Changes to the FSOT: Situational Judgement Test

Posting for anyone considering taking the test! I’ll update past study guides accordingly and hopefully have some new info on this section of the test. This is straight from PearsonVUE as posted on the Reddit /r/foreignservice page:

“The Biographic Information Questionnaire section of the Foreign Service Officer Test will be discontinued beginning with the October 2017 FSOT. It will be replaced with Situational Judgement Test (SJT) items. The SJT section will present scenarios (i.e., descriptions of situations) that a candidate might encounter on the job as a Foreign Service Officer. Each scenario is accompanied by possible responses to that scenario. For each scenario, candidates select the BEST response and the WORST response. The SJT section of the test consists of 28 scenarios administered in 42 minutes.”

More info on the PearsonVUE page once you log in:


Hello from the future! I have just taken the SJT during my second FSOT test. I passed this section with a score of 63.93. While I can’t violate the NDA that I signed, I can tell you what I did to study before the test.

The State Department released an updated study guide available in PDF format here. EDIT: the most recent State study guide appears to have omitted the answers to the questions. You can find the rationale for the SJT questions on page 28 and 29 of the 2017 version here.

There are 5 SJT examples and answers. This is obviously not enough, but it’s all that is out there that’s directly related to the foreign service. This document describes the precepts that the State Department uses to promote people internally and is probably the best document to look through when trying to assess what the State Department values in a foreign service officer. This can help you to understand what the “best” and “worst” ideas are in each scenario.

I also used the following documents to practice doing general SJT questions with a partner. Please note that these are in no way foreign service related. However, it is possible to take some of the basic concepts and apply them to foreign service scenarios. A consular officer adjudicating visas will very likely have to deal with similar “customer service” issues as represented in these documents.

Finally, I believe that preparing for the hypothetical scenarios during the Oral Assessment really helped me get into the correct mindset for these SJT questions. While they are not a perfect fit, they can be useful. You can read more about them on my previous post.

Good luck on this section! Remember that your FSOT scores are not about how well YOU did, but how well you did in comparison to the scores of OTHERS. (Learn more about how the FSOT is scored here).

‘Till next time!


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  2. Hi! I’m having trouble finding the answers to the sample situational judgment questions in the official State Test Information Guide. Am I missing something? If they’re not provided, are there any community discussions about what the answers are?


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