Critical Numerical Reasoning Test Practice
- The first step is to take one or two practice critical numerical reasoning test papers.
- This will let you get a feel for what the tests are actually like generally.
- It will also allow you to start your prep off with an idea of which skills you need to work on, as per our iterative method above.
numerical reasoning test practice
How long per critical numerical reasoning test question?
So, for example, if you are going to take a 60-min critical numerical reasoning test, you have an average of two minutes per question, with a few minutes at the end to enter answers onto the answer sheet and quickly check everything is in order. Many candidates actually fail simply as they do not allow enough time at the end for this basic task. You have to be ready to work fast!
Passing is mandatory. Even after you pass and interview, your PST score will be considered alongside your interview performance to determine whether you are given an offer.
Success in the PST is an absolute function of your score rather than how it compares relative to other candidates – there is no “curve”. As such, performing better than the next candidate will be meaningless in itself. If all the candidates are sub-standard, all will fail.
Whilst McKinsey does not publish the exact cutoff for the PST, the best estimates (based on surveys of successful candidates) place it at around 70%.
One important point to remember is that you should give an answer for every question even if you are not entirely sure. The PST is not scored negatively – tha. As such, you should always give your best guess, just in case you get lucky.
1-in-3 Success Rate
Whilst scoring is absolute, unofficial surveys have indicated that a fairly regular PST pass rate at around 33%. Most of those candidates who fail do so because they didn’t work efficiently enough and/or failed to manage their time correctly, rather than because they lacked any cognitive capacity. One of the major causes of failure is actually candidates not allocating sufficient time at the end of the test to fill in the PST answer sheet!
You need to understand the relevant time saving methods and strategies to approach the test as a whole if you want to pass and eventually land your job at McKinsey.
Extract the facts!
Reading critical reasoning questions tests your ability to extract and elaborate data from graphs and tables. These are the most common question type, and you can expect them to make up around 35% of your LNAT.
Typical critical numerical reasoning test Formats
- Which of the following values is the best estimate of …?
- Which of the following statements is valid, based on the data …?
- What is the current ranking of options 1 to 5?
critical numerical reasoning test Examples
- Which of the following values is the best estimate of ABC revenue in Year 4?
- To the nearest tenth percentage point, what is the difference between Italy’s and Spain’s respective average annual agriculture sector growths due to fertilizing over the last 10 years?
- Which formula?
Before performing any calculations, be clear on which formula/equation you need to use. This is crucial as there is no time for trial and error in the PST. Spending just a few more seconds nailing down the exact formula you need at the beginning will pay dividends by saving you much more time in the calculation phase.
- Minimise the number of calculations
When going through your solutions, you will be surprised by how many calculations can be avoided or approximated mentally. The fundamental question you should ask yourself before performing any calculation is “does this affect the answer?”.
This might sound a little odd, but it is a habit which you must form to become quick enough to pass the LNAT. Here are a couple of examples where you can “work clever” to avoid redundant calculations:
- The Anchoring Technique
This the technique we used in the example above. When looking for the highest value amongst several possible answers, run calculations for the first answer and use that value as a threshold value as you work through the others. If other answers look immediately wrong, do not perform any further calculations.
The Selection Technique
Here, you pre-select only the calculations which are essential to identifying the answer. For example, the question below asks you to rank the effectiveness of 5 solutions:
Calculating whether solution A is the most effective is a complete waste of your time – it is the least answer-changing analysis. Instead, calculate which is the most effective between solutions B and C, working from there.
Master quick % calcs
This is theoretically feasible by hand, but extremely time-consuming. For example, say the revenues of a given company are growing at 5% per year for four years. In order to get a precise result, you would need to calculate the four year compound growth rate as follows:
Instead, you can arrive at an approximate but good-enough value for this growth rate by using a straightforward shortcut. To do this, we simply multiply the growth rate by the number of years it will apply for, estimating the compound growth rate. Here, this will be 5% x 4 years = 20%.
There are a couple of caveats here which will already be obvious to more mathematically inclined readers:
- With positive growth rates, the compound rate will be underestimated. Above, we estimate 20%, but the real figure is actually 21%. Conversely, with negative growth rates, this method will overestimate the compound value.
