The Foreign Service Exam registration is actually a little more complicated than it should be. It’s not your typical test registration where you have lots of options and multiple time periods to choose from. You’ll actually have to be quite strategic in choosing your FSOT registration dates and ultimately you FSOT test dates.
Now, like my previous posts, I’m not here to rehash what you can find on the official FSO State website. However, there are some important things any potential Foreign Service Officer should keep in mind when they decide they want to register for the FSOT.
But first, let’s break down the important stipulations set by state, and then discuss the strategies and how you should go about setting up your FSOT registration.
Foreign Service Exam registration Stipulations
- Offered 3 times each year in February, June and October
- Registration for a test opens 5 weeks prior to the test
- You can register online at http://www.pearsonvue.com/fsot/
- Registration closes 3 days before the test date
- You can always reschedule to a different testing date, so long as you are not within 3 days of the testing date
- If you do not pass, you must wait a year before retaking it
When Registering, don’t do the following things…
Your FSOT registration form will ask you a lot of questions, so be prepared. However, when answering the questions, make sure you understand that those responses WILL be used in future steps in the process – if you make it that far.
Here’s a list of things I’ve seen over the years:
Don’t Exaggerate: During the OA, you’ll be asked some questions and your responses will be verified based on your FSOT registration form. So, don’t go overboard with this.
Be Consice: You know what they say…don’t offer information you aren’t prepared to defend. Believe me, if you start to respond on something you are sure of, DON’T!
Career Track and Your FSOT Registration Submission
Keep in mind though, while filling out your FSOT registration, you will need to state what career track you intend to take. Think real hard and long about this. You may be interested in Political, but understand that it is the most competitive.
The good news is that you have until 3 days before the FSOT test to change it. So, you can submit your Foreign Service exam registration, and a couple of days later change you selected career path. But once the test date is within 3 days of the exam, the selected career path on record will be your final selection for the remainder of the FSO selection process.
FSOT Registration Strategy
I know you aren’t going to believe me when I say this, but once you decide that you want to become an FSO, you should consider immediately taking the test.
Yes, I know that if you fail, you’ll need to wait a year…but in all honesty, many people fail the first time…about 70% of them fail.
So, I recommend immediately getting your hands on a FSOT study guide and becoming familiar with the test layout and the practice tests. Then immediately go in and take the test.
The mistake that most people make is that they decide they want to become a FSO and then spend months preparing. After a good while, they will finally register for the FSOT, take it, and fail. Now, they have to wait a full year before they can take it again.
So for those of you who take the above advice, you will be looking at taking the test twice in 1 year. You’ll have valuable experience, nothing will be a surprise the second time around, and you’ll be MUCH more prepared for the exam by then.
It sound crazy, but it can be very effective. It just all depends on your timescale.