- Are there any set strategies for taking the test?
It pays to guess, eliminate any obvious wrong answers, and get a good night's sleep.
- Are there timed sections of the test, and if so, is it difficult to finish on time?
All the sections are timed and you will need to pace yourself.
- Can you give me an idea of the average time frame from taking the Foreign Service Officer Test to completing the whole process (Oral Assessment, security and medical clearances, and final suitability review)?
Assuming no serious security or medical issues arise, candidates who take the Foreign Service Officer Test can expect that the minimum time from the test date to final clearance will be about eight months.
- Didn't there used to be a program called Alternative Examination Program listed under Alternate Programs?
Yes, but the AEP has not been active for a number of years and we do not anticipate offering it again in the foreseeable future. If we decide there is a need for it again, we will post a notice on the website.
- Does everyone take the same test, regardless of which track we will ultimately pursue?
- How and when will I be notified of the results of the Qualifications Evaluation Panel (QEP) Process?
FSOT passers are sent an email directing them to log in again to find out the results of the QEP Process and whether they are invited to the Oral Assessment. The QEP process normally takes three months to complete.
- How can I have more information on my performance?
Because so many applicants take the Foreign Service Officer Test more than one time, individual feedback would constitute an unfair advantage and cannot be provided.
- How do I register for the Foreign Service Officer Test?
After you have chosen your career track, you can start the FSOT registration process. The FSOT measures your knowledge, skills and abilities, including writing skills that are necessary to the work of a Foreign Service Officer.
- I have not received my test results. What should I do?
If you have not received your results, please contact ACT at (800) 205-6358 or by e-mail at fsot@ACT.org.
- I recently took the Foreign Service Officer Test. How will I be notified of the results?
When results are ready (and it usually takes 3-5 weeks), ACT will send you an e-mail advising when and how to access your results letter. You will need to use the same personal login ID and password that you used to register for the FSOT.
- I registered for the Foreign Service Officer Test. When will I be notified to schedule my testing date and location?
Scheduling begins about 4 to 6 weeks prior to each testing window. Those who registered for the test prior to the start of scheduling should receive (4 to 6 weeks before the start of the test window) an invitation from ACT, the test administrator, to schedule their testing date/location. Invitations are issued on a staggered schedule according to the career track you chose at registration. You may not change your career track choice. Those who register for the test after scheduling has already begun can expect to receive their invitations to schedule within 2 to 3 days after the registration was submitted.
- If I do not pass the Foreign Service Officer Test, can I re-take, and how often?
Applicants who wish to retake the FSOT must submit a new registration package, and are eligible to retake the test after a year has elapsed since their previous test. In practice, this means that a candidate who took the third of the three tests offered one year would be eligible to take the third of the three tests offered the following year — even if, due to minor shifts in the dates of test windows from year to year, slightly fewer than 365 days might have elapsed since the candidate last took the test. For example, candidates who took the test during the third test window in 2012, which was in Sept/October, may register to take the test again during the third test window of 2013.
- Other than the admissions letter, is there anything else I should bring with me to the test?
In addition to your admissions notification email, you will need a valid, federal or state government-issued photo ID such as a driver's license, passport, or military ID.
- What happens if I am unable to take the test on the date I've selected?
You will need to cancel your seat at least 48 hours before the test date. Your admissions letter will contain information on how to do so. If you fail to provide this notification, you will be assessed a $50 fee.
- What is the Qualification Evaluation Panel (QEP)?
All candidates who pass the FSOT and submit the Personal Narratives, regardless of their score on the FSOT, are considered by the Qualifications Evaluation Panels. The QEPs look at the "total candidate" to rank order all the candidates in a given career track. The number of candidates invited to the Oral Assessment depends on our anticipated hiring needs and budget.
- When I register for the Foreign Service Officer Test, will I be sent a confirmation that my registration was received?
Yes. ACT, the test administrator, will send you a confirmation email on the first business day following submission of your registration.
- When is the best time for us to be at the test center, not too early and not too late?
You should report to the test center at the time shown on your admission notification email. Actual starting time of the test may vary at different test centers due to differences in the amount of time necessary for pre-test administrative procedures. If you report to the center later than the time stated on your admission notification email, you will not be admitted.
- Who prepared the test? College professors or State Dept. officials?
Professional "test-makers" at ACT prepare our test questions. The questions are reviewed and approved by Foreign Service Officers.