Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The dreaded written exam

Today I am going to write a post on the dreaded foreign service written exam.  For those of you who are completely new to the process, the written test involves four sections:  An essay, an English expression section, a job knowledge (aka trivial pursuit) section, and a biographical section.  

The biographical section was the second most nerve-wracking for me.  It sounds easy, but you will be called upon to justify your answers--so don't lie or exaggerate!  For example, one question may be "how would you rate your leadership skills" and the next question "describe a time when you showed leadership."  If you put "excellent" but can't think of an excellent example, you can't go back and change your answer.

The job knowledge section is a crapshoot.  There is no way to know every piece of trivia out there, but fortunately it is multiple choice.  The best and only way to prepare is to be well-read and relaxed.  I always drink a protein smoothie before I take an important test.  My sister jams to her favorite music.  If you have any test taking tips, feel free to post them here.

For more information, the Hegemonist has published a great guide to the written exam here.  And don't forget to take the official study guide, which can be found here.  Unfortunately, it costs money.  I got it free from my university, so check there first if you can.

Chelsea from {frolic} turned me on to the quote "you can have the life you want."  To prove that point, she's decided to spend a month alone in Sweden.  If you're not living the life you want, do something about it.  Screenprint by Orangebeautiful available for purchase on etsy.

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