USPS Postal Exam 475 (Examples, Guide, Tips)

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is the second biggest employer in the US and offers great job security, so many people consider a career there.

Depending on the job you are applying for, there are several different assessments, as USPS roles are sought after. 

The USPS Postal Exam 475 is specifically designed for people who are applying to be a Mail Handler, Mail Handler Assistant or Casual Mail Handler.

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What Is the USPS Postal Exam 475?

USPS introduced the 475 exam for those applying for Mail Handler positions in April of 2019, when it retired the previous 473 exam. 

In October of 2021, it added two new sections, so when you are looking up information about the 475, make sure you are getting the latest details.

This test is designed to check your thought processes and cognitive abilities, rather than just intelligence. 

It wants to see if you suit the role of mail handler.

Once you begin your online application, you only have 72 hours (three days) to complete the 475 assessment.

This 475 exam is self-administered and non-proctored – which means there is no one watching or invigilating.

It’s taken through the USPS online portal and takes 45 minutes. 

If it times out, you do not get a chance to resit for another year, so be sure that you have a proper internet connection. The best way to take it is on a tablet or computer, rather than on your phone.

The 4 Sections of the Assessment 475

It’s important to get familiar with the different sections of the assessment and the skills it is testing for.

The USPS tests are designed to be unusual – so practicing and getting familiar will help your confidence.

There is no set time for each section, so when you are preparing, take note of which parts are harder for you and bear that in mind when dividing your attention on the actual test.

Work Scenarios 

The first section of the Assessment 475 is ‘Work Scenarios’ and contains nine questions. 

It tests your knowledge of the United States Postal Service and your skill in knowing what both customers and the company is looking for, as well as your general common sense.

Example Question for Work Scenarios Section

Please tick the answer that you think is the best action to take, and put a cross next to the answer you feel is the least best.

When you are at the sortation center, you see that a co-worker is struggling to move parcels to the delivery area. You ask him what’s going on, and he says he lifted something incorrectly a while ago and now his back is giving him pain.

What should you do?

a) Send him to the clinic so that his back can be checked.
b) Give him a refresher of the heavy lifting protocol before offering to help.
c) Ask him to rest.
d) Tell him to speak to a supervisor while you take the job on for him.

The best answer is: d) 

In this case, there is the health of your coworker to consider, but also you must have a task focus. 

Option d) is ensuring the work gets done without a delay, while c) (the least best action) might cause logistical issues for parcel deliveries.

Tell Us Your Story

The second section is called ‘Tell Us Your Story’ and has 22 questions. You might think this part sounds easy or straightforward from the title, but you still need to prepare.

Even though you’re being asked about your work history, you must bear in mind the questions are testing your suitability for a possible mail-handling role.

Ideally, the USPS wants to see your transferable skills, so make sure that what you write here ties in with what you say you can do on your resume. Also, make sure you are consistent.

Example Question for Tell Us Your Story Section

  • How many sick days did you take in your last job?

This question is designed to test your honesty and your memory, as they are likely to get this information from your previous employer anyway. They might also have a concern regarding any long-term illnesses you may have, so aim to be as transparent as possible.

Bear in mind that the average amount of paid sick leave offered in the US by employers is only between three and five days per annum. If your number is much higher, then an extenuating circumstances explanation might be expected.

Your Approach

The third part is ‘Your Approach’ and has the most questions – 79. This section is designed to investigate your personality and how suitable you might be for a role with the Post Office. 

You should answer truthfully — but make sure you are a right fit with the ethos and values of the USPS, otherwise you might be wasting your time and the organization’s.

Example Question for Your Approach Section

Look at the following statements and pick the options that best describe you for each statement.

1) I really enjoy working to deadlines.
2) I dislike the stress of working to deadlines.

Sentence 1:

a) Strongly agree
b) Moderately agree
c) Slightly agree
d) Do not agree at all

Sentence 2:

a) Strongly agree
b) Moderately agree
c) Slightly agree
d) Do not agree at all

The best answers are: a) for sentence 1 and d) for sentence 2. 

With regards to Sentence 1, the right answer is likely to be ‘Strongly agree’. For Sentence 2, the opposite would be the case – ‘Do not agree at all’ would probably be what USPS is looking for here.

In the role of Mail Handler, the ability to handle deadlines and the stress of these is very important to the job.

