Postal Exam 476: How to Ace the Test (2020) & Get Hired - JobTestPrep
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What is the Virtual Entry Assessment MP (476)?

The Postal Exam 476, also known as the Virtual Entry Assessment (VEA) – MP (476), is the primary screening stage for the Mail Processor job.

This test is one of the new four USPS exams, that replaced the old 473 test in April 2019.

Note: there are many websites out there that offer practice for the OLD 473 test and claim that it is 2020 updated. Don’t be fooled. Preparing for the 473 test is a waste of time, and it is not used in any way by the USPS since April 2019.

For more information about the new exams, including the MP (476), check out this video:

 Are you applying for other jobs at the USPS? Try looking here:

If you’ve applied for the MP job and passed the initial screening, you’ll receive an e-mail inviting you to take the Postal Exam 476.

Once you received this invitation, you will have only 72 hours to do the assessment (although it is advised to do it faster. More on that later).

The test is done online, using a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer (doing it on a computer is probably better; the other devices might have technical issues).

When you start your exam, you will find four different sections; each has unique and unusual questions.


What Does the Mail Processor Exam Consist of (Sample Questions and Guides)?

The Virtual Entry Assessment – MP (476) has four sections:

  • Work scenarios
  • Check for Errors
  • Tel Us Your Story
  • Describe Your Approach

Each section has a different number of questions, and a recommended time to complete it:

Section Name Number of Questions Recommended Time to Complete Section (approx.)
Work Scenarios 9 11 minutes
Check for Errors 12 – 4 rows, each with 3 questions 2 minutes
Tell Us Your Story 22 3 minutes
Describe Your Approach 79 8 minutes

Like I’ve said before, it is quite essential to complete the test fast. I will explain that in a moment. But first, let’s dive into what question types are in each section and explain how to answer them.

Work Scenarios – as a Mail Processor, you will probably encounter a lot of situations in which you would have to decide how to act. The USPS uses this section to let you know what kind of situations you are in for, and to test your decision making. This way they can assess if you are up for the job or not.

Note: this section is tricky. You will be presented with four different answers; each one is a different approach to the situation. You will be asked to choose which are the best approach and worst. But it is not as easy as it sounds. The answers are confusing, and it is NOT an obvious choice.

Check out this sample question to see how tricky it can get.

Postal Exam MP (476) Sample Question – Work Scenarios:

You notice that your fellow employee has been taking many personal phone calls during work hours. Not only is this slowing down his work pace, but it is also in violation of policy.

Please select the action you would be most likely to take and the action you would be least likely to take, in response to the described situation.

  1. Report him to your supervisor.
  2. Do nothing as it's none of your business.
  3. Remind him of the work policy and explain how this is affecting work productivity.
  4. Politely ask him to stop taking personal calls during work hours.

Not so easy, ha? Try to answer the question, and then check this full explanation:

Explanation

Competency: Teamwork; Communication Skills; Attention to policies and procedures; Loyalty to the company
Most likely: 3
Least likely: 2

Response 1: This response shows poor teamwork and communication skills. You fail to communicate the problem to your fellow employee, to alert him to the situation and give him a chance to adapt his recent behavior. Rather you immediately turn to your supervisor. In general, criticizing another worker without first doing so privately is considered inappropriate and not supportive of teamwork.

Response 2: This is a passive response. Although your co-worker’s behavior may not affect you directly, this situation negatively affects your team productivity as a whole, and the organization you work in more generally. This response shows poor communication and teamwork skills- but also indicates a low level of organizational understanding as you don’t see the connection between the situation and the productivity of your team as a whole.

Response 3: Here you use a communication form that is direct and persuasive. You give a proper justification for your argument by reminding him of company policy. Communicating the problem directly with your colleague demonstrates good communication skills and teamwork.

Response 4: This response alerts your co-worker to the situation and gives him a chance to adapt his recent behavior. However, it may come across as condescending as you are not superior to him. Asking him to stop a behavior may seem like you are overstepping your authority. A better response would be to remind him of the policy and explain the impact of his behavior on work productivity, as suggested in response C.

Check for Errors – in this section, you will be presented with pairs of 8-digit numbers, and you will have to check if they match. This section is designed to test how attentive you are to details. As a Mail Processor, your shift will be filled with numbers and details, and your work has to be precise. This is the USPS’s way to see if you have what it takes.

Postal Exam MP (476) Sample Question – Check for Errors:

1 Location 1 99668737 99968797
2 Location 2 99668737 99668377
3 Location 3 99668737 99668737
4 Location 4 99668737 99688737

Could you figure out which pair matches and which do not?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Note: it should take you no more than 10 seconds to answer each question.

Tell Us Your Story – this section has questions designed to let the USPS get to know your work experience and background.

Postal Exam MP (476) Sample Question – Tell Us Your Story:

If contacted, how would your recent supervisor at work describe your communication skills compared to other team members?

  1. The very best
  2. Among the best
  3. Above average
  4. Average
  5. Needing some development
  6. Needing substantial development

Note: at first glance, it seems like this section is purely subjective, and you have to just be honest. That is not the case. As strange as it may sound, there are right and wrong answers.

To better understand how to answer correctly, use our full guide included in the PrepPack.

