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What is the Virtual Entry Assessment MC (474)?

The Postal Exam 474, also called the Virtual Entry Assessment – MC (474), is used for evaluating candidates applying for both city and rural mail carrier positions. This test is one of the four new USPS exams that replaced the retired postal 473 exam in 2019.

If your application and resume for the mail carrier position you’ve applied for getting selected, you’ll receive an email inviting you to take Postal Exam 474.

You will then have only 72 hours from the time you receive the email to complete and submit your test. This test is administered online and can be completed using a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Note: Some users have reported technical glitches when they took the actual assessment on their phones, which even caused some to fail it. So, we highly recommend taking the exam on your computer.

Check out the video below to get some more tips and insights on the assessment:


What Does the Mail Carrier Test Consist of?

Here’s an overview of the Virtual Entry Assessment – MC (474) structure:

Section Name

Number of Questions

Time Limit (approx.)

Work Scenarios

8 7 minutes

Tell Us Your Story

20 2 minutes

Describe Your Approach

56 6 minutes

Let’s dive into each one of the test sections, to get a better understanding of what you’re about to face:

Work Scenarios: This section of the test includes eight questions and is used to evaluate how you respond to a variety of situations. While the cases are fictitious, they represent the types of situations that Mail Carriers encounter daily on the job.

Note: Once you select ‘Next’, you cannot go back. So, read the questions carefully and don’t be tempted to rush with your answers.

Tell Us Your Story: This section is a Biodata questionnaire that consists of 20 multiple-choice questions that review your work experiences and background. You can only go back one question, and once you respond, you’ll automatically advance to the next question.

Describe Your Approach: This section includes a personality-based test consisting of 56 questions to be completed in approx. 6 minutes. On this section, the USPS will try to evaluate your preferred style and approach to work.

Important: Just like with the previous section, you can only go back one question and once you click on a response, you’ll automatically move on.

The Describe Your Approach section, which is essentially a personality test, begins with a passage containing test instructions that recommend you to “be yourself.”

From our experience, these instructions are actually misleading, and it is a bad idea to follow them precisely.

Let's analyze: what does it really mean to 'be yourself'? Our day-to-day behavior is strongly influenced by the situations we're in. The nature of those situations influences our stress level, which in turn has an impact on our behavior.

For example, you can act aggressively in one stressful situation but courteously in another. Which side of your personality do you want to show on the test?

In summary, you shouldn't expose yourself completely to those assessing you. Instead, you should make them analyze how you want to be perceived depending on the desired position.

Here’s an example of a personality question that may appear in the Describe Your Approach test section:

a) Reaching my goal is what is most important

b) Trying my best is what is most important

Most like me (b)

Somewhat like me (b)

Somewhat like me (a)

Most like me (a)

A tricky one, right?

Consider this when answering such questions

In each question, you are presented with two opposite statements regarding a certain personality trait and you need to choose to what extent one of the statements describes you. Each question focuses on a trait, but there can be some questions that assess the same trait.

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 purpose of the personality test practice in this PrepPack™ is to familiarize you with these question types and present your personality profile based on the answers you provide. At the end of the test you get a report that is tailored to your position.

From our experience, the best way to ensure your ability to pass such personality tests is through practice.


How to Ace the USPS Assessment 474 (and Avoid Waiting MONTHS for the Interview)?

As I’ve mentioned before, the passing score for the 474 Postal Exam is 70. Any score below that will immediately put you in the ineligibility list, and you’ll be allowed to retake the test only 12 months later, unfortunately.

But except for this passing score, there is one more crucial thing to take into account:

The USPS ranks applicants based on their scores.

This means that someone who scores a 90 will be placed ahead of someone who scored 80. Thus, a candidate for a certain position can wait as little as several days for an interview, while another candidate who scored lower can wait even months.

If you’ve passed the exam but wish to retake it to improve your score, you’ll have a waiting period of 2 years.

With this in mind, we’re here to help you place yourself in the top candidates’ list and get scheduled for an interview as quickly as possible.

Thus, our test experts have created an accurate prep for every section of the 474 Virtual Entry Assessment (verified to be as similar to the real test as possible).

This prep will ensure you know how to properly answer EVERY question type on the test. Also, you’ll get equipped with effective solving techniques, so no scenario or personality question will catch you by surprise.

How Could I've Failed the 474 Exam?

Many candidates ask themselves this question. At first, these situational judgment scenarios and personality questions may look like a walk in the park, but don’t let that first glance fool you.

The USPS uses sophisticated predictive modeling to flag candidates who try to “please” the system by giving answers employers would want to hear or candidates who keep contradicting themselves throughout the exam.

Remember, 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 beforehand, you will know how to convey your best qualities and ultimately jumpstart your career at USPS.

Ready for another sample question?

Here’s an example of a scenario that highly resembles some of the question types you’ll encounter on the real Work Scenarios test section:

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.

How would you act in this situation?

