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Presidential Management Fellowship PMF Semi-Finalist Assessment

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Presidential Management Fellowship PMF Semi-Finalist Assessment

This year I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the 2010-11 Presidential Management Fellowship semi-finalists, and yesterday I went to a testing site in San Francisco for the in-person assessment. I will post in greater detail about the program and the process at some point in the future, but I just wanted to write a quick post to encourage other semi-finalists getting ready for their assessments! While we are not allowed to discuss the specific details of the assessment, here’s a couple of things to keep in mind when preparing for your big day:

Get to the testing site early. You’ll notice the first email you received suggested you arrive 30 minutes or more before the day is to begin; this is wise advice! You will likely have to go through a thorough security screening, particularly if your testing site is a federal building, like San Francisco.

You’re allowed to bring a soft-cover pocket dictionary. Bring it! It isn’t mandatory, but whenever you’re given a chance to use a tool, it is wise to come prepared. And you can get them for $1.99 online (or a bit more if you have to run to the corner bookstore tonight before your assessment tomorrow). If you know you have hang-ups with spelling, don’t let anything keep you from coming with your dictionary in hand.

Make sure you’re ready for the assessment. This means bringing the required materials: a gov’t issued photo ID, two #2 pencils, and a print-out of the first email you got with the assessment location on it to get you in the front door.

What else? Bring food and a water bottle. You’ll likely be there most of the day (or even longer, from what I’ve heard, if you’re at the D.C. assessment center). Plan on being at the testing center at least 8-9 hours, and possibly longer. I brought  a small bag with little bags of nuts (good brain food!), some jerky, fruit bars, and enough gum and mints to share. I also brought a water bottle. The San Francisco assessment center has a nice cafe in the same building, with well-priced fruit, coffee and juices, and light snacks as well.

Equally importantly: bring something to do. You’re going to be sitting around for most of the day. I brought my laptop, two journals I wanted to review, and a notebook, and I kept myself entertained throughout the down-time.

And relax! Everyone you’ll meet at the testing site is friendly and helpful. Our testing site even had a greeter stationed just past the security checkpoint to welcome us and point the way to the check-in area. All of the other semi-finalists I was lucky enough to meet were people with interesting backgrounds, engaged in unique and novel research or studies. I felt lucky to be spending the day with such a great, friendly group of people.  Give yourself permission to have fun during your day there, it is the best way to make sure you perform well and enjoy the process.

Good luck!

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