Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Foreign Service Exam

Just signed up to take it in June. Anyone ever had any succe kramer71605/04/18
It is not particularly hard, although this seems like a terr downwardslope05/04/18
I took it last year and didn’t get past the essay either. perkinwarbeck05/04/18
Well supposedly they finally lifted Rex’s hiring freeze so perkinwarbeck05/04/18
What does the personal essay look like? Just one long one as kramer71605/04/18
No. There are 4-5 questions kind of like KSAs where you have downwardslope05/04/18
It is appreciated. I will play up my time on Guam which the kramer71605/04/18
I know three people who have passed the written portion but somefed05/04/18
Good luck on the FSOT. That's easy enough, though. If you kickflipninja05/04/18
I appreciate the information. I knew one guy that made it to kramer71605/04/18
Got to the essay, never got to the the oral assessment. Hea walkingparadox05/08/18
If you passed a bar exam, the written test should be a piece bittersweet05/10/18
kramer716 (May 4, 2018 - 10:33 am)

Just signed up to take it in June. Anyone ever had any success with this exam? I took it once about 15 years ago and didn't pass, so figure it would be a good time to try again. If you have any suggestions for practice books I am all ears. Appreciate it in advance.

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downwardslope (May 4, 2018 - 10:39 am)

It is not particularly hard, although this seems like a terrible time to take it. I have taken it twice but never made it past the personal essay (phase 2). There are questions online you can do that are fine.

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perkinwarbeck (May 4, 2018 - 10:40 am)

I took it last year and didn’t get past the essay either. The written test is pretty simple.

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perkinwarbeck (May 4, 2018 - 10:39 am)

Well supposedly they finally lifted Rex’s hiring freeze so maybe now is the time.

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kramer716 (May 4, 2018 - 10:52 am)

What does the personal essay look like? Just one long one asking why should we hire you?

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downwardslope (May 4, 2018 - 11:11 am)

No. There are 4-5 questions kind of like KSAs where you have to have a reference for each KSA. If you have international experience and law school you should have no problem passing the test, but the only people I know who made it farther either knew foreign languages or were vets. I even knew people who had languages like Russian who didn’t make it past phase 2.

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kramer716 (May 4, 2018 - 11:16 am)

It is appreciated. I will play up my time on Guam which the good people at the State Department consider a foreign country. I come in knowing the odds are against me, so going with the nothing to lose mentality. Hopefully, this is moot and I am working with the SSA, but for the cover my as- mentality I wanted to take the test again.

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somefed (May 4, 2018 - 11:37 am)

I know three people who have passed the written portion but were unable to pass the oral assessment. They all said that the oral assessment was an intense experience. From what I understand, you are placed together with a group and go through problem solving scenarios which are observed by State Dept staff.

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kickflipninja (May 4, 2018 - 12:44 pm)

Good luck on the FSOT. That's easy enough, though. If you took it 15 years ago, back when it was handwritten, you would probably think it's easier now.

I failed the FSOT my first time about 12 years ago. I didn't take it again for five years, then I passed whenever I took it again.

What's hard is the QEP (Qualifications Evaluation Panel). Those are the six
short "essays" called Personal Narratives that each address different precepts. The QEP reviews those for three months and decides whether to invite you to the Oral Assessment.

The Oral Assessment is intense. My first time
making it past the QEP and getting to the OA, I bombed. The second time I made it to the OA, I passed.

If you get invited to the Oral, join a study group. That helps. If you go in cold, you can be overwhelmed.

Now could be a good time to get in. The new Secretary says he wants to bring back the State Department's "swagger".

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kramer716 (May 4, 2018 - 1:03 pm)

I appreciate the information. I knew one guy that made it to the oral portion and he concurred with your friends' assessment.

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walkingparadox (May 8, 2018 - 7:00 pm)

Got to the essay, never got to the the oral assessment. Heard it is an interesting experience.

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bittersweet (May 10, 2018 - 7:33 pm)

If you passed a bar exam, the written test should be a piece of cake if you prepare for it. The Oral Exam is another story.

I've been to the Oral Exam three times and gotten shot down. The pass rate for that is under 15% in a good year.

I figured I have better things to do with my time than do all that prep work just to get shut down again.

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