Mastering the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test: Your Ultimate Guide

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Last Updated on February 26, 2024

In the field of management consulting, L.E.K. Consulting is a notable firm, established in 1983. It has developed a reputation for providing transformative strategies and actionable insights to businesses globally. The firm, with its offices located in various countries, plays a role in influencing the direction of industries and markets around the world.

But as with any top management consultancy, the journey to becoming a part of L.E.K. Consulting is marked by rigorous evaluation processes. At the beginning of their recruitment procedure – after the resume screening – lies the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test, a definitive benchmark used to assess prospective candidates.

This test doesn’t just gauge quantitative prowess but also reflects the real-world, analytical challenges consultants face daily. Serving as a clear indicator of one’s aptitude and readiness for the demanding world of consulting, the Numerical Reasoning Test plays a pivotal role in L.E.K.’s quest to onboard the brightest minds.

In this guide, we’ll unravel the intricacies of this test, equipping you with the knowledge and strategies to not just attempt, but excel in it.

Nature and Purpose of the Test

The L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test is designed to assess a candidate’s ability in mathematics, reflecting the type of quantitative work consultants engage in at L.E.K. It aims to mirror real-world conditions, showcasing the firm’s focus on equipping its consultants with the skills to use numerical data effectively.

This test evaluates a candidate’s capability to handle the basic numerical requirements of a consulting role. Although the questions are based on GCSE-level mathematics, they are structured to test analytical thinking, challenge preconceptions, and assess problem-solving skills.

The test’s approach encourages candidates to attempt all questions, aligning with the consulting industry’s practice of thorough exploration. Completing the test within the given time frame is an achievement but not mandatory, highlighting a preference for quality of understanding over quantity of completed questions.

Overall, the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test is both a challenge and an introduction to the demanding quantitative aspects of consulting, underscoring the firm’s interest in candidates who are adept at interpreting and analyzing numerical information.

Test Structure and Format

Navigating the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test requires an understanding of its structure and expectations. At its core, the test comprises 18 multiple-choice questions. These are not random assortments of numerical problems but selected challenges that aim to gauge a candidate’s analytical and quantitative aptitude.

Time, as they say, waits for none, and in the L.E.K. test, it’s certainly a precious commodity. With a strict 30-minute time limit, candidates are pressed to showcase not only their accuracy but also their efficiency. It’s a balancing act of sorts – diving deep into problems without getting slowed down by them.

Recognizing the human element and the possibility of second thoughts, the test format generously permits test-takers to circle back and modify their answers. This allowance mirrors real-world consulting scenarios where flexibility and the ability to reconsider decisions based on new insights are paramount.

For those familiar with graduate-level standardized tests, the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test draws more parallels with the quantitative sections of the GMAT and GRE rather than the stylized tests of McKinsey or BCG.

Successful test takers need to blend precision, pace, and adaptability.

Key Content Areas Covered

The L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test isn’t just a monolithic assessment of one’s number-crunching skills but is rather a multifaceted examination of several quantitative and analytical domains. Here’s a closer look at the diverse content areas that the test encompasses:

  1. Fast Math and Arithmetic: Speed combined with accuracy is the name of the game here. Candidates should be adept at swift calculations, be it multiplying double-digit numbers, handling zeros, or navigating through division tables. This section challenges your ability to swiftly move through mathematical operations, reflecting the pace of real-world consulting scenarios.
  2. Critical Reasoning: Beyond just numbers, the test ventures into the realm of logic and analytical thinking. Here, the questions demand candidates to dissect scenarios, identify underlying patterns, and make informed judgments. It’s a test of one’s ability to think critically, synthesize information, and deduce conclusions.
  3. Working with Tables, Graphs, and Drawing Conclusions: In today’s data-driven world, being able to interpret and analyze data from tables and graphs is indispensable. This section tests one’s proficiency in understanding visual data representations, extracting insights, and making coherent conclusions based on the provided information.
  4. Basic Algebra: Fundamental algebraic concepts come into play here. The questions may involve equations, variables, and the interplay of algebraic expressions. It’s about applying algebraic principles to solve problems, reflecting the foundational mathematical knowledge required in consulting roles.
  5. Data Sufficiency: A unique challenge that goes beyond mere calculation. Here, the emphasis is on determining if the provided data is adequate to answer a particular question. Drawing from GMAT-style questions, this section pushes candidates to weigh and judge the sufficiency of information, an invaluable skill in the decision-making processes of consulting.
  6. Error Spotting: Attention to detail is crucial in any consulting role. This section aims to hone that skill by presenting candidates with lines of data or code and tasking them with spotting discrepancies or errors. It’s a testament to the meticulousness and precision expected of L.E.K. consultants.

