How to Prepare for the Foreign Service Exam

Quick step-by-step guide to pass the first exam of the FSOT:
1. Take the State/Pearson Vue practice test;
2. Based on your score, Identify your strengths and weaknesses.;
3. Study areas where you’re weakest.
4. Use general overview books to review subjects such as economics, US history, international relations, European/Asian/African histories, etc.
5. For English Expression, read Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, visit the Grammar Girl Quick-and-Dirty Tips website, and the English Grammar 101 website.

Trivial Pursuit or Can You Really Study for The FSOT

Someone wrote recently that the FSOT is like Trivial Pursuit and therefore you can’t study for it. There is some truth to that, but I believe you’re off if you review areas where you’re having trouble, especially if you haven’t been in a college classroom in years. There’s a reason why Ivy League graduates, as rumor has it, continue to outperform other test takers. These universities push a strong liberal arts education, including writing instruction (which we’ll get to in the next posting).

Above all, don’t stress about the FSOT. It’s just a test, and if you prepare in advance you will be more likely to move to the next round — the Personal Narrative part of the selection process.

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