Changes to the Foreign Service Exam

For anyone thinking about taking the U.S. Foreign Service Exam, here's an update from the U.S. State Department:

The U.S. Department of State is in the process of revising the Foreign Service Officer selection process in some important and exciting ways. We will not be giving the traditional paper-and-pencil exam in April 2007, and instead we tentatively plan to launch the new process sometime this summer. This new process will still include a test, but the test will now be computer-based, and somewhat shorter than the old. The process will also include some innovative new steps, which we describe in the following paragraphs. As the new process is finalized, we will update this website, so please check back from time to time. In addition, if you click on the "Keep Me Informed" tab, you will be able to sign up to receive regular updates by e-mail.

First, a question asked by many is "Why are you changing the selection process? What's wrong, what's broken?" The answer is that nothing's wrong, and nothing's broken. In fact, the quality of the candidates we are selecting is outstanding. But, like any strong organization, we want to do even better.

With that in mind, we have consulted widely, comparing the strengths and weaknesses of our selection process with best practices of the private sector. We have concluded that we can make our selection process better by adopting what we call a Total Candidate approach. The aim is to comprehensively assess the candidate's full range of personal attributes — knowledge, skills, abilities, experiences, and personal strengths.

Read more about the process here.