The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT)

The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) is an important part of the FSO selection process, covering the job knowledge, English expression and situational judgement necessary to work as a Foreign Service Officer. The FSOT also includes an essay. View complete information on the FSOT and the selection process.

Please note: New candidates must create a web account before they can submit an application.


FSOT At-Home Online Proctored Testing (OnVUE) Available!

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, the U.S. Department of State requires that each candidate be:

  • A U.S. citizen on the date the candidate submits the registration package
  • At least 20 years old and no older than 59 years of age on the day the candidate submits the registration
  • At least 21 years old and not yet 60 on the day the candidate is appointed as a Foreign Service Officer
  • Open to acceptance of assignments based on the needs of the service

Registering for the FSOT

Candidates complete both registration steps - submitting an application and selecting a seat - during the same five-week period immediately prior to a specific testing window. Applications are valid only for that test and will expire when that testing window closes. The registration period closes three days prior to the opening of the testing window.

If you have a documented need for an accommodation, you must request and receive approval for your accommodation before scheduling your test.

Once an application for a test window is submitted it cannot be changed, and candidates may test only once in a 12-month period. Click here for answers to General FSOT FAQs.

Upcoming Foreign Service Officer Testing Windows

This chart contains relevant dates for upcoming Foreign Service Officer Test. As a reminder you will be able to register – apply and select a seat – for approximately five weeks before each testing window (dates subject to change).

February 2024

Testing Window Dates February 3 – February 10, 2024
Registration opens December 18, 2023
Registration closes February 1, 2024

June 2024

Testing Window Dates June 1 – June 8, 2024
Registration opens April 15, 2024
Registration closes May 30, 2024

October 2024

Testing Window Dates September 28 – October 5, 2024
Registration opens August 12, 2024
Registration closes September 26, 2024

*The FSOT is offered at both domestic and overseas locations.

As a part of the registration process, all candidates will be asked to complete their Personal Narratives (PNs). Candidates will be asked to address the following six areas: Leadership Skills, Interpersonal Skills, Communication Skills, Management Skills, Intellectual Skills, and Substantive Knowledge. Each of the six PNs will consist of no more than 1,300 characters. Beginning with the June 2022 FSOT, all candidates who complete the FSOT will proceed to the qualifications and evaluation panel for review.

Pearson VUE On Base Test Centers (OBTC) to Offer the FSOT

The Foreign Service Officer Test is offered at approximately 130 OBTC locations on U.S. military installations in U.S states and territories, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The OBTCs will add additional appointment options during each testing window for those candidates with access to the included military bases.

Click here to learn more about on base testing at Pearson VUE »

Use of Overseas Pearson VUE Testing sites

The Board of Examiners has expanded the number of Pearson VUE testing sites for the FSOT both domestically and overseas. Embassies/Consulates located in other cities may continue to offer the test as their resources permit. Candidates testing in locations outside the U.S. must use their U.S. passports for identification verification.

Please click on find a testing center to find the closest site available.

Plagiarism & AI Policy

  • The Department of State prohibits candidates from plagiarizing any portion of their employment application materials to include responses to questions in which candidates must provide a narrative response.  Candidates must create their own responses originally and not copy or adapt them from other sources. The Department analyzes candidate submissions for plagiarism and will discontinue any individual’s candidacy if found to have violated this plagiarism policy. 
  • While the Department of State encourages candidates to create their narratives with great care, including correct use of grammar and style, candidates are prohibited from using any artificial intelligence (AI) tool, to include but not limited to ChatGPT, to aid in their written responses.  The Department will discontinue any individual’s candidacy if found to have violated this prohibition on use of AI tools in the application process. 

Other

Find more information on a rewarding career in the Foreign Service. If you have specific questions about the Foreign Service Officer Test you may send them to FSOTQuestions@state.gov.


Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 minutes per response, including time required for searching existing data sources, gathering the necessary documentation, providing the information and/or documents required, and reviewing the final collection. You do not have to supply this information unless this collection displays a currently valid OMB control number. If you have comments on the accuracy of this burden estimate and/or recommendations for reducing it, please send them to: HR/REE, SA-1, H-518. 2401 E Street NW, Washington, DC, 20522.

OMB Approval Number: 1405-0008 Expiration Date: 3/31/2021


AUTHORITIES: The information is sought pursuant to 301(b) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended (22 U.S.C. § 3941(b)).

PURPOSE: The information solicited on this form will be used to determine eligibility to take the Foreign Service Officer Test, to register for the Foreign Service Officer Test, to assess qualifications for selection as a Foreign Service Officer, and to ensure the integrity of the examination process.

ROUTINE USES: The information solicited on this form may be made available to prepare statistical reports and analyses at the Department of State. Such reports and analyses, which are prepared in such a way that they are not individually identifiable, may be shared outside the Department. This information may also be shared with other federal agencies in response to request for information about hiring or retention of an employee or to Members of Congress in response to an inquiry on behalf of the applicant. More information on the Routine Uses for the system can be found in the System of Records Notice State-31, Human Resource Records.

DISCLOSURE: Providing this information is voluntary. Failure to provide the information requested on this form may result in the user’s inability to submit appropriate responses to the FSOT questionnaire and/or the FSOT and oral exam.

Last updated 2024-02-02