October 25, 2020

Trying to get a job at the US Postal Service? Learn how to pass USPS exams

From the California Business Journal Newswires.

Have you ever taken and passed the 473 USPS Exam before but decided not to go through with your application due to some reason like getting a better opportunity somewhere or because of some emergency or situation that prevented you from taking this career choice?

Perhaps you haven’t yet but decided that preparing for it as much as you can while working part time as you couldn’t find the time to take the USPS exam.

In either case, however, it is sad to say that you will no longer be able to take that particular USPS test because the company had, as of April 2019, phased out that assessment in favor of an updated and more customer and service-centric curriculum so that it can be more scrutinous in knowing just how compatible the applicants are in becoming a USPS employee.

This means that the scores of those who took the USPS postal exam previously are no longer valid or will no longer be honored in the hiring process even if you managed to get a perfect score or was considered as a prime candidate back then.

Fortunately, however, like nearly every pre-employment test in the world, the new USPS exams can be practiced and prepared for.

Let’s take a look at a number of tips that can help every aspiring applicant not only ace the test but show to the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the job!

Be wary of inconsistencies in your application

One of the major reasons why applicants are turned away by the USPS despite them being capable or competent, if not the best choice for the job, is because they somehow flubbed the ‘Tell Us Your Story’ section of the USPS Exam.

This portion of the pre-employment test contains questions that are designed to check if you will divulge information about your employment history truthfully and accurately, meaning you will be asked about how many years you have been with your previous employer, what is the nature of your separation with them, how many absences did you have, among others.

While some questions have some leeway like those asking how much on average are you willing to do overtime or how much did you go AWOL per year, when it comes to questions that require a definite answer, you must answer them as honestly as possible to the best of your abilities.

This is because doing otherwise will be misconstrued as you purposefully lying to them even if it wasn’t intentional or you just weren’t sure of the exact date or number of times something happened in your previous job.

Read up on the duties and responsibilities of the position that you are applying for

What makes the USPS Postal Exam 474, 475, 476, and 477 different from the 473 postal exam is the fact that they put emphasis on ‘personality compatibility’ for the role that every candidate is applying for.

This means that if they want to be a mail handler, they must prove that they have the mental and behavioral capability of being one, this goes the same for sales associates, mail carriers, processors, and clerks.

So if you want to be seen as the prime candidate for the mail handler job, you must show that your personality profile matches that of the one that the USPS has in mind.

While it is impossible to know just which are the ‘correct’ answers since this portion of the USPS exams since they follow a personality test-type format, each position is still coded to match its duties and responsibilities.

So if you want to be a mail handler, you must show that you are hard working, are not averted to doing physical/menial labor, and are willing to put in some effort when required.

For clerks, sales associates, and processors, an emphasis will be put on how well you interact with other people as you are expected to talk to people regularly on a daily basis, so watching out for statements that exude good communication, socialization, and conflict management skills among others.

To get a better idea of what they want, you should check and study the job listing as well as the job description on their website as the USPS typically reveal what they want in a candidate for each position in terms of behavior depending on what duties they listed.

Furthermore, you will also encounter the “Work Scenarios” section, which is present in all USPS exams.

It comes in the form of a Situational Judgement Test where you have to resolve a problem that is regularly encountered by a USPS employee or a situation where you have to highlight how good your interpersonal skills are and if they are compatible with the USPS.

Prepare for the three exam’s ability test

For each 2020 USPS postal exam except the 474 assessment, an ‘ability test’ of sorts will be included.

For the 475 and 476 USPS Exams, you will have to take the ‘Checking for Errors’ test where you will be given groups of numbers and you will have to confirm whether or not they are a match or mismatch. 

These can be challenging to some because each group contains 8 digits each, meaning it is very likely for those who don’t have good observational skills or just have bad eyesight to mistake a pair to be a match when in reality they have a single wrong digit in the middle of one of them.

For the 477 USPS exam on the other hand, you will have to take the ‘Work Your Register’ test. 

Here, your ability to man the cash register is measured. It does this by supplying you with an amount that is to be considered to be the ‘change’ that you have to give to a customer and you have to give them the least amount of bills and coins.

This means that if they have a change of $5.50, you must give them one five-dollar bill and one fifty-cent coin instead of five one-dollar bills and fifty pennies.

Written by

Rick Weinberg is Editor-in-Chief at California Business Journal. He is a well-known journalist, writer, reporter and on-air talent who has worked for the New York Times, FOX and ESPN. He launched California Business Journal to focus on California businesses and business professionals as well as California business news and information. Contact: Rick@CalBizJournal.com / 949-648-3815