FSOT Study Guide: How to Pass the Foreign Service Officer Test (2022)

FSOT Study Guide: How to Pass the Foreign Service Officer Test (1)

The FSOT is a difficult test with a low pass rate. As a result, you should not undervalue the importance of FSOT Study Guide.

Because it covers such a broad range of topics, from history to economics to math, you’ll need a well-thought-out study strategy that incorporates a number of study methods.

That is exactly what the FSOT Study Guide contains. It not only gives you a good overview of all the areas to cover, but it also gives you a simple hacks and tips on How to pass the Foreign Service Officer Test.

With this, you can get a head-start and higher chance of getting good grades.

The table of content below will help you for easy navigation. Carefully scroll through!

What is Foreign Service Officer Test?

The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), which covers job knowledge, Biographic Questionnaire, English expression, and Written Essay Test or situational judgment, is an important aspect of the FSO selection process.

The first three sections are multiple-choice questions while the written essay appears in the last section.

Each section of the test is timed separately and must be completed within the designated time limit.

An essay is also included in the FSOT. To comfortable scale through this test, you must have an in-depth knowledge of what it entails and also an understanding of the application procedure.

What is the nature of the Foreign Service Officer Test?

Foreign Service Officer Test is a three hours online test at designated test centers in the United States of America and abroad. However, the test is offered three times each year in February, June, and October.

It has three multiple-choice sections which include:

  • Job Knowledge
  • English expression
  • Biographic Information
  • Written Essay

Job Knowledge

This segment of the FSOT is regarded the most demanding and will assess a candidate’s knowledge of the fundamentals. The following topics will be covered in the job knowledge section:

  • Math
  • Analytical Statistics
  • Economics
  • Government of the United States
  • History of the World
  • Geography
  • Technology
  • Techniques for Effective Management
  • Culture of the People

These are not subjects that can be picked up and learned in a single day or two. They’re made to assess a candidate’s overall knowledge and express his or her experience. Candidates are required to have a greater level of education than the norm.

You should expect a variety of questions about your school background. Taking a practice FSOT test can help applicants figure out what they know and don’t know.

English Expression

This component of the FSOT will assess a candidate’s command of the English language. The difficulty level is comparable to that of the ACT and SAT. Candidates will be given a text to read, followed by questions about good grammar.

You must have a sufficient understanding of grammar to appreciate its right application in a rather broad context. Random rules will be asked, and their solutions will not be evident.

Study the rules of English and how to utilize punctuation and grammar correctly. You can prepare for this difficult area with flash cards and an FSOT practice test.

Biographic Information

This is a piece that is all about you, so don’t take it lightly. If you make it this far in the process, the information you offer here will be used in the oral evaluation you will take later.

(Video) Tips for the U.S. Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) - Ambassador Dereck Hogan

Everything you say here must be backed up with evidence.

Because this section is used to verify the information you supply, it’s critical that you be totally honest in this section. Whether it’s on the test or during the oral examination, you’ll almost certainly be asked the same questions later.

Written Essay

This section will ask you to answer two questions and it’s important to keep in mind that the answer itself is not being tested, but rather the way you deliver that answer.

SEE ALSO: 20 Non-Customer Service Jobs That Do Not Require A Degree

You will also get 30 minutes to write an essay on a specific topic. You must pass the multiple-choice assessments before you can get your essay grades.

What Do I Need To Apply for FSOT?

To apply for FSOT, you must meet the following requirements set forth by the Department of United State:

  • Must be a citizen of the United States.
  • Must be at least 20 years old and no more than 59 years old as at day you’re filling your form.
  • Be at least 21 years old and not yet 60 years old on the dayof appointment as a Foreign Service Officer
  • Available for assignments all throughout the world, including Washington, D.C.

Where Can I Take The Test?

The Foreign Service Officer Test is taken in domestic Pearson Professional Centers (PPCs) as well as select international sites.

The FSOT will be available at certain Pearson Professional Centers around the world, according to the Board of Examiners (PPCs). Pearson VUE owns all PPCs and they may or may not be in the capital.

However, The FSOT will happen at Pearson Professional Centers in the following cities:

  • Pago Pago (American Samoa)
  • Melbourne and Sydney (Australia)
  • Sao Paulo (Brazil)
  • Edmonton
  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver (Canada)
  • Paris (France)
  • Frankfurt (Germany)
  • Athens (Greece)
  • Tamuning (Guam)
  • Osaka and Tokyo (Japan)
  • Seoul (Korea, South)
  • Mexico City (Mexico)
  • Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands)
  • Manila (Philippines)
  • Guaynabo (Puerto Rico)
  • Singapore City (Singapore)
  • Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • Madrid (Spain)
  • Juba (South Sudan)
  • Taipei (Taiwan)
  • Bangkok (Thailand)
  • Istanbul (Turkey)
  • London (United Kingdom)
  • St. Thomas and St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands).

