Although the exact dates for the FSOT exam occur around the same time of the year, choosing your Foreign Service exam dates is not that simple and should require a lot of thought.
In this section I’ll discuss what we know about the FSOT test dates, and how you should approach them, and what you should consider before you select your FSOT test date.
What We Know About the FSOT Test Dates
The following are hard facts about the FSOT Tests Dates:
- FSOT dates occur every February, June and October
- Registration is continuous
- You can schedule your seat 1 month before the exam
- Registration is closed 3 days before the FSOT exam
- You must wait 11 months from the day you submitted your registration before you can register again
These are the hard facts that you can find on the official State Department’s website. However, this is only half the story.
When you go to choose your FSOT test dates, you’ll want to think about these things…
What you Should Consider When Selecting Your FSOT Test Dates
The biggest point of concern is that you have to wait 11 months before you can take the FSOT Test again. Most people will immediately hold off on their FSOT test date and instead start preparing for the test until they are ready for it.
This strategy can cause two problems:
1. The person never feels ready and puts it off too long
2. They put it off too long, finally take it and fail. Now they have to wait a year before they can take it again.
Can you see where this causes problems?
Remember, in a previous post, that the average FSOT passing rate is about 30%. That means that there is a 70% chance that you will fail.
Why Your FSOT Test Date Should Be ASAP
The idea with this is that you immediately take the test, get the experience, and promptly fail – or by struck of luck or pure genius – you pass and move on.
In most cases, it should take someone a good year to prepare for the FSOT. With this tactic, you’ll still have your year of preparation, but you’ll also have experience of taking the test. Experience with the exam can be huge. It can help calm your nerves. Nothing should be a surprise for you since you’ve already taken the exam.
Now, I will say that this recommendation isn’t for everyone and you should take a good hard look at your unique situation and what is best for you. For some, you might absolutely be ready to take the test and for others, you have a small window in which to pursue this dream.
But regardless, you need to think about your situation, but keep in mind that experience can be one of the biggest allies in a test like this.
If you can’t afford to take such a leap, then it is even more important that you pick up a FSOT study guide and get some experience with their practice tests.