In its entirety, the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test is a comprehensive evaluation, spanning from basic arithmetic to critical reasoning, all curated to mirror the quantitative and analytical challenges inherent in the world of consulting.

Preparation Strategies for the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test

Success in the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test is not merely a result of inherent ability but is also significantly influenced by targeted and strategic preparation. Here are some preparation strategies tailored to the key content areas:

Fast Math

Fast math is an indispensable skill for any consultant, and this is emphatically tested in the L.E.K. assessment. Here are some preparation techniques to enhance your quick arithmetic prowess:

  1. Double-Digit Multiplication: Start with basic two-digit numbers and gradually move to more complex combinations. Techniques such as the lattice method or the standard algorithm can be beneficial. The goal is to reach a point where you can multiply these numbers mentally with minimal errors.
  2. Division Tables: While most of us are familiar with multiplication tables, division tables tend to be less emphasized. However, for the L.E.K. test, having a solid grasp up to 1/11 can be a game-changer. This means, for instance, knowing that 5/6 is approximately 0.8333 or 83.3%.
  3. Working with Zeros and Large Numbers: Large numbers can initially seem daunting, but they become more manageable when you understand the role of zeros. Familiarize yourself with the concept of powers of ten. For instance, recognizing that 4,000,000 is simply 4 multiplied by 10^6 can simplify calculations and enhance your speed.
  4. Leverage Digital Tools and Resources: There’s an array of digital tools designed to enhance fast math skills. We offer a free math drill generator as well as a premium case interview math learning program. Additionally, the math sections in GMAT prep materials are particularly relevant; they’re structured, challenging, and provide a good simulation of the test environment. For free GMAT QR practice, click here.

Consistent practice, coupled with the right resources, can exponentially improve your speed and accuracy, setting you up for success in the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test. Remember, in the world of consulting, time is of the essence, and every second saved in computation can be redirected toward deeper analysis and solution formulation.

Critical Reasoning

Critical reasoning tests your ability to analyze, evaluate, and construct arguments. It’s a skill that’s paramount in consulting, where dissecting complex problems and structuring solutions is a daily endeavor. Here’s how to sharpen this ability in preparation for the L.E.K. test:

  1. GMAT CR and IR Sections: Both the Critical Reasoning (CR) and Integrated Reasoning (IR) sections of the GMAT are invaluable resources. The Official GMAT Guide provides a thorough breakdown of question types and a range of practice questions. Additionally, the Manhattan Prep materials delve deep into strategies and techniques to tackle these sections, making them a must-have in your prep toolkit. For free GMAT CR practice, click here.
  2. McKinsey Practice Tests: McKinsey’s problem-solving tests (or PSTs) are renowned for their challenging critical reasoning questions. These tests, along with PST-like tests available online, can offer a rigorous preparation regime. They simulate real-world scenarios, enabling you to hone your analytical skills in a context closely aligned with consulting.

Working with Tables and Graphs

The ability to distill insights from visual data representations like tables and graphs is crucial in a world awash with data. Here’s how to refine this skill:

  1. StrategyCase Chart Interpretation Course and Drills: This resource comes highly recommended for its targeted approach to chart and graph interpretation. The course not only covers the basics but also dives into advanced chart interpretation techniques, while the drills provide ample practice opportunities.
  2. Analysis of MBB Presentations and Publications: MBB (McKinsey, BCG, Bain) presentations and publications are replete with intricate charts and graphs. Studying these can give you a dual advantage: understanding the kind of data visualizations used in the consulting realm and practicing your interpretation skills.
  3. GMAT IR Part: The Integrated Reasoning section of the GMAT is a treasure trove of questions involving tables, graphs, and multi-source reasoning. It offers a challenging practice ground to refine your ability to draw insights from diverse data sources.
  4. Delve into Basic Statistics: A foundational understanding of statistics is indispensable when working with data. While advanced statistics may not be necessary for the L.E.K. test, the basics can greatly aid in interpretation. GMAT or MBA prep guides, which cover topics like mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and probability, can be invaluable resources.

