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Passing the USPS 474 Exam in 2022

Passing the USPS 474 Exam in 2022

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What Is the 474 Postal Exam For?

The 474 Postal Exam is a mandatory assessment screening for all mail carrier jobs with the United States Postal Service (USPS).

These roles include:

  • City Carrier
  • City Carrier Assistant (CCA)
  • Rural Carrier
  • Rural Carrier Associate (RCA)
  • Assistant Rural Carrier (ARC)
  • Casual City Carrier

Mail carrier roles require excellent customer service skills, a strong teamwork ethic and good problem-solving skills.

The USPS 474 assessment is designed to test these skills.

To begin your application, you will need to set up an online account. Once your candidate profile is created, you can search and apply for jobs.

Instructions regarding which test you need to take will be sent to you.

A link to the 474 Postal Exam is delivered via the USPS online portal.

It must be completed within 72 hours or your application will become ineligible.

After completing the online exam, your results will be available to view on your candidate profile.

You need to score 70 to pass.

Once you have received an eligible status for passing the exam, there may be further screening requirements before you are given a conditional job offer.

What Is the 474 Postal Exam Assessing?

The 474 Postal Exam is used to select between the candidates who otherwise meet the criteria required by the USPS.

The exam focuses on a candidate's personality traits, skills and experience.

This enables the organization to discover the most suitable people for mail carrier roles.

What Format Is the 474 Postal Exam In?

The USPS 474 Postal Exam is self-administered online.

It was updated in November 2021 to include three additional sections.

These are included below. Be aware that this new content may not be covered by some websites.

Section 1: Work Scenarios

The workplace scenario section focuses on your situational judgment.

The questions will determine your understanding of the responsibilities of the job.

Over seven minutes, there are 18 questions for you to answer.

Each question poses a hypothetical scenario you might encounter as part of your job.

Examples of topics include dealing with customer enquiries, working as part of a team and using your initiative.

You must quickly determine which response would be deemed the most appropriate given the circumstances.

Use your knowledge of the Postal Service to decide which answer a hiring manager would select.

Answers cannot be changed once selected, so think carefully before making your choices.

Section 2: Tell Us Your Story

This section includes 37 questions that should be answered in four minutes.

The aim of this section is to discover more about your previous experience and how you are suited for the role you are applying for.

It is important the answers that you give match the information already provided as part of your application.

Any inconsistencies between your details will count against you and your application may become ineligible.

It is good practice to print a copy of your details so you can refer to them during the exam.

This will ensure your dates and responses you provide are accurate.

Your potential employer is looking for someone who is reliable, consistent and detail-oriented.

Topics include how long you have worked for previous company, the number of your absences and your level of punctuality.

Be honest and open with your answers.

Section 3: Describe Your Approach

This is a fast-paced section that requires you to answer 139 questions.

It is similar to a personality test.

The organization needs to know whether you will be a good fit for its company ethos and culture.

Your attitude to team working and your preferred working style will be assessed in this section.

As a mail carrier, customer service is a large focus of the role. This skill should be highlighted in your answers wherever possible.

You will be presented with two statements and asked to identify which one most closely describes you.

As some questions will be assessing the same skill, it is important to be honest to avoid providing conflicting answers.

Section 4: Move the Mail

In the USPS, mail can be sorted in a variety of ways. You will need to understand the rules of each method.

This section of the test will determine whether you can follow the rules given to sort mail appropriately.

For example, you may be asked to sort mail by house number, zip codes or weight.

You will be presented with 18 questions in this section.

Section 5: Verify Customer Information

This section focuses on your ability to recognize and correct errors.

Mail carriers will need to review printed information and determine its accuracy.

For example, this could involve checking mail forwarding details are correct.

You might be presented with a change of address form and asked to identify any mistakes.

Look carefully at all the information provided so you can make the correct choice.

You will be asked 10 questions. These should take approximately five minutes to complete.

Section 6: What Drives You

This part of the exam is used to discover what motivates you at work.

This section seeks to discover your personal values and whether they fit the values of the USPS.

Some expected characteristics of employees include a focus on teamwork, flexibility and ability to work under pressure.

There are 25 questions to answer in approximately three minutes.

It is encouraged that you work through the questions as quickly as you can.

However, you will be able to move back one question to change an answer if necessary.

How to Pass The USPS 474

Prepare To Succeed

The USPS 474 assessment is often considered to be a straightforward test.

However, this leads to many people failing to prepare and therefore being surprised on the day of the test.

Preparation beforehand is vital to increase your chances of success. This will make sure you perform at your best.

Candidates who fail to achieve over 70 marks will be considered ineligible and unable to progress with their application.

Due to the hypothetical nature of many of the questions, there are often no clear answers.

