FAQs on the Foreign Service Officer Examinations (FSOE)

What are the documentary requirements for application?

  • Duly accomplished application form;
  • Civil Service Form No. 100;
  • Photocopy of transcript of records from the college or university from which the degree was obtained;
  • Photocopy of Diploma or Certificate of Graduation from the college or university from which the degree was obtained;
  • Proof of past or present employment or further studies;
  • Photocopy of Birth Certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority;
  • Photocopy of Marriage Certificate (if applicable) and if married to a foreigner, authority to take the FSO Exams from the BFSE;
  • Seven pieces of photographs (4.5cm x 3.5cm) taken within three (3) months prior to filing of application; and
  • Copies of two valid IDs, with the original IDs to be presented upon submission.

How much is the application fee for the FSOE?

The admission fee is PHP 500 and is non-refundable.

Where should I submit my application? When is the deadline?

You may submit your application and documentary requirements to the Board of Foreign Service Examinations (BFSE) Secretariat until 26 November 2019 or to DFA Regional Consular Offices, and Philippine Embassies and Consulates abroad until 21 November 2019.

Who is qualified to take the FSOE?

If you are a citizen and permanent resident of the Philippines, and a graduate of any four-year Bachelor’s degree course with two years’ work experience or further studies (or a combination of both), you are eligible to take the FSOE.

Is there an age limit?

The age limit has been removed.

How often is the FSOE conducted? What is the schedule of the exams?

The FSOE is conducted at least once a year. The Qualifying Test for the 2020 FSOE is set to be administered on 02 February 2020 (Sunday). The schedule for the subsequent tests will be announced accordingly.

Where are the tests conducted?

The Qualifying Test is conducted in a number of testing centers all over the country, while the rest of the exams are administered at the DFA Main Office along Roxas Boulevard. The Formal Dinner is normally held in Metro Manila.

How many phases does the FSOE have?

The FSO Exam has five distinct phases, namely the (1) Qualifying Test, (2) the Preliminary Interview, (3) the Written Test, (4) the Psychological Test, and (5) the Oral Test.

Tell me more about the five phases of the FSOE.

  • The Qualifying Test is administered by the Civil Service Commission. It is designed to evaluate a candidate’s verbal, analytical, numerical, and managerial abilities. You need to score at least 80% in this test to move on to the next round of the exam.
  • The Preliminary Interview is conducted by a panel of Foreign Service Officers, and is used to evaluate an applicant’s overall potential for becoming a Foreign Service Officer and future Ambassador of the Philippines.
  • The Written Test aims to assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills on the following topics: English (20%); Filipino (5%); Philippine Political, Economic, Social, and Cultural Conditions (30%); International Affairs (30%); World History (10%); and a Foreign Language (5%). The Written Test is conducted over three consecutive days, and the passing score is 75%.
  • The Psychological Test determines an examinee’s suitability for Foreign Service work.
  • The Oral Test evaluates a candidate’s oral skills, logical thinking, values, and attitude. It has three components, namely the Individual Interview, Group Discussion, and Formal Dinner. The passing score is 80%.

Which Foreign Languages are included in the FSOE?

Choose only one among the following: Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Japanese, or Spanish.

What score do I need to pass the FSOE?

You need an average of 80% in the Written and Oral Tests to pass the FSO Exam.

How do I prepare for the FSO Exam?

Helpful tips are available here:

I successfully passed the tests. What now?

You will be recommended to the President for possible appointment as FSO IV. Following appointment, you will undergo a six-month training program mandated by the Foreign Service Act (RA 7157) of 1991 to prepare you for your various responsibilities as a junior diplomat in the Home Office or at Posts.

What are the duties of an FSO IV?

Foreign Service Officers are in charge of promoting and protecting the interests of the Philippines and the Filipino people, at home and at our 88 posts overseas. The duties of an FSO IV include: drafting reports, correspondences, position papers, talking points, legal opinions or agreements; attending local and international meetings and conferences; coordinating with government agencies and diplomatic missions on matters pertaining to the mandate of his/her Division; handling assistance-to-nationals cases; and supervision of staff at the Home Office and at Posts.

How much is the salary of an FSO IV?

An FSO IV has a salary grade of 24. As per Executive Order No. 201, s. 2016, an FSO IV’s basic salary will amount to PHP 83,406, effective January 01, 2019. As for benefits, Section 63 of RA 7157 allows for provision of allowances and medical insurance to foreign service personnel.

I was not able to pass the Preliminary Interview. Do I need to re-take the Qualifying Test?

No. If you were not able to pass the Preliminary Interview, you do not need to re-take the Qualifying Test if you decide to take the FSO Exam in the following year. This is because the CSE Foreign Service Officer Eligibility is valid for two years.

I was not able to pass the Psychological Test. Can I re-take the FSO Exam?

Yes, after two years.