Nothing can beat practicing live cases with a partner. In fact, most candidates who go on to receive an offer from a top consulting firm like McKinsey, BCG or Bain complete at least 25 live practice sessions before their interview. However, there are certain skills you can practice alone to supplement your live case practice and give your preparations a boost. Here, we explain how to do this effectively.
Practice specific skills with drills
Drills are interactive exercises that pose rapid-fire questions and then provide instant feedback. They help you build your skills and confidence in specific case dimensions quickly, allowing you to make the most of the time you spend practicing live cases with partners. Our Interview Prep Course includes comprehensive sets of drills that cover four key areas: structuring, calculation, case math and chart interpretation.
Developing effective case structures is a critical skill for success in case interviews. The former McKinsey consultants in our team at CaseCoach made structuring practice a regular habit as part of their interview preparations. In the two weeks leading up to their interviews, they spent 20-30 minutes every day reviewing case questions, developing structures for them and then evaluating their effectiveness.
Our structuring drills help you to build this kind of practice into your own preparations. The exercises include scope for posing clarifying questions and provide multiple solutions to each problem to illustrate the diversity of thinking that you can apply.
Case interviews require candidates to demonstrate only a high school level of math skills. However, with no calculators allowed and an interviewer looking over their shoulder, many people find this aspect of the interview challenging.
If you’re not 100% confident that you can divide two numbers, simplify fractions or multiply percentages on paper, it’s a very good idea to do some practice as part of your case interview preparations. Our calculation drills help you brush up your skills across a wide range of mathematical operations under timed conditions, with questions available at both ‘standard’ and ‘advanced’ difficulty levels.
Case math questions put your calculation skills – and more – to the test in a case interview.
These questions require you to consider a hypothetical client problem that usually includes multiple data points. You must then set up an approach to solving the problem – usually in the form of an equation – and then calculate the solution. Finally, you must draw a specific conclusion to the problem that provides a recommendation to the client on how to move forward.
Our case math drills allow you to practice tackling case math questions from start to finish. They help to build familiarity and confidence with case math and to build the skills required to solve these problems.
In most case interviews, candidates are presented with at least one exhibit that they are required to interpret and draw conclusions from. This portion of the interview tests part of the dimension of ‘judgment and insight’, where showing good capability can be a major way to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
The exhibits used in case interviews often take the form of charts, and a wide range of formats can be used. Without understanding the different types of charts you might come across in a case interview, you could easily become confused or unnerved if you’re presented with a format you don’t recognise.
Our chart drills give you the opportunity to familiarize yourself with a wide range of chart formats and to practice the skill of interpreting the data under timed conditions.
Watch videos that show good case interview performance
An effective way to learn how to navigate a case interview is to observe how successful candidates tackle the challenge. Our Interview Prep Course includes many videos of former top consulting interviewers giving sample case interviews to successful candidates, and providing feedback on their performance.
To get the most from these videos, we recommend pressing pause after each question, making a note of your answer, and then comparing it to the interviewee’s response and the interviewer’s feedback.
Remember that solo practice shouldn’t replace practice with a partner
Supplementing your case practice with the solo exercises we’ve recommended here is a great way to boost your preparations for interviewing with a top consulting firm. However, it’s vital to remember that solo practice shouldn’t replace live practice sessions, which allow you to put all the skills you’ve developed through your solo work into action, and experience the case interview format first-hand with a partner.
At CaseCoach we can connect you with a diverse community of fellow candidates who are all available for case interview practice in our Practice Room. In each session, you’ll play the roles of both interviewer and interviewee to gain a robust understanding of the assessment dimensions, as well as hone your case-cracking skills.