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If you’re in the thick of preparations for the postal exam 473, you will probably know by now that this test will require a lot from you especially when it comes to speed and accuracy. Parts A, B, and C are timed sections which you have to take in a supervised testing facility. And the time restrictions are no laughing matter. For Part A on Address Checking, you are given 11 minutes to answer 60 questions; in Part B on Forms Completion, you are given 15 minutes to answer 30 questions; and for Part C Section 1 on Coding, you are given 6 minutes to answer 36 questions and for Section 2 on Memory, you have 7 minutes to answer 36 questions.

With these time restrictions, the question gets asked: Wouldn’t it just be better to guess at the answers? If your test-taking strategy hinges solely on guessing, you might be in for a very rough surprise. You see, in Parts A and C of exam 473, guessing the wrong answers can cost you. For every incorrect answer you put in, you will be deducted 1/3 of a point from your correct answers. You will not suffer this kind of penalty if you simply leave a question blank.

For Part B, the USPS is more lenient. You will not be given deductions for wrong answers. This means that guessing will be all right as penalties will not be imposed for wrong answers.

Given these information, the question is: How should you guess to maximize your chances of increasing your postal exam scores for the 473? Well, making an educated guess is the way to go even for Part B. An educated guess is where you try to eliminate two of the obviously wrong answers from the four given choices. Of the two remaining answers, you can use “gut feel” to determine which the most correct choice is.

But guessing, especially in Parts A and C, should only be employed sparingly, and only when you have sufficient time left. The best strategy while you are still taking the test is to leave the difficult questions whose answers you are not sure of blank and only go back to them when you have time left. Only then should you try to make an educated guess. For Part B, however, you may be able to make educated guesses as you go along since you risk no deductions to your exam score.