This past weekend (4/4) I attended a very informative session about the Oral Assessment with Ambassador Bill Eaton, who is the Diplomat-in-Residence at the University of Texas here in Austin. Technically you're not supposed to attend until you've passed the QEP and are scheduled to attend the OA, but I let him know that I was still waiting to hear back on my QEP results; he let me attend. I am thankful for this because I'm moving back to Massachusetts in a few weeks' time.
We watched a video of what to expect during the oral assessment (structured interview and group exercise, but nothing on case management--then again, what could you really watch on video about that part?), and it was really nice to see what we're potentially up against. I've been doing a lot of reading on the Yahoo boards re: what to expect at the OA, but seeing it on the video clarified the smaller things in my mind.
Also, I really have to speak to the great personality of Ambassador Eaton. He was incredibly friendly, articulate, and personable. He answered all of our questions to the best of his ability, and he welcomed us to stay after the presentation and ask questions (which I did). Even if you don't get to attend a session, you should try to get in contact with your local DIR and see if you might pick his or her brain. Getting first-hand advice, knowledge, and experiences from a current FSO is invaluable.
Time seems to be passing quickly; we're nearly a third through the month of April already. Before I know it, I'll be receiving that all-important letter telling me whether or not I'm advancing. I'm choosing to prepare for the OA regardless.
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