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473 Postal Exams, Preparation, How To Pass & Application Process For Post Office Jobs

473 Postal Exams is administered by USPS (United States Postal Service). Candidates for Postal carriers, mail processing clerks and Postal Clerks will need to score well on Postal 473 Examination to get the USPS Jobs. Preparation for Postal Exam 473 consist of understanding what is on exam, how it is scored, and taking as many postal practice exams as you can. The Postal 473 Examination is very similar to the Postal 460 Exam. The 473 Battery Examination covers four occupational groups including:

  • City Carrier
  • Rural Carrier (Added in 2008)
  • Mail Processing Clerk
  • Mail Handler
  • Sales, Services, And Distribution Associate

Postal Exam Battery 473 Outline-

The Postal Exam Battery 473 and 473-C exams are covers the following categories:

  1. Part A: Address Checking
  2. Part B: Knowledge of USPS Forms
  3. Part C: Coding and Memory
  4. Part D: Inventory of Personal Characteristics and Experiences

Part A — Address Checking: You will be given 60 addresses to compare in 11 minutes. You will be expected to determine if the addresses are identical, if the zip codes are different, or if the street/city addresses are different.

Part B — Forms Completion:  You are shown various Postal forms and asked how they should be completed. You are given 15 minutes to answer 30 questions. If you were an experienced Postal employee, this may be easier. But, since you’ve never seen any of these forms, it becomes a most challenging ordeal. One regularly heard complaint is that the ambiguous wording of the forms makes it even more difficult.

Part C1 — Coding: You will be shown a “coding guide” and expected to answer 36 questions in 6 minutes while looking at the guide.

Part C2 — Memory:   Based on the same “coding guide” used in part C-1, you will be expected to answer 36 questions in 7 minutes.

Part D — Inventory of Personal Characteristics and Experiences: You will be asked 236 questions in 90 minutes on your personal characteristics, tendencies, or experiences related to performing effectively as a Postal Service Employee.

Postal 473 Exam Summary-

Test Unit

Number of Questions

Time Allowed

Covered Subjects

Part A – Address Checking 60   11 minutes Determine if two addresses are identical
Part B – Forms Completion 30   15 minutes information identification for completing forms correctly
Part C: Section 1 – Coding 36   6 minutes Use the proper code to assign to addresses
Part C: Section 2 – Memory 36   7 minutes Memorize assigned codes for addresses ranges
Part D – Inventory of Personal Experience and Characteristics 236   90 minutes Experience and characteristics which are job-related

Postal Exam 473 Study Guide & Preparation-

Part A: Address Checking (60 questions, 11 minutes to complete)-

Postal Exam 473 Part A will test your address checking skills by presenting you with 60 multiple choice questions in 11 minutes.  The addresses are presented in two lists: a “Correct List” and a “List to be checked”.  The addresses on both lists are always presented as a pair with an address and a ZIP code. The 60 multiple choice questions will ALWAYS have the same answer choices in the same order:

A. No Errors
B. Address Only
C. ZIP Code Only
D. Both

Answer A means that both the items are identical (both address and ZIP code)
Answer B means that there is an error in the addresses (but the ZIP codes are identical)
Answer C means that there is an error in the ZIP Codes (but the addresses are identical)
Answer D means that BOTH the addresses and ZIP codes are different (have errors)

Scoring:

Your score in Part A is the number of questions answered correctly minus one-third of the questions you answer incorrectly. So if you answered 40 questions correctly, 12 questions incorrectly and did not answer 8 questions, your score would be 36 (40 points for correct answers – 12/3 (=4) for incorrect answers).  The key here is that in Part A, you are penalized for incorrect answers.  Your overall strategy is to work as quickly as possible but be accurate.

Part B: Knowledge of USPS forms (30 questions, 15 minutes to complete)-

Part B of the exam will test your ability to understand various postal forms.  You will be shown 5 different forms and asked 6 multiple choice questions on each form, for a total of 30 questions.  You will have a total of 15 minutes to answer all the questions.