Remember, in the consulting domain, data is often the backbone of recommendations. The better you are at interpreting and drawing insights from data, the more valuable you’ll be as a consultant. Preparing thoroughly in these areas can significantly enhance your chances of success in the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test.

We offer different resources that can help you ace the L.E.K. Test. Besides the chart and math courses, we have a learning program for all Bain tests, which covers the same questions as the L.E.K. one. The Bain guide comes with more than 560 practice questions and detailed instructions on how to tackle them. Check these resources out below!

Efficient Problem-Solving Techniques

In the fast-paced world of consulting, efficiency isn’t just a desired trait – it’s a necessity. The L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test is designed to gauge not just your analytical prowess, but also your ability to tackle challenges swiftly and efficiently. Here’s how you can optimize your problem-solving techniques:

  1. Divide and Conquer: Breaking down complex problems into more manageable, smaller logical steps can significantly simplify the problem-solving process. For instance, when faced with a multifaceted mathematical operation, tackle each operation separately before integrating the results. A classic example is dissecting the multiplication of two large numbers. If tasked with calculating 96×3996×39, you might first approach it as 96×4096×40 and then subtract 96×196×1. This step-by-step breakdown can often lead to quicker and more accurate solutions.
  2. Harness Mathematical Shortcuts: Knowing certain shortcuts can save invaluable time during the test. For example:
    • Fractions: Having a quick reference for key fractions can expedite calculations. Understanding equivalents like 1/6=0.16671/6=0.1667 or 1/8=0.1251/8=0.125 can be game-changing.
    • Cubes and Powers: Familiarity with cubes and squares of numbers up to at least 20 can accelerate computations. Recognizing that 33=2733=27 or 122=144122=144 off the top of your head eliminates the need for time-consuming multiplications.
  3. Lean on GMAT and GRE Quantitative Sections: These standardized tests are goldmines for honing efficient problem-solving techniques. The quantitative sections challenge you with a mix of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis, often under tight time constraints. Regular practice with GMAT and GRE materials can not only bolster your mathematical proficiency but also train you to think on your feet, optimizing the time spent on each question.

In the end, mastering efficient problem-solving techniques is akin to sharpening a tool—it requires consistent effort, practice, and the right resources. With these strategies in your arsenal, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the rigors of the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test and the analytical demands of the consulting world.

Feedback from Previous Test Takers

Gleaning insights from those who’ve walked the path before you can offer invaluable perspective. Many candidates who’ve previously attempted the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test have provided feedback that can help demystify the experience and better prepare prospective test-takers. Here are some recurring themes and observations from their experiences:

  1. A crescendo of Complexity: A recurrent observation among previous test-takers is the escalating difficulty of questions as one progresses through the test. While the initial questions are generally more straightforward, they noted that the complexity surges, particularly after the 14th or 16th question. This gradient of difficulty means that candidates should be prepared to expend more time and mental energy on the latter portion of the test.
  2. The Clock is Ticking: Almost unanimously, past candidates emphasized the crucial role of time management. While 30 minutes for 18 questions might seem ample, the increasing complexity of questions, coupled with the need for precision, means that time can be a pressing constraint. Many suggested that while it’s essential to answer each question to the best of your ability, getting bogged down by a single question can be detrimental. It’s a delicate balance of ensuring accuracy while maintaining a steady pace.
  3. Shades of GMAT: Many previous test-takers drew parallels between the L.E.K. test and the quantitative sections of the GMAT. They noted that the format, style, and kind of reasoning required bore strong resemblances to the GMAT, particularly in areas like data sufficiency and critical reasoning. However, there was a consensus that while the GMAT can be a useful preparatory tool, the L.E.K. test has its unique challenges that warrant dedicated preparation.

