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How to Prepare for the 473 Postal Exam

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How you prepare for an exam can make a difference between passing and failing. The 473 postal exam is used by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to screen applicants and fill most postal jobs, including distribution, delivery and entry-level processing positions. Although the 473 postal exam is one step in the application process, it is important to get a high enough score to be considered for a position. Thus, reviewing and understanding the exam's content, developing some test-taking skills, and taking multiple practice exams helps you prepare for the 473 postal exam.

Apply for the job you are interested in by visiting the USPS website. After you submit your application, USPS will contact you by email to schedule your 473 postal exam. You should start preparing for the exam as soon as you complete your online application.

Get the 473 postal exam study guide from your local library, a book store or online. Familiarize yourself with the content of the exam. The exam is divided in four different categories, including Address Checking, Forms Completion, Coding and Memory, and Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory.

Establish a study schedule and take into consideration your regular activities and family. Choose a time of the day when you are the most relaxed and receptive. Make sure you set aside a couple of hours every day to study for your exam. Understand what is on each part of the postal exam. For instance, on Part B (Forms Completion) you must know that you will be given 30 questions to answer in exactly 15 minutes. In this section you will be presented with five postal forms and you will have to determine how they should be completed.

Concentrate on areas where you feel you are the least prepared. For example, the Coding and Memory section can be challenging as the Coding part tests your ability to recognize a code that has been assigned to an address. You will have to use a chart made of delivery routes and addresses and various codes to answer the questions. In the Memory section, which is even more challenging, you will be asked to find a delivery route for each address without looking at the chart. Here, you will have to rely on your memory. You are allowed seven minutes to find 36 addresses.

Take as many postal practice exams as possible. Some 473 postal exam study guides come with computerized practice tests. Your practice exam must be realistic and timed accurately to allow you to become familiar with the exam and the time needed to complete each question.


Relax and get a good night's sleep the night before your postal exam.