This can make it difficult to select the most appropriate response. You have to deduce what the hiring managers have decided is their ideal candidate.

Therefore, adequate practice with the style of questions you will encounter can reduce anxiety on test day.

Practice Tests Online

Start preparing for the exam before submitting your application for a job.

This will give you chance to go through some practice tests beforehand. These tests give you a good idea of what to expect when you complete the real test.

Familiarity with the style of questions helps you feel more confident and able to succeed.

There are various psychometric tests available online to help you learn more about your personality.

There are also simulated versions of the 474 Postal Exam.

Practicing these will give you a greater understanding of the format of the assessment.

Passing the USPS 474 Exam
Passing the USPS 474 Exam

Do Your Research

Take time to fully research the job role. Consider which skills and personality traits would enable you to fulfill the role successfully.

Read the job role and specifications carefully. The words used here tell you what kind of person the organization is looking for.

Further, learn more about the USPS.

A broader knowledge of the organization as a whole will give you an understanding of its company goals, aims and objectives.

Know Your Resume and Application Details

When completing the online test, make sure there are no discrepancies between your answers and the information on your resume.

If you enter conflicting information, this could potentially lead to disqualification.

To prevent this from happening keep a record of all previously submitted details.

This can be referred to during the test to ensure your answers are consistent.

Have a Distraction-Free Environment

When you take the test, make sure you have a quiet environment free from distractions.

This will allow you to concentrate and focus fully on the questions.

Express Personal Qualities Consistently

Approach each question with a professional attitude and express your qualities consistently throughout the test.

Think about how you would prefer to be treated in the situations presented.

This will help put you in a customer-focused frame of mind.

This is a highly valued quality by the USPS.

Sample Questions

Tell Us Your Story

Example Question

1. Have you ever voluntarily left a job without securing your next job?

a) Yes
b) No
c) Not applicable

Describe Your Approach

Example Question

1. Which statement most closely resembles you?

a) I work steadily on my own to make sure I get my job done.
b) I help colleagues when I can to make sure we all keep on task.

Work Scenarios

Example Question

1. You have just ended a busy shift. However, your last customer appears distressed and wants some assistance with sending a package.

Select your most likely and least likely response from the options below.

a) Calm the customer before showing them where to access the information online.
b) Tell them to look online, as your shift has ended and you haven't got time to help.
c) Explain that your shift has ended, but you will happily help them tomorrow.
d) Quickly explain how to send packages.

Verify Customer Information

Example Question

1. A customer has completed part of a change of address form. Read the details given below.

Move type: Permanent
First Name: Andrew
Last name: John
Previous state: FL
Previous zip code: 33445
New state: MA
New zip code: 02368

For each item below, verify if it is a match or error.

a) Move type: Permanent
b) New zip code: 02368
c) Last name: Andrew
d) Previous state: FL

What Drives You

Example Question

1. Select the answer that best describes you from the two following options:

a) I prefer a job that presents challenges every day.
b) I prefer a job where there are logical procedures to follow.

Move the Mail

Example Question

1. Mail must be sorted and delivered to the appropriate mailboxes. Select the correct mailbox for the package below:

Package address:

John Smith
1500 Pioneer Rd
Crest Hill
11056

a) 101
b) 110
c) 111
d) 100

Frequently Asked Questions

To pass the USPS 474 Postal Exam, the minimum score is 70. The maximum score that can be achieved is 100.

It is recommended to achieve a higher mark to ensure selection.

Applicants who do not achieve the passing mark can retake the test after one year.

You will be able to apply to other jobs that require different assessment procedures.

This test can also be known as the Mail Carrier (MC) VEA 474 exam. VEA stands for Virtual Entry Assessment.

It is also referred to as the mailman or mail carrier test.

The USPS 474 Postal Exam replaces the previous 473 exam. The 473 exam became obsolete in 2019.

The 474 Postal Exam has a higher focus on customer service, communication skills and teamwork.

It is recommended to take the exam on a laptop or desktop for the best user experience.

You will also need a supported browser and Adobe PDF Reader, or another PDF reading software, installed.

The exam must be taken within 72 hours of submitting your application. It takes an average of 45 minutes to complete.

If not completed within this time, you will be disqualified and have to wait a year to retake the exam.

Final Thoughts

A career with the USPS offers many benefits. This is why the selection process is very competitive.

To pass the USPS 474 test the first time, start your research well in advance of submitting your application.

Aim to achieve the highest score you can. This will increase your chances of being fast-tracked into employment.

The jobs requiring the 474 test are customer-facing roles. Your answers must demonstrate your commitment to excellent customer service.

If you take time to prepare fully, you will feel confident, relaxed and ready to take the exam.


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