When Will 2021 FSOT Windows Open?

The testing windowsfor 2021 are:

  • January 30 – February 6
  • May 29 – June 5
  • October 2 – 9

Currently, January and May windows have closed remaining October. The table below contains relevant dates for the Upcoming Foreign Service Officer Testing Windows

October 2021

Testing Window DatesOctober 2 – October 9, 2021
Registration opensAugust 26, 2021
Registration closesSeptember 30, 2021

February 2022

Testing Window DatesJanuary 29 – February 6, 2022
Registration opensDecember 20, 2021
Registration closesJanuary 27, 2022

June 2022

Testing Window DatesJune 4 – June 11, 2022
Registration opensApril 25, 2022
Registration closesJune 2, 2022

October 2022

Testing Window DatesOctober 1 – October 8, 2022
Registration opensAugust 22, 2022
Registration closesSeptember 29, 2022

How Do I Register for the FSOT?

When talking about your registration, you must be ready to complete both the applications process and selecting a seat which are the steps that makes up the registration.

(Video) How to study for the FSOT

These two steps open about five weeks before each testing window.

In the course of these 5 weeks, you’re to complete your criteria verification and application form and choose a location and seat for the test date. Keep in mind that the registration process closes three (3) days before the testing window opens.

Other things to note includes:

  • Every piece of information you submit is subject to verification.
  • Any exaggeration of your experience and qualifications, especially your language skills, will detract from your candidacy.
  • Misrepresentations may lead to termination, or dismissal even after you have joined the Foreign Service, and may result in a fine or jail.

After completing the eligibility verification and application forms, you will receive an on-screen confirmation message, followed by a second confirmation message after selecting a seat.

Pearson VUE will also send you an e-mail with information on your testing appointment, ID requirements, and directions to the testing center.

And if you need to cancel your appointment, you must do so at least two working days (48 hours) in advance.

The instructions will be in your emailed confirmation message. You will be charged a $72 “no-show” fee if you do not show up or cancel in a timely manner.

SEE ALSO: Polygraph Examiner Job Description | Salary, Skills, Qualification

So, to get started, click the link below:

Warning: An application cannot be updated once it has been submitted for that testing timeframe. You can, however, reschedule your appointment for another time throughout that same testing window until the five-week registration period is over.

How to Pass the Foreign Service Officer Test

The following tips will help you pass the Foreign Service Officer Test:

#1. Answer the questions you already know the answers to.

While you cannot move from one area to the next, you can skip questions within a section and then return to them.

Because all questions are worth the same number of points and the test isn’t becoming harder, it’s best to answer the questions you know immediately away.

#2. If you’re unsure, eliminate and guess.

In the Job Knowledge and English Expressions sections, there are no penalties for incorrect answers, so if you’re unsure, try to remove some of the alternatives.

(Video) Just take the FSOT! (Part II - 2022 edition)

However, if you can eliminate two obviously incorrect responses, your chances of guessing correctly rise by 50%.

Wrong responses in the situational judgment portions can lower your score, so only guess if you’ve excluded several other possibilities. If you’re entirely unsure, it’s preferable to leave the question unanswered.

#3. Carefully read the instructions.

Before you submit your response, make sure you understand what is being asked of you. Skimming through keywords could be costly.

#4. Practice composing essays with a length of 2,800 characters.

Make a few essays that are the right length. You’d be astonished how much — or how little — 2,800 characters may contain.

#5. Be conscious of the passing of time

Spend as little time as possible on each question. Many of the parts give you less than a minute to respond, so do your best and either answer or skip the question.

#6. Maintain a cool demeanor and get plenty of rest.

Preparing for the test and taking care of yourself will help you perform at your best on test day.

Prior to the event, get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy lunch, and keep your mind fresh and ready.

After passing the test, there are other exercise you must complete before you become a successful Foreign Service Officer.

Let’s look at the a more general tips worth going for to achieve your dream of becoming a Foreign Service Officer.

Tips that Can Help you Become a Foreign Service Officer

#1. Keep up with current events!

Keeping up with current events is one of the ways on how to pass the foreign service officer test when it comes to the writing aspect.

Normally, the written test is a computer-based test with questions about the origin of bee-hop to the specifics of East Asian labor laws.

With this tip well in check, you can comfortably answer questions about geography, political structures, and modern world conflicts that must come.

