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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Foreign Service Officer's Exam (Round 5)

   
Author Topic: Foreign Service Officer's Exam (Round 5)
BlackBlade
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Links to previous way-points on the path to victory,

Round 1.

Round 2.

Round 3.

Round 4.

I must confess this last failure got to me. I'd passed the written exam, the mandarin phone interview, and then got blocked by the QEP which is just the worst place for it. You don't know why you weren't selected for the oral examination component, you're just flat out not good enough, and you get no inkling as to where or why.

I was eligible to take it again in March, but I just didn't want to. I was busy with my job, still am, and it looked to be taking me places. That may yet be the case, but I let that delay my doing this again. I don't have a good reason for taking this long. I repented, and here I am again.

I don't know if I'm supposed to clench my fists and attack, or just march in and give it my best shot, letting the chips fall where they may. I guess I used to believe ultimately this would all come down to will power, but in fact I have learned often it does not. Or to be more accurate, I absolutely depends on my wanting to pass, but that alone won't always be enough. I won't dwell on all the reasons I haven't passed, or how with the tiniest of adjustments I would have been calling Hillary Clinton "Boss" years ago. But I want this, and so here I am trying again.

If I get blocked again at the QEP, then I think that will be enough to send me back to school. If I fail the written exam, I'll keep taking it. If I make it to the oral exam, we'll I'm pretty sure I know exactly how to get through that, but I'll cross that bridge should I be permitted to reach it.

edit: The exam is at 12:30pm EST, I'll be taking it then.

[ October 01, 2012, 04:26 PM: Message edited by: BlackBlade ]

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Corwin
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Good luck!

What's the QEP by the way?

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BlackBlade
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A summary.

Basically, a panel of three examiners gloss over my file, submitted answers, and make a decision as to whether I'm good enough to go to the oral exam component.

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SenojRetep
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Good luck, BlackBlade!
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SteveRogers
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Break a leg, BlackBlade. We'll be rooting for you. [Smile]
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Mucus
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Good luck (in progress?)
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Lyrhawn
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Good luck! I'm sending you positive mental vibes since you're currently examing.
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Szymon
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加油!
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advice for robots
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Test like a boss, BB.
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BlackBlade
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I'm at work, but once again I used all available time and ran out while proof-reading the essay. I know I had one grammatical error I failed to correct, but I'm not sweating it. I was comfortable with the topic, and I think good if not very good in execution. Multiple choice wasn't hard. Maybe two I wasn't certain on. Personal narrative should have been stronger this year. I expect to pass, though of course there is never a guarantee. Just need to wait 3-5 weeks for results. I'm glad it's over. I just hope it's not truly over. [Smile]

[ October 01, 2012, 04:59 PM: Message edited by: BlackBlade ]

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Kwea
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Good luck, and keep it up. Jenni and I are rooting for you!
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BlackBlade
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Nailed it! I don't know how but somehow I knew today I would get the results.

Got 174 out of a required 154 on multiple choice. 10 out of 12 on my essay.

Now it's on to my personal narrative submissions for the QEP due on Nov 15, then I wait to find out if I will he invited to take the oral exam. If I am, and I pass, they then do a language exam (believe this only affects rank not passage), and they give me a rank on the available candidates list. If I rank high enough they will offer me a job eventually, or else my candidacy expires and I start all over. Failure to pass any of these steps, and I wait another year to start over.

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TomDavidson
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Yay. [Smile]
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Jon Boy
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Good luck!
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Kwea
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Keep up the good luck!!!
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Stone_Wolf_
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I was going to wish you good luck, but luck favors the well prepared, so I'll just say, knock em dead!
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MattP
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Good job and good luck! I've been rooting for since the first round.
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Uprooted
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Crossing fingers and wishing you well, BlackBlade! And just want to add that I admire your persistence and need to learn something from it. I've been far too guilty of giving up when things get hard.
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BlackBlade
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I've submitted my personal narrative answers. I felt a mild shock of panic, as if there were still some cosmetic changes I could make, but told myself I am who I am, I've written the best examples I could think of, and I need to just put it in their hands.

Now to wait another 3-5 weeks...

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rivka
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Good luck!
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Lyrhawn
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Good luck BB.

I feel your anxiety, I'm putting together my PhD applications right now and feeling some similar perfectionist panic, but at the end of the day you can only do the best you can and leave the rest in fate's hands.

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Kwea
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Hope you hear positive news soon!
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BlackBlade
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Didn't pass the QEP evaluation, so I won't be invited to the oral component.

From the rejection letter,

quote:

Please note that QEP scoring is not a pass/fail exercise nor is there a pre-set cut-off score in the QEP. Rather candidates receive a relative ranking in their career track. The most highly competitive candidates in each career track are invited to the oral assessment based on our anticipated hiring needs. Foreign Service Officer hiring targets are adjusted annually.

At present, a very large number of individuals are applying for a very limited number of Foreign Service Officer positions and the process is extremely competitive. There are numerous cases where individuals who received an invitation to the oral assessment in a previous year will not receive one in a current year.

After speaking to some foreign service officers they indicated that graduate school would not, in of itself, significantly increase my chances of making it to the oral component again.

So I'm back to not knowing if I should be trying to get relevant real world experience, and keep trying year after year, or if I should go to graduate school so that I can *get* better real world experience in the private sector, and continue from there.

I'm not done with this, but I need to figure out what this means for me.

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Aros
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I know people who have gotten into "similar" government programs (specifically FBI and DEA agent positions), where it is informally stated that grad degrees does give a significant boost to the chances of reaching oral boards.

Don't know if it's much the same or not....

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pooka
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I don't think the hiring processes in different USGAs are that comparable to the state department (insofar as they can even be compared to each other.) I don't know a lot about the state department beyond what BB and my sister have tried and talked about. I looked into the FBI back before I had spacepook. It was actually part of why I was interested in Law School at the time. The FBI was over 90% JDs, or you needed to bring some kind of real world experience like Seeley Booth or Agent Scully. The FBI agents you see on TV are not the typical bureau makeup (shocker!). I also know the FBI has a stringent application cutoff at age 35 IIRC (which can flex to include prior service with a federal agency/military).

But the state department exam is its own animal, and the the oral component is there to make sure you're compatible with the department culture, it would seem.

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