The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) is taken as part of developing a career as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO). In order to be chosen for this career, candidates need to go through the selection and testing process, in this order:
- Complete a registration package, including the application, and answers to personal, anecdotal queries.
- Take the Foreign Service test.
- Wait for the Qualifications Evaluation Panel to review your information and test.
- Get invited to take the Foreign Service Oral Assessment.
Candidates have to be at least 20 years old to test, and a candidate cannot become an FSO until he or she is 21; additionally, a candidate cannot be older than 59. Candidates must be U.S. citizens who can work anywhere in the world. When a candidate registers, he or she will be asked to choose a career path. Once a path has been chosen, a candidate cannot change it during the selection of candidates. The choices are: management career track, consular career track, economic career track, political career track or public diplomacy career track. After registration, candidates have one year to take the test. After the year is up, candidates need to re-register if they still want to take it. Per regulations, a candidate cannot become an FSO if he or she has been separated, resigned or retired from the FSO in the past. There is no educational or foreign language prerequisite.
After registration, candidates will get an e-mail invitation to schedule testing. If a candidate claims on registration that he or she knows Arabic, Chinese-Mandarin, Hindi, Persian-Dari, Persian-Farsi or Urdu, he or she will also be requested to make an appointment for a telephone assessment regarding fluency in that language. Candidates will receive an e-mail with directions on how to proceed with this portion of the test.
The FSOT takes about three hours. Candidates are assessed in writing, life background, experience and level of instruction, English, and other areas that are pertinent to a career as an FSO. The test Foreign Service test includes a 30-minute written essay on a given subject matter and three sections with multiple-choice items, including:
- General job knowledge
- English expression
- Biographic information – This assesses proficiency and capability in areas like integrity, problem solving and cultural sensitivity
Candidates must pass the three multiple-choice sections before the essay is graded. All four sections must be passed in order to move on to the next step in the process.
FSOT Exam Practice Questions
1. What is the most efficient way to send another person a copy of an e-mail without letting the intended recipient know?
A. Add a cc.
B. Forward it.
C. Add a bcc.
D. Send it through postal mail.
2. An instructor lists all student grades on a particular test. The most popular grade is an 86, attained by 13 of the 22 students. What is 86 considered?
A. The mean
B. The average
C. The range
D. The mode
3. Where is the U.S. banking system regulated?
A. On the local level
B. On the state level
C. On the federal level
D. On both the state and the federal level
4. During which president’s administration were Medicare and Medicaid started?
A. Lyndon Johnson
B. Franklin Roosevelt
C. Herbert Hoover
D. Theodore Roosevelt
5. What is the main way the U.S. government controls our money supply?
A. Changes in interest rates
B. Raising taxes
C. Striving for high economic growth
D. Regulating inflation
DIRECTIONS: In the four passages that follow, words and phrases are underlined and numbered. Read the alternate suggestions for each underlined part and choose the one that seems to work best with the style and tone of the article and is grammatically correct. The original response is always listed as the first option. Read each passage through before reviewing the questions and responses.
Questions 1 and 2 pertain to the following excerpt:
About fifty years ago, most of the public schools in the United States (1) were segregated, that is, the schools were racially unbalanced. This situation was apparent throughout the country but was especially prevalent in the South. There, neighborhoods were dotted with “black” schools and “white” schools. It would have been (2) practically unusual to find a white student in a “black” school, and the reverse was true too.
A. were segregated, that is; the schools were racially unbalanced
B. were segregated that is, the schools were racially unbalanced
C. were segregated, that is the schools were racially unbalanced
D. were segregated that is the schools were racially unbalanced
1. C: “Bcc” means “blind carbon copy.” When an email is sent this way, the original recipient does not know who else may be getting it. Sending a cc means that all recipients know who is getting a copy. Forwarding an email is a way to send it to someone else without letting the intended recipient know, but it is not the most efficient way.
2. D: The mode is the value that occurs most often in a listing.
3. D: The U.S. banking system is one of the most regulated banking systems in the world, with regulations within each state and the federal government.
4. A: Although many programs were introduced under Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Medicaid and Medicare programs were started by Johnson.
5. A: The Federal Reserve System raises and lowers the prime rate to regulate the nation’s money supply.
6. A: The phrase “that is” continues with the same thought as what precedes it, so it belongs in the same sentence, but it begins a new independent clause, which requires a semicolon rather than a comma.
7. D: Both B and C mean “logically.”