You can start by reading The Economist, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and other prestigious current affairs publications.

#2. Make a test for yourself!

Try to take a test. Websites like sporcle.com let you test your knowledge of history, geography, literature, science, and music. Also, they’re fun and efficient ways to study.

Try to use any SAT or ACT writing resource to improve your essay writing skills.

#3. Get the State Department’sSuggested Course List


Check out the State Department’s Suggested Course and Suggested Reading Lists to see what more you can read to prepare. Doing this can help you pass the FSOT written exam.

#4. Talk about your work and study Experience

Highlight your work and study experience in international relations. If you have professional experience or master’s degrees in an international relations-related discipline you can talk about them.

SEE ALSO: What Can You Do With An Economics Degree?

#5. Talk about experiences

This is one of the ways to pass the personal narrative part of FSOT.

(Video) Pass the FSOT, CFPT, and IMST on your first try (how to prep for State Dept exams)!

Here, discuss events or experiences in which you show the attributes of the QEP: leadership, clear communication, consistency, management skills, and interpersonal ability.

#6. Study QEP guidelines

Before you start writing, read the QEP criteria, and then read them again when you think your statement is complete.

Now to pass another part of FSOT- Oral Assessment, the tips will help you out!

#7. Learn Public Speaking

Give a practice presentation to a friend or family member, focusing on speaking clearly and concisely and not looking down at your materials. This will help you a lot.

#8. Understand why you want to join the foreign service and why you want to join it.

Your assessors will be searching for your aptitude and potential to succeed as a foreign service officer during your structured interview.

Hence, prepare for your role as an FSO by learning about it and practicing talking about why you think you’d be a good fit.

#9. Practice writing short and timely summaries of articles.

Pick any news article, read it, and write a short summary while thinking about the “big picture” to prepare for the case management writing assignment.

Additionally, keep your writing style sharp by highlighting the most significant information.

#10. Get ready for Case studies

As part of their interview process, consulting firms such as Bain, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey provide sample case studies on their websites.

Case studies literature, such as Marc Cosentino’s Case In Point, can also help you get more comfortable with case interviews.

#11. Go for Oral Examination Prep Session

Register for a State Department oral examination preparation session.

#12. Contact international relations Teachers

Make contact with any teachers of international relations you know in college.

They will most likely be able to supply you with useful information and guidance, or they will be able to refer you to someone who can.

Before we warp it up, let’s look at what it will take to become a Foriegn Service Officer.

How To Become a Foreign Service Officer

Like I mentioned earlier, FSOT is just a part of the requirement. To be called a professional FSO, the following summarizes the steps

  • Choose your career path between the foreign service career tracks of consular, economic, management, political and public diplomacy.
  • Register for the FSOT.
  • Take the FSOT.
  • Submit personal narratives
  • Take an oral assessment
  • Achieve medical and security clearances
  • Pass review of suitability
  • Get on the register

In summary, let’s do justice to some of the frequent asked questions on FSOT.

What are the FSOT Knowldege and Skill Areas?

That been said, beow are the major knowledge and skill areas covered on the FSOT:

  • Correct grammar, organization, writing strategy, sentence structure, and punctuation required for writing or editing reports.
  • United States Government
  • United Staes Histroy, Society, Customs, and Culture
  • World Histroy and Geography
  • Economics
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Management POrinciples, Psychology, and Behavior.
  • Communication
  • Computers and the Internet

What is the minimum score required to pass the FSOT?

Because of the way scores are calculated, the required score to pass the test can vary significantly from year to year. However, a minimum total score of 154 is normally required for the three multiple-choice parts. The written essay must thereafter receive at least a 6 out of a potential 12 points.

Is it possible for you to retake the FSOT?

For a charge, candidates can have their FSOT essay re-scored. The charge for re-evaluating the FSOT’s written essay part is $30. Please keep in mind that the re-scoring may or may not change the original score.

(Video) FSOT Prep #5: Job Knowledge Part of the Foreign Service Exam

Reference

Recommendations

FAQs

How do I prepare for the Foreign Service Officer test? ›

Tips for acing the written exam: Know your current events! You can be sure the written exam will ask you about geography, political structures, and modern world conflicts. Make a habit of reading The Economist, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and other renowned current events periodicals.

Is there an essay on the FSOT? ›

The first three sections of the test contain items in a multiple-choice format. The Written Essay appears in the last section of the FSOT. Each section of the test is timed separately and must be completed within the designated time limit.

