Prepare for the USPS 477 ExamStart Preparing

A Study Guide for the USPS 477 Exam: With Practice Tips

A Study Guide for the USPS 477 Exam: With Practice Tips
A Study Guide for the USPS 477 Exam: With Practice Tips

If you are applying for a role with the United States Postal Service (USPS), you will usually be asked to complete at least one of four 477 Virtual Entry Assessments as part of the recruitment process.

These exams are used to evaluate various skills, aptitudes, personality traits and work preferences, which can show whether you have what it takes to be successful in the role in the future.

The USPS 477 Exam is sometimes referred to as the CS VEA, which relates to customer service.

It is usually used as part of the recruitment process for roles that are customer-facing, such as:

  • Sales Services and Distribution Associate
  • PSE Sales Service and Distribution Associate
  • Casual Sales Service and Distribution Associate

In this article, we will take a closer look at the USPS 477 Exam, focusing on what to expect in every section of the assessment and what to expect when you take the test.

We will also provide some hints and tips that you can use to help you get the highest USPS 477 exam score you are capable of so that you can get the USPS job that you are after.

What Is the Postal Exam?

There are many different roles available at USPS, from mail carriers and sorting and handling to corporate sectors like accounting, legal and HR.

For those who are managing the mail and delivering service directly to customers, the USPS 477 test is a necessary part of the recruitment process.

Alongside several other online assessments, the USPS 477 needs to be passed for many different roles.

Up until 2019, there was one online test taken by all applicants, and that was known as the USPS 473.

This assessment has been superseded by:

All roles at USPS are advertised on its eCareers site, and you will need to find the job that you want to apply for to get started.

The job search page is easy to navigate, and you can find roles based on usual search parameters like job title, keyword and location.

Once you have chosen a role that interests you, you’ll need to create a candidate profile.

This will be the hub of your application, where all the details you submit will be stored and where you will receive notifications about the status of your application.

You’ll need to fill out the application form thoroughly; this will be screened against the essential criteria to ensure that you match the basic requirements, which include being a US citizen or permanent resident, and being over the age of 18 (or age 16 with a high school diploma).

If you meet the criteria, you will be invited to take the USPS 477 test.

The test is an online assessment that you take at home and in your own time.

You will have 72 hours to complete the test, and you need to complete it in one sitting.

If you do not complete the assessment within 72 hours, your application will not be taken further.

The test can be taken on a computer, a laptop or even a tablet or smartphone. All you need is a quiet space to work in where you won’t be disturbed and a reliable internet connection.

The test is not timed, but it usually takes candidates about 45 minutes to complete.

The test is divided into seven sections, each focusing on a different aptitude, skill or part of your personality.

The sections are:

  • Work Situations
  • Work Your Register
  • Tell Us Your Story
  • Describe Your Approach
  • Help Your Customers
  • Verify Customer Information
  • What Drives You

You need to score at least 70% to pass this test, and a passing score will make you eligible for any relevant role that comes up at USPS in the future, so you can apply for multiple roles once you have your test results.

What Is on the USPS 477 Assessment?

When you start the USPS 477 Test, the first part you will be presented with is the realistic job preview.

This is all the information about the role you have applied for, including things like your daily tasks, what rewards you can expect and what challenges you might face.

This section does not have any questions in it and is not scored, but it does contain some details that you might want to bear in mind while you are completing the assessment.

You’ll know whether this is really the right role for you based on what you see here.

The actual test is divided into seven sections.

Three of these sections were added to the USPS 477 in 2021, and not all online guides have up-to-date details on the assessment. Therefore, it is important you pay attention to these when you are looking for guides and resources.

You don’t want to be studying for an outdated version of the assessment.

Work Situations

In this part of the assessment, which is like a situational judgment test, there are 22 questions.

Each question is a work-based scenario describing a situation that you might come across while at work for USPS.

After each situation, there are four potential courses of action that you could take to solve the problem.

You need to choose the best course of action to take and which one you think would be the worst course of action to take.

USPS staff have described these scenarios as relevant to their day-to-day work, so it is worth paying attention to them as they will give you a bit more insight into what the role is going to be like.

Work Your Register

There are just three questions in this section.

The questions here are evaluating your ability to use basic math to work out change for customers.

You’ll be using a cash register as part of your daily routine, and they want to know that you can give the right change quickly and effectively.

Each question will give you the total amount that the items a customer is buying costs and how much the customer has paid.

You will need to give the right change to the customer, choosing the combination that uses the fewest bills and coins.

Tell Us Your Story

This section is similar to a personality assessment and focuses on your work behavior by asking questions related to your professional background.

