Page updated 10/3/2016
Carrier, clerk, mail handlers, and distribution associates are required to take and pass the 473 Postal Exam. Other applicants including motor vehicle operators, mechanic, clerical, electronic technician, machinist, and trades must also pass a written test. Your rating is based on the test results, your education, and qualifying work experience. Other occupations, such as corporate and professionals, don't require a written exam and are evaluate under the Postal Service’s Rated-Application Examinations process. They are rated and hired on their prior work experience and education listed on their application and how well they do on the interview.
All tests, including the 473 and 473-C/E exams, are scheduled when you apply online. When you apply you will be asked to register, complete an application, and take an initial online unproctored exam. Many occupations also require you to take a proctored exam at a testing facility in your area. The Postal Service will schedule you for the exam, and you have 14 days to complete your application, assessment, and exams from the date you apply.
Examinations cover the majority of entry level hiring although some offices also maintain custodial registers which, by law, are reserved for veteran preference eligibles. The postal service no longer uses the 460 Battery Examination for rural mail carrier positions, rural carriers now must take the 473 exam. The USPS also administers exams for motor vehicle and tractor trailer operators and some highly skilled maintenance positions such as building equipment mechanic, engineman, electronics technician, and general mechanic. All skilled maintenance positions require examination 931. A separate announcement, examination number 932, is required for electronics technician positions.
The 473 Major Entry Level Jobs Exam may also be referred to as the 473 Battery Exam. The main difference between the 473 and 473-C/E exam is the target audience. The 473-C exam is used when the Postal Service is recruiting large numbers of City Letter Carriers, and the 473 and 473 E exam is used to cover all the other job categories listed below . All of these exams are essentially the same.
NOTE: You don't have to retake the exam for other positions after passing the test with a 70% score or higher. Your examination result is valid through the expiration date shown on your Notice of Result. If you are an applicant, your results will be maintained in your eCareer Candidate Profile and will be automatically included with your application if you apply for other USPS vacancies requiring this exam. If you are an employee, your test result may be valid for longer, based on your situation and in accordance with Postal policy. CAUTION: Write down your eCareer user name and password so that you will be able to use the test results for other positions. Many forget to write down this information and have a difficult time contacting the USPS to recover their user name and password.
Ability and skills tests (performance tests) are designed to predict future success, both in job training and job performance. The Postal Service uses these tests to obtain an indication of your potential to learn and perform particular job responsibilities. Skills tests measure specifically what you know about and can perform in a particular job—they test your mastery of tasks. The Postal Service administers skills tests when it is interested in filling a position with an applicant who knows the basics of the job and can perform job tasks as soon as he or she starts. Some performance tests are: the road test for operators of postal vehicles, the typing test, and the test of strength and stamina for mail handlers.
The Postal Service uses entrance exam titled Test 473 for Major Entry-Level Jobs. This exam is also called the 473 Battery Exam and it replaced the 470 Battery Exam and covers:
|Test Unit||Number of Questions||Time Allowed||Covered Subjects|
|60||11 minutes||Determine if two addresses are identical|
|30||15 minutes||information identification for completing forms correctly|
Section 1 - Coding
|36||6 minutes||Use the proper code to assign to addresses|
Section 2 - Memory
|36||7 minutes||Memorize assigned codes for addresses ranges|
|Part D Inventory of Personal Experience and Characteristics||236||90 minutes||Experience and characteristics which are job-related|
Use the full length 473 practice exams in the book Post Office Jobs and the sample exam questions available on this site to prepare for the forms checking, address checking, memory and coding Parts A, B, and C of the new exam. Part D is related to your personal work experience and unique characteristics. For example, in Part D, you will be asked your likes and dislikes, whether you have experience in certain areas. You really can't prepare for this section, it's your personal profile and if you answer the questions honestly the Postal Service will be able to identify the job that is best suited to your characteristics.
Part D of the 473 exam is taken online when you first apply. All who pass the exam with a 70 or better score are added to the register and ranked with all others who passed the exam for the job vacancy. Exam results can be used to apply for other jobs for a specific time period as noted on your notification of results.
A full length sample 473 practice exam is in the book Post Office Jobs. To locate jobs on the Postal Service's web site follow the guide that we developed on this site to help you navigate their application process.
Direct links to the Postal Service's online exam schedules and jobs hotline phone number is available on our RESOURCES page.
The 473 Battery Examination covers the majority of entry level hiring although some offices also maintain custodial registers, which by law, are reserved for veteran preference eligibles. The USPS also tests for motor vehicle and tractor trailer registers and some highly skilled maintenance positions such as Building Equipment Mechanic, Engineman, Electronics Technician, and General Mechanic. All of the skilled maintenance positions require examination 931. A separate announcement, examination number 932, is required for Electronics Technician positions.
Comprehensive sample 473 practice exams with answer keys are included in Post Office Jobs.
It’s often helpful to study with a partner, someone to read the question and check your responses. It can be a fellow worker, a spouse, or just a good friend. Try various study routines until you hit a combination that works. Try studying in 20 to 30-minute sessions, with 5-minute breaks in between, or stretch it out to hour intervals. A good study routine will improve your test scores.
The following strategies will help you improve your grades. Use these strategies on the practice tests in this book and when you take your actual Postal Service exam. If you practice these techniques now, when you take the postal exam they will become second nature.