20 September 2009

Foreign Service Officers Test: FSOT

Upon submission of my final project to graduate, I have decided to apply for the Foreign Service Officers Test (FSOT). Essentially, this would be a position working for the U.S. State Department working (most likely) overseas in an American Embassy. There are five careers tracks to chose from, and I have decided that the management trajectory is the best for me. Essentially, I am trying to prepare as best as I can in the limited amount of time I have available.

As this idea came to me about a week or so ago, I feel that I may be inadequately prepared as I have scheduled for Friday October 9. (The test is only offered 3 times a year. The next available time is in October, so clearly I wanted to capitalize upon this opportunity.) As I have less than 3 weeks to prepare, I am in a position of trying to both gather what I need to learn and learn it quickly.

Most of the information which I have found on the internet is not too helpful in breaking down each section or how the questions are weighted. I would like to understand the mechanics of the test, but it is not readily obvious to me based on what I've read thus far. The expression that knowing is half the battle epitomizes my sentiments to optimize my strategy.

I feel that some topics are obvious for my review: the structure and branches of the U.S. federal government, the Constitution, U.S. presidents, and U.S. history. Reading suggestions from the State Department also include: The Economist, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, Time Magazine, and any major newspaper (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, etc.). As far as suggested books, it is quite a lengthy list which I will never get through in 3 weeks.

My battle begins in researching the exam's structure. My next step is to understand what I do not know and learn it. I must continue in my quest to survey the situation and assess my tactics. Wish me luck!


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