If you want to get a job at the U.S. Postal Service, you need to be aware that the Postal Exam 473 is no longer in use. The internet is full of outdated practices for the obsolete Postal Exam 473 but scores on this test are no longer valid. There are now four main pre-employment assessments and you will take one depending on the job you apply for.  

Postal Exam 474, 475, 476, and 477 replaced the old exam in 2019 and the four virtual assessments are collectively known as the USPS exams. You will receive an email telling you which test to take and a link to the test once you apply for a job

You must complete the test within three days of applying. Preparing in advance for these online assessments is extremely important.  

How long is each exam?

There is no time limit on any of the sections in the new exams but the USPS shows you the approximate time required to finish each section. The entire exam usually takes about 45 minutes. 

Working quickly in two of the sections, where instructed, could increase your USPS assessment score. This advice comes from Prepterminal, a company that offers a USPS master course that covers all the postal exams and ensures that you’re well prepared.  

Virtual assessment 474: Mail Carrier

Virtual assessment 474 assesses candidates for applying for both rural and city mail carrier positions. The exam includes an introduction, a brief history of the postal service, information about the jobs covered by the exam, test instructions and a sample question for each section.

Three sections are included in all four of the assessments. The first section, called work scenarios or work situations, includes nine questions that describe a situation you may encounter on the job. For example, when you deliver mail, you may encounter a customer who wants to send a parcel to a friend but does not know the zip code and wants to locate the information. You need to select from four different responses which action you would be most likely and least likely to take. 

The second section, called “Tell us your Story,” consists of 20 questions that review your work history and experience. The third “Describe your approach” section contains 56 questions and includes a personality-based test. 

Virtual assessment 475: Mail Handler, 476: Mail Processor: 477: Customer Service and Sales Roles  

Exam 475, 476, and 477 include the same sections as for exam 474 but also contain additional sections. Exam 475 and 476, which are the same exam but for different positions, including checking for errors in eight questions, each containing a pair of eight-digit numbers.  

Exam 477 includes a section presenting questions regarding transactions that have been made with the amount of the purchase, the amount paid and the change due. You are asked to select the smallest number of bills and coins that you can use to give the customer change. Your score in this section is based on your speed and accuracy. 

What kind of questions do you have to answer? 

The new exams focus on customer satisfaction as a priority so there is an emphasis on personal interaction strategies rather than task proficiency. The questions are designed to assess if you have the right characteristics and skills for the work. 

The questions are not that hard but questions are presented in some unconventional ways and finding out more about the type of questions and practicing answering them can avoid you being blindsided. The testing system is sophisticated and will flag candidates who choose inconsistent answers. 

What score do you need to get?

To pass each exam, you need to get a score of at least 70 out of 100. Your score is compared with other candidates and those with the highest scores have priority in getting interviews. The closer you get to 100, the more favorable your chances will be of getting an interview. If you see an ineligible status, you haven’t managed to get the minimum score of 70. Doing practice questions and specific tips can help you to improve your score so you pass the first time with a good score.