Being one of the largest mail carrying services in the country, the U.S Postal Service (USPS) requires that all applicants for US postal jobs undergo a series of tests. For those interested in joining the sales and distribution department or applying for the position of a city carrier, mail processing clerk or a mail handler, the USPS offers the 473 E exam.

What is the Postal Exam 473 E?

The Postal Exam 473 E is an electronic exam that a majority of the applicants have to undergo before they can get a job at the USPS. It was specially developed to replace 5 traditional tests, namely exams No. 460, 470, 473, 473C and the 710. Since it is making up for 5 tests, it is a notoriously tough exam and has a passing rate of only 10% to 20%.

The Contents of the Postal Exam 473 E

The Postal Exam 473 E has to be attempted online. However, it is completely timed and is divided into the following four sections:

Section 1 – Personal Characteristics and Experience (90 Minutes)

In the first section of the postal exam, applicants have to answer a total of 236 questions based on self assessment of the applicant. This section is used to gauge the eligibility of the applicants. All answers are screened and compared to their set requirements as well as the company’s idea of the qualities that a perfect employee must possess.

Section 2 – Address Checking (11 Minutes)

This section requires applicants to examine a list of addresses along with their ZIP codes that must be compared. Any errors have to be marked out. Applicants have to check and see if there are any errors, errors only in the address, errors only in the ZIP code or errors in both areas. There are a total of 60 questions.

Section 3 – USPS Form Completion Information (15 Minutes)

In this section, applicants have to view different postal forms and are asked regarding how they should be filled in. There are a total of 30 questions. For those who have seen postal forms before, this is a relatively easy task. Those who haven’t worked with postal forms have often complained about the notoriously ambiguous language of the forms.

Section 4 – Coding and Memory (13 Minutes)

The coding and memory section is further divided into a coding section where one must answer a total of 36 questions within 6 minutes. Applicants are given a chart with delivery routes the ranges of various addresses that fit into these. They have to match the codes with the correct address and the delivery route.

In the memory test of this section, applicants have to answer a total of 36 questions within 7 minutes. The questions are similar to the ones asked in the coding section with the major difference lying in the fact that one cannot use the chart anymore. They have to answer everything from memory. This happens to be the bane of all applicants and the reason why so many people fail.