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Most of the entry-level positions for the United States Postal Service require potential candidates to take the postal battery exam to determine if they have the skills and aptitude that will make them succeed in the job. If you want to become a city carrier, mail processing clerk, mail handler, distribution associate, service associate, or sales associate then you have to obtain a very high score in the postal exam to be called for an interview.
The specific test that you need to take is the postal exam 473 or the postal exam 473e. What’s the difference between the two? Basically, they are the same test except for the fact that the 473e is the electronic version of the postal exam 473 which has traditionally been a pencil and paper test. Postal exam 473 was launched to replace the other exams. Thus the 460, the 470, 473, and 473c tests are not anymore administered as more post offices are now using the electronic 473e to screen potential candidates who want their shot at a postal service career.
The first part of the postal exam 473 is the Personal Characteristics & Experience Inventory Test. This is the test which you can take on your own as soon as you apply for a postal service job opening. It is composed of 150 questions which you need to answer in 90 minutes. Although this part of the test seeks to build a profile of your personality and will figure in greatly in your passing or failing score, the USPS will not tell how the right or wrong answers are determined. Instead of trying to guess what the “correct” answer is, it is much better for you to answer the questions honestly. Being consistent in your answers will matter instead of trying to determine if the answer you give will be the one that the USPS will give a high score.
The second part of the 473e is composed of three parts and which you will have to take at a specified testing site. After you have lodged your application online and have registered for your test at the USPS website, they will send you information regarding where you will take your test.
The three parts of the 473e test are Address Checking, Forms Completion, and Coding and Memory. These are extremely time-limited questions so it would be to your advantage to try free online practice postal exams to help you get a feel of the speed required for this test. The more correct answers you get under the time pressure given, the better your chances of getting a US postal career.