Postal Exam 473 / 473E
Study Guide: Yes!
This is the biggie … the most popular Postal exam … the one used to fill over 90% of all Postal jobs … all entry-level Processing, Distribution, Delivery, and Retail positions. Listed below are the actual jobs filled from this exam:
- PSE Sales, Service, and Distribution Associate
- City Carrier Assistant 1 & 2
- PSE Mail Processing Clerk
- PSE Post Office Clerk
- Mail Handler Assistant
- Rural Carrier Associate
- PSE Data Conversion Operator
New electronic exam 473E replaced five old pencil & paper tests … exams 460, 470, 473, 473C, and 710. Since this is such a new development, obsolete study guides remain a widespread problem. When looking for test prep tools, you must be very wary of guides that refer to these old exams. See Pathfinder’s Obsolete Postal Job & Exam Guides Consumer Alert for more advice on this subject.
Exam 473E is taken in two separate sessions.
Session 1 is a self-administered Personal Characteristics & Experience Inventory test. There are 150 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. This part of the exam is used to identify the most qualified applicants by comparing your answers to what they view as an ideal employee’s profile. They score to this part of the exam, but they will not release any information about the scoring formula.
Session 2 is taken at a supervised testing site and consists of three parts as follows:
Part A — Address Checking has 60 questions. Each question consists of two addresses with ZIP codes that are supposed to be exactly alike but may have differences. You are given 11 minutes to compare the addresses and answer “A” if they are exactly alike, “B” if there is a difference is in the address only, “C” if there is a difference in the ZIP code only, or “D” if there are differences in both the address and the ZIP code. The detailed comparisons and incredible speed demanded make this part of the exam extremely challenging.
In Part B — Forms Completion, you are shown various Postal forms and asked how they should be completed. You are given 15 minutes to answer 30 questions. If you were an experienced Postal employee, this may be easier. But, since you’ve never seen any of these forms, it becomes a most challenging ordeal. One regularly heard complaint is that the ambiguous wording of the forms makes it even more difficult. (Did you really think that a federal agency’s bureaucratic forms would be easy to understand?)
Part C — Coding and Memory consists of two sections as described below. For both sections, you are shown a chart of delivery routes and various address ranges that fit within the delivery routes.
In the Coding Section, you are given 6 minutes to answer 36 questions. Each question is an address, and the answer should be the delivery route (A, B, C, or D) where the chart indicates that the address belongs. In the Coding Section, you are allowed to look at the chart as you answer the questions.
In the Memory Section, you have 7 minutes to answer 36 similar address questions. But in the Memory Section, you are not allowed to look at the chart as you answer the questions. Instead, you are given a few minutes to memorize the address ranges and delivery routes, and then you must answer the questions from memory. This is the Bad Boy! This section is one of the big reasons that so many people fail. The memorization is inhuman. Success calls for some unique memorization strategies developed explicitly for this test.
According to the Postal Service, exam 473E carries an 80-90% failure rate. There’s really no need to say anything more about why test preparation for this exam is so important. These figures tell the story better than anything we could say.
Successful preparation for test 473E requires an up-to-date study guide with full info on exam content, effective test-taking strategies (especially for the memory section), and a quantity of realistic practice exams. On this exam, knowledge is of little value unless you practice extensively and realistically to master the unusual skills and incredible speed demanded.
Since exam 473E is a computerized test, this means that the practice exams must be electronic and interactive just like the real thing. There is no way to get the realistic practice needed using pencil & paper sample tests. A printed book cannot do the job. The challenges presented on an electronic exam are simply different from a pencil & paper test. That’s why Pathfinder published our new Complete Postal Exam 473E Interactive eGuide by bestselling Postal test prep author T. W. Parnell.
The practice exams must be formatted and timed 100% exactly like the real thing. Practicing with ultra-realistic sample tests assures that you will approach the real exam with complete confidence and familiarity. You will know exactly what to expect. There will be no surprises. What would happen if you used a book to diligently practice, but when taking the real exam you found that it was way different from your practice tests? This would surely destroy your confidence, your composure, your performance, and your score. When it comes to practice exams, it’s either 100% right, or it’s 100% wrong. There’s nothing in between.