Tag Archive for 'FSOA'

Joining the Foreign Service Part II-The FSOA and Beyond

Continuing on with the process of joining the Foreign Service after clearing the FSOT and the QEP, the next hurdle is the FSOA. As always my one bit of actual advice is “be persistent!” The Oral Assessment is a three part test that makes for a pretty long day. The day always starts out with the group exercise and then either moves to the structured interview or the case management. I used the materials available on the FSOA yahoo group to help prepare. The yahoo groups are a great resources but they are also a fountain of an incredible amount of misinformation, so take some of the advice that is dished out there with a grain of salt. If it sounds crazy… it probably is. Most people on there do give pretty good tips and advice but there are some that suggest strategies to game the test, and most of these strategies seem to be for the group exercise. The BEX have done you a big favor, they told you what they want- the 13 dimensions. They aren’t looking for someone who can outwit their group members. Continue reading ‘Joining the Foreign Service Part II-The FSOA and Beyond’

Reader Searches Part II- Joining the Foreign Service

As I promised a few weeks ago, I’m doing a couple of posts inspired by reader searches. As an aside by far the most entertaining key word search someone used to find my blog is “how many trash cans, fort bliss.” I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that one… but I have noticed a reoccurring theme on other search terms. People seem to want to know about studying for the Foreign Service exam and failing the foreign service exam. While there are some incredible people who pass through the FSOT, QEP, and FSOA the first time through I was not one of them. I failed the written exam twice (back when it was the FWSE) before passing the first try through the new FSOT/QEP system. I remember seeing a statistic back when it was the FSWE that only 2% passed all the way through the FSOA to get an offer (I do believe it is slightly higher now). I was lamenting to my sister that there was no way, I wasn’t one of the top 2% smartest people in the world, it just wasn’t going to happen. She gave me what was probably the BEST advice I got in the whole process. “So, be one of the 2% most persistent people.” More than anything this is a process that rewards persistence. Most people don’t pass the first time or they don’t get off the register after passing the first time. So for those intrepid applicants out there still weeding through the process–that is the best actual advice I can give– be persistent. The rest of this is just ramblings about my own experiences and what worked for me all within the confines of the NDA of course! Continue reading ‘Reader Searches Part II- Joining the Foreign Service’

Back to the Grind

After a week of self-study it is back to full-time 9-5 language study. Days like today remind me though what the best part of the foreign service is: the people. I went to a brunch thrown by one of the members of my oral assessment study group. It was great to catch up with the people I spent all those months studying and fretting about the oral assessment with. About a year ago we started a study group which met weekly at the MLK library in DC. Apparently this group has taken on a life of its own and continued even after the original group finished their OAs. It was nice to see the members of the original MLK group almost all of whom are either on the register, in the service, or finishing their security clearances. I have great confidence that the few that just barely didn’t make it the first time are about to put us all to shame with their amazing OA scores on the next attempt.

After brunch I headed over to a party which my class was hosting for the incoming 150th A-100 class, to help out and meet the newest FSOs. It was great to see my classmates again after being away from FSI for the last week and a half and to meet the incoming officers. It’s hard to believe that a little under four months ago, I was there wondering where I would be going and what I would be doing. I was given a few new FSOs to “mentor” which is almost humorous since most days I feel like I could still use a mentor to help me navigate the wilds of the department. I am constantly amazed by my colleagues and the 150th is no exception.  And now, back to Spanish studying….

Hello World! (The obligatory first post)

I suppose summing up the road thus far is as good a way to begin as any. A little over a year I took the Foreign Service Officer’s Test. Those that know me, know this wasn’t my first attempt at wrangling the dreaded FSOT. I first took the exam in 2003, 2 months before I graduated college. Being a college senior I was completely full of myself and convinced I had at least the written exam in the bag. I of course failed the essay (the part I didn’t study for), which was probably a much-needed blow to my ego.  It’s good to get knocked down a peg or two periodically, builds character. In 2005 my ego had recovered enough to give it another go. Apparently I needed more  character though because this time I failed the multi-guess, serves me right for not studying a lick. Continue reading ‘Hello World! (The obligatory first post)’