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Post Office Tap Test: Not a Postal Battery Exam

A postal battery test is a mandatory requirement for all applicants of career-track positions in the United States Postal Service. The most common postal exam is the 473/473e which is essentially an aptitude test for those who want to become mail handlers, city carriers, postal clerks, and sales and distribution associates for the Postal Service. It tests applicants if they have what it takes to do the job of a postal worker successfully. Postal test 473 is composed of three parts: Address Checking, Forms Completion, and Coding and Memory.

While a postal test determines the future suitability of an applicant for employment in the USPS, a tap test does not have anything to do with postal jobs. A post office tap test is actually a random test done by post office personnel on envelopes with windows. They tap these envelopes to check if it meets the regulations set forth by the U.S. Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual (DMM).

The DMM regulation states that “the delivery address on mail sent in window envelopes must show completely, with 1/8" clearance, at all times during processing and delivery, even if the insert moves.” If the window envelop fails the tap test, there are two things that can happen: 1) The envelope might be charged extra postage or 2) It will be returned to the sender.

Individuals who should comply with the tap test, then, are not those who are looking for postal service employment opportunities but for those who intend to place mail in window envelopes. Before you go to the post office with your envelop make sure that you check that you are following DMM regulations. If you notice that you are violating the specified clearance, you can get a bigger window envelope or make smaller the address font written there. The tap test may be done randomly but you want to make sure that you have your bases covered so that you will not only pass the tap test but will ensure the delivery of your letter. By the way, senders are not notified if they fail the tap test—you might just have your letter returned to you.

Don’t confuse the tap test with a postal battery test. The latter is for Postal Service job applicants who want a career with the premier mail organization in the world while the former is for letters whose addresses are placed in window envelopes.