The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a great employer providing a variety of amazing benefits for individuals seeking employment. The USPS provides competitive pay and benefits packages, health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Therefore, competition for maintenance positions is very fierce. We are here to walk you through what is involved in the hiring process for those considering a position as a Maintenance Mechanic, Electronic Technician, Building Equipment Mechanic, or other maintenance positions with the USPS. The first step in the hiring process is to take the USPS 955 Exam. Let's take a deeper look into the selection process.
What Is the USPS 955 Exam?
The Postal Exam 955 is a tool used by the USPS to assess a candidate's qualifications for maintenance positions. The exam is designed to evaluate an individual's knowledge in various areas, including electrical theory, hydraulics, and pneumatics. The exam is 75 minutes long and broken down into eight content areas consisting of multiple-choice questions. The exam is similar to the Ramsay Test and the MultiCraft Test.
What Are the Sections Covered on the 955 USPS Exam?
The Postal Exam 955, also known as the Postal Service Maintenance Exam, consists of five sections:
- Maintenance Mechanic: This section evaluates your knowledge of mechanical principles, including hydraulics, pneumatics, and electrical systems. You may also be tested on your ability to read and interpret schematics and diagrams. If you are applying for a Maintenance Mechanic job you will want to put emphasis on this section.
- Maintenance Mechanic MPE: This section evaluates your knowledge of the principles of mechanical, pneumatic, and electrical equipment used in mail processing equipment (MPE), such as conveyor systems and sorting machines. The questions on this section correlate to the type of work you will do if you are a Mechanic in the Mail Processing unit.
- Electronics Technician: This section evaluates your knowledge of electronic principles, including digital and analog circuits, electronic devices, and communication systems. If you are looking into an electrical position you should put emphasis on excelling on this portion.
- Building Equipment: This section evaluates your knowledge of the operation, maintenance, and repair of building equipment, such as HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical systems. This section is especially important to those applying for Building Equipment Mechanic (BEM9) positions and Area Maintenance Technician (AMT9) positions.
- Spatial Reasoning: This section evaluates your ability to visualize and manipulate objects in three-dimensional space, as well as your ability to read and interpret maps and diagrams. This section is important for any position you apply for.
Those five parts are broken down into eight content areas:
- AC/DC Theory, Power Distribution, and Electrical Maintenance: This content area focuses on the principles of electricity and electrical circuits, including AC and DC circuits, power distribution systems, and electrical safety. It also covers maintenance and repair of electrical systems, includes motors, generators, and transformers. For those unfamiliar with electrical theory, this section could be difficult.
- Motors, Control Circuits, Schematics and Print Reading: This content area focuses on the principles of motors and their control circuits, including the interpretation of electrical and mechanical schematics and diagrams. It also includes troubleshooting of control circuits and related equipment. These questions are considered practical.
- Digital Electronics, Power Supplies, Computers, PLC, and Test Instruments: This content area covers the principles of digital electronics, power supplies, and computers, including programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and test instruments. It also includes maintenance and repair of these systems.
- Pumps, Piping, and Combustion: This content area covers the principles of pumps and piping, including the operation and maintenance of pumps, valves, and related piping systems. It also includes principles of combustion and related equipment.
- Power Transmission, Lubrication, Mechanical Maintenance and Shop Machines, Tools and Equipment: This content area covers the principles of power transmission, including belts, gears, and chains. It also includes lubrication, mechanical maintenance, and repair of shop machines, tools, and equipment. There are often many questions which fall under this category.
- Welding and Rigging: This content area covers the principles of welding and rigging, including welding processes, techniques, and equipment, and the principles of rigging and safe lifting practices.
- Hydraulics and Pneumatics: This content area covers the principles of hydraulics and pneumatics, including the operation and maintenance of hydraulic and pneumatic systems, and troubleshooting of related equipment. Those going for a strictly mechanical position will find these questions quite relevant.
- Spatial Relations and Spatial Reasoning: This content area covers spatial reasoning skills, such as the ability to visualize and manipulate objects in three-dimensional space and to read and interpret maps and diagrams.