For now, here is a useful tip:

The phrase "nobody's perfect" isn't just a saying. Naturally, everyone has both strengths and weaknesses. Don't try to present yourself as a perfect person because you couldn't possibly possess every desirable characteristic. In fact, it's unlikely that anyone would receive a high score on all or most of the test's desirable characteristics. Your answers should be balanced. In general, try to avoid giving too many extreme scores, but avoid being too neutral as well. When you are asked about your skills, try to show that you are one s worth hiring and above average.

Describe Your Approach – in this section you will answer A LOT of questions about your personality. Again, this is a tricky one. The statements are vague, and it will give the USPS a chance to see if you are consistent, and what traits of your personality are emphasized.

Postal Exam MP (476) Sample Question – Describe Your Approach:

Please indicate to which extent you agree or disagree with the following statement:

a) It is clear to me what my goals are.
b) I don't usually feel driven to succeed.

  • Most like (b)
  • Somewhat like (b)
  • Somewhat like (a)
  • Most like (a)

Note: answering all these questions can be very confusing. In our PrepPack you will find a full detailed guide that will help you make the right and consistent choices.

Now that you know how this test looks like, it is time to understand why you should aim for a a high score, and how it is done.


How to Get a Really High Score in the USPS Test and Why?

As you already know, a passing score for the Virtual Entry Assessment – MP (476) is 70. This means that any score below 70 will mark you as “ineligible”, and the USPS will NOT consider you for this job. If this happens, you have to wait a full year before you can retake the exam.

We don’t want that to happen.

Note: if you pass the test and want to take it again to improve your score, you will have to wait 2 years.

But what is more important to know is that the USPS ranks the candidates that passed the test, based on their scores. This means that if only one job opens at your local branch, the USPS will hire only the top-ranked candidate.

The bar for getting the job changes from branch to branch. Small branches that don’t have a lot of candidates might settle for lower scores. Larger branches, on the other hand, have a lot more competition. Candidates might need to score well above 90 to get the job.

For every position listed at the branch, they go through the list by order. This means that if your score is not really high, you might wait a long time, sometimes months, before someone talks to you. In some cases, you will not be approached at all!

On the other hand, I have seen candidates score close to 100 and on the next day were extended a job offer. They were hired without even coming in for an interview.

Your future is in your hands.

How CAN you Score Higher?

  • Timing – This is not something the USPS acknowledges, but they look at how fast you complete the test! They have an elaborate system that knows how long you spend on each question, and it might affect your score. This is why it is important to work your way quickly and efficiently through the test. The more you practice, the faster you will get.
  • Question Types – As you’ve seen, the questions on this exam can be weird and not so intuitive. If you are taken by surprise, you will score lower. The best way to avoid it is to familiarize yourself with all question types. Practice often and you will not be surprised by anything.
  • Right and wrong answers – Although this is mostly a personality assessment, there are right and wrong answers. Our full guides will help you understand how to answer the questions correctly.

How will our PrepPack help you with that?


How to Get the Most Out of the 476 USPS Practice Test and Guides?

Step 1: Practice with full test simulations , for each of sections, that mirror the real thing. Each question has the solution and an extensive explanation so you will understand why each answer is right or wrong.

Step 2: Read the full guides, filled with tips on how to get the personality sections right. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, there is a right way to answer!

Step 3: The PrepPack includes a question bank that covers all test question types. This will give you the extra edge needed to beat your competition.


What Happens Once You Submit the Postal Exam 476?

Shortly after completion, you will see an updated status in your USPS candidate profile online:

  • “In Process” means that you have completed the test but still don’t have a score.
  • “Ineligible” means you haven’t passed the assessment (got a score below 70).
  • “Eligible” means that you passed the assessment and now waiting for more news.
  • “Pre-Hire” means that the USPS wants you and will send you an invitation for an interview.

The next step would be an interview (in some cases, if you get a really high score, they skip this step). Once you’ve passed that, you’re Hired!


 Virtual Entry Assessment – MP (476) FAQ

Some websites say that to get this job I have to take the 473 test. I am confused; what is going on?

Those sites are either a scam or flat out irresponsible and deceiving. The 473 test is old and is not used by the USPS since April 2019. Even if someone tells you that their guide is 2020 updated, it is a lie. In 2020, the USPS only uses the four new tests, and the Postal Exam 476 is one of them. Do not prepare yourself for the 473 exam, it is a waste of time and money.

This test is mainly a personality assessment, so why do I have to practice for it?

This personality assessment seems subjective, but there is right and wrong here. The right way to answer the questions is to emphasize the traits needed for the Mail Processor job. If you practice with similar questions, understand what every answer means, it will help you get it right.

The USPS advise to be honest in the assessment. Should I answer what I really think or what they want me to think?

Every one of us has a few personas. When you are at a bar with your friends, you act differently from when you are at work.. When you are a candidate for a job, it is recommended to present your work persona, and leave the everyday persona at the bar. All the personas are a part of your personality. You are not lying or deceiving anyone, even if you present only a part of you. The part of you that you want standing out is the one more suitable for the work environment.

I don’t understand how the USPS can score my personality. Are there right and wrong answers?

The USPS does not score your personality. They will inspect you and your personality traits as they relate to this specific job. In that sense, the right answers will emphasize the traits that are needed for the Mail Processor job.

Some candidates are called in for an interview after a week, while others have to wait months. W Why is that, and does my score in the assessment effect it?

Getting a high score can be crucial! The higher you score, the better your chances are to be called for an interview, and fast. If you score much higher than your competition, the USPS might offer you the job without even calling you in for an interview.

 

 

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