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Postal Exam 473-E: How to Give Accurate Answers

Anyone who wishes to become a city carrier, mail handler, mail processing clerk, sales associate, services associate, or distribution associate for the United States Postal Service must take the postal exam 473-e. This is the electronic version of what used to be the pencil and paper 473 test which must be taken in a supervised testing site. The postal battery test 473 is used as a screening tool by the USPS to determine if a candidate for a position has what it takes to do his or her job well. Thus, this battery test is not a knowledge-based test but an aptitude exam.

The 473-e is comprised of three parts: Part A is Address Checking; Part B is Forms Completion; and Part C is Coding and Memory. If you’ve talked to people now working in the USPS who once took this battery test before, you will notice one common thread in their conversations: You need to work as fast as possible and give the most accurate answers as best as you can. If you don’t do so, you might not even get the minimum passing mark of 70.

While speed is something that can be practiced through the use of practice tests and sample exams (although they won’t be the same items you will see in the final test), working quickly will be useless if you don’t give correct answers. So here are a couple of tips to help you answer the questions with precision and accuracy:

Focus, focus, focus. Whether you are given 10 seconds or 30 seconds to answer one question in the 473, you need to put your entire attention for that span of time in that one item. This might seem so elementary but when you’re anxious, every little distraction in the exam room—from the slight movement of another test-taker to the falling of a pen or paper to the floor—can and do take away your concentration. Try reviewing for the 473 not only in a quiet room but also in noisy places. When you can keep your attention glued on what you’re reading and working on, the better your chances of giving accurate answers.

Use Relevant Study Guides. Because the 473-e is already an electronic test, this means it is taken from a computer screen. In order to be accurate, you need to avoid against transposition errors—e.g. marking your answer in the answer key meant for the next question. But the methods you use in keeping your place in the answer sheet and in the test booklet in a pencil and paper test are not going to be the same as in an electronic test. Learning to answer from a computer screen, being able to manipulate the mouse expertly, and being able to stay alert on a question despite a flickering screen are keys to accuracy. Thus, online study guides and not paper study guides should be used when reviewing for the 473-e.