Are you looking to apply for a position as a mail carrier with the United States Postal Service? We are here to walk you through what to expect from the Mail Carrier application process to the MC 474 Virtual Entry Assessment. Working at the USPS Postal Service provides individuals with job security, competitive pay, and comprehensive benefits. Therefore, it is not easy to land a job as a mail carrier. Let's learn more about the 474 Postal Exam.
What Is the Postal Exam 474?
Postal Exam 474, also known as the Virtual Entry Assessment MC (474), is an exam administered by the United States Postal Service (USPS) for individuals applying for different entry-level positions, including; a City Carrier, Rural Carrier, City Carrier Assistant, and Rural Carrier Associate. The MC (474) assessment is used to make sure that you have the skills and abilities needed to be successful on the job. The Virtual Entry Assessment MC (474) is made up of 6 different sections that measure different qualities, skills, and qualifications.
What Are the Sections Covered on the Virtual Entry Assessment MC 474?
This section of the Postal Exam 474 includes 18 situations that simulate real-life scenarios you might face as a mail carrier. Each situation provides you with four response options. You must select two answers: one that represents the response you would most likely choose and another that represents the response you would least likely choose in that situation. The purpose of this section is to measure your ability to evaluate work situations and make appropriate decisions based on the given options.
Describe Your Work Style
The Describe Your Work Style section of the Postal Exam 474 consists of 139 items and aims to gather information about your individual work style, approach to teamwork or management, and professional habits. This section is designed to evaluate your personal characteristics, preferences, and attitudes towards work, providing insight into how you may approach and handle different aspects of the job.
Tell Us Your Story
The section titled "Tell Us Your Story" is comprised of 37 questions and is specifically designed to gauge your potential job performance based on your previous experiences. It aims to assess how your previous professional experiences may influence your abilities, skills, and overall suitability for the position you are applying for. By gathering information about your background, this section helps predict your potential performance as a mail carrier within the USPS.
What Motivates You
The newly introduced section consists of 25 questions and is designed as a motivation test to uncover what brings you fulfillment at work. Each question aims to assess the degree to which you resonate with two different sources of motivation. It is important to note that you may encounter the same source of motivation in different questions. The purpose of this section is to gain insights into the factors that drive and inspire you, helping to determine how well you may align with the work environment and responsibilities of the USPS position you are applying for.
Move the Mail
The section comprising 18 questions is specifically designed to evaluate your aptitude for accurately sorting packages and letters by testing your attention to detail. This section aims to measure your ability to observe and identify important details that are crucial for correct sorting in a postal setting. By testing this area, the USPS can measure your suitability for roles that involve meticulous sorting tasks, ensuring that mail and packages are accurately directed to their target destinations.
Checking for Accuracy
The test section consists of 10 questions and is designed to measure your attention to detail by testing your ability to review printed information quickly and accurately. During the test, you will be presented with information about individuals, including their names, old addresses, and new addresses. In each question, you will need to compare four details and determine whether the customer information displayed on the screen matches the records of the USPS. This section focuses on your ability to quickly identify and discern small differences or similarities within the provided information. This is an essential skill involved in processing and verifying addresses in a postal setting.
Free USPS 474 Practice Test Questions, Answers, and Explanations
Choose two answers – one that represents the response that you will most likely do, and the second that represents the response that you will least likely do.
You are a mail carrier delivering mail to a residential neighborhood. As you approach a house, you notice that the mailbox is overflowing with mail and some of the mail is sticking out, exposed to the weather. What would you do in this situation?
- Leave the mail as it is and continue with your delivery route.
- Take out the exposed mail from the mailbox and leave it on the porch.
- Collect all the mail from the overflowing mailbox and leave a notice for the recipient to pick up the remaining mail at the local post office.
- Sort through the mail, removing any sensitive or important items, and place the rest back in the mailbox.
Describe Your Work Style
(A) I do not let criticism get to me
(B) Overcoming criticism is sometimes difficult
Most like me (A)
Somewhat like me (A)
Most like me (B)
Somewhat like me (B)
Tell Us Your Story
In this section, you need to select the option that best represents a challenging situation you faced and how you effectively dealt with it.
Choose the response that best describes a challenging situation you faced and how you overcame it:
- I was assigned a complex project with a tight deadline, but I organized my tasks, sought assistance when needed, and successfully completed the project ahead of schedule.
- I encountered a difficult coworker who created a hostile work environment, and despite my efforts to resolve conflicts, the situation remained unresolved, affecting my productivity and morale.
- I struggled with time management, which led to missed deadlines and incomplete tasks. However, I sought guidance from a mentor, implemented effective strategies, and improved my organizational skills.
- I faced a sudden change in responsibilities due to a company-wide restructuring, and while initially overwhelmed, I quickly adapted to the new role, proactively sought training, and successfully transitioned into my new responsibilities.
What Motivates You
I prefer to work in a setting where:
- Employees actively assist customers in accessing convenient and dependable delivery services.
- The company takes the lead in the market.
Move the Mail
Sort the mail accordingly:
Checking for Accuracy
Check if the customer information matches the USPS records or if there is a mistake:
What Score Do You Need to Pass the 474 Postal Exam?
To successfully pass the USPS 474 assessment, you need a score of 70 or above. If you score below this threshold, you will get an ineligible status, indicating that you do NOT meet the required minimum score. If you fail, you will have to wait for a period of 12 months before you are even eligible to retake the test. It is important to get a 70% or higher to even move on to the next step in the selection process.
Is the USPS Assessment 474 Hard?
