Postal exam questions

In order to get a local post office job, you will need to pass a postal exam. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a couple of different postal exams. One of the best ways to pass the exams is by taking postal exam practice tests. Studying with actual postal exam questions and answers will let you know how well you are prepared for the actual postal test. 

Check out our list of free postal exam practice tests along with our other recommended resources. Please note that the USPS has discontinued the postal exam 473. We have provided resources for postal exams 474, 475, 476, 477, and 955.

Recommended Postal Exam Prep Courses

Resource Position Provider
Postal Exam 474 City and Rural Mail Carrier Positions JobTestPrep
Postal Exam 475 Mail Handler and Mail Handler Assistant Positions JobTestPrep 
Postal Exam 476 Mail Processor Positions JobTestPrep
Postal Exam 477 Customer Service Clerk Positions JobTestPrep
Postal Exam 955 Mechanic and Technician Positions JobTestPrep

How to Study for Postal Exams

Postal Exam preparation requires you to study smart – not hard!  To pass your postal exams, you need to:

  • Study when you are the most alert
  • Understand what’s on the Postal Exam
  • Focus on the material that you don’t know
  • Develop a flexible study schedule

Professional postal exam prep products are the best way to prepare for your postal exam. Taking postal practice exams help you get used to what will be on the actual exam. 

To obtain a local post office job, you first need to apply for a job with the US Post Office.

USPS Jobs That Require Postal Exams

Many jobs at the USPS require candidates to take and pass postal exams. The type of postal exam you take will depend on the type of job you are applying for. Below are some common jobs that require a postal exam. 

Applicants will not know if they need to take a postal exam until they apply for a position – if they are selected to take a postal exam, they will be notified via email. Applicants will be sent an email with a link to complete the postal exam and will have 72 hours to complete the exam, with the exception for postal exam 955. 

USPS Job Postal Exam
City and Rural Mail Carrier Positions Postal Exam 474
Mail Handler and Mail Handler Assistant Positions Postal Exam 475
Mail Processor Positions Postal Exam 476
Customer Service Clerk Positions Postal Exam 477
Mechanic and Technician Positions Postal Exam 955
  • City Carrier: This is what the public thinks of when they say "mail man".  The city carrier delivers (and collects) mail by foot or vehicle.  The city carrier is given an assigned area and must deliver in all types of weather.  The city carrier may be required to carry a 35 pound mailbag on their shoulder.  Additionally, carriers are expected to handle mail containers weighing up to 70 pounds.  Carriers spend extended periods of time standing, walking and reaching. Applicants are required to have a valid driver's license, including a safe driving record and two or more years of driving experience.
  • Mail Processing Clerk: Mail processing involves operating automated mail process equipment or manually sorting mail. Mail processing clerks organize and move processed mail from one area to another.  These clearks are required to lift and transport heavy containers.
  • Mail Handler: Mail handlers move mail containers and equipment throughout postal facilities. Mail handlers also open and empty containers of mail. Mail handlers are required to handle containers weighing up to 70 pounds.
  • Sales, Services, and Distribution Associate: These retail associates work at local post offices and provide customer service to USPS customers.

What is on the Postal Exam?

There are 5 main postal exams offered by the USPS. Each postal exam is taken by candidates who are applying for different positions within the USPS. The content on the postal exam varies, but postal exam 474, 475, 476, and 477 all contain the same 3 sections: 

  • Work Scenarios – These questions will give you different scenarios and will see how you react to each different scenario.
  • Tell Us Your Story – These questions will go into your background and work experience.
  • Describe Your Approach – These questions will find out how you approach everyday tasks.

Some of these sections contain additional testing sections and the postal exam 955 is completely different from these other 4 exams. While there is no time limit, they do encourage you to work quickly, which may or may not improve your test scores. Read below for a breakdown of each postal exam. 

Post Office Jobs

If you are serious about getting a Post Office Job, try our recommended Postal Exam Prep Course

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Postal Exam 474

Please note that this exam is also referred to as the Virtual Entry Assessment MC 474.

