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The USPS Postal Exam 476

The USPS Postal Exam 476

Updated July 27, 2022

By Fi Phillips
Fi Phillips

With a workforce of almost 500,000, the US Postal Service (USPS) is the second biggest employer in the country.

Why do so many people want to work for the USPS?

Beyond the wide range of career paths within the postal service, the USPS also:

  • Offers job security as an employee of a well-known national organization
  • Provides a good career development program
  • Employs almost 73,000 military veterans
  • Offers great employee benefits, including health insurance and retirement savings plans

Applicants who meet the criteria for a career with the USPS will be asked to take a virtual entry assessment (VEA). This online exam assesses your personal suitability to work as a USPS employee.

There are four VEAs, each relevant to a different job category within the USPS. Mail carrier jobs require the MC 474 exam. Mail handler jobs require the MH 475 exam. Customer service clerical roles require the CS 477 exam. The exam for mail processing jobs, however, is MP 476.

The USPS VEA tests are free of charge, but you will need access to the internet and an email service.

Failure of the exam at this stage means that you will not be able to apply again for another year. If you pass the 476 VEA but are not selected for employment, you may not apply again for another two years.

A successful score in your MP 476 VEA, however, will progress your job application onto the next stage.

What Are the Sections of the USPS Postal Exam 476?

The USPS 476 exam has five sections:

  • Introduction
  • Work Scenarios
  • Tell Us Your Story
  • Describe Your Approach
  • Check For Errors

Introduction

This section includes information on the USPS, the range of roles related to the 476 test, a number of sample questions and instructions on how to answer the questions.

Work Scenarios

This section tests your situational judgment to assess how you are likely to perform in a work environment.

Each question is multiple-choice with four ways that a situation at work could be handled. You will be asked to choose the best and worst approach.

This section has nine questions.

Example Question

A fellow employee whom you work alongside is spending unnecessary periods of time away from their workspace with no explanation. Their absence puts pressure on other members of staff to cover for them and pick up their workload. Overall, your colleague’s behavior is disruptive and slowing down the pace of work.

Please choose the action below that you are most likely to take in response to this scenario, and the one that you are least likely to take.

a) Report your colleague to your supervisor
b) Do your best to work around your colleague’s behavior
c) Remind your colleague of their allotted break times and tell them what effect their actions are having on their colleagues
d) Have a friendly chat with them and ask them to stop

Tell Us Your Story

This section assesses your work history and overall experience. There are 22 multiple-choice questions.

Example Question

How would your most recent supervisor rate your teamwork skills?

a) Excellent
b) Good
c) Above average
d) Average
e) Below average and needs some improvement
f) Bad and needs extensive improvement

Describe Your Approach

This section assesses your personal traits and tendencies to discover whether you will fit in well as an employee at the USPS.

There are 79 questions that will generally present you with two opposing statements. You must indicate which is the closest to your opinion.

Example Question

Please indicate to what extent you agree or disagree with the following:

(a) I like to listen to new ideas and experience new things
(b) I like to stick to the known and trusted route

Most like (a)
Somewhat like (a)
Somewhat like (b)
Most like (b)

Pass the USPS Postal Exam 476 in 2021
Pass the USPS Postal Exam 476 in 2021

Check For Errors

This section assesses your eye for detail and your level of concentration. There are 12 questions, each of which presents you with pairs of eight number sequences to compare.

Example Question

Which of the following pairs do not match?

a) 88878544 | 88878544
b) 88878554 | 88878554
c) 88887555 | 88887755
d) 88688655 | 88688655

How Is the Test Scored?

The top score you can receive in the USPS 476 assessment is 100. The minimum pass score is 70. Once you submit your VEA, your score will be available almost immediately.

Your score is rated on suitability for a USPS mail processing position, instead of a straightforward academic score based on how many questions you got right.

If your result is marked ‘ineligible’, you have not passed at this point and cannot re-apply to the USPS for two years.

How to Prepare for the Exam

Not that you know what to expect, the next step is to prepare for the USPS 476 exam.

Research, familiarity and practice are your best friends.

Step 1. Practice Papers

One of the easiest ways to prepare yourself for the USPS 476 VEA is to sit practice papers.

You can source practice papers and sample questions online from:

Some practice papers are available free of charge, while others include a cost.

Remember to check that you use the practice paper that is relevant to the USPS job you are interested in. The MP 476 assessment is for mail processing positions.

Step 2. Do Your Research

Whenever you apply for a job, researching your prospective employer should be a natural step to take. Find out what kind of company the USPS is like to work for. What is the work culture like? What qualities and skills does it value in its employees?

You should place particular focus on the job you are applying for, what it entails and what career paths it leads to.

Step 3. Learn the Question Formats

One advantage to using practice papers to prepare for an exam is the chance to become familiar with the format of the questions.

At first sight, it might not be clear to everyone how a question should be approached. For instance, the Work Scenarios section asks not only for the way you would react to a work situation, but also how you would not react.

Step 4. Practice Against the Clock

Another benefit of using practice papers is being able to time your practice runs. The 476 exam has no time limit, but the USPS do prefer candidates to finish the test quickly.

