Can you prepare for the Foreign Service Exam? It’s such a quirky, weird exam that wants to see if you know subjects ranging from Voltaire and Kant to Windows 7 and PERT charts. How can one really study such varied and disparate subjects.
But I do believe that you can study for the FSOT. And pass it.
My previous advice hasn’t changed — find the areas that you need help and focus your study there. And just as important practice writing every day (seriously).
But in February the Board of Examiners has recently given applicants a wonderful present. If you haven’t checked out the careers.state.gov website in awhile, go there right now. The gift is a full-length practice test, compliments of a Midwestern HR firm, Campion Consulting.
The State Department encourages you to take this test in one sitting when you are rested and won’t be disturbed. The Examiners want you to prepare for the Exam ahead of time. This is where I disagree. To prepare as efficiently as possible, you should take the test without studying. This will pinpoint your weaknesses. When you review your results you’ll know whether you need to bone up on economics or British literature or the Cold War.
The Department also gives you a reading list to help you in studying. Of course, the State Department cannot endorse these texts, and some of them are weak, but nevertheless it’s a good starting place.
I would also add the following books on general knowledge and on writing: