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How Post Office Exam 473 Sections are Scored

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The post office exam 473 or more recently, its electronic version, the 473-e, is the required exam for candidates of the USPS who would like to work in the following occupational groups: 1) City Carrier, 2) Rural Carrier, 3) Mail Processing Clerk, 4) Mail Handler, and 5) Sales, Services, and Distribution Associate. As you may already know, competition for these positions is fierce and the determining factor for making it to a US postal job or not is how well you do in the 473 exam.

In addition to understanding what this postal battery test is all about (it’s an aptitude test that determines if you have the skills necessary to succeed in a US mail career, in case you did not know), you also need to know how the various sections in the test are scored. With this information, you will be able to strategize: Should you answer these questions even if you have to guess or is it best to leave a question blank if you are unsure of the answer?

For Part A (Address Checking) of the 473 exam, you will need to answer 60 items in 11 minutes. This is a right minus wrong portion of the test. This means that you will be penalized if you guess answers at random. USPS test 473 Orientation Guide explains further: “Your score for Part A of test 473 is based on the number of items that you answer correctly minus one-third of the number of items that you answer incorrectly. Your score depends on how many items in the lists you can accurately compare in the time allowed. You may not be able to finish all of the items before time runs out, but you should do your best to finish as many as you can with a high degree of accuracy.”

Part B is on Forms Completion is only based on the number of correct items. Since you will not be penalized if you guess, it is better to answer all the questions within the given time frame. Make quick and educated guesses if you are already under severe time pressure.

In the Coding and Memory portion of the test, you again have to make sure that you give the right responses. Otherwise, you will be penalized. You must ensure that the code you assign is correct. Even if it is not expected that you will be able to assign a code within the given restrictive time frame, you should try to answer as many questions as possible. The USPS test 473 orientation guide states that your score is “based on the number of items that you answer correctly minus one-third of the number of items you answer incorrectly.”

While you ought to be quick and sure about your answers in Parts A and C of the 473 test, there are times when guessing would benefit you. For example, if you are sure that two out of the four choices given are absolutely erroneous then you can guess from among the two remaining choices. Sometimes, an educated guess can also be governed by instinct. So in these situations where your gut feel strongly leans towards a certain choice, go for it!


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