How to Pass the USPS 475 Test for Mail Handlers (2024 Guide)

by Sarah Duncan

Have you applied for a mail handler role at the United States Postal Service, only to be told that you need to take the 475 test?

While the test seems straightforward, there is very little information about it online – making it very difficult to prepare.

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Luckily, we have done the research for you and put together this handy guide that will show you exactly how to prepare for and pass the USPS 475 test.

Let’s get into it!

Understanding the USPS 475 Test

The United States Postal Service (USPS) 475 Test is a test taken by all prospective mail handlers who wish to work for USPS. The test has replaced the 473 exam and is taken online on the USPS website.

The purpose of the test is to analyze the participant’s psychometrics and see if they are a good fit for a mail handler role.

The test is taken as a part of the application process to help screen applicants and give the hiring managers a better idea of who the top candidates are.

The test is designed not to measure the candidates’ intelligence but instead to check their cognitive skills and virtually assess them in a manner that reflects what might be involved in the mail handler role.

Potential scenarios, personality-based questions, your attention to detail, and basic knowledge of the mail system are all assessed in the test and can be expected by candidates.

While the test requires a minimum score of 70 to proceed with your application, the higher your score is – the stronger your application will be.

This is why it’s very important to adequately prepare for the assessment if you wish to become a mail handler.

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Test Format and Structure

The 475 test is split up into four different parts.

The first section is made up of 9 “work scenario” questions. These questions present the candidate with either pretend scenarios that a mail handler may come across in their day-to-day work or written statements.

The answers are generally multichoice, and you are required to select the most appropriate answer.  This section is designed to test your common sense, as well as what you know about the USPS and its customer values.

The next section is the “tell us your story” section, which requires the candidates to answer a series of 22 questions that allow the marker to learn more about you and your work history.

This is less of a test and more of a way for you to show the hiring manager who you are and why you want to work for the USPS.

The next section is the longest; it’s the “your approach section” and contains 79 questions.

These questions are aptitude questions and are designed to test your personality and cognitive skills.

You must answer questions in this section truthfully, as otherwise, the USPS will not get a clear picture of who you are.

The final section is the “check for errors” section, which tests your ability to spot common errors that mail handlers often have to fix.

This section is 12 questions long, and the questions require you to highlight the errors (rather than multi-choice or written answer questions).

Preparation Strategies

Preparing well for a test is the best way to ensure you pass it with flying colors, and the USPS 475 test is no different.

There are several things you can do prior to your test to help you prepare properly and achieve the highest score possible.

One of the most important strategies you should employ is familiarizing yourself with USPS’s protocols and values, as well as their general approach to customer service.

This will help you during all sections of the test as you will be able to align your answers with what the company prefers.

Additionally, we highly recommend that you take some practice tests so that you are fully prepared for what the test day brings.

Having some experience in answering similar questions to what might be on your actual test will make the whole test itself a lot easier and give you a better chance at keeping a clear head and answering to the best of your ability. Practice tests and assessments also give you ideal answers, which you can then apply during your actual test.

We love JobTestPrep’s tailored simulations and practice tests. These allow you to experience what the 475 test is like and will give tailored feedback to help you improve for your next try.

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Sample Questions and Answers

Here is a brief overview of some sample questions and answers that you might find on the USPS 475 test.

In the first section regarding the “work scenario questions,” you can expect to be presented with fictional scenarios and a series of possible answers and responses to these scenarios.

Your task is to identify the best possible answer which is most in line with USPS’s practices.

For example, the question may ask you “A customer approaches you while you are in uniform, but you are also on lunch break.

They are off to send a letter to a friend in Anaheim, however, they are unsure of their friend’s correct postcode. They ask you to identify the correct postcode for them.”

The possible answers for this could be “tell them to go home and look it up,” “turn away and ignore the customer,” or “tell them you can show them on their mobile how to search up their friend’s address and find their correct zip code.”

The answer is the latter, as it demonstrates excellent customer service.

In the “your story” section, the questions are designed to get to know your previous experience and what you might bring to the role.

An example of a question that may come up is “Tell us about a time you had to work within a team at your workplace. How did you find working with others and do you feel you work well in a team?”

This question asks you to detail a specific scenario that demonstrates your teamwork abilities and proves you work well with others.

In the “your approach” questions, the questions should be answered truthfully and from your perspective (not the perspective you think the company has.

In this section, you can expect questions that follow the following premise:

“While I enjoy working with others, I am also able to show initiative and can work well independently and unsupervised.”

The possible answers will be “strongly disagree, disagree, agree, strongly agree.” You are meant to pick the one that best describes you and your personality.

Finally, the error-checking questions will present you with errors commonly found in the mailing system, and your task is to identify them. For example, you might be given a series of zip codes that can be found on the USPS computers.

Alongside it, you will be presented with some corresponding zip codes for those areas as if they were written on envelopes. Your task would be to accurately check that the envelope zip codes match what is on the computer.

Post-Test: Next Steps

Once you finish the test, you will be issued a score. While the passing score is 70, you want to achieve a score of 80-90+ to give yourself a proper edge during the application process.

Hiring managers take test scores into account alongside the rest of your application, and it is considered to be one of the most important parts of your application.

Even if you don’t have the most experienced CV, you may be in with a fighting chance for the mail handler position if you score well on the 475 test.

Final Thoughts

The USPS test is an important test that you need to perform well on if you wish to be a mail handler.

While the USPS asks you to submit all the usual documents when applying for a mail handler role, it is the 475 test that will get you in the door.

By doing your research and practicing before you take the test, you will give yourself the best chance of doing well.

It only takes some strategic thinking and a little bit of preparation and study in order to do well, which could lead to you becoming the next new mail handler at the USPS.

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