The Foreign Service Test


My parents have always wanted to be in the Foreign Service, but the family was young at that time, with only my 1 year old brother and a myself being only two. Much to young to leave the country and travel around the world. Now, however, the youngest is now seven. There are 8 steps to becoming a Foreign Service Officer.

  • Choose a Career Track.
  • Register for the Foreign Service Officer Test
  • Take the Foreign Service Officer Test
  • Submit Personal Narrative for the QEP Review.
  • Take the Foreign Service Oral Assessment.
  • Clearances: Medical & Security.
  • Final Review Panel.
  • The Register

1) My dad wants to be a  Consular Officer. Consular officers are often the face of the U.S. government overseas. They are the ones interviewing visa applicants, dealing with prospective adoptive parents, helping U.S. citizens who have had their passports stolen or gotten in a scrape with the law.

2) He Registered for the Test at about this time last year (November).

3) He took the Test on January 30. The test consisted of 4 parts.

• Job Knowledge: The job-related knowledge test measures the candidate’s depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding of a range of subjects important for the tasks required of Foreign Service Officers.

• English Expression and Usage: This test measures knowledge of correct grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation and organization required for written reports and for editing the written work of others.

• Biographic Information: The biographic information section provides a self-assessment of candidates’ prior work, education and job-relevant life experiences, highlighting attributes such as the way they resolve conflicts,interact with others, adapt to other cultures and set priorities.

• Essay: Candidates draft an essay on a computer on assigned topics. Essays are evaluated on the quality of writing, including development of ideas, structure, clear language and the standard use of conventions—not on what opinions are expressed.

4) Then, if you pass with AT LEAST a 50 on the test, you  have three weeks to write several personal narratives consisting of six short essays about the skills, knowledge and abilities they would bring to the Foreign Service. The catch? You are only allowed 200 words per question. Although, they don’t doc you that many points if you go a little over, like my dad did.Candidates are also asked to provide references who can verify the information provided in the essay.

Then the QEP (Qualifications Evaluation Panel) looks at your score from the Test, your Application form, and your Essay results. If you pass their inspection, you are allowed to move on to the Oral Assessment.

5) You are sent an e-mail if you pass with the date of the Oral Assessment. You have to go to DC for people to judge you in person. Dad was invited to come to DC on June 5th. At the Foreign Service Assessment Center candidates will participate in an oral assessment that consists of three components. 1) a group negotiation exercise, 2) a structured interview, and 3) a case management writing exercise.

The lowest pass is 5.25. My dad got a 5.6.

6)Medical stuff was completely cleared, for all 6 of us, on September 21st. Security cleared on October 28th.

7) Security panel cleared on October 30th.

8) Be placed on the register on November 4th. First things first, how does this whole register work? You are placed on the register based on your passing score. If you barely passed with a score of 5.25, you would probably be on the bottom of the list. If you got a 5.6 like my dad, you are placed closer to the top. The highest score is on top. my dad was placed 11th.

Now all we do is wait and hope that the federal budget allowed 11 new Officers to be hired.  I will update this post when we are hired. The update it again when we know where outside the country we are going.

This brochure is GREAT for explaining the step-by-step process in more detail:


There are some GREAT  blogs about other people that do the Foreign Service. Here are a few of my favorite!

So yeah! This will be my future for a while!


Update:  Today (28th of November) at 9:44 AM we received the email inviting dad to DC for a prep class. A total of 303 days, from when Dad took the first test, to his job offer.

Updating the Update: Originally we knew we were moving on March 5th, and the class started on March 6th. However, Donald Trump’s hiring freeze has affected when we might move. If we had been invited to the class before the election, we would be fine and still go to the same class, but because we were invited after we don’t know.  Some of my Dad’s (hopefully) classmates, who already work in the Department of State, are sharing gossip mainly on this subject. Apparently department leaders could exempt positions from the freeze as the head deems necessary to “meet national security (including foreign relations) responsibilities.” We are still living our life here, and enjoying every second if it, but we are in limbo. We don’t know when to say goodbye to our friends, or whether or not to do public school.

Updating the update of the update (Wow, that’s a lot of updates): We are currently in Falls Church Virginia, and my Dad is a part of the Foreign Service class. Despite  much panic with the tiring freeze, they unfroze in time for us to move. More on the moving process in another post.





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