There are 39 questions in this assessment, and you’ll be asked to decide how much you agree with each statement or question based on the way you behaved at work and how you would deal with problems or issues.

Your answers to these questions need to be honest and match the details that you put in your application form.

So if you are asked about your teamwork skills and your application made mention of being good at working in a team, your answer to this question needs to show that too.

Describe Your Approach

Another personality test type of assessment, this one is about your personality traits on a more personal level. There are 139 questions in this part of the assessment.

Each question is essentially a statement about personality and behavior, and you need to decide how much you think the statement is like you.

Some of the statements will repeat. This isn’t an error; it is all about homing in on the personality traits that you demonstrate to make sure that you meet the requirements of the role.

Again, you need to answer honestly. Just bear in mind the type of person that they are looking for and the personality traits and work behaviors that are important in the role.

Help Your Customers

In this section, there are 14 questions, and you will need to demonstrate your problem-solving capabilities.

Many of these questions will be about you performing basic tasks, like completing a mathematical word problem or finding some specific information from written text.

You’ll have to take a logical approach to these questions to be able to answer them properly.

Verify Customer Information

In this section, there are 10 questions.

This is a section of the assessment that is all about your attention to detail and is most similar to an error checking test that you might come across in other recruitment processes.

You will be given some customer details, usually involving a change of address and name. You’ll be asked to confirm whether the four pieces of information from the table are correct.

What Drives You

There are 25 questions in this section, and they are designed to evaluate what motivates you at work.

Each question will consist of two statements, and you need to decide which one resonates with you most.

There are two different sources of motivation in the statements. For example, one motivation might be money, whereas the other might be helping people.

Again, this should be treated as a similar sort of assessment to a personality questionnaire and answered in the same way, bearing in mind the sort of person that USPS is looking for.

Postal Exam 477 Practice Test Questions

Practice tests are one of the most useful preparation tools you can use.

They not only help you feel more familiar with the testing environment, but they can also help you learn how to choose the best USPS 476 assessment answers.

However, they can also help you identify if there are any areas of skill or knowledge that you might need to work on to achieve that 70%+ score that you need to get the role you want.

Some example questions from the USPS assessment are below.

Work Scenarios

Example Question

‘A customer approaches you at the desk, and they want to send something to a relative who lives in another country. They have not filled out the forms correctly and are not open about what they are sending, they just want to get it sent as soon as possible’.

What is the best way to deal with this problem? What is the worst way to deal with this problem?

a) Put it through anyway; it’s probably not anything dangerous as it is for a relative
b) Ask your manager to deal with the customer before they start getting angry
c) Explain to the customer that there are regulations about what can and can’t be sent abroad, so they need to tell you what they have put in
d) Refuse to serve the customer

USPS 477 Exam: Practice Tips and Study Guide
USPS 477 Exam: Practice Tips and Study Guide

If you need to prepare for a number of different employment tests and want to outsmart the competition, choose a Premium Membership from JobTestPrep.

You will get access to three PrepPacks of your choice, from a database that covers all the major test providers and employers and tailored profession packs.

Describe Your Approach

Example Question

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement:

'I like to think about abstract concepts.'

a) Agree strongly
b) Somewhat agree
c) Somewhat disagree
d) Disagree strongly

Verify Customer Information

Example Question

Here is a customer information card detailing the customer’s name, old address and new address. Check if the information is correct or not.

a) Last name: Smith – Correct / Incorrect
b) Old city: Bruce Park – Correct / Incorrect
c) New zip: 60100 – Correct / Incorrect

How to Prepare for the Postal Exam 477

Step 1. Use the Correct Postal Exam 477 Study Guide

If you applied for a role with the USPS before 2019, you would have taken the USPS 473 exam.

Unfortunately, some online guides still refer to this exam when providing guidance to job seekers who are looking for employment with USPS which means the information they are providing is very out of date.

In fact, even some guides for the USPS 477 are now out of date, as more question types were added in 2021.

The old USPS 473 exam was more focused on so-called ‘hard skills’ related to the job of working in the mail service, such as matching addresses and creating route designations.

While these are still relevant for parts of the mail-carrying role, they are not geared toward other roles.

The split from one overarching test into four main USPS VEAs has meant that specific knowledge, skills, and abilities are evaluated based on what a candidate needs to demonstrate to be successful in the role in the future.

When looking at preparation materials, make sure that you are using the most up-to-date information, like the resources at JobTestPrep or here.

Step 2. Create a Study Schedule for USPS 477 Exam

Whether you are new to pre-employment testing or it has been a while since you have faced an exam, you’ll need to spend some time preparing.

Take your revision seriously if you want to get the best score possible, and create a study schedule to ensure that you give enough time to get your head around the different elements of the USPS 477 Exam.

