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Answering the Postal Exam Personal Characteristics and Inventory Experience Test

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The Personal Characteristics and Inventory Experience Test is used by the United States Postal Service to assess a candidate’s characteristics and behavior that will determine his or her ability to succeed as a U.S. Postal Service employee. In short, it is used to create a profile about you and whether you will be able to perform well in this kind of job. This test used to be Part D of the pencil and paper 473 postal exam. Now, however, this is a self-administered test which you will take when you applied for a particular postal service position through the USPS website (

Even if this portion of the test is used to build a picture of your abilities and tendencies as a future postal service employee, it is still scored. The USPS does not reveal how or what their criteria is for scoring. But one thing is clear: All the answers you give matter, so you should not skip any question. Answering everything is crucial if you want to pass this test.

When answering the questions, choose the questions that are reflective of your personality and/or your experience. Put it simply, honesty counts in this test. If there is one thing that you should not do in this exam, it is to try to manipulate your answers with the intention of giving the USPS the picture that you fit the profile of an ideal postal worker. This strategy usually backfires because you will end up giving inconsistent answers. Besides, there are inherent checks in this section that will enable the USPS to determine for exactly these kinds of strategies.

Read the questions and answer choices carefully. In the Agree/Disagree segment, you will be given four choices: ¬ĚStrongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree. In the Frequency segment, your choices will be Very Often, Often, Sometimes, and Rarely. In the Experience segment, you will be given four to nine answer choices depending on the question. Be careful when choosing the answer to reduce the chances of error.

Take the time to relax. Remember that this test seeks to build a profile about you and as such there are no right or wrong answers for as long as you are honest. Besides, if you don’t fit their profile, then you can take that as a sign that a postal service position is not for you.


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