 Section Questions  Time Limit (Recommended) 
 Work Scenarios  8  7 mins
 Tell Us Your Story  20  2 mins
 Describe Your Approach  56  6 mins

POSTAL EXAM 475

Please note that this exam is also referred to as the Virtual Entry Assessment MH 475.

 Section Questions  Time Limit (Recommended) 
 Work Scenarios 9  11 mins
 Tell Us Your Story  22  3 mins
 Describe Your Approach  79  8 mins
 Check for Errors  12  2 mins

POSTAL EXAM 476

Please note that this exam is also referred to as the Virtual Entry Assessment MP 476.

 Section Questions  Time Limit (Recommended) 
 Work Scenarios 9  11 mins
 Tell Us Your Story  22  3 mins
 Describe Your Approach  79  8 mins
 Check for Errors  12  2 mins

POSTAL EXAM 477

Please note that this exam is also referred to as the Virtual Entry Assessment CS 477.

 Section Questions  Time Limit (Recommended) 
 Work Scenarios 10  8 mins
 Tell Us Your Story  21  2 mins
 Describe Your Approach  56  6 mins
 Check for Errors  3  2 mins

POSTAL EXAM 955

Please note that this exam has replaced postal exams 931, 932, and 933. 

 Section Questions  Time Limit (Recommended) 
 Personal Characteristics & Experience Inventory 120  75 mins
 Multi-Craft  60  60 mins
 Spatial Reasoning  -  -

The personal characteristics and experience inventory portion of the exam is self-administered and is taken before the multi-craft and spatial reasoning portions of postal exam 955. Multi-craft and spatial reasoning are online electronic tests but must be taken at a testing site. The spatial reasoning portion of the exam has various questions on visualization problems.

Postal Exam 473

Please note that postal exam 473 has been discontinued by the USPS and has been replaced by postal exams 474, 475, 476, and 477.

 Test Topic  Description  Number of Questions  Time Limit
 Part A: Address Checking Decide whether two addresses are identical  60  11 mins 
 Part B: Forms Completion Determine how to correctly fill out forms  30  15 mins 
Part C: Coding  Assign the correct code to an address  36  7 mins 
Part C: Memory  Recall codes assigned to addresses  36  7 mins 
Part D: Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory  Job-related experiences and characteristics  236  90 mins 

Postal Exam Scores

The passing score for all postal exams is 70. Candidates who score below a 70 will be ineligible for the position at the USPS. Candidates will not be allowed to take the test for 12 months, so it is important to pass the exam the first time. 

The postal exams are unique because candidates are ranked based on their exam scores. Someone who scored an 80 will be higher up on the list versus someone who scored a 70. The candidate who scored an 80 might get an interview right away while the candidate who scored a 70 might have to wait a little longer. 

Postal Exam Test Dates

The postal exams are not scheduled on specific test dates.  Applicants schedule their own exams.

After you submit an application for a job with the post office, you will receive an assessment invitation e-mail.  Some jobs have a pre-determined maximum number of applicants.  If the job's limit has been reached, you will not be invited to take the USPS exam.  During the online application process, you will be given an onscreen notification whether you will receive an invitation to take the postal exam. You will have 72 hours to complete the exam. 

For mechanic and technician positions that require the postal exam 955, applicants will have to take and pass two exams.  The first USPS exam is an online assessment that will take a maximum of 75 minutes.

If you pass the online postal exam, you will then need to take an exam at an approved location.  This on-site exam will be proctored (i.e., monitored) by trained personnel.

Postal Exam Faqs

How do you prepare for the postal exam?

One of the best ways to prepare for the postal exam is by taking practice tests. Practice tests will help you get a gauge of where you are at and a feel for the material that will be on the test. Postal exam prep courses are also a great option to help you prepare.

What are the main postal exams?

The main postal exams are as follows:

1. Postal Exam 474
2. Postal Exam 475
3. Postal Exam 476
4. Postal Exam 477
5. Postal Exam 955

Which postal exam will I have to take?

The type of postal exam you take depends on which position you are applying for at the USPS. You can view a detailed breakdown of which test you will need to take here .

Last Updated: 9/25/2020

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