While McKinsey calls it the Problem-solving game, it is not just for fun. Since it is a requirement for all applicants, the McKinsey Solve game (also known as the McKinsey PSG) carries a heavy weight. The consulting firm McKinsey carefully devised the McKinsey Digital Assessment to weed out underqualified candidates. So just like any other part of the hiring process, your best plan is to be ready.

This article will explain the meaning and importance of the McKinsey Solve game, as well as advise on how to be ready for it.   

How important is the McKinsey Solve Game?

Every McKinsey applicant, regardless of their applied position or location, have to play the Solve game. Candidates must pass the test in order to advance to the interview stage.

There have been cases where exceptional candidates get a pass from the Solve game, but that scenario is becoming almost impossible. Some candidates, such as those with an MBA or extensive work experience, used to be excused from the Solve round. However, McKinsey has now considered it to be a critical evaluation. That shows that McKinsey now prioritizes the PSG more than academic credentials or work experience in the candidate selection process.

Why did McKinsey replace the PST with the Solve game?

McKinsey employs a game-based digital exam to attract a wider pool of qualified candidates.


According to McKinsey, the resume screening could exclude people with strong cognitive skills but lower socioeconomic advantages and, hence, less attractive resumes. Even the McKinsey Problem Solving Test (PST), which aims to reduce these biases, gives the edge to applicants who digest information quickly and are experienced with the issues being assessed. With so many resources for studying, passing the test by merely doing practice tests has also gotten much simpler.


Contrary to the PST, the PSG does not demand business-related knowledge or skills. As a result, applicants with credentials outside of business have an equal chance of joining McKinsey. Since it can’t be trained for and is unaffected by biases, the digital exam is designed to evaluate pure, raw cognitive ability.


In this way, the game saves time and money for the company by keeping it from having to do too many expensive and long interviews. Consultants at McKinsey have a heavy workload, so it makes sense that they would find ways to save time.

McKinsey Solve game: What to expect?

There are two major things candidates should remember when studying for the Solve game: the game’s format and McKinsey’s assessment system

The Solve game’s format

For the Solve game, McKinsey has created six minigames:


  • Ecosystem Building
  • Plant Defense
  • Disease Management
  • Disaster Management
  • Migration Management
  • Redrock Study (released in 2022)

You have a time limit of around 60 to 80 minutes to complete two minigames in the McKinsey Solve game. Ecosystem Building and Plant Defense are the two major McKinsey PSG games. The four other options are less typical and serve as alternatives.

A screen example of the McKinsey Solve game (source: official McKinsey video)


The assessment system

The product score and the process score are the two criteria used in the PSG.


The product score represents the quality of your outcomes, such as the number of plants you successfully protect at the end of the Plant Defense game.


The process score examines your thinking processes by monitoring every interaction you make on screen and then matching your mouse clicks and motions to those of consultants and prior successful applicants. If the algorithm approves, you succeed; if not, you fail. That’s why, throughout the whole test, you must think and react like a consultant to ensure a satisfactory performance on the test. 

How can I practice the McKinsey Solve game?

An overview of the McKinsey PSG’s structure and rules is the first step in getting ready for the test. You should go through each of the included mini-games and get familiar with their objectives, rules, and fundamental strategies.


The second thing you need to do to get ready for the PSG is to practice often. It is preferable to play them instead of passively reading the detailed instructions. PSG simulations are now the top resources for this kind of training. They may assist in your game familiarization and help you develop unique gaming approaches.