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The US Postal Service recently overhauled their pre-hire exams 473 and 473e by replacing them with more job-specific tests. The tests include exams 474, 475, 476 and 477. This page is focused on USPS Virtual Entry Assessment 476 (MP 476) and is used in the screening process for many roles including those for Mail Processing Clerk, PSE Mail Processing Clerk, Casual Mail Processing ClerkData Conversion Operator, PSE Data Conversion Operator, and Casual Data Conversion Operator. Continue reading to find out more about this test and the types of questions you will encounter come test day. 

Postal Exam 476 Test Sections 

Organizations like the US Postal Service use a variety of exams to screen potential employees. Each of the test sections found on this exam help the USPS to find the individual or individuals who are best suited for mail processor roles. This exam includes five (5) sections which are detailed below. 

Introduction – The purpose of this section is to give you a brief overview on the history of the Postal Service as well as a run-down of the roles screened for by this assessment. The introduction also includes a description, instructions and a sample question for each test section. 

Work Scenarios – This section of the test contains 9 questions describing a situation you may encounter while on the job. You are given four (4) answer choices and must choose two (2) - one describing the action you are most and least likely to take to resolve the issue being presented. This section should take no more than 11 minutes to complete, however, as with other sections on this test, you are able to take as much time as you need.  

Check for Errors – There are 12 questions in this section of the test. This section is different from the others in that there are definitive right and wrong answers. Each question presents you with a pair of 8-digit numbers. You tasked with choosing whether the pairs are the same (match) or different (error). 

Tell Us Your Story  In this section you are presented with 22 questions regarding your work experience and background. Try to ensure all of the information you provide in this section matches up with the information in your application and resume.  

Describe Your Approach – There are 79 questions in this section designed to help the USPS understand your approach to work, your personality, how you relate to others, how you handle stress, etc. The questions found in both this section and the Work Scenarios section can be quite confusing at first.  

Note: The time it takes for you to complete each section of postal exam 476 will be recorded alongside your final score. The more quickly you can answer correctly, the better your overall score and profile will be. Practicing is the most surefire way to show the US Postal Service that you have what it takes to join their ranks.

How to Receive a High Score on Exam 476

According to statistics from the US Postal Service, between 80-90% of all applicants will not pass their exams. This isn’t surprising given that the passing score for each of these exams is 70 out of a possible 100 points. Furthermore, the question and answering styles for several of the sections on these tests can be outright confusing. By practicing, you can ensure that you receive one of the top three (3) scores required by the USPS to proceed into the next stages of the recruitment process. Using practice tests with full answer explanations and study guides will help strengthen your skills and test-taking abilities, thus improving your quickness and accuracy.

Note: The US Postal Service uses each applicant’s test scores and ranks them based on the number of points they received. To be considered for the role you have applied for, you must receive a higher score than other candidates. You can do this by taking time to practice prior to your test date.

Employment Benefits – USPS


USPS employs nearly 500,000 workers and their loading and stocking team members have salaries ranging from $35,000 - $90,000. In addition to the 10 holidays, sick days, and 13 paid vacation per year that increase to 20 days after 3 years of service and to 26 days after 15 years of service. Furthermore, you will receive health, dental, and vision insurance plans, along with a Thrifts Saving Plan (TSP) which is similar to a 401(K)-retirement savings plan offered by private-sector employers.

Improve your chances by 73%

Practice the 477 USPS-style Personality & SJT questions. Get access to additional drills & study guides to land the job you want. 

Why It’s Essential to Prepare For USPS

There are several reasons to why it is in your best interested to prepare for your post office exam prior to your test day. First, you need to receive one of the top three (3) scores to be considered for the role you have applied for. Keep in mind that you are competing against dozens of other applicants at any one time.

Another reason to prepare for your post office exam are the strange question and answer styles found in many of the sections on this test. Namely the Work Scenarios and the Describe Your Approach sections. The question and answer styles found on exam 476 have been known to trip applicants up due to the following:

  • The questions are in multiple-choice format. You must select an answer that best suits you, your probable response to a work situation, your experience, your preferred approach to work, your personality, etc.
  • The questions are mostly theoretical or hypothetical in nature and can often be misunderstood or not understood at all.
  • Any or all the answer choices can seem reasonable depending upon your personality and experience. Note that there will never be one obvious answer that stands out as the best choice. In fact, different answers can be the correct choice for different people and/or for different jobs.
  • In one exam section, you are to select two answers, the action you would be most likely to take and the action you would be least likely to take in response to a given situation.
  • In another section, each question consists of two descriptions that may be quite similar or radically different. You are to choose which description is more like you and then choose to what degree it is like you.

As you can see, the personality and situational judgement questions found on this test can throw you for a loop. Another difficult aspect of this test comes in the form of the Check for Errors section. Practicing will help you to break down each of the number pairs you are presented to quickly determine whether they are a match or if there is an error in one of the sequences.

Postal Exam 476 Sample Questions

Below you will find several sample questions from each section found on postal exam 476. Try to answer them yourself prior to checking out the answer and answer explanation. Good luck!

1. SJT - Sample Question

One of your colleagues is slackingskipping important steps in the outlined procedures of his job. For a while now you find yourself correcting his mistakes.  




 

Competencies: Teamwork; proactivity; communication skills; problem solving.  

Response A: This response shows poor teamwork and communication skills. You fail to communicate the problem to your fellow employee. Instead, you immediately turn to your supervisor. In doing so, you fail to alert your co-worker to the situation or give him the chance to correct his behaviour.  

