The February 2014 FSOT results letters came out this past Thursday… as I’m in Ethiopia, I didn’t remember they would be out until during our nightly call, my fiance said, “Hey, there are Personal Narrative Questions (PNQs) on my ACT account.” What?? I quickly tried to log on (my CDMA device has never seemed so slow) and found my own PNQ questions waiting for me.
So it’s official… I passed!! I’m really not quite sure how it happened as I barely squeaked by with a passing score (I needed a 154/6 and I got a 156/8), but I’m moving on to the next round of the Foreign Service Officer application process!
Here’s a breakdown of my results:
Job Knowledge: 60.11
Biographic Information: 44.08
English Expression: 52.20
Multiple-Choice Total: 156.39
Essay score: 8
As I mentioned in my last post, I really didn’t think I passed the essay, but somehow I did! And with a better essay score than my fiance (who thought he wrote a bangin’ essay… however 17 pts lower on the MC). I guess all those AP English classes and university writing courses really paid off in a big way here.
I’m really excited to dive into the PNQs–as a first time test taker I really don’t know what to expect out of it, but all the same I’m going to give it my best shot and get on to the Oral Assessments!
As I mentioned (very briefly) in a previous post, Ryan and I were in Addis a little over three weeks ago to take the Foreign Service Officer Test, hereafter referred to as the FSOT.
We decided to take the FSOT because we feel that not only does the Foreign Service offer a lifestyle we feel passionate about living, we also want to serve the country we love and do it in a meaningful way. Becoming a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) has been a lifelong dream of Ryan’s and a more recent dream of mine, but all the same, we decided to go at it together.
The FSOT has a pretty serious Non-Disclosure Agreement that can expel you from the process of becoming an FSO, so I’m not going to go into any detail about the content of the questions, but I’ll talk about our experience.
For those who don’t know anything about the FSOT, there are 4 sections:
- Job Knowledge
A variety of questions including topics on current events, pop culture, US history, US politics and government, communications and IT, economics and world geography and history.
Asks questions about your personality, past jobs and how you interact with people (among others), sometimes asking for examples. This is probably the most vague section of the FSOT since no one really knows how it’s graded.
- English Expression
You are given passages or scenarios and asked to select the correct or best replacement.
A 30-minute essay with one prompt, graded in the typical ACT writing fashion.
I thought I did really well on the English Expression, I finished in something like 20 minutes and only had a couple I wasn’t 100% sure on. I also feel as though I did fairly decent on job knowledge although I know I missed a few key ones I shouldn’t have. Who knows on the Bio section? I thought I repeated myself a LOT but I guess that’s normal. And the essay I am pretty sure I bombed, I didn’t practice it enough prior to the test. Oh well.
Results come out in 3-5 weeks after the test date so we’ll know in early March at the latest if either one of us made it on to the next round, the Personal Narrative Questions (PNQs). I’ll try to keep you all updated as best I can on this journey!
This week brings a break in my regularly scheduled photos since I thought it would be fun to share what I made my fiancé for Valentine’s Day! While I don’t usually find myself particularly crafty, for whatever reason I’ve always done something for Ryan. Living in Ethiopia is not particularly conducive to being super crafty (although creativity is definitely a requirement!), but I tried my hand anyway browsing the interwebs for something fun and easy I could create with materials I already have access to.
Valentine’s Day Card
First up, I made a card inspired by the lovely conversation hearts (idea from Martha Stewart). I water colored some paper in various shades of red, let it dry, cut it into strips and then rolled little hearts. Underneath I wrote in little “conversations.” Some meaningful to us, others just your standard generic candy heart greeting. As you can see, there’s a bit of a glue blemish on the card, but hey, when you only have one piece of acceptable cardstock and a single tiny tube of glue, you take Tim Gunn’s advice and “Make it work!”
- Watercolor paper (or other heavy cardstock for card)
- Basic computer paper
- Red watercolor
The next idea came from water coloring the paper strips for hearts… I suddenly felt inspired to paint—something that hasn’t happened to me in a long time—so I painted. When I was finished, I decided to add a poem that I love, e. e. cummings i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart) in my own handwriting. I’m very happy with the way it turned out and would love to do some similar watercolors/poems for decoration around my house!
- Watercolor paper
- Red watercolor
- Meaningful poem