1. What is it?

In every consulting project, communication with clients’ top level (usually the Chairman or CEO)  is always important. During my time with McKinsey, we usually hear an update every one or two weeks from our Project Director (usually a partner) on his meeting with the clients’ top level. Messages from those meetings are important on-going steers for the project. No surprise to see these going into the Problem Solving Test under this type of question.

Client Interpretation questions test your ability to read, understand, and interpret messages from the client  conveyed in the case/ question description. To some extent, this is very similar to GMAT verbal questions.

Question formats:

  • Which of the following best summarizes the CEO’s concerns?
  • Which of the following statements best describes the thoughts of the CEO regarding…?
  • Based on the opinion of the head of Department, which of the following statements is/are valid?
  • Which of the following statements best describes the CEO’s aims for the McKinsey study?

2. Technique

Technique No.1: Read facts in the case description first before going to the multiple choices!

Normally the strategy of scanning through answers first before going back to case descriptions works when you have a very long case description and don’t know where to look for the right information. Scanning through the answers helps you have a more focused read on the case description. However, the client’s assertion is typically found in a very short and specific part of the case description. So once you realize it’s a Client Interpretation question, go back to the case description and find that very specific part that talks about the client’s assertion. Make sure you understand it very well. Then the rest of the work is just finding out which of the four choices has the same meaning as the understood assertion.

Technique No.2: Recognize a few words or short phrases that make a choice incorrectly reflect the client’s assertion

The skill of quickly and correctly crossing out wrong choices will take a bit of practice. Typically, a choice is wrong simply from a few words or short phrases. Notice that even though those few words and phrases can be true based on the case, if they are NOT mentioned by the client then the choices are wrong.

When practicing, try to identify those critical words or phrases.

Save those valuable time on the McKinsey PST by boosting up your math speed and accuracy!

Try a free practice case written by who knows the test best!

Keep in touch with us

Get insights and updates from us on McKinsey PST and other Consulting topics.