Advice for Virtual Test-Taking

In the digital age, with the growing ubiquity of remote work and virtual platforms, online tests have become par for the course. While the content of the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test remains consistent, the virtual environment brings its own set of challenges and considerations. Here’s a compilation of key advice to help you seamlessly navigate the virtual test-taking experience:

  1. Stable Internet Connection: A reliable internet connection is the lifeline of any virtual test. Ensure you’re in a location with strong Wi-Fi or a wired connection. If possible, run a speed test before the examination to confirm your connection is stable. Interruptions due to connectivity issues can be both time-consuming and stress-inducing.
  2. Pre-test Tech Check: A basic but essential step—check your computer’s audio and video settings before the test. Familiarize yourself with the testing platform and ensure all required plugins or software are installed and functional. This can prevent last-minute hiccups and allow you to focus solely on the test.
  3. Distraction-Free Zone: Choose a quiet, well-lit space for the test. Inform family members or housemates of your test to minimize interruptions. Ensure your phone is on silent and clear your desk of any unrelated materials. A clutter-free environment can help maintain a focused mind.
  4. Dress the Part: While it might be tempting to opt for casual wear, dressing professionally can psychologically prime you for the test (where you would need to turn on your camera). It boosts confidence, reinforces the seriousness of the endeavor, and ensures you’re ready for any unexpected video interactions.
  5. Old-School Tools: Even in a digital test, the power of pen and paper can’t be underestimated. Have some sheets of paper and a couple of reliable pens or pencils handy. These are invaluable for quick calculations, jotting down notes, or sketching graphs. It’s a blend of the digital and the tangible that often works best.

Incorporating these practical tips can create an optimal environment for test-taking, allowing you to bring your best self to the fore and tackle the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test with aplomb. Remember, it’s not just about knowledge and preparation—your environment and mindset play significant roles in determining success.

General Tips and Tricks

Navigating the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test successfully requires a confluence of knowledge, strategy, and intuition. Beyond subject-specific preparation, there are certain universal tactics that can make the difference between a good score and a great one. Here are some general pointers to keep in mind:

  1. Mastering Time Management: With a ticking clock, managing your time becomes as crucial as answering questions. Practice pacing yourself so you can allocate adequate time to both easier and more challenging questions. If a question seems overly complex, it might be more strategic to move on and return to it later, rather than getting bogged down.
  2. Business Context is Key: The test doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Understanding the business context and familiarizing yourself with key business formulas and concepts can provide a robust foundation. This isn’t just about raw numbers but understanding what they represent in a business setting.
  3. Honing Critical Thinking: The L.E.K. test is designed to challenge your reasoning abilities. It’s not just about finding the right answer but understanding the path to get there. Enhancing your critical thinking skills can help you discern patterns, make connections, and arrive at conclusions more efficiently.
  4. Efficient Data Interpretation: Charts, graphs, and datasets are integral parts of the test. Practice interpreting such visual data sources quickly and accurately. This involves not just understanding the data presented but being able to extrapolate, compare, and draw meaningful conclusions from it.

Remember, while rigorous preparation is crucial, success in the test also hinges on your ability to stay calm under pressure, think on your feet, and approach challenges with a strategic mindset. Merging these general tips with more specific preparation strategies can optimize your performance, ensuring you navigate the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test with confidence and competence.


At its core, the L.E.K. Numerical Reasoning Test is a synthesis of the analytical depth found in case studies and the mathematical rigor of GMAT/GRE quantitative sections. It doesn’t merely assess a candidate’s ability to crunch numbers, but delves deeper, evaluating their capacity to interpret, analyze, and make coherent sense of data within a business context.

As with any endeavor of this caliber, success is most often found at the intersection of preparation and opportunity. And while the challenge might seem daunting initially, it’s imperative to remember that a multitude of resources and strategies are at your disposal. By leveraging these tools, engaging with practice materials, and honing your analytical skills, you position yourself at the forefront of potential success.

In the ever-evolving world of business consulting, the L.E.K. test serves as a rite of passage for many aspiring professionals, providing them with an avenue to demonstrate their quantitative prowess and critical thinking abilities. As you embark on this journey, let the journey itself be a learning experience, and may the preparation not just be about the test, but also about understanding the intricate dance of numbers and logic in the world of business.

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