Foreign Service Selection Process

The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) is the determining factor as to whether you proceed on to the next step in the hiring process. Those who pass the Foreign Service Officer Test are asked to send a Personal Narrative (PN) to the Qualifications Evaluation Panel (QEP).

Following a successful PN is an Oral Assessment. The U.S. Department of State has delineated 13 fundamental skills and traits that are essential for the effective performance of Foreign Service tasks. The Oral Assessment covers 13 abilities and behavioral characteristics.

Medical and security clearances precede a final Suitability Review Panel. Pass all of it, and you will see your name placed on a ranked list of eligible candidates. Preparing for any Federal civil service exam will get you one step closer to your dream job.


Content and Format of the FSOT

The Foreign Service Officer Test is a Pearson VUE computer-based exam composed of three main sections and a possibility of writing an essay:

  • Job Knowledge
  • English Expression
  • Biodata

The Job Knowledge questions are housed in eight distinct formats:

  • Multiple-Choice – These items cover a wide range of job-related general information. You may be required to select multiple answers for one question. During the entire test, keep in mind that the U.S. Department of State is focused on diplomacy.
  • Fill-in-the-Blank – Math items such as word problems are to be answered by entering the correct calculation into a blank box.
  • Drop-Down – Grammar is the subject matter covered in Drop-Down questions. Click on a “Select” box that drops down a set of alternatives.
  • Hot Spot – The tasks involve reading graphs. Click on the answer within the graph itself.
  • Hot Area – Maps are the focal points of Hot Area questions. Your job is to click on the designated area of the map.
  • Drag-and-Drop – Expect numbered or lettered boxes. Sequence them by dragging and dropping each in the correct order.
  • Using Editing Tools – Each item requires a specific edit by using tools such as “cut” and “paste”.

English Expression Section

The FSOT English Expression section presents passages and sentences. In the written material, you will find underlined, highlighted or numbered words and phrases. There are various types of items, each followed by four response alternatives. It is essential that you read the entirety of each passage, question and response alternative.

The questions concern the underlined portions of the passage. Select the best answer to each question. You will be asked to recall information, analyze, summarize, repair grammatical errors and draw conclusions, all based solely upon the information in the passage.

Some items require the selection of the alternative that best expresses a specified conclusion. Make sure that your selection is in accordance with standard written English.


State Department Careers

There are at least five specific areas within the U.S. Department of State that are open to Foreign Service Officers. These civil service career fields include Consular, Public Diplomacy, Economic, Management and Political.


Prepare for the FSOT

Preparing with our practice tests, you can familiarize yourself with the test format and types of items. We will soon provide practice tests and study guides to prepare you for the FSOT exam.

JobTestPrep is currently working on customizing a variety of practice packs for the Foreign Service Officer Test. Subscribe now to get more information, sample questions, and discount coupons once the products are launched.


Related links

USA Hire Assessment Test Federal Civil Service Exams
Treasury Enforcement Agent Test Secret Service Special Agent Exam