FSOT Frequently Asked Questions

The FSOT is offered three times each year in February, June, and October.

There is a $5 sitting fee for the FSOT. This fee is fully refunded to the candidate one to three weeks after the testing event. However, should a candidate fail to appear for the FSOT and/or not cancel a previously-scheduled appointment 48 hours prior to the appointment, the candidate will be assessed a $72 no-show fee.

There is no limit on the number of times an individual may sit for the FSOT, however, one must wait 12 months between each test.

No. You will only be able to register when you are eligible to take the FSOT, i.e. once every 12 months. For example, if you take the October 2016 FSOT your first eligibility to retest will be the October 2017 FSOT.

Please recall that registration for each FSOT is a unique event, occurring approximately five weeks before the actual test dates. Candidates should first ensure that they are attempting to apply within this registration window.

Remember, if you took the FSOT exam within the last 12 months, you are not eligible to register until after this timeframe has passed.

If you seem to be experiencing technical problems or are unable to login, the registration window has already opened and you last took the test 12 or more months ago, please contact Pearson VUE customer service for assistance.

No. The 12 month wait applies only to candidates who sat for any portion of the test. Candidates who cancelled or otherwise missed their appointments may apply to re-test in the next test window, provided they have paid any applicable no-show fees.

As long as you are otherwise eligible — have taken the FSOT no more than once in the last 12 months — you will be able to submit a new application during the five-week registration period and change your career track. If you do not take the FSOT during that testing window, the application expires. You will be able to submit a new application during the next registration period.

The FSOT will be offered in October, February and June at the following Pearson Professional Centers: Melbourne and Sydney (Australia); Sao Paulo (Brazil); Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver (Canada); Paris (France); Frankfurt (Germany); Athens (Greece); Osaka and Tokyo (Japan); Seoul (Korea, South); Mexico City (Mexico); Manila (Philippines); Singapore City (Singapore); Johannesburg (South Africa); Madrid (Spain); Taipei (Taiwan); Bangkok (Thailand); Istanbul (Turkey); and London (United Kingdom).

The Embassies and Consulates who will offer the FSOT changes with each test window. A list of Embassies and Consulates who will offer the FSOT for a given test is posted to careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/test-process approximately four days prior to the opening of the registration window.

Each Embassy or Consulate determines whether it has the resources available to offer the FSOT shortly before each of the three annual test windows (October, February and June). A list of Embassies and Consulates who will offer the FSOT for a given test is posted to careers.state.gov/work/foreign-service/officer/test-process approximately four days prior to the opening of the registration window.

Once an application has been submitted, candidates are unable to make any changes to it during that particular test cycle. This includes changes to career track.

If a specific educational institution is not listed, please use “OTHER” and “Other Domestic.”

Candidates may change, modify or cancel appointments up to the close of the registration window through their Pearson VUE account. After the close of the registration window, there is no way to change or modify an appointment.

If you have an extenuating circumstance and are suddenly unable to make your appointment and need to cancel after the close of the registration window, please contact Pearson VUE customer service. Please be aware that you will need to provide sufficient documentation to support your claim that you are unable to make it to your scheduled appointment.

Please contact Pearson VUE customer service to pay a no-show fee.

From time to time the State Department includes additional test material on the FSOT, increasing the test time from 180 minutes to 210 minutes in length. The additional test material is for research purposes and is not scored.

FSOT results are released approximately two weeks after the close of the testing window. Candidates should first check their “Junk Mail” folder (or equivalent). Candidates can also log into their Pearson VUE account to see if test results are available.

There are no exceptions to the Personal Narratives due date. Candidates are reminded to add Pearson VUE to their safe senders list. Neither Pearson VUE nor the Department of State can be responsible for technical issues related to your email system or Internet Service Provider’s junk mail filters.

Please note that the multiple choice portions of the FSOT, as a computer-based test (CBT) instrument, are not susceptible to random scoring errors like a paper and pencil test, therefore it is highly unlikely that a rescore will result in any scoring changes. For this reason, we do not offer a re-scoring of the multiple-choice portion of the test.

Candidates may request a re-score of their FSOT essay, for a fee. The fee to re-evaluate the written essay section of the FSOT is $30. Please note that the re-score may or may not result in a change to the original score. In cases where the essay re-score results in a new score of “6” or higher the candidate’s status will be changed to that of passing the essay and the candidacy moved forward to the Personal Narrative/QEP stage. In cases where the essay re-score results in a new score lower than “6,” the candidate’s status will be changed to that of non-passing and the candidacy will be terminated. The second score is your final score. Copies of the written essay will not be released or provided to candidates. The results of re-scoring will be reported in writing two to three weeks after the request is received.

All of the deadlines displayed in an individual’s account are based on the time zone where the individual is located relative to Central Time in the United States. The worldwide deadline is at 11:59 PM Central Time on the date listed in your initial invitation and reminder emails.

QEP results are announced approximately two months after the close of the testing window. Pearson VUE will send candidates an email when the results are posted, directing candidates to log-in and check their accounts for these results. You can also login and check your Pearson VUE account to see if your results are available.

Candidates should first check their “Junk Mail” folder (or equivalent). Candidates can also log into their Pearson VUE account to see if test results are available. If a candidate still cannot find their results, please contact Pearson VUE customer service.

An FSOT score is valid only for the period in which the testing occurred. For example, if a candidate passed the FSOT and was invited to submit Personal Narratives but chose not to do so, then that would be the end of the process. The candidate would have to re-take the FSOT 12 months later to start the process over again.

Pearson VUE does not have access to results from any tests administered under the previous FSOT contractor (ACT) and prior to June 2014. The Department of State does not maintain these results, either. We strongly recommended that candidates print out or digitally save a copy of test results or other documents related to this process for future reference.

Last updated 2017-08-02