Get Ready… The next Foreign Service Exam is in October

If you want to take the Foreign Service Exam go immediately to this place to complete your registration application for the test.

Registration, registration, registration.  You’ve got to sign up for the test and there are deadlines.  There are always deadlines.  This post should explain how to secure a seat at the next Foreign Service Exam, which according to the Department of State is slated for October 2012.  But is it?  Or did we miss the deadline?

Two facts, for what they’re worth:

  • Registration for the Foreign Service Officer Exam is open on a continuous basis.
  • The State Department will offer the written test three times in 2012 and 2013.
This is straightforward, so you need to register and you need to plan on a test date. Okay, fill out and submit the online application here.  Remember you will have to select your career track, formerly known as cone, when your are registering for the exam.  There are five:
  • Consular
  • Economic
  • Management (formerly Administrative)
  • Political
  • Public Diplomacy (formerly a separate Foreign Affairs agency, the United States Information Service, until it was reabsorbed by the State Department in 1999)
I will talk about the different cones, er, career tracks, in my next post.  The silly words State uses  led to other wonderful expressions, such as the process of changing one’s cone became known as conal rectification.  And to think people used to say this with a straight face.
Okay, you’ve registered, you select a day and time within the one-week window.  The upcoming Foreign Service Exam will be offered during the window from September 29 to October 6, 2012.  As I mentioned previously, you can take the test in many different spots around the United States, probably where ACT offers its more traditional college-testing services.  They have a nifty map of the United States, so type in your zip code to find the closest testing center.  A few days after you submit your choice, ACT will send you an email with the day and time of your test.  (Note: State expects you to handle the relationship with ACT so if you don’t get a response, it’s up to you to sort it out with the testing firm)
Final points:
  • if you register today — July 14 — you don’t have to take the exam in Sep-Oct.  You can take it during another window over the next 12 months.  If you fail to take it during that period, ACT cancels your registration.  If you decide then to really take it, you’ll have to re-register.
  • You are only allowed to take the exam once/once during an 11-month period.  Of course, if you fail the test or State doesn’t offer you a job, you can take the test as often as you like.
  • Don’t forget to take a copy of the email notification confirming time, test date and location and valid U.S. government-issued photo identification to the test center, according to Career.State.Gov.  They say in the next sentence that a driver’s license is okay so I assume they also mean state government forms of idea.  No, it doesn’t mean you have to get a passport.  Not yet, anyway, and Diplomatic Passports are a neat black color.  Trust me, you’ll like them.
Okay, one final note is a new pain-in-the-butt rule ACT and State have instituted.  The Foreign Service Exam remains free, but to prevent no-shows for the test, they will ask you for credit card information at registration.  If you don’t notify ACT and cancel your seat at least 48 hours in advance, they will charge you $50.  Keep that in the back of your mind.  Fifty bucks is still fifty bucks.

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