We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I Prepare for the Foreign Service Test?

By Jessica Hobby
Updated Mar 02, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Job seekers interested in working as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) for the United States Department of State go through a long and tedious hiring process. The first step is to pass the Foreign Service Test. Notoriously difficult, the test covers a wide variety of areas. Because of the comprehensive nature of the test, the amount of preparation needed to pass is highly dependent on the education, life experiences and capabilities of each person. Before learning about the best way to prepare for the Foreign Service Test, it is important that you know which areas are covered on the exam.

Although becoming an FSO does not have specific education requirements, you must have a broad working knowledge of communications, computers, world history, United States government, culture and society, geography, mathematics, statistics and management. Additionally, your English grammar and writing skills must be above average. To acquire broad knowledge about the U.S. government, history and geography, you must take time to keep abreast of current events by reading publications such as Newsweek, Time, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and reading a major daily newspaper such as the New York Times.

The State Department has a list of recommended reading, which can be found on its website. This list is not comprehensive, but instead, meant to be used as a guide which offers you examples of the types of books you should be reading in each of subject areas covered. If you are not sure where to start, consider choosing the subject you are least familiar with to help bring you up to speed. Some examples of books on the recommended reading list are Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin and Immigration Stories, edited by David A. Martin and Peter H. Schuck.

In addition to being well-read to prepare for the Foreign Service Test, you may obtain a study guide from the State Department. They offer a downloadable and paper study guide for purchase, which contains sample questions and more specific information on the areas that will be tested. If you are a student or are interested in taking courses to help you acquire additional knowledge to prepare for the Foreign Service Test, the State Department also has a list of recommended courses on its website. Aside from English composition and economics, most of the recommended courses are political science courses such as U.S. foreign policy, international relations, comparative politics and U.S. political systems.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.