Postal Battery Exam 473

The United States Postal Services has developed a new entrance exam called the Test 473 for Major Entry Level jobs. This new test is also referred to the 473 Battery Exam.

Mail room clerks, carrier, mail handlers, and postal distribution personnel must pass the 473 Postal exam. Your overall hiring potential is based on your test results on the Postal exam, your previous work experience and education. Those with related previous work experience will score naturally higher overall.

The 473 Battery Exam got its name from the fact that there are 473 questions on the Postal exam. The Postal exam covers the following:
  • Part A, covers your ability to check address. There are 60 questions and you have 11 minutes to determine if two address are identical to each other or not.
  • Part B, assesses your ability to complete forms. There are 30 questions and you have 15 minutes to complete missing information on forms presented in the exam.
  • Part C is made up of two parts. Section 1 of Part C has 36 questions and you have six minutes to assign the proper code to addresses based on the directions provided in the exam.

Section 2 of Part C of the postal exam is designed to test your memory skills. There are 36 questions and you got 7 minutes to answer the questions. You have to memorize assigned codes for addresses ranges.

The last part of the exam is Part D. There are 236 questions. Those taking the exam are given 90 minutes to answer questions that are designed to evaluate your experience and characteristics that are related to working as a postal worker.

Part D, will ask questions about yourself. Things you like to do and things you don’t like to do. They will ask questions to find out if you have experience in different areas of work. It’s a personal profile so the more honestly you answer the questions the better it will enable the U.S. Postal Service to find a job that fits your characteristics. This is one part of the exam that you cannot prepare for so concentrate on the other parts when you are studying.

Address Checking

The postal clerk exam is intended to underline your skills on the job if necessary. Address checking is obviously a huge component if you work for the postal service. There is a section devoted entirely to checking addresses in order to evaluate your attention to detail, and if you can work quickly.

When you are checking addresses, look for differences in street numbers, street names, abbreviated words like Dr. Rd. Ave. St. etc. City names and state abbreviations can throw you. NY looks similar to NV if the handwriting is unclear. Work as quickly as you can scanning the address from left to right. The smallest detail will make the difference if two addresses are identical or not. If you want to challenge your eye scanning skills, practice teaching yourself how to scan from right to left. The eye has a natural tendency to start from the upper left corner of any reading material first. But forcing yourself to scan an address from right to left will force your eye to move slower, thus better able to catch discrepancies.

Random guesses will not help your score so it is to your benefit to get through as many questions as possible and to give each your full attention.

Coding & Memory

Attention to detail is probably the single-most important skill for anyone testing for postal clerk jobs. The second most important skill for this career path is your memory. The coding and memory section of the postal clerk and carrier exam text your ability to remember your ability to focus.

72 coding and memory questions ask you to identify codings sections for details related to addresses and delivery routes. You are given a “coding guide” listing a series of address ranges on one side and delivery routes on the other. It will be your task to match the address range to the delivery route without using the coding guide after you’ve reviewed it.

The best tip for excelling at the coding & memory section is the same with the address checking section, to stay completely focused on the task at hand and pay close attention to the smallest details. Take the coding & memory sections of practice tests before your test date. At first, the coding guide will appear overwhelming. After reviewing a few of them, you will begin to see a pattern in that the guide is devised in a logical format so that addresses can be quickly associated with delivery routes.

A quick side note on memory. We all have a memory. We all have the ability to convert information to our short-term memory, our long-term memory and our remote memory. Short-term memory is where we store information temporarily. For example, if you are working as a temp you may have a badge number for a particular office, but once that assignment is complete, you probably forget all about that badge number.

Long-term memory is where we store information for the long haul. Family member names, important telephone numbers and passwords are usually stored here.

Remote memory is where we remember things on autopilot. For example, language is in our remote memory. Once we learn how to speak, we never forget.

Personal Characteristics & Experience Inventory

There is a section on the postal clerk exam called a Personal Characteristics and Experience inventory. This is the longest section on the exam and you can’t really prepare for it. In fact, you are encouraged not to. Let’s go over what your test reviewers are looking for in the PC & E section.

Your personality is a large part of this section. The questions aren’t intended to determine whether you are a good or bad person, rather, they are intended to reveal if your personality traits would bode well in the post office environment. For example, you will be asked to answer a series of agree/disagree questions that will shed light on your ability to work under pressure, and as a cooperative part of a team.

The Experience section is probing to find jobs that you have had previously that demonstrate similar aptitudes and skills for the post office job function. Jobs that might have required long hours standing, for example, would be important to mention. Did you have any jobs that required you to stand in one place for a long period of time, like a retail sales associate? Likewise, performing inventory in a retail environment might show that you can work very quickly while also paying attention to detail. Repetitious tasks in any previous job will be good opportunities to show that you are a good candidate for the post office.

Government Forms

There are 30 questions in the forms completion section on the postal clerk anc carrier exam.  Questions ask you to fill in fields on various forms. You don’t need to, nor should you even try, to memorize the government forms in advance of the exam in order to answer the forms questions successfully.  The process that you go through when you fill out medical forms are you local physician’s office are filled out the same way as the US Postal Service forms.

When you get a form, look at its title to determine exactly what that form is about.  Glance through the form quickly to see if there are sections you can skip if they do not apply. As you move down through the form fields, note questions that say something like ‘if you answered yes, proceed to question #8′.  Also, as you work down the fields, make sure you fill in the blank appropriately; for example do not write your city’s zip code in the home telephone number field.  Pretty self-explanatory tips.  This section really boils down to focus and taking your time to deliberately complete the form fields.

You’ll have fifteen minutes to answer the 30 questions in the Forms section on the exam.  Again, don’t worry about memorizing all the forms.  Undoubtedly there will be one you haven’t seen before.  If you stay focused on what the form is about, and exactly what detail the form field is looking for, you’ll score well.  In fact, in this section you are not penalized for incorrect answers. Rather, you are scored on the completion rate of your forms.  Be sure to fill in every answer!

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