Overall, these sections cover a range of technical content areas and skills that are needed for maintenance positions in the Postal Service.
USPS 955 Exam Practice Test Questions, Answers, and Explanations
To give you a taste of the type of questions you may encounter on the USPS 955 Exam, let's take a look at some practice USPS 955 Exam answers.
AC/DC Theory Sample Question
Which of the following is the minimum required fuse rating for three appliances, each with a different wattage, operating simultaneously in a 110V electrical system?
- 5 amps
- 10 amps
- 15 amps
- 20 amps
Answer + Explanation
The correct answer is C, 15 amps.
To determine the minimum required fuse rating for three appliances operating simultaneously, we need to calculate the total wattage of all appliances and divide it by the voltage of the electrical system.
Total wattage = 550W + 770W + 330W = 1650W
Minimum fuse rating = Total wattage / System voltage
Minimum fuse rating = 1650W / 110V = 15 amps
PLC Sample Question
- C+ (AB)D
Answer + Explanation
The correct answer is (A) C(AB+D).
Test Instruments Sample Question
What is a multimeter used for in electrical testing?
- Measuring current
- Measuring voltage
- Measuring resistance
- All of the above
Answer + Explanation
The correct answer is ( D) All of the above.
A multimeter is a tool used for electrical testing and can measure current, voltage, and resistance.
Motors Sample Question
Which of the following terms describes the difference between the synchronous speed and the actual speed of the rotor in an induction motor?
- Power factor
Answer + Explanation
The correct answer is (A) Slip.
Slip is a term used to describe the difference between the synchronous speed (the speed at which the magnetic field in the stator rotates) and the actual speed of the rotor in an induction motor. The amount of slip determines the amount of torque that the motor can produce. The formula for calculating slip is (Synchronous Speed - Actual Speed) / Synchronous Speed.
Control Circuits Sample Question
What relay type shown below?
- None of the Above
Answer + Explanation
The correct answer is (B) SPDT.
A single pole double throw (SPDT) relay has three terminals, which are the common (COM), normally open (NO), and normally closed (NC) terminals. In the OFF state, the COM terminal is connected to the NC terminal, and in the ON state, it is connected to the NO terminal. Take a look at this diagram of other types of relays, such as single pole single throw (SPST) and double pole double throw (DPDT), to help understand better.
Hydraulics and Pneumatics Sample Question
Which type of valve is best suited for controlling the flow of a fluid in a hydraulic system?
- Pressure relief valve
- Ball valve
- Flow control valve
- Directional control valve
Answer + Explanation
The correct answer is (C) Flow control valve.
A flow control valve regulates the flow of fluid through a hydraulic system. It is particularly useful when a precise, low flow rate is needed. This is achieved by adjusting the valve's orifice to restrict the fluid's flow. A pressure relief valve is used to protect the system from over-pressure, while a ball valve is a simple on/off valve that does not provide any flow control. A directional control valve is used to control the direction of fluid flow within the system.
Power Transmission Sample Question
What is the purpose of V-belts in power transmission?
- To increase the torque of the system
- To provide a flexible connection between the motor and the load
- To increase the speed of the system
- To reduce the vibration of the system
Answer + Explanation
The correct answer is (B) to provide a flexible connection between the motor and the load.
V-belts are a type of flexible coupling that transmit power between the motor and the load by means of friction. They are commonly used in applications where a flexible connection is required to compensate for misalignment, shock, or vibration. The V-shaped cross section of the belt helps to increase the frictional force between the belt and the pulleys, allowing for efficient power transmission. Therefore, option B is the correct answer. Option A is incorrect because belts cannot increase the torque of the system. Option C is incorrect because belts cannot increase the speed of the system. Option D is incorrect because although belts can reduce the vibration of the system, that is not their main purpose.
Piping Sample Question
Which of the following types of piping is most suitable for underground installation in areas with corrosive soils?
- PVC piping
- Copper piping
- Steel piping
- HDPE piping
Answer + Explanation
The correct answer is (D) HDPE piping.
