Everything You Need to Know About the USPS Exam


The United States Postal Service (USPS) exam is one that needs to be taken by any and every one looking to get an entry-level position with the United States Postal Service. The roles for which people take this exam include mail processor, postal carrier, and mail handler roles. You probably clicked on this article because you learnt you have to take this exam to get into one of these roles, or you did so out of mere curiosity. Whatever the case is, you are about to get a general overview on what this exam is all about.

The Postal Service of the United States has been in operation since the 17th century and so far, there are over 500,000 jobs associated with the Postal Services. Just like other federal government jobs in the United States, to join the postal service, a specialized test must be taken. This is where the US Postal Service comes in.

Before now, a generalized test (postal exam 473) used to be taken. However, in recent times, this has changed. The USPS exam now comes in four formats (Postal Exams 474, 475, 476, and 477). Candidates do not usually know which of the exam formats they would be taken until 72 hours till the end of the exam.

Well, here’s how it goes: the applicants for several job roles go through the process of application, then they receive an email to let them know that they have been picked to take the exam. These applicants are then given 72 hours to finish up the online exam. Applicants cannot exceed this time limit as that is an automatic fail.

These applicants would have no idea which of the tests they would be taking prior to that email. However, they can rest assured that the test they would take would be related to their role. There are also several practice tests to help them prepare, including the Prepterminal’s USPC Practice test. 

The Various USPS Exam Formats

  • Postal Exam 474: This test is usually self-administered and can be completed within a space of 45 minutes. It is a test that is commonly taken by applicants looking to get into rural and city mail carrier applicants. They cover several areas from work-related scenarios, to relevant work experience, and even to personality
  • Postal Exam 475: This exam is for those applying for the mail handler positions. It has the same sections in 474. The only difference here is that it has an additional segment that is dedicated to checking for errors.
  • Postal Exam 476: This is a test dished out to applicants in the mail processing category. While it is very similar to exam 475, the scenarios in this role are tailored to the position it is applicable to.
  • Postal Exam 477: 477 is for applicants in the customer service clerk category. Again, this exam is similar to exam 475 and 476. The scenarios are only tailored to the role here.

There are also other postal exams, such as the postal exam 916 for potential postal custodians, and the postal exam 944 for applicants for the postal automotive technician positions.

Passing the USPS Exam

The pass mark for the various postal exams is set at 70. Exam scores are usually posted on their website, and only those who hit this pass mark would be employed into the postal service. In addition to this, the higher one scores, the higher their chances of getting an interview. While scoring 70 or 71 gets you a pass, you may have to wait longer than those who score 85 (or even more) to get an interview. Hence, it is better to aim to score very high.

As for those who fail the exam, they can retake the exam after waiting a period of 12 months. This is clearly an exam that needs a great preparation, so it is best that applicants prepare even before submitting their application. There is no particular timing for the exam to be taken, applicants only need to submit their applications and when there are lots of applications, the exams would be sent out. 


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