Check For Errors 

The final section is ‘Check For Errors’ and contains 12 questions to check your concentration and attention to detail. 

In this one, you compare eight-digit numbers to see if they are alike or different. Again, practice will help build your speed and accuracy.

Example Question for Check for Errors Section

Compare the zips below. Identify which rows (if any) are not matching.

a) Envelope Zip 53280273 – Computer Zip 53280273
b) Envelope Zip 96380268 – Computer Zip 96380264
c) Envelope Zip 96312273 – Computer Zip 96322273
d) Envelope Zip 45280273 – Computer Zip 45280273

The correct answers are: b) and c), as for both of them, there are different digits in the Computer Zip code compared to the Envelope Zip code.

What Is the Passing Score for 475?

The passing score for the 475 exam is 70. It is scored out of 100. 

The higher your score the better, though, as there are only limited vacancies at any time. This means if you score 70, you might still not get an offer. 

For the best chances, aim to practice online with free and paid sample tests and get as strong a score as possible.

To be sure you pass, read each question a few times, make sure you understand it and then answer carefully, picking the choice that suits what you think USPS is looking for. 

For example, if a question is about customer service, you can be sure that it would want you to pick the option that is the most helpful and detailed for the consumer. Learning about its corporate culture will help you with this.

What Happens if You Fail the 475 Exam?

The Postal Service gets a lot of applicants – therefore, you want to make sure you pass with a high score so that your application is more competitive and stands out. 

It is designed to be a hard test, and it’s worth bearing in mind that USPS says 80% to 90% of people taking it will fail.

Once you have finished the test, you will have access to the correct answers immediately. 

It’s sensible to pay attention to these if you find that you did not pass. If you fail the 475 assessment, you have to wait a year to take the exam again. 

This means it’s really important to prepare well and do practice tests so that you get a good score the first time you apply.

Even passing the exam doesn’t guarantee you a job, as there are other stages of the process. 

So if you do pass (getting above 70), you must try and get as high a score as possible, because if you don’t get an offer after passing, you must then wait two years before you can apply again.

Get practice tests from JobTestPrep

 

How to Prepare for the USPS Assessment

In Advance Of Applying

Before you even consider applying for a role with USPS, make sure you understand who the company is and what is important to it. 

If it’s not a good fit with your values and way of living, then you will be spending energy needlessly during the application. Pay particular attention to the job description so that you’re fully aware of what is required.

You only have 72 hours (three days) to complete the 475 exam, so make sure you have researched and practiced sample questions well before you actually start the real application process. 

Even if you have already started the process, make sure you take the test towards the end of your 72 hour window, so you have extra time to prepare.

As well as checking for sample questions and answering as many as you can find, it’s a good idea to revise your resume and familiarize yourself again with dates and names. 

They are likely to cross-reference your answers from section two of the assessment with your resume to make sure it all adds up.

After Starting the Application

Practical tips also include being hydrated and well-rested as you go through the process. For some people, deep breathing techniques can help calm their nerves and make sure they are not rushing needlessly or making mistakes.

As you get to take this assessment in your own space at home, make sure you prepare to limit distractions. 

Find a dedicated place to study and practice that is quiet so that when you take the actual test in the same place you feel familiar with it. Making sure you have no disturbances or people around is crucial.

Bear in mind that many applicants fail this 475 test, so try not to be too hard on yourself as you go through it. 

If you feel yourself begin to panic, then it will only go downhill from there. Take a deep, calming breath and try to stay focused during the 45 minutes. They will go quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the USPS Postal Exam 475?

The USPS Postal Exam 475 is designed for those who are applying to become a Mail Handler, a Mail Handler Assistant or a Casual Mail Handler. This test is designed to check thought processes and cognitive abilities, rather than just intelligence.

USPS wants to see if applicants suit the role of mail handler, so it requests you do this computer-based examination that lasts 45 minutes. 

It is scored out of 100, and the passing mark is 70. It is designed to be a hard test, and it’s worth bearing in mind that USPS says 80 to 90% of people taking it will fail – so preparation is crucial.

Is 89 a good score for the 475 postal exam?

70 is a passing score for the USPS Postal Exam 475. The Postal Service gets a lot of applicants, and you want to make sure you pass with a high score so that your application is more competitive and stands out. The higher your score, the better, as there are only limited vacancies.

This means if you score just 70 out of the available 100, you might still not get an offer as there are other hurdles in the application process too. 