For instance, the USPS recommended time to answer the entire Work Scenarios section is 11 minutes.

Timed practice will improve your ability to effectively work at speed.

Step 5. Consider Your Answers Beforehand

You have no way of knowing what questions you will be asked, but that does not mean that you are forced to go into the test unprepared. Think about the type of questions you might be asked and how you might answer them. This is where your research into the USPS, its work culture and the job you are applying for will come in useful.

For instance, for the Work Scenarios section, consider the skills that the USPS wants to see in its mail processing workers, such as teamwork, and think how that might be reflected in the answers you provide.

On The Day

Preparation is key to success in the USPS 476 exam, but so is the way you behave on the day.

Be Professional

In this instance, ‘professional’ means being the best version of yourself with your ‘work’ hat on. Keep your knowledge of the USPS and the job you are applying for in the forefront of your mind. Be respectful and honest in your answers, but equally sell yourself too.

Be the employee that the USPS would be keen to hire.

Be Ready to Begin

You will be able to access the 476 exam via a link in an invitation email. You will then have 72 hours to complete the assessment.

Before you begin, make sure:

  • You have everything you need to hand, for instance, paper and pencil for notes and a copy of your work history
  • You will not be interrupted
  • You are sufficiently rested, fed and hydrated

Ensuring all of the above is in place before you click on the link will give you the best chance possible of a good performance.

Answer All the Questions

Each question counts towards your final score, so it is important that you answer all the questions.

Avoid Overanalyzing

Try not to overthink the answers you give. Many of the questions in the USPS 476 exam are nuanced and situational, instead of a straightforward right or wrong reply. Go with the best answer for the role and to reflect who you are as an employee.

Remember, the less time you spend on each question the better.

What Next?

Once you have submitted your test, your result will generally be available straightaway:

  • Ineligible – You have been unsuccessful because your score was below 70.
  • Eligible – You were successful and will be contacted about the next step.
  • Pre-Hire – You were successful, the USPS are interested in employing you and you will be contacted with an interview appointment.

What Is the Eligibility for Employment With the USPS?

To be eligible for employment with the USPS, you must:

  • Have a high school diploma
  • Be at least 18 years old if you will operate power-driven machinery or drive a vehicle at work
  • Be a US citizen, a lawful permanent resident alien in possession of a Green Card or a citizen of American Samoa or other territory that owes permanent allegiance to the US

Frequently Asked Questions

USPS 476 is an exam taken by people applying for a mail processing job for the US Postal Service. The exam includes five sections: Introduction, Work Scenarios, Tell Us Your Story, Describe Your Approach and Check for Errors.

The minimum score required to pass the postal exam 476 is 70. However, to stand the best chance of progressing to the next stage of the hiring process, you should always aim to achieve the highest score possible. The maximum possible score is 100.

The 476 virtual entry assessment or VEA is an online exam used to assess whether a candidate is suitable for a mail processing role in the US Postal Service.

The 476 virtual entry assessment has five sections. These are – Introduction, Work Scenarios, Tell Us Your Story, Describe Your Approach and Check for Errors.

If you wish to work in a mail processing role, you will need to achieve a minimum score of 70, although a higher score will improve your chances of being hired.

The postal exam 476 is not difficult from an academic perspective. However, if you want to gain a good score, you will need to allow yourself sufficient time for preparation and research. You will also need to answer the exam questions thoughtfully and honestly. The USPS is a popular choice for job seekers, which means that the hiring process is competitive.

To pass the USPS Test 476, you will need to achieve a minimum score of 70. To ensure you have the best chance of being hired, you must always aim to achieve the highest score possible. The highest possible score for USPS Test 476 is 100.

While it’s not necessarily a difficult test at an academic level, it will require you to be honest in your answers and think carefully about the questions as you answer them.

When you apply for a job working as a mail processor with the United States Postal Service, you will be invited to complete the postal exam 476. This is completed entirely online and will require a stable internet connection and a secure email address.

When you apply for a job as a mail processor, you will automatically be invited to complete the postal exam 476.

No, it is a part of the application process and is free to complete.

There is no specific time limit and candidates will have 72 hours to complete the assessment once they have been sent the link. Most people find that it takes less than 45 minutes to complete.

Yes, the entire assessment is completed online.

The maximum score that you can achieve on the USPS postal exam 476 is 100 and a passing grade is considered to be 70 or above.

You are only able to take the test once per application. If you don’t pass the USPS postal exam 476, then you will need to reapply to take the test again.

The assessment is designed to assess how well you would fit within the company as an employee. For this reason, you must be honest with your answers.

However, spending some time researching the USPS and their values can help you to know the type of characteristics that they are likely to be looking for within potential employees.

Final Thoughts

The USPS 476 exam is not an academically difficult test, but it does require a level of thought, honesty and research.

Add to this the fact that the USPS is a popular employer that attracts a vast quantity of job applications, and there is no doubt that it is in your best interests to prepare yourself as fully as you can before you take the test.