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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
2. Root-Cause Reason - ~30% of all questions
These questions check if a reader can identify the causing reason for certain mentioned facts.
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.
Here are a few tips to help you as you prepare for your BCG Potential test take.
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.