Foreign Service Officer

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ImageCompany NameCategoriesTypesCitiesCountries
Foreign Service Officer
Department of StateGovernmentFull TimeWorldwideWorldwide

The Foreign Service Officer Test measures your knowledge, skills and abilities, including writing skills that are necessary to the work of a Foreign Service Officer.

The FSOT is administered online at designated test centers in the U.S. and abroad and takes about three hours to complete. It includes three multiple-choice sections:

  • Job knowledge: Questions will cover a broad range of topics including, but not limited to, the structure and workings of the U.S. Government, U.S. and world history, U.S. culture, psychology, technology, management theory, finance and economics, and world affairs;
  • English expression; and
  • A situational judgement section that will present scenarios (i.e., descriptions of situations) that a candidate might encounter on the job as a Foreign Service Officer.

In addition, you will be given 30 minutes to write an essay on an assigned topic. You must pass the multiple-choice tests in order to have your essay graded.

The Foreign Service Officer Test is administered by Pearson VUE, and offered three times each year in February, June, and October. Information about upcoming FSOT dates and locations can be found below in Step 3: Take the FSOT.

The registration process, which includes concurrent application submission and seat selection, opens approximately five (5) weeks prior to each testing window. To register, go to http://www.pearsonvue.com/fsot/ during the five-week period prior to a specific testing window to create an account, submit completed eligibility verification and application forms, and select a location and seat for that specific test date. The registration process closes three (3) days before the testing window opens.

When registering, keep in mind that all of the information you submit to the Board of Examiners through Pearson VUE is subject to verification. Any exaggeration of your experience and qualifications, including your language ability, will weaken your candidacy. Misrepresentations may be grounds for terminating your candidacy, or for dismissing you even after you have joined the Foreign Service, and may be punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

    • You will receive an on-screen confirmation message after you submit completed eligibility verification and application forms, and a second confirmation message after you select a seat. You will also receive an e-mail from Pearson VUE, which includes details about your testing appointment, ID requirements, and directions to the testing center.

Note: You may submit an application and select a seat for the announced testing window only. Applications are valid for a specific test only and will expire when that testing window closes. The number of testing center seats for each window is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • If you need to cancel your test you must do so at least two business days (48 hours) before your scheduled appointment. Your e-mailed confirmation letter will contain information on how to do so. If you fail to appear or cancel in a timely manner, you will be assessed a $72 “no-show” fee.

Once an application is submitted it cannot be changed for that testing window. You may, however, reschedule your appointment for another date during that same testing window up until the close of the five-week registration process. Once the five-week registration process closes you can only cancel an appointment. You will need to register again if you cancel or to retake the FSOT. You may update your application and change your chosen career track during any subsequent registration period for which you are eligible. You may take the FSOT during any of the three annual testing windows but only once in a 12-month period.

If you have technical problems/questions regarding the registration process, click on the contact Pearson VUE link for assistance.

The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) is administered three times per year, generally in February, June, and October, each time for a period or “window” of eight days.

Upcoming Foreign Service Officer Testing Windows
This chart contains relevant dates for the next three Foreign Service Officer Tests. As a reminder you will be able to register—apply and select a seat—for approximately five weeks before each testing window.
February 2020 June 2020 October 2020
Testing Window Dates February 1 to 8 May 30 to June 6 October 3 to October 10
Registration opens January 2 April 23 August 27
Registration closes January 29 May 27 September 30
List of embassies/consulates* offering the FSOT available at careers.state.gov January 2 April 14 August 15
*The FSOT is offered at both domestic and overseas locations.

 

The deadline for candidates to cancel test seats without incurring penalties is 48 hours (two business days) before the start of your test. NOTE: Pearson VUE work days include Saturdays, but not Sundays worldwide.

It’s best to give yourself plenty of time — avoid waiting until the deadline.

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