Postal Work

Post Office Exams, Schedules, And Practice 473 Tests

Includes Postal Practice Tests

Carrier, clerk, mail handlers, and distribution associates are required to take and pass the 473 Postal Exam. Other applicants including motor vehicle operators, mechanic, clerical, electronic technician, machinist, and trades must also pass a written test. Your rating is based on the test results, your education, and qualifying work experience. Other occupations, such as corporate and professionals, don’t require a written exam and are evaluate under the Postal Service’s Rated-Application Examinations process. They are rated and hired on their prior work experience and education listed on their application and how well they do on the interview.

All tests, including the 473 and 473-C/E exams, are scheduled when you apply online. When you apply you will be asked to register, complete an application, and take an initial online un-proctored exam. Many occupations also require you to take a proctored exam at a testing facility in your area. The Postal Service will schedule you for the exam, and you have 14 days to complete your application, assessment, and exams from the date you apply.

Post Office Exams and Practice 473 Tests

Post Office Exams

Examinations cover the majority of entry level hiring although some offices also maintain custodial registers which, by law, are reserved for veteran preference eligibles. The postal service no longer uses the 460 Battery Examination for rural mail carrier positions, rural carriers now must take the 473 exam. The USPS also administers exams for motor vehicle and tractor trailer operators and some highly skilled maintenance positions such as building equipment mechanic, engineman, electronics technician, and general mechanic. All skilled maintenance positions require examination 931. A separate announcement, examination number 932, is required for electronics technician positions.

The 473 Major Entry Level Jobs Exam may also be referred to as the 473 Battery Exam. The main difference between the 473 and 473-C/E exam is the target audience. The 473-C exam is used when the Postal Service is recruiting large numbers of City Letter Carriers, and the 473 and 473 E exam is used to cover all the other job categories listed below . All of these exams are essentially the same.

NOTE: You don’t have to retake the exam for other positions after passing the test with a 70% score or higher. Your examination result is valid through the expiration date shown on your Notice of Result. If you are an applicant, your results will be maintained in your eCareer Candidate Profile and will be automatically included with your application if you apply for other USPS vacancies requiring this exam. If you are an employee, your test result may be valid for longer, based on your situation and in accordance with Postal policy. CAUTION: Write down your eCareer user name and password so that you will be able to use the test results for other positions. Many forget to write down this information and have a difficult time contacting the USPS to recover their user name and password.

Skills Tests

Ability and skills tests (performance tests) are designed to predict future success, both in job training and job performance. The Postal Service uses these tests to obtain an indication of your potential to learn and perform particular job responsibilities. Skills tests measure specifically what you know about and can perform in a particular job—they test your mastery of tasks. The Postal Service administers skills tests when it is interested in filling a position with an applicant who knows the basics of the job and can perform job tasks as soon as he or she starts. Some performance tests are: the road test for operators of postal vehicles, the typing test, and the test of strength and stamina for mail handlers.

473 Exam Outline

The Postal Service uses entrance exam titled Test 473 for Major Entry-Level Jobs. This exam is also called the 473 Battery Exam and it replaced the 470 Battery Exam and covers:

Test Unit Number of Questions Time Allowed Covered Subjects
Part A
Address Checking
60 11 minutes Determine if two addresses are identical
Part B
Forms Completion
30 15 minutes information identification for completing forms correctly
Part C
Section 1 – Coding
36 6 minutes Use the proper code to assign to addresses
Part C
Section 2 – Memory
36 7 minutes Memorize assigned codes for addresses ranges
Part D Inventory of Personal Experience and Characteristics 236 90 minutes Experience and characteristics which are job-related

Use the full length 473 practice exams in the book Post Office Jobs and the sample exam questions available on this site to prepare for the forms checking, address checking, memory and coding Parts A, B, and C of the new exam. Part D is related to your personal work experience and unique characteristics. For example, in Part D,  you will be asked your likes and dislikes, whether you have experience in certain areas. You really can’t prepare for this section, it’s your personal profile and if you answer the questions honestly the Postal Service will be able to identify the job that is best suited to your characteristics.

Part D of the 473 exam is taken online when you first apply. All who pass the exam with a 70 or better score are added to the register and ranked with all others who passed the exam for the job vacancy. Exam results can be used to apply for other jobs for a specific time period as noted on your notification of results.

The 473 exam covers:

  • City Carrier
  • Mail Processing Clerks
  • Mail handler
  • Sales, Distribution Associate, and Services
  • Rural Carrier (This group previously took the 460 exam)

Also, explore and apply for all job vacancies in the government and private sectors to improve you chance of employment.

Examination List & Sample Tests

A full length sample 473 practice exam is in the book Post Office Jobs. To locate jobs on the Postal Service’s web site follow the guide that we developed on this site to help you navigate their application process.

Direct links to the Postal Service’s online exam schedules and jobs hotline phone number is available on our RESOURCES page.

The 473 Battery Examination covers the majority of entry level hiring although some offices also maintain custodial registers, which by law, are reserved for veteran preference eligibles. The USPS also tests for motor vehicle and tractor trailer registers and some highly skilled maintenance positions such as Building Equipment Mechanic, Engineman, Electronics Technician, and General Mechanic. All of the skilled maintenance positions require examination 931. A separate announcement, examination number 932, is required for Electronics Technician positions.

Click here for more information about the 473 Postal Exam.

Comprehensive sample 473 practice exams with answer keys are included in Post Office Jobs

Test-Taking Strategies

It’s often helpful to study with a partner, someone to read the question and check your responses. It can be a fellow worker, a spouse, or just a good friend. Try various study routines until you hit a combination that works. Try studying in 20 to 30-minute sessions, with 5-minute breaks in between, or stretch it out to hour intervals. A good study routine will improve your test scores.

The following strategies will help you improve your grades. Use these strategies on the practice tests in this book and when you take your actual Postal Service exam. If you practice these techniques now, when you take the postal exam they will become second nature.

  • Eliminate the answers in multiple-choice questions that make no sense at all. You can often eliminate half of the answers through this method. If you have to guess an answer, you improve your chances through the process of elimination
  • Be skeptical when an answer includes words like “always, never, all, none, generally,” or “only.” These words can be a trap. Only select an answer with these words in it if you are absolutely sure it is the right answer.
  • If two answers have opposite meanings, take your time and look closer. Many times one of the two is correct.
  • Place a mark next to answers that you are unsure about. After completing the remainder of the exam, go back and review these questions and make a final selection. Often, other questions that you’ve answered will jog your memory.
  • One word can dramatically change the meaning of a sentence. Read each question word-for-word before answering.
  • Don’t let the test get the best of you. Build your confidence by answering the questions you know first. If the first question you read stumps you, skip it and go on to the next one. When you’ve completed most of the exam you can go back ‒ if time permits ‒ to the questions that you couldn’t answer.
  • Get plenty of rest the night before the exam.

Visit your local Library’s Reference Department to review a copy of Post Office Jobs or order a copy On-Line. This book includes a comprehensive 473 study guide with a full length practice exam.

Also, explore and apply for all job vacancies in the government and private sectors to improve you chance of employment.