests, candidates regard the BCG Potential test as the most difficult one. The main aim of this test is to verify the level of your skills to read datasheets, graphical charts, and to quickly draw logical conclusions on what the data conclusively conveys.

Formats of the BCG Potential Test and how they are scored

There are two formats in use as per the claims of the candidates who have attempted the BCG Potential Test.

Most countries carry out an online BCG test, including the UK, US, UAE, Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Singapore, Australia, etc. However, two countries have proved to be an exception to this format where candidates claimed different test experiences in the offices there. The countries include the Czech Republic and Russia.

It is better to contact the local office in your vicinity and confirm with the HR department about the format you will attempt before starting your preparation.

It is important to emphasize that the BCG potential test checks the level of your skills and does not test your personal knowledge.

The time limit for the test and the number of questions varies per office. However, the two most popular formats are:

  • A case study test of 23 questions in 45 minutes
  • GMAT-like test of 53 questions in 50 minutes

During the test, you have to attempt multiple-choice questions. As for the scoring system, that too varies slightly across the multiple offices, but the majority of the reports tell us that the most popular scoring system is 0 for blank, 3 for the right answer, and -1 for the incorrect answer. Most of the deductions apply to mathematical questions.

The reason why BCG employs this rule is to deter test takers from choosing answers randomly when they find themselves short of time.

How is the BCG Potential Test Structured?

The typical 23-question BCG Potential case is divided into several pieces called “docs.” All of the docs connect to form one big story. Generally, all the docs comprise a description of the case, charts, tables, and graphs.

After every three or four questions, you will see a new doc surfacing. There will also be questions that will ask you to refer to certain previous docs, but there will never be any questions asking you to consult future docs.

While this may sound very easy right now, in truth, the game is far more complex. The first couple of questions generally revolves around doc 1, doc 1-3, or so on, but as the case approaches the end, it instructs you to refer to doc 1-6 or 1-5. You can thus note the challenge of combining several docs to solve one question.

There are also situations where one question may relate to another. For example, you may not be able to independently solve question number 3 without first solving question number 2.

All the questions in the test could be grouped into three categories:

1. Word problem – ~50-60% of all questions

These are the questions that deal with Math Word Problems, Comparisons, and Rankings.


  • Generic quantitative questions
  • Calculation of indicators, KPIs
  • True-false like questions & Assessment of the impact of different activities on different indicators that require calculations
  • The ranking or comparing different indicators  

2. Root-Cause Reason - ~30% of all questions

These questions check if a reader can identify the causing reason for certain mentioned facts.


  • Identification of the scenario or statement that lead to the stated condition
  • Critical evaluation questions
  • The least (best) suitable option selection

3. Fact-Based Conclusion - ~10-20% of all questions

These questions check if a reader can draw logical conclusions from the facts given in the test.


  • True-false like questions based on mentioned facts

Tips for Preparing for the BCG Potential Test

Here are a few tips to help you as you prepare for your BCG Potential test take.

  • You must well acquaint yourself with the test format and the type of questions that will come your way.    
  • You must devote sufficient time to polishing up your math and logical skills. The test does not give you much time to double-check your calculations - you must revive your skills and prepare well to enhance your accuracy and speed.
  • You must not, for a moment, forget the time constraint you have to work under during the test. You must make yourself capable of scanning the information to extract what you need as opposed to dwelling at length on the text. Moving accurately and promptly through questions is compulsory if you wish to ace the test.
  • While we are not eliminating the importance of the other given documents - pay especially close attention to tables and graphs. When you begin answering questions, you must look at the tables and graphs before you proceed to the text.
  • Always keep in mind that the questions require you to refer to docs, and sometimes you have to combine multiple docs for the solution. This makes it doubly important to read the question thoroughly and carefully so that you refer to the right information.
  • You should plan the answers. When you start answering questions with a solid plan to guide you, you will know exactly what to look for in the given documents. Your scanning will thus be purposeful and not merely waste precious time.
  • You must support your answers with data and not make choices first. It would help if you always had a solid reasoning chain connecting the initial data with your answer.
  • Make sure you keep your answers clear and precise. An incorrect digit will make the whole calculation go wrong, so no slip-ups are affordable for you in the test.
  • If you find yourself incapable of answering a question, it is wise to move on to the next one rather than muddling over the tricky one. Once you have completed the rest, you can always return to the question you skipped if you have time remaining.
  • Wise planning and thorough preparation always pay off. It would help if you started your preparation early and reserved sufficient time for research on the subject and practice.
  • And finally, remember practice always makes it perfect. Plenty of practice would make you aware of what is expected at the test and boost your confidence.

Final Thought

The BCG entry test will check your logical thinking, data interpretation, and mathematical computation skills. With the right approach and sufficient practice, you can develop the skills that consulting firms seek in their potential candidates.

Free trial

Try free BCG Potential test for seven days
Start Free Trial

Plans and pricing

Find a test package that best suits your needs
Choose a test bundle