I have a few things about which I'm quirkily passionate. Offering advice and information to people considering joining the Foreign Service is one of them. I correspond with a bunch of current and former students at my university to talk about working at State, and I'm happy to see that a number of them are interning with State now or taking the Foreign Service Officer Test, the computerized exam that replaced the written test I took in 2006. I also oversee offering the FSOT here in Istanbul - February was the first time it's been offered here since the new test was rolled out, and this month we have 14 people taking the exam here in three separate testing windows. However, I'm sitting at home biting my nails today, because Eric (the aforementioned MOH) is taking the exam today. It doesn't really look good for me to proctor the exam that my official, 3 FAM sanctioned partner is taking, y'know?
Evidently there's been a complete technological freakout on the part of the online testing system. My friends who are proctoring (benevolent, generous souls that they are) have been sending me panicky texts and emails for two hours about the problems that Istanbul and evidently a few other posts have experienced today. Apparently they just got things going, but I feel so bad for Eric and the other people testing today! What a nightmare of a start to a rather weighty exam.
Eric mentioned that he wanted to go out for a beer with the test-takers afterwards, because he'd done that with his fellow examinees in Berlin last summer and thought it was a good experience. I kind of want to buy them all a round or two of drinks after this.
Update, 5 June: I did take them out for a round of beer after the exam, and I ended up bringing a kitten home from the bar in my purse. One way or the other, we won't forget this FSOT experience!