For the best chances, aim to practice online with free and paid sample tests and get as strong a score as possible.

What topics are covered in the USPS Postal Exam 475?

There are four sections in the 475 assessment and all must be completed in 45 minutes, so you need to work fast. 

The first section is ‘Work Scenarios’ and contains nine questions that assess your decision-making. 

The second section is called ‘Tell Us Your Story’ and has 22 questions – it might seem easy or straightforward from the title, but you still need to prepare. 

The third part is ‘Your Approach’ and has the most questions – 79 of them. 

The final section is ‘Check For Errors’ and contains 12 questions to check your concentration and attention to detail. In this one, you compare eight-digit numbers to see if they are alike or different. Practicing all of them will help build your confidence, speed and accuracy.

How hard is it to pass the USPS Postal Exam 475?

The Postal Exam 475 is designed to be a hard test, and it’s worth bearing in mind that USPS says 80 to 90% of people taking it will fail. 

You must score above 70 out of a possible 100 to pass. If you fail the 475 assessment, you have to wait to take the exam again after a year. This means it’s really important to prepare well so that you get a good score the first time you apply.

Even passing the exam doesn’t guarantee you a job, as there are other stages of the process. So if you pass, you must try and get as high a score as possible, because if you don’t get an offer after passing, you must then wait two years before you can apply again.

What is on the USPS Postal Exam 475?

There are four sections in the 475 assessment and all are scored differently. The first section is ‘Work Scenarios’ and contains nine questions that assess your decision-making. The second section is called ‘Tell Us Your Story’ and has twenty-two questions – it might seem easy or straightforward from the title but you still need to prepare.

The third part is ‘Your Approach’ and has the most questions – seventy-nine of them. The final section is ‘Check For Errors’ and contains twelve questions to check your concentration and attention to detail. In this one you compare eight-digit numbers to see if they are alike or different. Practicing all of them will help build your confidence, speed and accuracy.

How many times can I take the USPS Postal Exam 475?

You can take the 475 postal exam multiple times, but you cannot retake it immediately. If you fail, you have to wait a whole year to take the exam again. This means it’s really important to prepare well so that you get a good score the first time you apply.

Even passing the exam doesn’t guarantee you a job, as there are other stages of the process. 

So if you pass with a score above 70, you must try and impress at all the other hurdles, because if you don’t get an offer after passing the exam, you must then wait two years before you can apply again.

What is the next step after you pass the 475 Postal Exam?

After making the online application and then prepping for and passing the 475 exam, you will still need to pass multiple other pre-hire stages. 

These parts include completing more paperwork, getting a medical and passing a drug screening assessment. There will also be a criminal background check, and you must have a safe driving record if relevant to your role.

You must also impress USPS when you attend your interview. There are many ways to stand out, and you can practice doing mock interviews. 

It is worth learning about interview questions, as well as other ways to prepare for confident in-person meetings.

What are the requirements to be eligible to take the USPS Postal Exam 475?

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of employment. Alternatively they can have a high school diploma and be 16 years of age. 

To apply, you must also be a US citizen or a permanent resident (you can also be a citizen of another territory of the US). 

In terms of practicalities, you must also be able to take the online exam, so you would need access to computing services.

Applicants need to provide their recent employment history, as well as pass a medical assessment, criminal background check and drug screening. 

Depending on the specific role, they must also have a safe driving record, where relevant.

Is there a deadline for completing the USPS Postal Exam 475?

Once you begin your online application, you only have 72 hours (three days) to complete the 475 assessment. This 475 exam is self-administered and non-proctored – which means there is no one watching or invigilating. It’s taken through the USPS online portal and takes 45 minutes.

If it times out, you do not get a chance to resit for another year, so be sure that you have a proper internet connection. 

The best way to take it is on a tablet or computer, rather than on your phone. Even if you have already started the process, make sure you take the test towards the end of the 72-hour window so you have extra time to prepare.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the more you prepare and practice for the 475 exam, the better placed you will be to pass with a high score so that your final application looks strong. 

You want to make sure you don’t have to wait a year – or two – to retake, so plan and take the application prep seriously before you submit anything. 

This will also help build your confidence, so you can feel good about sitting down to actually take the test.

Remember to be thoughtful in answering the assessment questions, and be sure that you are considering your personality, as well as the ethos of USPS, so that you end up putting yourself forward as a great fit.

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