When installing piping deep beneath the ground, it is important to consider the corrosiveness of the soil in the area. If the soil is highly corrosive, steel piping may not be the best choice due to its susceptibility to rust and corrosion. Copper piping may also be prone to corrosion, especially in acidic soils. PVC piping may be a good option for non-corrosive soils, but it may not be strong enough to withstand the weight of the soil in deep installations. HDPE (high-density polyethylene) piping is a durable, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant option that is often recommended for underground installations in areas with corrosive soils.
Spatial Visualization Sample Question
At the center of the screen, two distinct objects with a dot placed in one corner are displayed. The answer options consist of the same two objects, but rotated in different ways. Only one of the five options shows both dots placed in the same corners as the model.
Answer + Explanation
The correct answer is C.
What Score Do You Need to Pass the Postal Exam 955?
To pass the Postal Exam 955, you need to score a minimum of 70%. This means that you must correctly answer at least 70 out of 100 questions on the exam. A higher score may improve your chances of being hired for a maintenance position within the USPS. If you fail to reach a 70 you will get an "ineligible" status. If your result is deemed "eligible," then you have successfully passed the exam. Applicants with an eligible status are then required to complete a supplemental application that outlines their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
If you do not achieve a passing score, you will not be considered for the specific job posting for which you applied. However, you may still apply for other job postings that require the same exam or a different exam.
Is the 955 Maintenance Exam Hard?
The USPS 955 Exam is considered a challenging test as a result of the extensive prior knowledge required for the different sections. The exam covers a range of topics, including electrical theory, hydraulics, and pneumatics, and requires a solid understanding of each. Additionally, the exam is timed, which adds an extra layer of pressure for test takers. With the right preparation and practice, passing the USPS Mechanic Test 955 is achievable. Utilizing study materials, such as this Postal Exam 955 Practice Test and Study Guide, will help you gain the knowledge and confidence needed to excel on the test.
What Happens if You Fail the 955 USPS Exam?
Once you have taken the exam, you can view your Retest Eligibility Date by logging into eCareer and accessing the Roadmap in the "My Profile" section. Navigate to the Assessments tab (7) to find your Retest Eligibility Date, and you can take the exam again on or after that date. Many candidates need to wait about 6 months from their test date to retake it.
Can I Cancel or Reschedule My Postal Test 955?
It is important to note that the cancellation and rescheduling policies may vary depending on the exam provider or testing center. However, for many proctored exams, including those administered through Pearson VUE and Prometric, candidates may be able to cancel or reschedule their appointments up to 24 hours before the scheduled appointment time.
To cancel or reschedule an appointment, candidates can log into their online testing account, select the appropriate exam, and click on the "Appointment Date/Time" link. From there, candidates can view and modify their appointment details as needed. Some exam providers may charge a fee for canceling or rescheduling appointments.
When you register for the 955 USPS Exam it is extremely important to read and follow all instructions and policies provided by the exam provider or testing center regarding scheduling, cancellation, and rescheduling of appointments.
What if I Applied for a Maintenance Position but Never Got an Invitation to take the Postal Maintenance Exam 955?
It is not guaranteed that all applicants will receive an invitation to take the USPS 955 test. However, if you are not selected to take the exam, there may be opportunities to take it in the future or through other job applications.
What Happens if I Don't Take the USPS 955 Test by the Deadline?
Failure to complete the exam by the specified deadline will result in an ineligible score, and you will not be considered for the position you applied for. However, you can reapply for other positions that require the same exam or apply for different jobs that require a different exam.
What Do I Need to Take with Me to the 955 Maintenance Exam?
On the day of the test make sure you bring your admission notice, picture ID, and two No. 2 pencils. Make sure that you are on time for the exam as latecomers won't be admitted.
How Can I Prepare for the USPS Mechanic Test 955?
