Postal Exam 477: Practice Tests & Tips to Pass the VEA CS 477
Shir Enzer

Shir, Civil Service Assessments Expert at JobTestPrep.

Have a question? Contact me at:

What Is the Virtual Entry Assessment CS (477)?

The USPS Postal Exam 477, aka VEA – CS (477), is an assessment used to screen candidates for the Customer Service Clerk job. This assessment is one of the four new Post Office tests that replaced the old 473 test. As of November 2021, four new sections were added to the 477 assessment.

Note: The test is online and can be taken via your smartphone, tablet or computer with an internet connection. But know that using a computer is recommended. Candidates have reported some technical issues using other devices.

USPS Customer Service Clerk Exam Sections

Once you start the Postal Exam 477, you will find seven different sections:

  • Work Situations
  • Work Your Register
  • Tell Us Your Story
  • Describe your approach

Three of the sections are brand new and were added only in late 2021. JobTestPrep is the only site that offers accurate practice for these additional new sections.

Here's a breakdown of the assessment:

Section Name

Number of Questions

Work Situations 22
Work Your Register 3
Tell Us Your Story 39
Describe Your Approach 139

Let’s dive into each of the sections and understand the question types.

Work Situations

As a Customer Service Clerk, you are the face of the USPS. You are the one the public interacts with the most. The USPS wants to make sure that you know how to be a good server, which is exactly what this section is all about.

In every question you will be presented with a situation and four different actions you might take. Your task is to mark which action you will be most likely to take AND which is the least likely.

Note: USPS employees have said that the situations presented in this exam are really very similar to what they face every day. If you want a glimpse of what your day will look like, pay close attention.

The questions here might be very tricky. As a customer yourself, you probably already know that it is not always black and white.

Try figuring out what you would do in the next scenario.

Postal Exam CS (477) Sample Question – Work Situations:

A customer is interested to know if he may ship pesticide products by post. You are uncertain of the answer, especially as the restricted goods policy was updated yesterday, and you haven’t yet had a chance to go over it.

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. Apologize to the customer. Tell him you are uncertain of the answer due to a recent change in policy.
  2. Ask a colleague to take over, as they may know the answer to the customer's query.
  3. Apologize for your uncertainty. Suggest that he check the restricted goods list on the USPS website.
  4. Check the restricted good's list on the USPS website and provide the customer with an answer.


Competency: Service Orientation; Problem Solving; Independence
Most Likely: 4
Least Likely: 1

Response 1: You make no effort to assist the customer or answer his query. You do not take it upon yourself to see whether you or anyone else can help the customer; rather, you give him excuses as to why you cannot help.

Response 2: You pass the customer's problem on to another team member as you feel they may be able to provide him with the answer. However, you do not ensure that your colleague does, in fact, know the answer before doing so, which could leave the customer in the same situation of not receiving the service he required.

Response 3: You make no effort to assist the customer or resolve his query. Instead, you are “taking the easy way out” by suggesting that he look this up himself on the company website. Though you guide the customer to the site where he may find the answer, this response shows a lack of effort and thus poor service orientation on your behalf.

Response 4: You take the responsibility upon yourself to help the customer and take the necessary steps to ensure the customer's needs are addressed, checking the relevant information for the customer in order to answer his query and serve him effectively.

Work Your Register

In this section, you will be presented with one of the aspects of the job – using the cash register. The USPS wants to make sure you can use it fast, accurately, and efficiently. In each question, you will be told how much the total amount is, how much the customer paid, and what change is due back. You would then have to mark the fewest amount of bills and coins possible to make the exact change.

Note: The USPS will know how long you’ve spent on each and every question! They might be scoring you by how fast you can complete this important task.

Try one for yourself.

Postal Exam CS (477) Sample question – Work Your Register:

Use the fewest number of bills and coins possible to make the exact change.

Total amount: $53.82
Amount paid: $60.25
Change due: $6.43

Postal Exam 477 Sample Question


The correct answer is 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 3

The smallest number of bills and coins needed to reach the correct change of $6.43 is one $5 bill and one $1 bill to reach $6. Add to this one of each type of coin except cents ($0.01), of which you need three, and you get the correct change of $6.43.

$5 × 1 + $1 × 1 + $0.25 × 1 + $0.10 × 1 + $0.05 × 1 + $0.01 × 3 = $6.43

Tell Us Your Story

This section lets the USPS know a little bit more about your professional background. Although it seems like a walk in the park, you actually can get this section wrong. Again, a lot of gray areas here.

Check out this question to see how confusing this might be.

Postal Exam CS (477) Sample question – Tell Us Your Story:

If contacted, how would your recent supervisor describe your customer service 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

These questions are far from being technical and straightforward. You need to know what stands behind them to get it right.

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


It is important to be consistent with your answers and your CV. Different questions can evaluate the same information. Your personality profile has to make sense. You must make sure to avoid contradictions in your test answers.

Describe Your Approach

This section is all about your personality. You should answer this one honestly, no? Well, yes, but not quite. The questions here are a bit vague and basically, test your consistency and your personality traits.

Note: The right answer is the one that emphasizes the traits that are most suitable for this specific job. It would help if you had that in mind while answering each and every question.

Take a look at this sample question for a better understanding.

Postal Exam CS (477) Sample question – Describe Your Approach:

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

a) I enjoy theoretical discussions and thinking about abstract concepts.
b) Thinking too hard about a problem frustrates me.

  1. Most like (b)
  2. Somewhat like (b)
  3. Somewhat like (a)
  4. Most like (a)

As you’ve seen all along, this section is confusing as well. If you want to know how to answer these kind of questions, use the full guides in our PrepPack.


Most clerical work is routine. Tasks require adherence to a company’s provisions and protocols, as well as a lot of paperwork. The job requires a great deal of concentration over time and the ability to meet objectives.

It is therefore advisable to emphasize features such as: Perseverance, Thoroughness, and Good Organization. It is also essential to show you have no problem with routine work, so you should get a low score on the Boredom Intolerance trait.

For additional sample questions for the Postal Exam 477, take our free USPS exam sample test.

Why Bother Getting a REALLY High Score in the USPS Test and How?

As I’ve said earlier, the passing score for the Virtual Entry Assessment – CS (477) is 70. But as we have come to understand about the Postal Service already, it is not all black and white. If you pass, the job is not at all promised to you!

Note: If you fail the exam, you have to wait 12 months before taking it again. If you passed but want to improve your score, you would have to wait 24 months.

During the recruitment process, the USPS ranks the candidates by their scores. Once there is a job opening, they will go through the candidates by order. The higher you score, the higher you will be on the list.

But what is considered a good score? That depends. If you apply for a job at a small branch, you have less competition, and the bar will be lower. If you apply for a bigger branch with more candidates for each position, you would have to score MUCH higher.

Note: Your score can affect how long you wait for a job. For candidates who score high, the application process will likely run much faster and they'll be called in for an interview after a week, while others can wait months.

To play it safe, you better score as high as possible. This will ensure you beat your competition, small branch or big, and get hired. Fast.

How to Get That High Score?

  • Be fast – the USPS knows exactly how long you spend on every question, and they even might score you accordingly! The more you practice, the faster you are. As simple as that.
  • Know what to expect – this exam is not your typical test, and the questions can be odd and confusing. The only way to get it right is to know exactly what question to expect. This is achieved by repeatedly practicing until you can answer them in your sleep.
  • Emphasize the right traits for this job – use our full guide, written by experts, to know how to answer the personality questions.

Are you applying for other jobs at the USPS? Learn more about their Postal Exams here:

USPS and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website.