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The U.S. Foreign Service

skobb

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  • Added on: July 27th, 2005
Sorry to hear that Vulkoria. Better luck with the next one. Are you talking about mid terms for your bachelor's degree? If so, I wouldn't feel bad since the majority who pass actually have a master's degree. It's not required, but doesn't hurt. (I only have a B.A.)

You can read about Diplomatic Security here. By the way, they're accepting applications for the Special Agent position Aug. 8-10.

Genoa

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  • Added on: July 28th, 2005
Hello everybody! I have been reading all of your entries both before taking the test and after. I checked my results and low and behold, I passed. I feel you skobb because I figured no way would I pass on the first try. I had heard like the rest of you that it takes about 2-3 times for the average person to pass.
Congrats, to those of you who have ever even taken the test let alone passed.
I live in San Diego so was thinking about doing the oral assessment in San Fran but you guys said you have heard rumors that they are even harder critics up there. I was thinking about doing the Chicago site because it is in Oct. and Nov. instead of Jan. through Mar. and that way I wouldn't have to wait as long. I will have to pay at least $150 to fly up to SF so was thinking that if I take it at another site I might be able to make a mini vacation out it.
Skobb, I see you are from RI. Did you take your test in DC? Do you guys think that the best call is just to go to the closest location?
Thanks for all of your insight. I will continue to log on here daily for updates. Cheers!

skobb

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  • Added on: July 28th, 2005
Congratulations, Genoa. To be honest, I don't think I'd stress too much about where you take the oral exam. Figure out when you want to do it and see where it is available. On the Yahoo groups there a lot of people convinced that San Francisco was passing much fewer than every place else, but I'm not really convinced. It's the same assessors at all locations. They travel around the country and I can't imagine a SFO bias. Some people on the Yahoo groups are a bit, um...obscessed.

I took my oral at Annex 1 in D.C. If I had passed, I would have chosen the same place simply because I'm familiar with it now.

Cinzia

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  • Added on: July 28th, 2005
Hi everyone. Genoa, thanks for the message. Hopefully you got my reply. Skobb, I actually work for Diplomatic Security now, in Finance though, so not as a DS agent. Any questions, let me know and I can try to answer. I live in VA, so luckily I will be able to just hop on the metro and take the Oral Assessment. can't wait to get it over with!

skobb

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  • Added on: July 28th, 2005
Thanks, Cinzia. Tell the "supervisor" to finally approve my clearance and send it on so I can get on the register.Smile I was told I would hear from HR "soon" over a week ago so I'll give them another day before I harass them.

Do you have idea what the online assessment for Special Agent's consists of? I'm taking it when it opens on Aug. 8.

Send me a PM or post here if you have any questions about the FSOA.

Vulkoria

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  • Added on: July 28th, 2005
Yeah, its my BA midterms. I have had lost of breaks in my education for three different military duties. So, my BA has taken 7 years to complete. Toying with going for an MBA, I feel these days my BA isn't worth very much in the job market.

Thanks for the link I'll check that out. Good news one of the books on the reading list has come available so I get to pick that up tommorrow.

Congratz to everyone and to others left behind with me chin up ,we got next year.
Take the time for a cup of cafe.

Cinzia

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  • Added on: July 29th, 2005
Hi Skobb, I'm really not sure of what it consists of. I know there was a message about it on the state website today, which I'm sure you already have, but just in case...
http://careers.state.gov/specialist/opportunities/secagent.html

Genoa

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  • Added on: July 29th, 2005
Hello! Thanks for your posts and PM Cinzia and Skobb. Thanks for setting me straight on the oral location probably not mattering too much. So the assessors are the same pretty much regardless huh? As you said, I am going to check the dates and see what is available.
Do you guys know where to find stats about how many people take and pass the test for each year? I have heard ranges from 12,000 to 30,000 test takers and 2% to 10% pass rate. Anyone know?
Skobb-what kinds of advice can you offer about the orals? Do the majority of people have advanced degrees or just BA/BS?
Okay....enough questions for one post.
THANKS!

skobb

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  • Added on: July 30th, 2005
When I passed the last oral I believe they said that in 2004 30,000 people registered for the oral exam. Approximately 5,000 or so go on to orals I think and of those, about 10% pass and get on the Register. They told me this to make me feel better about my passing, yet not very high, score. At each step of the way a lot of people just don't bother to show up for their test. Surprisingly, many who receive an official offer still turn it down.

As far as advice goes for the orals itself: I can only say so much due to the non-disclosure agreement, but I can give you some basic advice.

Your one and only goal is to display the required 13 dimensions as much as possible. The assessors have checklists and they are waiting for you to say and do the right things. It's as objective a process as possible.

Make sure you speak out often in the group exercise and vocalize all of your thoughts. You may be thinking the right things, but if you don't say them, then the assessors can't give you credit for it. Go into the group exercise thinking of the other examinees as partners and not competitors. Try to be friendly and stay calm and collected. It's in your best interest to not stress out.

The majority of people that pass these days have advanced degrees, but it isn't a requirement. Of the 11 at my exam, two had law degrees.

Learn those 13 dimensions. Go to one of the State sponsored practice sessions if you can.

Genoa

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  • Added on: August 9th, 2005
Hello Skobb and others, I booked my oral assessment in Chicago. I didn't want to wait until Jan.- Mar. for the SF dates. The good thing about this oral assessment is that you find out immediately how you do. That is good news. I figure that since it sounds really tough to get a job, at least I am going to take a mini vacation to see the sites.

Thanks for the advice you were able to give me. I will study up on those dimensions and look into state sponsored practice sessions.

When is your assessment Cinzia?

How about you Skobb? Are you going to keep trying? Did you pass the security and medical clearances?

skobb

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  • Added on: August 10th, 2005
I'll probably sign up to take the written again next year. I'm a glutton for punishment, I suppose.

I found out yesterday that I now have Top Secret security clearance and medical clearance and have been placed on the Register. You can call me #57.

Genoa

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  • Added on: August 11th, 2005
Congratulations Skobb AKA #57! It must be a good feeling to have that out of the way. Does it take hours and hours to fill out all the forms we have to take to the oral assessment? I am not looking forward to that. Is it as grueling as it looks?

skobb

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  • Added on: August 11th, 2005
It is fairly grueling and no matter how complete you think you are, if you pass you'll still be asked about "missing information" on the form during your security interview. If you've moved much at all, it isn't easy to remember where you lived 9 years ago plus a few people (with current contact info) to back that up.

I think I heard something about the form being online now so maybe that'll help. Last year State supplied the form in pdf format, but it was set so that you couldn't save changes to the form so you had to print out each page right after you filled it in and basically do the whole thing at once. A pain to be sure.

Vulkoria

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  • Added on: August 21st, 2005
Hey did anyone else get the score break downs ? Just wondering, what exactly everything means. I missed my job score by 14 points. But I have no idea how close that is and they didn't score my essay. Can anyone enlighten me ?
Take the time for a cup of cafe.

skobb

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  • Added on: August 22nd, 2005
I'm still waiting for mine to arrive. I believe each of the cones had a different pass rate for the job score. Political was highest and Management and Consular were probably lowest because they need the most of those people. If you didn't pass the job section, I don't believe they bother to grade the essay.

Hopefully, I'll know more after I have my own breakdown in front of me.


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