FSOT Situational Judgement Review

Being a member of the Foreign Service requires several skills. One of those skills is the ability to think quickly and come up with the best solution to a problem. That’s why the Foreign Service exam contains a Situational Judgment section. It’s one of the four areas of the exam that assesses whether a candidate is suitable for Foreign Service work.

What’s the exam like? What study materials can help you prepare? This guide can help.

Can anyone take the Foreign Service exam?

Most people can. Candidates must be 20 to 59 years of age when they register to take the exam and must be a U.S. citizen.

Are there specific times of the year candidates can take the test?

Yes.  Candidates can take the Foreign Service exam during one-week test windows that are offered three times a year, generally in February, June, and October. The registration window opens five weeks before the test window.

Where can I take the exam?

The State Department uses a third-party testing service to deliver the exam at various locations across the United States. The test may also be available on certain military installations.

What’s the fee to take the exam?

The test fee is $5.

What questions are in the Situational Judgment section of the Foreign Service exam?

The Situational Judgment test presents candidates with several hypothetical situations designed to gauge the ability to think quickly. The scenarios also test the candidate’s ability to determine the best and least appropriate way to handle a specific situation.

All the questions are related to a candidate’s ability to adapt, make decisions, judgment, ability to operate effectively, build teams, abide by professional standards, and demonstrate workplace perceptiveness.

Candidates don’t need specific knowledge of the policies, procedures or culture of the State Department to answer the scenarios.

For example, candidates could be asked, in these workplace scenarios, how they would handle a loud co-worker who disrupts the office; or how they would handle being the subject of ridicule; or how they might handle conflict their boss.

In addition to the Situational Judgment section, the full Foreign Service exam includes sections in English Expression and Job Knowledge. There’s also an essay writing portion.

It’s test day. What time should I get to the test center?

You’ll want to arrive early — at least 30 minutes before your exam time. Don’t be late because you’ll run the risk of not being able to take the test.

How many scenarios are on the Situational Judgment portion of the Foreign Service exam?

There are 28 different scenarios on this portion of the exam.

How much time do I have to finish this section of the test?

Candidates must complete this section in 42 minutes.

Will I need to bring identification on test day?

Yes. Candidates must show a piece of government or state-issued identification.

Am I allowed to bring personal items, like mobile phones, into the test area?

Candidates are not allowed to bring any personal items into the test area. Candidates can’t bring mobile phones into the test center. Candidates will also have to remove sweaters, jackets and the like.

When will my test results be available?

It takes about two weeks after the test window closes for candidates to receive their test results.

I failed the test. What is the retake policy?

Candidates can retake the test, but they must wait a minimum of 12 months to do so. Candidates can take the exam as many times as they need.

I’ve passed the Foreign Service exam. What does that mean?

It means you’ve passed one of the State Department requirements for those seeking to enter the Foreign Service. Candidates still must go through several more steps, including essay submission, an oral assessment, obtaining a medical and security clearance and undergoing a review by a panel. But to get to these steps, you need to pass the exam first.

I need the best study materials I can get to for this tough test. Which ones do you suggest?

The study materials from Mometrix are exactly what you need. The materials help you prepare by showing you how to tackle tough questions, overcome test anxiety, and provide test-taking clues that give you the best chance at correctly answering questions. Our study guide has been written by professionals in the test-taking field and includes video tutorials.

Our flashcards are a must for busy people who need the flexibility of studying on the go. These materials are the ones that will help you prepare.


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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: April 5, 2019