Preparing for the FSOT exam is no small task. That's why getting a professional FSOT study guide is of extreme importance. It will help you streamline your studies and ultimately prepare you for the text by giving you experience and a better understanding of what's to come.
However, there are many FSOT study guide books that are absolutely not useful and will only waste your time and money. So, to help you, I purchased and reviewed each of the following FSOT study guides and created the below list.
FSOT Prep's Recommended FSOT Study Guide List
To help you choose the right FSOT study guide, we have vetted each and everyone and found these to be worth mentioning. Although none are perfect, each one has a different strength. We'll start by showing you a Comparison table of the 4 best FSOT study guides on the market. Then below that you can see individual information on each.
FSOT Study Guide Comparison Table
FSOT Study Guide Reviews
For more in-depth info on the different study guides, you can check them out below in order of our recommendation due to using them all.
#1. The Complete FSOT Study Guide
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Clark, Robert (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 212 Pages - 01/30/2016 (Publication Date)
The Complete FSOT Study Guide is the FSOT Prep’s favorite Study Guide on the market. Written by a Foreign Service Officer who has been on both sides of the process: taking the test, and grading it, you are sure to increase your score with this little investment.
Furthermore, because it's positioning in Amazon, we believe this has the best ROI. Its practice test is better than the competition because unlike most, it goes beyond the Knowledge section and digs deep in the English Grammar Usage and even the Personal Statement. Furthermore, compared to the others, the advise given in this study guide is much more useful and practical.
With the other study guides, I got the impression they only gave 'general' advice - the same advice you'd give for any standardized test. However, Robert Clark gave a couple of pointers that I had wished I had known before I took the exam.
Therefore, you can clearly see why this is the #1 pick of the FSOT Prep.
#2 FSOT Exam Prep 2020-2021
- Foreign Service Test Team, Newstone (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 312 Pages - 01/18/2020 (Publication Date) - Newstone TestPrep (Publisher)
The FSOT Exam Prep gets 2rd place because of a couple of factors. First, it is written by a company called "Newstone Foreign Service Test Team." Sounds excellent, however as an FSO, I've never heard of them. Second, when doing a Google Search for the company, they don't seem to exist. This seems very shady in practice and makes me feel as though it wasn't written by a "Foreign Service Team." Instead, I'd venture to guess that it was written by someone else posing as a FSO.
Also, I couldn't shake the feeling that this book similar to our #3 below. It seemed to repeat someone of the out-of-date information presented in the old version below. Also, there were some suggestions that were too close to #3 below.
So, why the #2 spot? Well, because it's as if they took #3, read the reviews, and made some improvements. It does explain the exam very well, and its two practice tests did have extra questions (although I would challenge the legitimacy of the difficulty they presented).
#3. FSOT Study Guide Review
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The FSOT Study Guide Review, like #2 above, seems to have been written by a no name company called "Test Prep Books." This isn't an "Idiot's Guide" or a legitimate test prep company. Probably a self-publisher pretending to be one. If you read the more legitimate reviews on Amazon, you'll see people questioning the same thing.
So, why is this #3 in the list, and not listed as the a "stay away?" Well, while this sort of thing really irks me, I'll admit it was well written and describes the test layout very well. It doesn't give as good of advice as #1, and it doesn't present as good of a practice test as #2, but it is a beneficial book.
But I would not purchase this, unless you bought #1 and #2 above, and still want more practice questions...or your a glutton for punishment.
FSOT Study Guide Books NOT to Buy!
Sadly, there are many FSOT study guide preparation books that just don't cut it. For some, they are just a reprint of the State Department's website and for others, it's just a series of questions that honestly accumulate to make no sense. Therefore, I had to include a section that talks about which FSOT Study Guide books were not worth your money or your time.
- FSOT Flashcard Study System: Not worth it and pretty useless
- FSOT Practice Questions: This too is a waste and not worth it
- CliffsTestPrep Foreign Service Officer Exam: Wasn't a complete cover of all the subjects
- FSOT Secrets Study Guide: This is a sham and useless - stay away
- Mometrix FSOT STudy Guide 2020 and 2021: Usually a good company, but this one falls flat
- ADAR Review FSOT Study Guide: This is a sham as well and should be avoided
- FSOT Flash Cards: Hahaha....don't get me started. Just the cover is enough to know
Again, these are a waste of your money and time.
Free FSOT Practice Test
For many of those who are looking for an FSOT study guide, their main objective is to really get their hands on an FSOT practice test. I would highly recommend taking a Foreign Service Officer Practice Test before taking the real thing...but you probably knew that already.
If you are looking for a great FSOT Practice Test, then make sure to check out our free online FSOT practice test.
Furthermore, you can access even more information about the exam here:
Disclaimer About FSOT Study Guide Books
Many people who invest in an FSOT study guide, make the mistake of believing that a study guide will "teach" them everything they need to know. However, you will not find that in any FSOT study guide. The Foreign Service Officer Test is more extensive than the ACT and covers topics like US Government, History, International Politics, Economics, Mathematics, Computer Science, US Society and much more. Furthermore, the level of knowledge required to pass these subjects is above that of a master's level course. As you can see, no book should be able to cover all of this information adequately.
However, if you take the advice of the State Department and read all 59 of their recommended textbooks, you will ultimately spend 10's of 1000's of hours reading countless pages and will still not be guaranteed success in getting selected. Furthermore, the State Department also recommends that you enroll in college/master level programs and other courses so as to prepare for these subjects.
So instead of spending all that time and money following the almost impossible recommendations of the State Department, your best bet is to get a professionally made FSOT Study Guide.
So, remember, an FSOT study guide is supposed to help you maximize your effectiveness and efficiency in preparing for the test...not teach you everything you need to know. It's a guide...it guides you through the process of studying.
So as you can see, there are a lot of good FSOT Study guides out there. Some have LOTS of content, while others are more streamlined. Some have great practice tests, while others spend more time on the test tips and recommendations. But regardless as to what you specifically prefer, these study guides will help you streamline your study process and help you to more effectively and efficiently prepare for the FSOT test. They are all a small price to pay for your time, energy and potential towards success.
If you think that we missed one, please let us know and we will find a copy and do a review of it. You can contact either below in the comments section or on our contact us page.
Hello! These books are really helpful for the test. Are there any books that can be recommended to prepare for other parts of the application process such as the personal narrative and the in person interview? Thank you!
I NEED ONE TO HELP ME PREPARE ME TO SEEK EMPLOYMENT AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT.