Applying for a job in the United States Postal Service can seem like a lot, especially if you’re a novice in applying for employment. But it’s really not as difficult as it seems. You just need to pass the USPS exam, which is a virtual entry assessment. Unfortunately, this is where so many people fall off because they don’t know what to expect in the exam. There’s no need to worry about the exam, not when we’re here to help. This guide contains everything you should know about the exams, including tips to help you prepare better for the exam. But before talking about these tips, let’s first understand what the exam is and what you should expect from it.
What is on the US Postal Service Exam?
To get a job with the post office, you’ll need to pass a postal exam. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a couple of different postal exams. The last thing you’ll want to do is to underrate this exam. Although it’s not as hard as most people think it to be, it still requires adequate preparation. One of the first preparatory steps you’ll take is to know what exactly is in the exam. Like many other virtual assessments, this one is registered for and administered online. But there’s more to it.
Let’s start by explaining that the exam, which was once a single test, was split into four new tests in 2019:
- Postal exam 474
- Postal exam 475
- Postal exam 476
- Postal exam 477
Applicants are usually assigned one out of these four tests after they begin applying.
For each of these tests, there are three sections included:
- Work scenarios: this section contains 8-10 questions asking how you’d respond to scenarios that you may experience on the job.
- Tell us your story: this section contains 20-22 questions about your experience and work history. The questions can come from any direction relating to your past work experience.
- Describe your approach: this section consists of 56-79 questions about your personality and how you’ll react to certain situations.
Bear in mind that the questions under these sections are subjective. So, there are no right or wrong answers that can be readily identified. However, despite being subjective, you’ll still need to prepare for these test sections.
How Long is the USPS Exam?
Once you’ve completed your application for the USPS exams and know which exam you should pass, you will probably wonder how long it’ll take to complete the exams.
As we’ve explained above, the exams have three parts. The first part is technically untimed. However, the exam body provides the number of questions and suggested times for each section. In most cases, the online exams would take between 30-and 45 minutes. You must also note that while the timing for the exam is very flexible, you won’t have as much liberty of time between when you receive the email invitation and the exam. Usually, you’ll have 72 hours after receiving an invitation to sit for the exam.
Your test score is valid for 2-6 years, depending on the position you applied for.
What is a Good USPS Score?
Let’s begin by pointing out that the highest possible score in all the exams is 100. However, the passing score is 70. So, your score is considered a passing score if it falls between 70 and 100. However, exam experts often advise that you go as close to 100 as possible if you want to get a job. This is because a good score in the USPS exam is subjective, meaning that people get a chance to interview depending on their score. The higher your score, the more your chance of getting hired. A high score will also help to fast-track your application, meaning that you’ll be able to start work more quickly.
How Hard is the USPS Exam?
The USPS exam is fairly straightforward, but the exam body still pegs the failure rate between 80 to 90 percent. Many people would consider it a challenging exam at this rate, but that’s only as far as you can prepare. Remember that parts of the exam ask applicants about their background and work experience, their personality, and how they would handle everyday work scenarios. In some cases, you’ll be required to answer additional questions requiring maths and critical thinking skills. But don’t be scared, people still pass the exams. You just need to prepare well for the exam. It doesn’t even take so much to prepare if you’re willing to take the proper steps before and during the exams. The next section reviews practical steps that’ll help you prepare better.
How to Ace the US Postal Service Exam: 5 Tips
Yes, we’ve talked about how difficult the exam can be for a certain group of people. But you can still pass if you do what’s right. One of the best ways to set yourself up to pass the exam is by starting your preparations early enough. This will not only help you get acquainted with the exam structure, but it’ll also help to improve your confidence going into the exam venue. Here are trusted tips you can use to get yourself ready for the exam.
Learn the format of the exam
For starters, it’s important to note that all four tests (474, 475, 476, and 477) contain three sections.
Work scenarios: This section includes 8-10 questions asking how you would respond to scenarios on the job.
About yourself: here, you’ll answer 20-22 questions revolving around your work history and experience. The question would typically cover everything about your previous job, including your attendance records and experience working with others.
Your approach: This section contains 56-79 questions about your personality. Some of the questions here will also inquire about your reaction to certain situations.
As we’ve explained above, each of these sections is subjective. However, you must understand what the examiners are looking for in your answers. Thankfully, these criteria are covered on the board’s website, so you can always find the necessary information before the exam date.
Purchase a study guide
It’s not just enough to understand how the exam is structured; you also need to take time to study. Unfortunately, you can’t just go around studying everything you see, and that’s why we recommend targeted study guides. These study guides have the right content to help you brush up on the information you need to know and provide strategies for approaching the test. There are so many of them out there, and you’ll need to look properly to buy one that suits your study style. We recommend the Mometrix Postal Exam Secrets Study Guide for its in-depth coverage of everything you’ll need for the exam. This study guide covers everything you’ll need for all four exams. There are several other guides out there. You just have to do a little research to find the best USPS study guide for your study style. Of course, you won’t know which of the exams you’re taking until you get the email, so this guide puts you in an excellent position to prepare for all.
Wait until you’re ready to take the exam before registering
We’ve seen many people complain about receiving the email earlier than they wanted. However, this shouldn’t be the case. We often advise applicants to wait until they are ready for the exam before applying. Once you’ve sent in the first part of your application, you can expect to receive an email with the test link at any time. Remember that you’ll have only 72 hours to take the exams after you receive the email. You can’t extend the deadline, so you must be adequately prepared for the exam before applying.
Don’t rush through the exams
While the board recommends taking between 45 and 60 minutes in the exams, it doesn’t mean that there’s any time limit. Therefore, we advise taking as much time as possible to avoid unnecessary mistakes. One section of the exam is “Check for Error.’ This section tests your attention to detail. Usually, it requires you to compare two sets of eight-digit numbers and determine whether they match or not. These number sets are usually very similar and require you to double-check their answers before moving on.
Note That “C” is Not Enough in This Case
One vital piece of information we always advise candidates to arm themselves with while preparing for the USPS exam is that a “C” score may not be good enough. So, while trying to figure out the exams and how to pass them, you should work towards scoring as high as possible. Remember we said the minimum passing score for any postal exam is 70. But you should also note that the postal exams are very competitive, meaning that you’re competing against several other test-takers to earn an available position. Therefore, a 70 may not guarantee your selection. Instead, you should aim to score at least 85 on the test to give yourself a chance of being hired.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Prepare for the USPS Exam?
From everything we’ve discussed so far, it’s easy to see that the USPS exam consists of unconventional questions that you’ve probably never encountered. But no exam is unbeatable if you do what’s right.
If you dedicate enough time to proper preparation, learn the question formats, and how to answer them beforehand, you’ll be setting yourself up for success. As we’ve explained in the article, the test includes three sections, each assessing different skills and characteristics. We’ve gone the extra length to gather facts and figures about the exams. We’ve also highlighted tested and trusted tips to help you prepare for the exam. We hope that you properly use the information in this article as you prepare for the USPS exam.
It’s also important to note that it’s not just enough to study. You’ll need to prepare your mind for the challenge. But don’t worry, the information in this guide is enough to help you get an easy sail.