Response B: This response may seem proactive as you address the problem directly with your colleague. However, it is aggressive and lacks teamwork skills, as you caution your colleague - threatening to go to your postmaster, rather than discussing the issue in a friendly manner. This response is likely to antagonise your work colleague, and could escalate the situation, thus being the worst response to the situation.  

Response C This response avoids offending your colleague and maintains your good relations; however, it doesn’t provide a solution to the issue. This is a very passive approach. Moreover, this response is irresponsible since your colleague fails to follow work procedures and in doing so, he is harming your work productivity  

Response D: This is a good response to the situation. It is important to be able to communicate with your colleagues about work conflicts. This is a proactive response that tries a cooperative approach to solving problems. Furthermore, pointing out your colleague's mistakes and explaining the impact they have on you is likely to elicit behavioural change in your colleague, and improve both his and your own work productivity.  

 

2. Error Checking - Sample Question

Instructions: 

In the error checking section of the USPS Postal Exams 475 & 476 you will be presented with 12 pairs of eight-digit sequences which you will have to compare. Decide whether they are identical or not, and if both sequences of a pair are identical, mark “Match”. If they are not identical, mark “Error”.  

The pairs are on three screens. Each screen contains four pairs. You only have to compare each of the pairs in the rows of the table, not the columns. 

This section is not timed, but you are encouraged to complete it as quickly as possible. Candidates usually complete all the questions in this section within two minutes. 

 

 

 

Original ID 

Printed ID 

1 

Location 1 

96380273 

96830273 

2 

Location 2 

63984201 

63984201 

3 

Location 3 

68326741 

68326741 

4 

Location 4 

96357514 

96367514 

 
Please decide if locations 1-4 are match/not
 match:  





 

 

Tips for Solving Check for Errors Questions

1. Since long sequences of numbers are hard to remember, it is recommended that you “break up” each sequence when comparing it to the other – try comparing the first two to four digits first, then the next two to four digits, and so on. For example, if the sequence is 12345678, only look at 1234 first and compare it to the first four digits of the other sequence. If you find a digit that is not identical between them, mark “Error” and move on to the next pair. If the first four digits are identical, move on and compare the next four in the sequence.

2. Don’t be afraid to mouth or even say the digits out loud when comparing the pairs – hearing the sounds can help you spot the differences between the sequences faster.

3. Another way to track the differences and help yourself concentrate is to follow the sequences with your finger. This way you will only focus on the relevant line.

Are you looking for a different test? Check out our PrepPacks™ for the following postal exams:

Improve your chances by 73%

Practice the 477 USPS-style Personality & SJT questions. Get access to additional drills & study guides to land the job you want. 

Tips for Passing USPS Exam 476

Continue reading to find out our top tips for passing postal exam 476.

1. Give yourself enough time to prepare. – Remember: You only have 72 hours from the time you receive the initial invitation email to complete your postal exam. This means that you will have very limited amount of time to practice for and submit your exam.

2. Practice the questions you will encounter. Practicing the different question types you are bound to encounter on this or any test is the best way to prepare. This allows you to become familiar not only with the test questions but the structure and answering styles as well.

3. Improve your answering speed and accuracy. Knowing what to expect prior to taking your test will ultimately improve your ability to quickly and accurately tackle each question that you encounter.

4. Practice in a quiet place free of distractions.

USPS Exam 476 FAQ

1. You must be 18 years old at the time of the appointment or 16 years old with a high school diploma

2. Hold US citizenship or a permanent residency

3. Know English at a reasonable level

4. Males born after December 31, 1959, must be registered with the Selective Service System

5. Possession of a driving license

6. Pass a drug test

7. No criminal background

You must apply directly from the USPS website. Once you have completed the application you will be able to view all available jobs in your area.

According to the USPS, 80-90% of all applicants will not pass their tests. Preparing for your exam gives you the advantage of knowing what to expect, it can also reduce your feelings of test-taking anxiety.

You have 72 hours from the time you receive your invitation email to prepare for and submit the completed exam. Note: If you do not complete your exam in time, you will not be able to continue in the recruitment process for the same role. In this case, you will need to start the process over again from the USPS website. The original job posting may or may not be available when you go to reapply.

In order to pass postal exam 476, you will need a score of 70 out of a possible 100 points. You should aim to score higher than the minimum passing threshold as the USPS is mainly interested in onboarding candidates with the top three (3) scores.

You can only retake this or similar USPS exams once per year (12 months).

Your test scores will be available directly from the USPS website once you have completed the test. Keep in mind that any scores lower than the minimum passing score of 70 points will not be displayed. The word “ineligible” will be displayed instead.

Your goal shouldn’t be to merely pass your postal exam with the minimum score required. The USPS is mainly interested in hiring the top three (3) candidates who have obtained the highest scores during the testing process. So, passing the test is not the only requirement of landing a job and as such, you are not guaranteed a job just by passing.

Depending on the roe you have applied for, your postal exam scores may be valid from two (2) to six (6) years.

There are several challenges that will arise when taking postal exam 476. For starters, you will have a limited time to complete the test. If you are unable to do so in the allotted 72 hours from the time you receive your invitation email, you will need to reapply for the original role (if it is still available).

Another challenge when taking exam 476 are the question structure and answering styles. Practicing beforehand will help familiarize you with both the personality and situational questions, as well as the “Check for Errors” section of the test. Knowing what to expect will eliminate the element of surprise and improve your chances of being considered for the role.

 

 

Improve your chances by 73%

Practice the 477 USPS-style Personality & SJT questions. Get access to additional drills & study guides to land the job you want. 

 

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