Scoring:

Your score in Part B is simply the number of items that you answer correctly.  There is NO penalty for guessing.  Your overall strategy is to make sure you work quickly and answer every question (even if you have to guess).

Part C: Coding and Memory (72 questions, 13 minutes to complete)-

Part C of the exam will test your ability identify a code (for a delivery route) assigned to an address via a “Coding Guide”.  The Coding Guide (shown below) will have 8 address ranges assigned to 3 different Delivery Routes (A,B,C).  A fourth Delivery Route (D) will cover all addresses that do NOT fall into one of the 8 listed address ranges.  Part C of the exam has two sections: coding and memory.  The same coding guide will be used for both sections.  In the Coding Section of the exam you will have 6 minutes to assign the correct delivery routes to 36 addresses.  During the Coding Section, you WILL be allowed to look at the Coding Guide as a reference.

In the Memory Section of the exam, you will be given 7 minutes to assign 36 addresses to the correct delivery routes.  You will use the same Coding Guide that was used in the first coding section, but you will NOT allowed to refer to the Coding Guide – you will have to assign the delivery routes based on memory.

Scoring:

Your score in both sections of Part C is the number of questions answered correctly minus one-third of the questions you answer incorrectly. So if you answered 50 questions correctly, 15 questions incorrectly and did not answer 7 questions, your score would be 45 (50 points for correct answers – 15/3 (=5) for incorrect answers).  The key here is that in Part C (as in Part A), you are penalized for incorrect answers.  Your overall strategy is to work as quickly as possible but be accurate

Part D: Inventory of Personal Characteristics and Experiences (236 questions, 90 minutes to complete)-

Part D of the exam will attempt to assess your ability to perform effectively as a Postal Service employee.  You will be asked 236 questions in 90 minutes that will evaluate your personal characteristics, tendencies and experiences.

There are three separate sections of Part D.  The first section (Agree/Disagree section) will include questions that have four potential responses ranging from “Strongly agree” to “Strongly disagree”.  The next section (Frequency Section) will also present questions with four responses, but the responses will range from “Very often” to “Rarely or never”.  The last section (Experience Section) will present questions that can have between four and none possible response choices.

Part D of the exam is completely different from the first three sections – there are no “right” answers in Part D.  Part D will attempt to see if you have certain personality traits, interests and experiences that may indicate that you will be a good fit for the Postal Service.  With this in mind, it is important that you answer the questions truthfully and not try and “guess” what the Postal Service is looking for.

Scoring:

The Postal Service does not disclose how your responses to the questions in Part D are “scored”.  Your responses are analyzed, compared to responses of others taking the exam, and you are assessed on how well of a “fit” you will be for a Postal Service job.

Application Process For Post Office Jobs-

To take the 473 Postal Exam, you will need to create an eCareer profile and apply for a job opportunity on the USPS career website. If you are an ideal candidate, USPS will contact you with the test date, time, and location.  They generally send this information a week before the exam.

In some instances, the USPS will publicize 473 test dates on:

  • the USPS website @usps.com
  • bulletin boards in Post Offices
  • federal and state buildings
  • TV, newspaper and radio ads
  • community groups

To pass the test, you will need to score a minimum of at least 70 out of 100.  If you score between 70-100, you’ll receive a ‘basic rating’ score.  If you are a veteran, you may be eligible to add points to your ‘basic rating’ to give you a ‘final rating’. Need the Postal Exam Success Kit? Click Here

Want Start a Realistic Practice 473-C Postal Exam? Click Here

Postal Service Practice Test

  • If you pass the test, you will be placed on an Entrance Register of the post office that offered the test. Test scores are not transferable to other districts, so be sure to take your test at the local post office where you would like to eventually get a job.  You will then be eligible to continue through the hiring process.
  • If you fail the test, you will have to wait an additional four months before you can take it again.
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