Give yourself as much time as you can to revise, especially as you’ll want to still be able to do other important things like working and spending time with your friends and family while you are preparing.

Step 3. Practice Mock Exams a Few Times

A practice or mock test is one of the most important things that you can do.

Practice tests will give you much-needed exposure to the assessment structure and how you need to answer the questions, which will help you feel more comfortable and confident when you get to the real thing.

They will also help you figure out what the content of the assessment will be, and that will help you choose what you need to revise in your study schedule.

Start your revision process with a practice test and use the results to plan out the rest of your schedule so that you are focusing on the right elements.

You can come back to practice tests throughout the preparation process as well. This will help you check your development (you should see an improvement in your score for each one that you take).

Step 4. Cover One Test Area at a Time

Although when you take the USPS 477 Exam as part of the recruitment process, you will be expected to answer all the questions from all the sections at the same time, for the most effective and efficient revision, you want to focus on one test area at a time.

With a focus like this, you will be able to produce the right strategies for you, the ones that you can fall back on to help you answer the questions correctly, and you won’t have to try and cram too much knowledge in one session.

Step 5. Emphasize the Arears You Have Difficulties With

It is perfectly normal to have specific areas in the test that you find more challenging and areas that you find easier.

This is something that you will need to work on if you want to get above that 70% benchmark, though.

You don’t want the harder questions to take your score down.

Make a note of the questions you get wrong in your initial practice test. These will form the basis of your study schedule and will be the areas that you should really concentrate on for improvement.

This doesn’t mean that you should just ignore the sections that you find easier, though. You need to have a good, broad and deep understanding of every type of question before you take the test for the best results.

Step 6. Review Your Resume and Job Application

A really great point to remember is that when it comes to personality-style questions, you want to match the answers to the content of your application form and resume.

We all want to score that perfect job, and while it might be tempting to beef up your application with half-truths, the personality questionnaire will always bring out the truth about who you are, how you behave at work, and what motivates you.

Honesty is the best policy, and you want to ensure that you know your resume and application form inside out so that you can match it with the answers that you are given.

Frequently Asked Questions

The USPS 477 assessment is an online pre-employment test that is used for customer service positions.

This test is taken as a part of the recruitment process, and you need to pass it to be considered for a customer-facing position within USPS.

The 477 postal exam can be challenging, especially if you haven’t prepared or revised for it.

The content of the test covers many different aptitudes and abilities, and this can be confusing if you have not followed a revision guide to understand more about what you are facing.

You can prepare for the postal exam 477 here at PRT or using the extensive resources at JobTestPrep.

The more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you will be, and that means you should be able to perform better.

The highest possible score on the USPS 477 Exam is 100, and the passing mark is 70 (or 70%).

The purpose of the postal exam 477 is to evaluate prospective candidates on the abilities and personality traits that would make them better at dealing with the public as a customer service representative.

If you fail the postal exam 477, your application will not be taken further. However, you can retake the assessment after 12 months, which (if you pass) will make you eligible for any role that needs that exam across the USPS network.

You can find sample questions for the postal exam 477, also known as the USPS 477 CS VEA, at JobTestPrep.

There are other resources available there, including an in-depth guide, full-length practice tests and helpful hints.

If you fail the USPS 477 test, you can retake it after 12 months.

If you want to get a better score on the USPS 477 test, you have to wait at least 24 months.

The USPS 477 is scored according to both the number of right answers and the length of time that you take to answer them.

This means that to get the highest score possible, you need to work quickly and accurately throughout the assessment.

The USPS 477 postal exam is not timed, but candidates usually finish it in around 45 minutes.

Your results for the USPS 477 exam will be posted on your candidate profile. In some cases, you will only see if you have passed or failed.

The score is used to rank you against other candidates, and the top-scoring applicants will be the ones who are approached first about any open positions.

You can get a complete guide for the USPS 477 exam here on PRT, or you can go to JobTestPrep, where you will find all the resources you need to prepare for the exam, including sample questions, full-length practice tests and other helpful information to help you achieve your career goals.

Final Thoughts

USPS offers employees a stable work environment alongside a great employment package and lots of development opportunities, which means that the application process is competitive.

To give yourself the best chance of getting an employment opportunity, you need to prepare.

That means understanding what the test is like, taking practice tests and making sure that you are being your best, authentic self throughout the assessment.

If you can demonstrate that you match the requirements of the role and get more than 70% on the USPS 477 test, you can show that you are the right person for the role.

Read This Next

You might also be interested in these other PRT articles:

footer items

Practice Reasoning Tests 2015 - 2023.  Privacy Policy