Preparing for the USPS 955 Exam is crucial to increasing your chances of passing and obtaining a maintenance position within the USPS. If you receive a 70 or below you will immediately be taken out of consideration for the position. We recommend you take the following USPS Postal Exam 955 Practice test as it directly simulates the question type and format of the actual exam. Understanding the format, pace, and content are essential for passing the exam. There is lots of room for advancement and stability in this career path. You want to ensure your future and make sure you go in prepared.
What Does a USPS Maintenance Mechanic Do?
As a Maintenance Mechanic, your responsibilities will include conducting maintenance duties related to the different mail processing systems, buildings and building equipment, and delivery equipment. These duties may include executing routine maintenance and repair tasks related to plumbing, heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning, and repairing basic control circuitry, motors, chains, bearings, belts, and other equipment components. You also may be required to assemble, install, replace, repair, modify, or adjust small-scale operating equipment. With the guidance of experienced maintenance personnel, you will be involved in equipment disassembly, part replacement, relocation, and reassembly.
What Does a Maintenance Mechanic Mail Processing Equipment (MPE) Technician Do?
As a maintenance mechanic in Mail Processing equipment (MPE), you will troubleshoot and maintain mail processing equipment, as well as conduct preventative maintenance inspections on equipment and building facilities. If you have experience working with mechanical and electrical equipment, this could be an ideal role for you. Specific job duties will include performing complex testing, diagnostic and maintenance work, observing and testing systems and equipment, setting maintenance standards and procedures, initiating work orders, and estimating time and materials.
What Is the Application Process for USPS Maintenance Positions?
To apply for USPS maintenance positions, such as Maintenance Mechanic, Electronic Technician, Building Equipment Mechanic, and more, you must follow a specific application process. The process typically involves the following steps:
- Submit Application: To start the process, you must submit an application for the desired maintenance position. Applications can typically be found on a system called eCareers on the USPS website. When searching for a job, put in the keyword "Maintenance Mechanic" and your desired city. You will create a Candidate profile where you can save your progress and track your status. You must be at least 18 years of age and a U.S citizen.
- Take the USPS 955 Exam: After submitting your application, you will need to take the Postal Service Test 955 to demonstrate your knowledge and eligibility for the maintenance position. If you are deemed a good fit the testing vendor will send you an email containing instructions on how to take the exam. It is important to check all email folders, such as "spam" and "junk" folders, to avoid missing any USPS emails. To ensure that you receive all emails related to the exam, you should add the email domain addresses @usps.gov, @psionline.com, @geninfo.com, and @uspis.gov to your contact list. Follow the guidelines outlined in the email you receive from the testing vendor.
- Panel Interview (Oral Test): If you pass the 955 Exam for the USPS, you may be invited to participate in a panel interview or oral test. This will typically involve one maintenance manager and one HR representative asking you a series of questions related to the maintenance position. They will ask questions which are technical and related to your work ethic. Expect to encounter a question related to safety procedures. Familiarize yourself with LOCKOUT/TAGOUT safety protocol.
- Conditional Job Offer: If you successfully pass all of the previous steps, you will receive an email with a conditional job offer. You will see your ranking as a combination of your exam score and Veteran's Preference Points. Expect an email with detailed instructions from firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be given three days to decline or accept the conditional offer online. If you accept, expect to fill out a series of forms.
- Get Your Fingerprints: Schedule an appointment for your fingerprints to be done. This allows the security investigation to be completed. You will need to bring a photo ID and this must be completed within 5 calendar days.
- Criminal Background Check: You must complete the SF85 National Agency Check with Inquiries (NACI) questionnaire. You will receive an email from NoreplyNACI@uspis.gov to complete the questionnaire. You have three days to complete this step.
- Drug Screening Clearance: Before being offered a maintenance position, you must pass a drug screening clearance. You will receive an email from email@example.com to schedule your drug screen. This typically involves providing a urine sample for testing.
In conclusion, passing the USPS 955 Exam is a crucial step towards obtaining a maintenance position within the USPS. By preparing with a USPS 955 Exam Study Guide and following the application process, you can increase your chances of success and take the first step towards a rewarding career.