Is a calculator allowed on the FSOT? ›

No personal items should be in the testing room. This includes all bags, purses, wallets, reference materials of any kind (books, notes or papers, etc.), electronic devices except for your cell phone (no tablets, PDAs, watches, calculators, etc.), writing instruments, food, beverages, etc.

What types of questions are on the foreign service exam? ›

The FSO exam is divided into 4 sections covering a wide range of topics: (1) Job knowledge, (2) situational judgment, (3) English expression, and (4) English essay writing. If you score less than a 154 on the first three sections of the test, your essay will not be graded.

Is Foreign Service Officer test hard? ›

The FSOT is a very challenging exam with a low pass-rate (hovering between just 30% and 50% of test takers). So you should not underestimate the need to study for this test.

How long should you study for the FSOT? ›

The recommended guideline for studying to take the FSOT is six months. Since this is just a guideline, each individual will have different lengths of time where they will need to study based on their background knowledge, ability, and experience.

How many times can you take the foreign service exam? ›

Is there a limit on the number of times a person can take the FSOT? There is no limit on the number of times an individual may sit for the FSOT, however, one must wait 12 months between each test.

What are the 5 types of Foreign Service Officers? ›

The Foreign Service has five different career tracks: Consular Affairs, Economic Affairs, Management Affairs, Political Affairs, and Public Diplomacy.

Is it hard to get into the foreign service? ›

The search for extraordinary U.S. citizens to serve as Foreign Service Officers is intense and the qualifying process is rigorous, demanding and highly competitive. If you are interested in becoming a Foreign Service Officer (FSO), you must first register for and take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT).

What is a good FSOT score? ›

A candidate must pass the FSOT with a combined score of at least 154.

Is there an age limit for Foreign Service Officer? ›

Who can become a Foreign Service Officer? To be eligible, the U.S. Department of State requires that you be: A U.S. citizen on the date you submit your registration package. At least 20 years old and no older than 59 years of age on the day you submit your registration.

How much are foreign service officers paid? ›

The Foreign Service operates on a pay scale that takes into account qualifications, experience and responsibilities. The starting salaries for recent graduates are $47,439. The candidates holding a Master's or law degree have a starting salary of $53,065. Salaries can rise as high as $142,180.

What are the two types of foreign service officer? ›

Foreign Service Officer Career Basics

Consular Officers: Work to enhance border security and protect Americans who are traveling or living abroad. Economic Officers: Promote the U.S. in areas of trade and economics.

How long does the FSOT practice test take? ›

The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) is the first step to becoming a Foreign Service Officer. It is a three hour exam that is given at a Pearson testing site. To prepare for this grueling exam, use one of the free FSOT practice tests listed below.

How long does it take to become a foreign service officer? ›

There will be moments during the selection process that require your full attention and other points of time where you won't do anything for weeks or months. A safe bet is to consider the whole process, from your decision to apply to when you are offered the job, to take an average of 1.5 years.

What happens after passing FSOT? ›

If a candidate passes the FSOT, he or she then has three weeks to write six personal narratives (PNs), which answer questions describing the knowledge, skills and abilities a candidate would bring to the Foreign Service.

How many people become Foreign Service Officers? ›

In calendar year 2019, 9,294 people took the FSOT—not unusual if we look at the past 20 years or so. The test is given in February, June and October.

Is the FSOT pass fail? ›

The Department will no longer use the FSOT as a pass/fail gateway test. Going forward, the education, experience, and personal narratives submitted by candidates will be evaluated alongside the FSOT score.

How much do US diplomats get paid? ›

How Much Do Diplomats Make? According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a diplomat is $104,801 in the United States. Salaries vary across different governments and roles, but a rough spectrum might run from $35,000 to $100,000 per year. Diplomats usually change roles every three to four years.

How many questions is the FSOT? ›

Select how would you like to study

The Foreign Service Officer Exam (FSOT) is administered by the United States Foreign Service to those seeking employment as a Foreign Service Officer. There are three multiple-choice sections of around 60 questions each and one essay.

How does one become a diplomat? ›

How to Become a Diplomat. A diplomat must be versed in foreign relations; therefore, the most recognizable route to a career in diplomacy is a bachelor's and then master's degree in a major like international relations, political science, cultural anthropology, sociology, or foreign policy.

Do Foreign Service Officers carry weapons? ›

No federal statutes generally authorize foreign law enforcement agents to carry firearms in the United States. In particular, 18 U.S.C. § 951 does not provide such authority.

Does Foreign Service pay well? ›

Foreign Service Officers make the most in San Francisco, CA at $201,007, averaging total compensation 40% greater than the US average.