Check the full solution and explanation here

Competency: Service Orientation

Most Likely: 3

Least Likely:  1

Response 1: 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 2: 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 3: 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 4: 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 before 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.

 

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. Thus, it is imperative that you first understand what you are being asked prior to selecting your response.

Each practice question on the complete 474 practice pack is coupled with a clear and detailed explanation, just like you’ve seen above. The explanations will teach you exactly how to approach each question and what are the best practices for answering it.


How to Get the Most Out of the 474 USPS Practice Tests

After extensive research and after learning from hundreds of USPS job candidates, we’ve carefully created this professional practice pack.

To make the best use of your PrepPack™, we recommend following these steps:

Step #1:

Start your prep with a USPS Virtual Entry Assessment Work Scenarios practice test. This practice test includes scenarios that depict situations that are likely to occur in a city carrier or rural carrier job role.

Situations will include customers, co-workers, and superiors, and the questions will focus on the competencies and skills that are needed in these positions.

An SJT Guide accompanies this practice test. The guide includes thorough information about the test different formats and the assessed competencies, as well as suggested strategies for solving and some helpful tips.

We strongly recommend that you use the guide alongside your practice. If you read this guide carefully, you’ll gain all the information you need to succeed on this test section.

Step #2:

Don’t stop here; continue practicing with the USPS Virtual Entry Assessment Personality Practice Test. When taking this test for the first time, it is absolutely vital that you answer exactly as you would have when applying for a job. This will allow us to give you the best feedback and train you properly.

The report at the end of the test provides a detailed analysis of your personality profile, based on the entirety of your responses, so try to answer each and every question.

Step #3:

If you have time left (remember you have only 72 hours to take the actual test), use the 'Extra Practice’ sub-category in each practice section. This will give you an extra boost and will sharpen your skills, to ensure you stay calm and confident and master the exam.


What Our Customers Have to Say:

 

Henry Commager, US
Verified Reviewer
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"I am applied for at least four positions at the US post office; holiday clerk assistant, casual clerk position, assistant city carrier, and a mail processing clerk. With the help of the JobTestPrep’s test preparation, I passed the 474 with a 73%, 475 with a 77%, and the 476 with a 79%. The practice scenarios helped me to consider the whole environment of the workplace at the post office, including customers and co-workers, the production goals, and formulate good decisions. I recommend this assessment test to anyone who wants to take the test for US post office. "

 

Mariam Noujaim, US
Verified Reviewer
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"I just passed the Post Office exam 474 with a score of 90 from the first time I took the test.. I could not have done it without the course Prep I purchased from JOBTESTPREP. It is worth every penny I paid. Easy to understand, very well organized, plenty of similar questions and scenarios that were asked in the real 474 test. I ' d recommend to purchase the 90 days package ($89) and take more tests for other positions. You might as well benefit the most out of your investment. While waiting to get hired, I am taking the 476 test and have no doubt that I will get as good of a score (maybe better) than 90 with the preparation with JobTestPrep. I was so worried to take the test (474) now not only am I very proud of my grade 90, I am also taking another test 476."

 

Carl R., US
Verified Reviewer
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
"First, I definitely recommend this product. My other feedback would be to take the practice tests as often as you can before you apply for the position because once you apply, you have to take the 474 Exam within 3 days. I had no prior experience with postal service exams and thought it would be good to practice. The practice questions themselves were eye-opening in terms of what to expect from the real exam. The Personality Practice and the Work Scenario tests were challenging and really helped me think about my answers in terms of what the employer was looking for. My exam score was 90%. I received several conditional offers and was eventually hired. I strongly believe that JobTestPrep was instrumental to my success on the USPS Exam 474."

Virtual Entry Assessment – MC (474) FAQ

 

What Is a Good Score on the 474 Postal Exam?

The passing score on the USPS 474 exam is 70. However, note that the USPS ranks candidates based on their score. Thus, an applicant who got 90 will be placed higher than someone who got 80 and will likely get invited for an interview sooner than the latter.

Is the 474 Postal Exam Hard?

The Postal Exam 474 is a challenging assessment, and according to the USPS, 80%-90% of the candidates fail it. The exam can be tough because of the hypothetical nature of many of the questions, and since there is never one obvious answer that stands out as the best choice.

What Is on the Mailman Test?

The mailman test, aka the USPS exam 474, consists of three sections: Work Scenarios (an SJT), Tell Us Your Story (Biodata questionnaire), and Describe Your Approach (a personality test).

Can I Retake the 474 Postal Exam?

If you fail the 474 Postal Exam and get an ineligibility status, you’ll be allowed to retake the test only after one year. If you’ve passed the exam and want to retake it to improve your score, you’ll have to wait 24 months before you can do so.

How to Become a Mail Carrier?

To become a mailman at USPS, you must have a US citizenship and a clean criminal background check and driving record. Moreover, you need to pass the postal exam 474, which is used for all mail carrier positions, and a job interview.

How Long Will My USPS Exam Score Stay Valid?

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.

 

 

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