FSOT Practice Test

The Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) is required of anyone who is interested in working as a Foreign Service Officer of any kind. Whether you want to work in the consulate, diplomacy, politics, or any other department, taking this test will be a necessary step on your career path.

Click “Start Test” below to take a free FSOT practice test!


To be eligible to take the FSOT, you must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • You must be no younger than 20 and no older than 59 on the day you register to take the exam
  • You must be no younger than 21 and no older than 60 on the day you are appointed as a Foreign Service Officer
  • You must be a US citizen on the day you submit your registration package
  • You must be available for worldwide assignments

Exam Outline Review

The FSOT contains 153 questions and one essay, and you will be given between 3 and 3.5 hours to complete the test.

The test is split into four sections.

Job Knowledge (60 questions)

The questions in this section will cover the following:

US Government
  • The US Constitution
  • The roles of congress in foreign affairs
  • The United States political system and how it affects government policy
US History, Society, Customs, and Culture
  • Major events
  • History
  • Politics
  • National customs and culture
  • Social issues and trends
  • The influence that society has on foreign policy
World History and Geography
  • Historical events
  • Issues
  • Developments
  • The impacts any or all of the above items may have on foreign policy
  • Understanding of the basic economic principles
  • Understanding the economic system of the United States
Mathematics and Statistics
  • Understanding of basic math
  • Understanding of statistical procedure
Management Principles, Psychology, and Human Behavior
  • General understanding of human behavior
  • Leadership
  • Motivational strategies
  • Equal employment practices
  • Principles of effective communication
  • Public speaking
  • Media
  • The goals and techniques of public diplomacy
Computers and Internet
  • Basic knowledge of word processing
  • Database basics
  • Spreadsheet basics
  • Email basics
  • Internet use basics

Situational Judgment (28 questions)

For each question in this section, there will be four or five possible responses for you to choose from. You will be asked to select the best and the worst possible responses.

These questions will evaluate your abilities regarding the following:

  • Adaptability
  • Decision-making
  • Operational effectiveness
  • Professional standards
  • Team-building
  • Workplace perceptiveness

English Expression (65 questions)

This section tests whether you can recognize a correctly written English sentence and will give you options to make corrections to the sentence if necessary. You will need to pay attention to details such as structure, grammar, punctuation, and spelling as you tackle this section.


For the FSOT essay, you will need to choose one of three topics to write 400-700 words about. Your essay should explain your position on the topic and explains your rationale for that position.

exam outline for the FSOT, which contains 153 multiple choice questions and an essay and has a time limit of 3 to 3.5 hours

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The first step to taking the test is to apply. To fill out your application, you will first need to create a Pearson VUE account online. After your account is established, you can complete your eligibility requirements, fill out your application form, and complete your personal narratives.

Personal Narratives

As part of your application, you are required to write six short essays that highlight the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you have.

1. Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Decision-making
  • Openness to dissent
  • Community service you have been involved in or institution building
2. Interpersonal Skills
  • Professional standards
  • Persuasion and negotiation skills
  • Workplace perceptiveness
  • Adaptability
  • Representational skills
3. Communication Skills
  • Written communication
  • Oral communication
  • Active listening
  • Public outreach
  • Foreign language skills
4. Management Skills
  • Operational effectiveness
  • Performance management and evaluation
  • Management resources
  • Customer service
5. Intellectual Skills
  • Information gathering and analysis skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Active learning
  • Leadership and management training
6. Substantive Knowledge
  • Understanding of US history
  • Understanding of the US government
  • Understanding of culture and application when dealing with other cultures
  • Knowledge and understanding of career track information that is relevant


The FSOT is offered three times a year and each testing window comes with its own registration window. These windows are as follows:

  • For tests given between June 2nd and June 9th, registration is open from May 2nd to May 30th.
  • For tests given between September 29th and October 6th, registration is open from August 29th to September 26th.
  • For tests given between February 2nd and February 9th, registration is open from January 2nd to January 30th.

You now have the option to take the FSOT at home using online proctoring. During registration, you will be given an option of where to take your exam. All you have to do is choose the online my-home or office option.


The fee to register is just $5, and that fee will be returned to you three weeks after you take the test. If you don’t show up to your test, however, you have to pay a $72 no-show fee.

Test Day

In-person Testing

On the day of the test, you need to bring your admissions letter and a valid government-issued photo ID with you. If you are taking the exam at a consulate or embassy, you must use your US passport as your ID. Otherwise, a driver’s license, state ID, or military ID will also be accepted.

Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early and account for any possible delays like traffic or detours, as there will be no allowances made if you show up late.

Remote Testing

The remote version of the exam is offered through Pearson Vue’s online testing system. You will need to ensure that your equipment meets the requirements before you test at home:

  • You must have a desktop computer or laptop.
  • You are only allowed to use one computer monitor.
  • You must have a webcam and microphone.
  • You must have a reliable wired or wireless internet connection.
  • If you utilize any VPNs, they must be disabled for the entirety of the exam.

There are also certain rules you have to follow during the exam itself:

  • Your eyes must be facing forward.
  • You cannot cover or block the webcam.
  • No other person may be in the room with you during the test.
  • Your mobile phone, PDA, pagers, smartwatches, or other electronic devices must be left in another room while you are testing.
  • You cannot have wallets, purses, backpacks, or bags near you.
  • You cannot wear headphones or headsets.
  • You cannot have paper, pens, notepads, books, or printed material on your desk or nearby.
  • You cannot have an eyeglass case on your desk.
  • Firearms and weapons of any kind cannot be visible.
  • You cannot leave the room during the test.
  • You cannot move your lips or appear to speak out loud while testing.
  • Do not hide your face or cover your mouth during the exam.
  • Eating and smoking, including vaping, will not be allowed.
  • Do not wear a coat or jacket.

How the Exam is Scored

You’ll be able to view your scores within three weeks of taking the test. The score required to pass the test can shift slightly from year to year due to the way that scores are calculated. However, you usually need a minimum cumulative score for the three multiple-choice sections of 154.

Then, you need at least a 6 out of a possible 12 points on the written essay. If you do achieve a 154 minimum on the first three sections, your essay won’t be graded. If you do not pass the exam, you have to wait a full 12 months before retaking it. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time (at least six months) to study and prepare for this test.

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Online FSOT Prep Course

If you want to be fully prepared, Mometrix offers an online Foreign Service Officer Test Prep Course. The course is designed to provide you with any and every resource you might want while studying. The FSOT Course includes:

  • Review Lessons Covering Every Topic
  • 750+ Foreign Service Officer Test Practice Questions
  • More than 950 Electronic Flashcards
  • Over 150 Instructional Videos
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • Free Mobile Access
  • and More!

The Foreign Service Officer Test Prep Course is designed to help any learner get everything they need to prepare for their FSOT exam. Click below to check it out!


How many questions are on the FSOT?

There are 153 multiple-choice questions and one essay.

How long is the FSOT?

The time limit is 3.5 hours.

How much does the FSOT cost?

There is a temporary $5 fee that will be refunded after you take the test.

What is a passing score for the FSOT?

To pass the FSOT, you will need a combined score of at least 154.

By Peter Rench

Peter Rench joined Mometrix in 2009 and serves as Vice President of Product Development, responsible for overseeing all new product development and quality improvements. Mr. Rench, a National Merit Scholar, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in mathematics from Texas A&M University.


FSOT Study Guide Customer Success Stories

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: November 17, 2022