How often do Foreign Service Officers move? ›

One of the main attractions of the Foreign Service is the opportunity to travel. Officers generally spend two years at a post for their first two tours; afterwards, they move on to three or four years at each post. Each time a tour comes to a close, officers must bid for new positions.

Do Foreign Service Officers get free housing? ›

Foreign Service Officers who live in government-sponsored housing do not pay rent, nor do they pay for basic utilities, except for personal telephone service. At overseas posts where the government neither owns nor leases accommodations, Foreign Service Officers are given a Living Quarters Allowance.

Are diplomats in high demand? ›

CareerExplorer rates diplomats with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future.

How many people pass the Foreign Service Oral Assessment? ›

It is extremely competitive — of the approximately 20,000 people who take the FSOT each year, only about 500-700 are actually offered positions in the Foreign Service, about 2-3%.

What is the Foreign Service test like? ›

The FSOT is computer-based and consists of four sections: a job knowledge test, a biographic questionnaire, an English expression test and a written essay test. The first three sections consist of multiple-choice questions. Each section is timed separately.

What is a good FSOT score? ›

A candidate must pass the FSOT with a combined score of at least 154.

How many times can you take the Foreign Service exam? ›

Is there a limit on the number of times a person can take the FSOT? There is no limit on the number of times an individual may sit for the FSOT, however, one must wait 12 months between each test.

How competitive is the Foreign Service? ›

Applicants for State Department FSO jobs go through a highly competitive written exam, oral assessment, and security investigation process before they are eligible to be hired. Of the more than 100,000 applicants for State Department FSO positions between 2001 and 2006, only 2,100 became Foreign Service Officers.

What are the 5 types of foreign service officers? ›

The Foreign Service has five different career tracks: Consular Affairs, Economic Affairs, Management Affairs, Political Affairs, and Public Diplomacy.

What happens after you pass the FSOT? ›

If a candidate passes the FSOT, he or she then has three weeks to write six personal narratives (PNs), which answer questions describing the knowledge, skills and abilities a candidate would bring to the Foreign Service.

How much are foreign service officers paid? ›

The Foreign Service operates on a pay scale that takes into account qualifications, experience and responsibilities. The starting salaries for recent graduates are $47,439. The candidates holding a Master's or law degree have a starting salary of $53,065. Salaries can rise as high as $142,180.

Is FSOT pass fail? ›

The Department will no longer use the FSOT as a pass/fail gateway test. Going forward, the education, experience, and personal narratives submitted by candidates will be evaluated alongside the FSOT score.

How long does it take to be hired as a foreign service officer? ›

A safe bet is to consider the whole process, from your decision to apply to when you are offered the job, to take an average of 1.5 years.

How long are FSOT scores valid? ›

An FSOT score is valid only for the period in which the testing occurred. For example, if a candidate completed the FSOT and failed to submit Personal Narratives, then that would be the end of the process. The candidate would have to re-take the FSOT 12 months later to start the process over again.

What is the age limit for Foreign Service? ›

Who can become a Foreign Service Officer? To be eligible, the U.S. Department of State requires that you be: A U.S. citizen on the date you submit your registration package. At least 20 years old and no older than 59 years of age on the day you submit your registration.

How many Foreign Service Officers are hired each year? ›

In calendar year 2019, 9,294 people took the FSOT—not unusual if we look at the past 20 years or so. The test is given in February, June and October.

What are the two types of Foreign Service Officer? ›

Foreign Service Officer Career Basics

Consular Officers: Work to enhance border security and protect Americans who are traveling or living abroad. Economic Officers: Promote the U.S. in areas of trade and economics.

Do Foreign Service Officers get free housing? ›

Foreign Service Officers who live in government-sponsored housing do not pay rent, nor do they pay for basic utilities, except for personal telephone service. At overseas posts where the government neither owns nor leases accommodations, Foreign Service Officers are given a Living Quarters Allowance.

Are diplomats in high demand? ›

CareerExplorer rates diplomats with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future.

Do Foreign Service Officers carry weapons? ›

No federal statutes generally authorize foreign law enforcement agents to carry firearms in the United States. In particular, 18 U.S.C. § 951 does not provide such authority.

Videos

1. Tips For Taking The FSOT | How To Work For The State Department (Part 2)
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2. FSOT - Foreign Service Officer Test Updated Cheet Sheet by Killexams.com
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3. FSOT Prep: #1 Registering and Selecting Your Career Track!?
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4. FSOT Job Knowledge Practice Test 2020
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5. FSOT Exam Preparation - Free Foreign Service Officer Test
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6. FSOT Specialist Test - Free Foreign Service Officer Exam
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