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The USPS recently overhauled their hiring practices which also included retiring the use of postal exam 473. This one assessment has been replaced by four (4) new assessments, each one catering to specific roles offered by the US Postal Service. The information and free test on this page focus on the newly introduced postal exam 474 which is used for evaluating candidates applying for both city and rural mail carrier positions. Continue reading to find out more about this test and how you can improve your chances of receiving a high enough score to ensure your continuation in the hiring process. 

Postal Exam 474 Test Sections 

There are four (4) different sections included in the MC 474 (formerly exam 473). Each of these sections is broken down below:  

Introduction: This section includes a brief history of the Postal Service, information regarding the jobs covered by this exam, test instructions and a sample question for each section appearing on the test. 

Work Scenarios: This section of the test (known as “Work Situations” on the 477 exam) includes 8 questions describing situations you may encounter on the job. Answer by choosing two out of 4 options from most likely to least likely in order to resolve each situation.   

Tell Us Your Story: This section consists of 20 questions that review your work history and experience. Remember to only include information seen in your resume and original application. If the information you provide in this section does not match the information you originally included at the beginning of the process, it could cost you the job you’re being considered for. 

Describe Your Approach: This section includes a personality-based test consisting of 56 questions to be completed in a 6-minute timeframe.

The purpose of this test is to learn more about you, your working style, and your previous work experience. By practicing for the behavioral and situational sections of this test, you will know how to convey your best qualities and ultimately launch your career.

Score Higher on the 474 Postal Exam

Did you know you need 70 or above to pass the postal service exam 474? According to US Postal Service, 80-90% of candidates fail the exam! Furthermore, if you fail the test, you will need to wait an entire year (12 months) before you can retake the exam. Also note that while a passing score is 70 or above, the USPS ranks applicants based on their score. This means someone who scores a 90 will be placed ahead of someone who scored 80. For these reasons, it is essential to prepare and know what to expect before taking the 474 exam.

USPS Employee Benefits 

USPS employs nearly 500,000 workers and their mail handlers have salaries ranging from $30,000 - $65,000. 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 474 USPS-style Personality & SJT questions. Get access to additional drills & study guides to land the job you want. 


Why Preparing for USPS Postal 474 Exam is Essential?

The main sections of Virtual Entry Assessment (VEA) 474 introduce you to several hypothetical scenarios common for the position you are applying for. These questions may seem straightforward at first, however, their hypothetical nature can be quite confusing if you aren’t sure what they are evaluating. How you respond to each scenario will give the USPS insight into your working style, how you interact with coworkers, your customer service abilities, and your ability to cope with stress. It is imperative that you first understand what you are being asked prior to selecting your response.

Answering hypothetical behavioral and situational (SJT) questions on the postal exam 474 can also be tough due to several factors listed below:

  • Any or all the answer choices seem reasonable depending upon your personality and experience, or there is never one obvious answer that stands out as the best choice. In fact, different answers can be the correct choice for different people and/or different jobs.
  • In one section of the exam you can 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.

Check out the free sample questions below to get a better idea of what you can expect during your mail carrier exam.

Postal Exam 474 Sample Questions

Below you will find several sample questions like those you will encounter in both the Work Scenarios and Describe Your Approach sections of postal exam 474 with explanations. Good luck!

Personality Question:
a) Before beginning a task I plan exactly what I am going to do.
b) I don't enjoy planning things in advance.





 
There are several things you must look out for when it comes to behavioral and personality test scores. Firstly, the USPS uses these tests to ensure you possess the necessary skills to perform the role you have applied for. Don’t be fooled by the instruction section – certain responses can negatively impact your candidate profile and cost you the job. Another thing to keep in mind is that the USPS often uses normative or comparative scoring. This type of scoring allows the recruitment team to see which applicants are the best match in each area being assessed. The best way to ensure your ability to pass behavioral and personality tests is through practice.

 

Situational Judgement Question:

You are making a delivery when a customer asks you about zip codes. He explains that he wants to send a parcel to his friend, but only has his street address and is missing the zip code. He is not sure how to locate this information.

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. Tell him he can find the information online.
  2. Explain where he may find this information and enquire the next day if he found it.
  3. Offer to search the zip code together on the USPS website.
  4. Explain where he can locate this information and ask if there is anything else you can help with.

 

Competency: Service Orientation

Most Likely: C 

Least Likely: A

Response A: This response fails to demonstrate service orientation. You make no effort to assist the customer or answer his query. Instead, you “take the easy way out” by suggesting he look this up himself online.

Response B: This response demonstrates service orientation as you explain where the customer can find the information. You also enquire the next day to ensure that the customer succeeded in retrieving the information he needed based on the information you had provided.

Response C:  You demonstrate great service orientation skills as you offer to help find the zip code, and by doing so together, you can show the customer how to locate this information in the future.

Response D: This is a good response that demonstrates service orientation as you explain where the customer can find the information and ask the customer if there is anything else you can assist with prior to ending the interaction. However, you fail to ensure that the customers' needs were met and that he actually retrieved the information he needed based on the information you provided.

 


474 Postal Exam - Tips 

 

  • Practice test questions you are likely to encounter. In the case of exam 474, these include both personality and SJT test questions.
  • Practice as much as possible before taking your assessment. Whether you decide to practice for the exam 474 prior to applying or once your application has been accepted, you should use your time wisely to make sure you understand how to pass. Remember: if you decide to wait until you receive the assessment email invitation, you will have a very limited amount of time to practice and take it in real-time.
  • Reduce test-taking anxiety. Practicing will allow you to become familiar with the exam content, thus reducing test anxiety. This is especially true with an exam of this type with its strange question and answering styles.

474 Postal Exam - FAQ

  1. You must be 18 years old at the time of the appointment or 16 years old with a high school diploma 
  1. Hold US citizenship or be a permanent resident 
  1. Know English at a reasonable level 
  1. Males born after December 31, 1959, must be registered with the Selective Service System 
  1. Possession of a driving record for jobs requiring driving 
  1. Pass a drug test 
  1. No criminal background 

Go to the USPS official website and create an account. Prepare your resume. Complete your application and employment history. You will then receive a proposal for various jobs in your area.

Although the 474 USPS test is simply one step during the screening process, it is essential to continue candidacy. Thus, proper preparation can make the difference between passing and failing. Therefore, developing test skills, reviewing the content of the exam will further help you comprehend each test question. Remember the number of times you practice will significantly increase your chances of successfully obtaining the needed score to pass the US postal service exam. 

You are given 72 hours (3 days) to complete the exam after you receive the email invitation. The exam can be completed from your smartphone, tablet, or computer anytime and anywhere you choose. It is best to complete this assessment in a quiet place free of distractions.  

To pass the test, you must score between 70-100.Veterans and family members of veterans are occasionally granted between 5-10 additional points if they meet specific requirements. Note that the USPS ranks applicants based on their score. This means someone who scores a 90 will be placed ahead of someone who scored 80! 

You can retake the test after a 12 month period. 

No. You simply are offered to continue the hiring process. 

Depending on whether you pass the exam and the role you have applied for, your USPS exam scores will remain valid between two (2) and six (6) years.

The Postal Service hiring process is extremely competitive, thus preparing for the 474 exam will give you the needed edge to pass the exam. Remember, you must receive a minimum score of 70 to pass.

 

Improve your chances by 73%

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

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