FSOT Exam

To be eligible to take the FSOT, which is computer-based, you must be a U.S. citizen who is at least 20 years old, and no more than 59 years when registering. Additionally, you must be a minimum of 21 years old and no older than 60 when appointed as an officer. You must be willing and able to take an assignment in any part of the world.

Special testing arrangements are available for individuals with documented and approved conditions. If requesting accommodations, this must be done in writing and accompanied by official documentation that proves you are eligible for the accommodation.

Some of these accommodations include extended testing time, separate testing room, a reader, and recorder.

What are the sections covered on the exam?

  • Job Knowledge Test
  • Situational Judgment Test
  • English Expression Test
  • Written Essay Test

The questions of the Job Knowledge, Situational Judgment, and English Expression Tests are in multiple-choice format. Even if you are not 100% certain about the answer to a question, make an educated guess. You will receive a point for each answer you get correct, but not penalized for the answers you get wrong. In order for the Written Essay Test to be scored, the examinee must pass the three preceding sections.

Job Knowledge Test

Some of the topics that will be addressed on this test include U.S. government and politics, U.S. and world history, geography, economics, math, and statistics. You will have 40 minutes to complete 60 questions.

Situational Judgment Test

The topics that will be addressed on this test are related to the job duties of a Foreign Service Officer. Some of these include adaptability, decision-making, judgment, operational effectiveness, standards of profession, team-building, and workplace perceptiveness. You will have 42 minutes to complete 28 questions.

English Expression Test

Some of the topics that will be addressed on this test include proper grammar, organization, writing strategy, sentence structure, and punctuation. You will have 50 minutes to complete 65 questions.

Written Essay

On this test, you will choose one of three topics to write on. Areas that will be assessed include analyzing the topic, as well as writing quality (word choice, spelling, grammar, syntax, and punctuation). You will have 25 minutes to complete the essay.

How do I register for the exam?

Register online about five weeks before your selected testing window.

What is the cost of the exam?

To take FSOT, the examinee must pay a fee of $5.  Approximately 1-3 weeks after taking the exam, this fee will be refunded. On the other hand, if the examinee doesn’t show up for the test, he/she will be assessed a fee of $72.

What are the testing locations?

This exam is administered at various testing centers throughout the United States and other countries, including military base testing centers.

What should I do the day of the exam?

It is important to arrive at the testing site at least 30 minutes early, to ensure you have enough time to park, check-in, and get settled into your seat before the test.

If taking the test in the United States, be prepared to present a valid form of identification that includes your name, signature, and photo (e.g. driver’s license or military identification card). If taking the test overseas, you must show your U.S. passport for identification. Your ID cannot be expired or a photocopy. If your ID does not follow these criteria, you will not be permitted to take the test.

Personal items cannot be brought into the testing area. Some of these items include a cell phone, calculator, other electronic devices, and food/drink.

What happens after I take the exam?

About three weeks after your testing window closes, you will receive an email letting you know online access to your score report is available.

If you pass FSOT, you will be contacted to submit your six Personal Narratives, as part of the process of becoming a Foreign Service Officer.

What happens if I do not pass the exam?

You can take the FSOT as many times necessary to pass, but you can only take it once in a 1-year period.

How Can I Prepare for the FSOT Test?

We believe that different learning styles require different tools for success. We have compiled a list of the best study guides, flashcards, and practice tests that we’ve found on the market. Some of these guides have review videos, for you visual learners out there. Others have practice tests, which have been proven to increase student scores by a whole letter grade (in some cases more than that)!

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Last Updated: July 31, 2019