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USPS Postal Exams (474 – 477) Online Preparation, Hiring Process & Tips – 2023

Solving Aptitude Tests

If you are considering applying for the USPS, you may be wondering how hard the assessments and hiring process are. In order to help you prepare, this article will describe USPS’s interview and hiring process, as well as share tips about how to pass the assessments and tests.


What Is USPS?

USPS stands for the United States Postal Service, an organization that is responsible for providing mail and package delivery services to the nation. USPS has employment opportunities for almost every job seeker, including:

  • Mail Carriers
  • Corporate Managers
  • Vehicle Mechanics
  • Industrial Engineers
  • Custodians

USPS also offers an extremely competitive benefits package. Future employees can anticipate regular salary increases, federal retirement plans, comprehensive medical insurance coverage, and more. USPS also provides their employees with 10 paid federal holidays as well as a generous amount of vacation and sick leave. Additionally, USPS distinguishes themselves from normal companies and organizations by offering above average job security.


What Is the USPS Hiring Process?

The USPS has an extensive and rigorous hiring process. The USPS will use this complex hiring process to identify the most talented individuals who possess the most potential. The USPS hiring process includes the following recruitment steps.


If you are ready to apply to USPS, the organization will first have you create an account on their website. Then, you will be able to search USPS’s website for job openings. USPS will post new jobs every five days and offers opportunities for veterans, students, and graduates. USPS expects their applicants to submit an organized resume that includes 7 years of quantitative work accomplishments and achievements.


After you submit your application, your resume will be reviewed by a team of experts. The USPS hiring panel will go over your application and resume to verify that you have ample work experience and qualifications. Make sure you include documented proof of any certificates or licenses. If you pass the screening step, you will receive an email by a vendor titled General Information Services. This organization will conduct any additional screenings, if required.

USPS Pre-Employment Assessments

Before you receive an interview, you will likely be asked to take an exam or assessment. USPS uses these assessments to gauge your knowledge and aptitude for the position you applied for. If you are selected to take these pre-employment assessments, you will receive an email from USPS that provides you with a link to the assessments. USPS’s online assessments are called Virtual Entry Assessments. They can be taken at home and must be completed within 72 hours. If you fail to complete them in time, you will no longer be considered for the position that you applied for.

Before starting the exam, you will be notified of the approximate time that it will take to complete the exam. There is no official time limit. The USPS’s exams can contain questions that are confusing or worded in a tricky way, so it is important to pay attention to the questions and ensure you are prepared ahead of time. The key to preparing for these types of psychometric assessments is by familiarizing yourself with the topic by using test preparation materials. You may be asked to take one or more of the following assessments:

  • Virtual Entry Assessment – MC (474)
    If you are applying for a mail carrier position in either the city or rural country, you will most likely have to take the USPS’s Virtual Entry Assessment MC (474). This test will be broken into three sections that will include a situational judgement test (also known as SJT), personality test, and a biodata questionnaire. For example, you may be provided with a situational-based question that describes an on-the-job scenario you would likely encounter. You would then be asked to choose a response that reflects the action you would most likely choose, and a response that reflects the action you would least likely choose.
  • Virtual Entry Assessment – MH (475)
    If you are applying for a mail handler or mail handler assistant position, you will likely be taking the Virtual Entry Assessment MH (475). This test will be broken into four sections that include a situational judgement test, personality test, information verification test, and a biodata questionnaire. An example of a question that you may be asked to answer could include comparing ID numbers. You may be asked to compare small details such as ID numbers to verify that the numbers are the same and to identify any applicable mistakes.
  • Virtual Entry Assessment- MP (476)
    The USPS uses the Virtual Entry Assessment-MP (476) to test a wide variety of roles, including data conversion operators and mail processing clerk positions. This assessment is almost identical to the Virtual Entry Assessment MH (475) and includes similar questions. You may be asked to answer a “How would you react?” situational question.
  • Virtual Entry Assessment – CS (477)
    The Virtual Entry Assessment – CS (477) is used to test applicants that are applying for sales service and distribution associate roles. Because these roles require the future employee to constantly interact with customers, the questions will be different than the previously mentioned assessments. This test will include a situational judgement test, cash register knowledge test, personality test, and a biodata questionnaire. You may be asked to answer a question that requires you to provide change to a customer in the smallest bills possible.

If you are applying for a position that does not require a Virtual Entry Assessment, you may still be asked to complete a different kind of exam. These exams could be proctored or non-proctored. If your exam is non-proctored, you will be able to take it online at home. If it is proctored, you will be required to schedule an appointment to take the test in person. USPS will send you an email with detailed instructions on the test scheduling process.

  • U.S. Postal Exam 955
    If you have applied for a mechanic or technician position, you will be asked to take the U.S. Postal Exam 955. This exam is proctored and must be taken at a designated testing facility. This test is designed to gauge the applicant’s mechanical knowledge. You will be asked job-specific questions that cover technical, mechanical, and electrical topics, among others. There will also be a section that covers spatial reasoning. In order to prepare for this exam, you will need to practice the test material constantly to allow yourself the best chances of passing.
  • U.S. Postal Exam 642
    The U.S. Postal Exam 642 is a test for candidates who applied for any supervisor positions. This is a non-proctored exam, so you will be able to take it online at home. However, this exam is timed and only allows you 90 minutes to complete it. The exam is divided into two sections that cover situational judgement scenarios and personal characteristics. You will have 60 minutes to complete 48 questions related to situational judgement, and you will have 30 minutes to complete 63 questions related to personal characteristics.


Interview and Job Offer

Once you’ve passed the USPS’s assessments, you may be invited to attend an interview. The pre-employment interview may be held by a single person or through a panel. The interviewers will expect you to be able to answer a variety of questions pertaining to your employment history, as well as situational-based questions about how you would handle certain scenarios. The interviewer may ask questions such as “Have you ever had a disagreement with a coworker? How was it handled?” or “If situation A happened, what would you do?”

After the completion of the interview, the interviewers will compare your results with the results from other candidates. If the hiring panel decides that you are a good fit, they may extend to you a job offer.


How to Prepare for Postal Exam?

The USPS’s recruiting process can be long and tricky. However, working for an organization such as USPS can be both beneficial and rewarding, making the complex recruiting process worthwhile. If you took USPS’s Virtual Entry Assessments prior to 2019, your scores are likely no longer valid and you will have to retake the tests. In order to prepare yourself for the USPS assessment, you need to learn as much about the assessments as you can.

USPS’s post office exams have a fairly low pass rate, which is why preparation and studying are extremely important. Online practice exams are vital for preparing for the actual assessments. These tests can provide you with sample questions that mirror questions you may see during the assessment. It is imperative that you take the practice exams as many times as you feel are necessary. You can also use the practice exams to gauge how long it will take you to complete them as well as which areas need additional practice. Try to choose practice exams that include answers with detailed explanations. These types of study guides will help you learn the best way to answer questions, and why certain questions need to be answered in a certain way.