What Is the USPS Test Like?

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The United States Postal Service (USPS) employs over 600,000 workers, making it one of the country’s largest employers. If you’re considering a job with the USPS, one of the first steps in the hiring process is taking the USPS test, also known as the Virtual Entry Assessment. But what exactly is this test, and how can you prepare for it? This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to understand and succeed in the USPS test.


The USPS test, or the Virtual Entry Assessment, is a series of exams used by the United States Postal Service to screen candidates for various job positions. It includes exams 474, 475, 476, and 477, each tailored to specific roles such as mail carrier, mail handler, mail processor, and customer service positions. The test contains a mix of behavioral, personality, and competency-based questions and takes about 45 minutes to complete. A passing score is 70 out of 100, but aiming for a higher score is recommended due to the competitive nature of the hiring process.

Understanding the USPS Test

The USPS test is a series of exams used by the USPS to screen candidates for various positions within the organization. As of April 2019, the USPS has replaced the old Postal Exam 473 with four new exams: 474, 475, 476, and 477. Each exam is tailored to specific positions within the USPS:

  1. Postal Exam 474 (Virtual Entry Assessment MC) is for mail carrier positions.
  2. Postal Exam 475 (Virtual Entry Assessment MH) is for mail handler and mail handler assistant positions.
  3. Postal Exam 476 (Virtual Entry Assessment MP) is for mail processor positions.
  4. Postal Exam 477 (Virtual Entry Assessment CS) is for customer service positions.

These exams are designed to build a profile of the candidate based on their answers, measuring how well they match the theoretical ideal profile for the respective positions. The exams consist of various sections, including work scenarios and checking for errors, to assess the candidate’s skills and characteristics required for the job.

Types of Questions on the USPS Test

The USPS test includes a mix of behavioral, personality, and competency-based questions. For example, the 474 Postal Exam contains three sections: Work Scenarios, Tell Us Your Story, and Your Approach to Work. Candidates must answer a combination of scenario questions, personality assessment questions, and multiple-choice questions. The USPS test also includes sections like Check for Errors and Money Change.

USPS Test Structure and Scoring System

The USPS test takes about 45 minutes to complete. The scoring system for postal exams 474, 475, 476, and 477 has a highest possible score of 100, with a passing score of 70. However, due to the competitive nature of the hiring process, it is recommended to aim for a score as close to 100 as possible to increase your chances of getting the job.

Preparing for the USPS Test

To effectively prepare for the USPS test, follow these steps:

  1. Understand the test format: Familiarize yourself with the structure and types of questions on the USPS exam.
  2. Practice with sample questions: Use practice tests and sample questions.
  3. Use study guides: Consider purchasing a study guide or using online resources.
  4. Don’t rush: Take your time when completing the test.
  5. Be yourself: When answering personality questions, be honest and genuine.
  6. Prepare mentally and physically: Ensure you get a good night’s sleep, eat a substantial meal, and stay hydrated before taking the test.
  7. Research the USPS: Learn about the organization’s culture, values, and mission.
  8. Use postal exam study guides: These guides provide a comprehensive overview of the test.

Common Misconceptions and Mistakes

Some common misconceptions or mistakes people make when taking the USPS test include underestimating the difficulty of the exam, not using the right study materials, not paying attention to details, ignoring time constraints, focusing on the wrong sections, and not practicing enough.

By following these tips and consistently practicing with sample questions and study materials, you can increase your chances of performing well on the USPS test. Remember, passing the USPS test is just one step in the hiring process, and a candidate’s score determines their eligibility for the position. Therefore, the implications of the USPS test results include determining a candidate’s eligibility for a position, potentially leading to an interview, and ultimately affecting their chances of being hired.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the format of the USPS test?

The USPS test is a computer-based exam that consists of multiple sections, including work scenarios, personality assessment, and competency-based questions. Each section is designed to evaluate a candidate’s suitability for the specific USPS position they are applying for.

How long does it take to receive the results of the USPS test?

Candidates typically receive their USPS test results within 24 hours of completing the exam.

Can I retake the USPS test if I fail?

Yes, if you fail the USPS test, you can retake it. However, you must wait for a period of one year from the date of your initial examination.

Are there any fees associated with taking the USPS test?

No, there are no fees for taking the USPS test. The USPS covers all costs associated with the examination.

What happens after I pass the USPS test?

After passing the USPS test, your name will be added to the eligible list for the position you applied for. If you are among the highest scorers, you may be contacted for an interview.

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