What else can I do to prepare for the FSOT in June?
May 24, 2011 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Do you have any tips in the final weeks of my FSOT prep?

I'm signed up to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) the second week of June. In addition to being the lucky beneficiary of the foremost mentioned test prep (a good and relevant education), I downloaded the official test guide, and have outlined answers to topics from this website. I'm also planning on reviewing notes from all of my college and grad school management, econ, and history classes, and I will of course take caution to get good sleep in the days before the test. Also importantly, I am always active and eat well.

Other than what I've done, do you have any advice on what additional things I can do to prepare? For those who have taken the test and not passed, do you have any advice on what NOT to do?
posted by msk1985 to Education (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Took it and passed. Don't sweat the test or kill yourself preparing. Just read the newspaper every day. The test isn't rocket science.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:26 PM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: Best of luck to you! I'm a recently-hired FSO (joined the Foreign Service last fall) and have learned plenty about the process along the way. Have you checked out the Yahoo FSOT groups? There's two: one for the written exam (which is what I assume you're preparing to take), and one for the subsequent oral assessment.

Besides that, it sounds like you're in pretty good shape. My only other suggestion is to maybe look for a study group in your area, particularly once you reach the oral assessment stage. You can probably find more info on the Yahoo groups listed above.

Feel free to MeMail me if you have any other questions about the FSOT, or Foreign Service life in general! Getting in is a pain, but it is worth the effort :)
posted by photo guy at 7:34 PM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: Hey, me too! I've taken the test previously with zero preparation and passed, although this time since I'm a little further out of school so I'm taking some time to review. I found the Yahoo group helpful. Also, be sure to know the amendments of the Constitution.

I don't have too much to add, I mostly just wanted to say me too! and good luck!
posted by unannihilated at 8:07 PM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: Read the wikipedia article on the Constitution. Know periods of US history generally. Practice created an opinion about some random banal topic and writing an argument for it.
posted by lockestockbarrel at 8:22 PM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: The written was a breeze, though I was startled by the pop culture questions. For the oral, I recommend finding someone to practice group decision-making and debate skills. One thing I would have appreciated knowing in advance: my fellow test-takers were the most anxious group I've ever tested with. They were worse than the kids on their 8th and final attempt at the Ohio graduation test, worse than the folks taking the LSAT, worse than the desperate and unemployed masses doing the Los Angeles Management Analyst civil service test in the middle of a recession. It would have been nice to be ready for that.

(I passed the written the first time, was .25 off on my oral; I was the only person without a graduate degree at my oral, but I was comfortable because I took the test down the hall from where I worked during my State Department internship and the secretaries were pleased to see me again.)
posted by SMPA at 8:43 PM on May 24, 2011

Response by poster: Great, thanks for the suggestions! The essay part seems like a snap, but some of the job knowledge questions I've run across are completely random. I'll check the Yahoo group for more guidance on those. I'm pretty good at academic babbling, so I'll hopefully be okay if I get to the oral exam stage. Oh, and thanks for the warning about the anxiety ridden test takers. Cheers!
posted by msk1985 at 3:35 AM on May 25, 2011

I think you've probably got the written test pretty well covered, but I just want to give my support. Even if you miss some of the more random job knowledge questions, and don't quite finish the essay, you can still pass. I'm living proof. The advice to practice writing concise, persuasive arguments is good. I also want to echo the advice to not let the freaked out oral participants get under your skin. The people from my session who passed were the ones who didn't seem desperate.

Best of luck, and memail me if you have questions about the process or the service.
posted by eulily at 4:53 AM on May 25, 2011

Response by poster: Just found out I passed the written test. Thanks again for the tips!
posted by msk1985 at 2:34 PM on June 29, 2011

Congrats! As some have said, the oral assessment is the difficult part. Just don't be like me and basically freak out the week before. I got pretty much no sleep and was absolutely dreading it. I had also just moved to the DC area which I actually thought would be more convenient but I think I was just too stressed out. Needless to say I did not pass... :) I've actually passed the written part twice but the second time didn't pass the essays. Might take it again this October. It's the perfect test for people who like world trivia(and psych evals like you might take at work). I was pretty much the only non-lawyer at my OA.
posted by fromageball at 9:31 AM on August 29, 2011

« Older Audio hallucinations while smoking weed?   |   Was it a hit and run, and do I report it? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.