- The greater the magnitude of the annual growth rate and the greater the number of years for which it is applied, the less precise this technique becomes. For instance, five years of compound growth at 5% per annum yields a 27% compound growth rate, whilst this shortcut would give us a value of 25%.
Critical Numerical Reasoning Examples
- Which of the following reasons, if TRUE, is most likely to be the reason for the drop in house prices in year two?
- Which of the following, if true, LEAST explains the data for Slovenia and the Czech Republic in Exhibit 2?
Zapclothing is a global fashion retailer, traditionally catering primarily to teenage girls and with shops across Europe. Five years ago, the senior management at Zapclothing decided to embark up an move upmarket, with the aim of catering to a slightly older and more affluent customer base.
Leading French and Italian designers were hired to create unique and exclusive lines for Zapclothing, whilst prices were raised across the entire product line by 20-30%. A series of events were held in all major global cities in order to launch the new incarnation of Zapclothing as a brand with a more sophisticated, upscale image.
Initially, this mid-market transition boosted profit margins without altering sales volumes. However, one year later, the company has found itself with plummeting revenues and a decreased profit margin. In order to return profits to their previous higher levels, the marketing manager has proposed a permanent price reduction of 10% across all lines.
Which of the following facts, if true, would best challenge the sales manager’s price reduction proposal?
- Over the last year, due to higher commodity costs, prices increased by 15% on average for the whole fashion industry
- Consumers consistently quoted price among the top three quality attributes for mid and high-level fashion brands in surveys over the last 5 years
- In a recent survey, over 80% of the existing customer base claimed that they would still buy more than 50% of their clothes from Zapclothing, regardless of price
- Females aged 20-30 consider price among the top three criteria for deciding whether to make a purchase.
Critical numerical reasoning test Method
- Read the question carefully, making sure that you understand what is being asked.
- Scan the answers and underline the key words in the text.
- Think carefully about how this proposal can be challenged. If this is the case, then the proposal does not correctly identify the cause of the focal issue.
- Go back to the answers, crossing out the incorrect ones. Let’s see how we assess the four answers in our example:
- Not relevant. The fact that prices increases increased on average by 15% for the whole industry does not tell us whether a decision to reduce prices would bring in additional revenue from existing and/or new customers. FALSE
- If consumers consider a higher price to be a signal for superior for mid and high-level fashion brands (where Zapclothing hs positioned itself), reducing prices could have a neutral or even counterproductive effect on revenue growth. TRUE
- Not relevant. This statement is only relevant to revenue derived from existing customers. The information provided is incomplete and would not be sufficient to challenge the sales manager’s proposal. FALSE
- Opposite Direction. This fact would not challenge the sales manager’s idea, but reinforce it. FALSE
Tips and Tricks
Correct answers in Root-Cause Reason questions will always have two elements in common:
- Relevance – they have a significant effect on the target stated in the introductory paragraph
- Correct Directionality – their effect on the target should be going in the direction required by the question
As we have already observed in the example above, there are generally three kinds of answer in Root Cause Reasons:
These are answers which have no, or only limited, effect on the proposal in question (as with answers A and C in the example above). By identifying the kind of fact which would have some bearing on the proposal, you will be able to quickly pick out answers which simply have no influence on the relevant issue.
Often, there can be a temptation to think beyond what is actually on the page.
Relevant, But With the Wrong Directionality
For example, D above actually reinforces the sales manager’s proposal rather than challenging it.
Relevant and With the Correct Directionality
These are answers which significantly affect the proposal in the correct direction, according to the parameters set by the question.
Free Aptitude Test Practice
- Firstly, our recommended Literacy test Practice.
- Secondly,some useful numeracy test practice. and numeracy test tips.
- Thirdly, our popular SHL test practice.
- Fourth our critical reasoning test practice / critical thinking skills tests.
- Then next our Situational judgement test practice.
- And some UCAT test practice 2021.
- Then next our Non-verbal reasoning test tips.
- And also our English Comprehension tips.
- Then finally our verbal reasoning test tips.
numerical reasoning test practice