The difficulty level of the USPS Assessment 474 varies from person to person. The test is uniquely designed to see if you are a good match for the mail carrier job. The exact Postal Exam 474 failure rate is unknown, but appears to be as high as 80% percent. Don't leave your fate up to chance, familiarize yourself with the content, practice sample questions, and study relevant materials.
What Happens if You Fail the MC 474?
In order to pass the 474 Virtual Entry Assessment MC (474), you must achieve a minimum score of 70%. If you fail to achieve this score you will not be considered for the specific position you applied for, as well as ANY other positions within the same job group. Additionally, you will be ineligible to retake the same version of the USPS MC 474 Assessment for a period of one year.
But, it's important to note that you will still have the opportunity to take other versions of the USPS Virtual Entry Assessment (VEA) if you apply for a position that requires a different version e.g. USPS Assessments - 475, 476, and 477. Each version of the VEA is customized to measure specific skills and qualifications, so you may have the chance to demonstrate your abilities through a different version of the exam.
What Should I Expect from USPS Exam 474?
Upon applying for a job that requires the USPS 474 Exam, you will get an email containing instructions to take the test. It is important to monitor your email inbox, including the spam folder, to make sure you receive the email notification in a timely manner. Once you receive the email invitation, you will have a time window of only three days (72 hours) to complete the VEA. The assessment typically takes approximately 30-45 minutes to finish. It is advisable to start the test as soon as possible after receiving the email invitation to give yourself ample time for completion.
Inside Tip: It is advisable to take the Virtual Entry Assessment MC (474) as soon as you feel adequately prepared. This is because applicants are initially ranked based on the order of their assessment submission, and subsequently by their scores. Therefore, submitting your assessment early can potentially give you an advantage in the ranking process.
What Happens if I Don't Take the 474 Virtual Entry Assessment by the Deadline?
If you apply for multiple positions that require the same version of the VEA, you must finish the assessment within 72 hours of receiving the first VEA invitation. Failing to complete the exam by the designated deadline will result in an ineligible score, and as a result, you will not be considered for the position you applied to. BUT, you are still eligible to apply for other positions that require the same exam, as well as for other jobs that require a different exam. It is important to follow the specified deadlines to maintain your eligibility for the desired position, but even if you miss the deadline, you can still pursue different opportunities within the USPS.
Where Do I Take the 474 Test?
The VIRTUAL ENTRY ASSESSMENT – MC (474) for Mail Carrier jobs is considered a non proctored exam or an online assessment that you can take independently, without the need for supervision or monitoring. You have the flexibility to choose the location where you will take the exam, whether it's at home, a library, or any other suitable place with internet access.
You can complete the USPS Test 474 using a smartphone, tablet, or computer of your preference. That being said, we advise against taking the test on a cell phone.
How Long is my USPS 474 Assessment Score Valid for?
Your score will be valid from 2-6 years.
What Happens After the USPS Virtual Entry Assessment?
After you finish the exam, you should regularly check your email for updates regarding the status of your application. The USPS will communicate all important information or updates through email. To view your exam results for VEA (Virtual Entry Assessment) exam 474, you can access your eCareer profile. Navigate to the "Roadmap" and "Assessments" pages within your profile to find your exam results. When reviewing your results, you will either see an indication of "eligible" or "ineligible."
How Can I Prepare for the USPS Test 474?
The good news is that most applicants who submit an application for a mail carrier position will receive an invitation to take the MC 474 test. The problem is you will be given a 72 hour window to complete the exam from when the invitation is sent. This is NOT a long window. So, you want to give this process some forward thinking. You don't want to leave yourself in a crunch. Additionally, if you do not get at least a 70% on this exam you will need to wait a full year before reapplying. We recommend familiarizing yourself with Mail Carrier Virtual Entry Test format, questions, and answers. The questions seem open ended but there is DEFINITELY a right and wrong way to answer. We like this Postal Exam 474 Practice Test because it exactly mimics what you will face on the test and includes guides and drills.
What Is the Application Process for USPS Mail Carrier Positions?
The application process for USPS mail carrier positions, such as City Carrier, Rural Carrier, City Carrier Assistant, and Rural Carrier Associate, usually involves the following steps:
1. Submit Application
Begin by submitting an application for the desired mail carrier position through the USPS website's eCareers system. Search for the job using the keyword "Mail Carrier" and your desired city. Create a profile to save your progress and track your status. Note that you must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen to apply to many positions.
2. Take the USPS Virtual Entry Assessment
After submitting your application, you will need to take the USPS 474 Exam, which assesses your knowledge and eligibility for the mail carrier position. If you meet the initial requirements, you will be sent an email with instructions on how to take the exam. Make sure to check all email folders, including spam and junk folders, to avoid missing any USPS communications. Add email domains such as @usps.gov, @psionline.com, @geninfo.com, and @uspis.gov to your contact list to ensure you receive all important emails. Follow the guidelines provided in the email to complete the exam.
Motor Vehicle Records Check
If you pass the MC 474 Test you will be given three days to complete a Motor Vehicle Records Check. You must follow the instructions sent to you, have your driver's license number, address, and SS handy. It is important that you have a safe driving history to pass this part.
Conditional Job Offer
If you successfully pass the previous steps, you will receive an email with a conditional job offer. The email will include your ranking, which is determined by your exam score and Veteran's Preference Points. Detailed instructions will be provided by email@example.com. You will have three days to accept or decline the conditional offer online. If you accept, you will need to complete a series of forms.
Get Your Fingerprints
Schedule an appointment to have your fingerprints taken, which is required for the security investigation. Make sure to bring a photo ID and complete this step within five calendar days.
Criminal Background Check
Complete the SF85 National Agency Check with Inquiries (NACI) questionnaire. You will receive an email from NoreplyNACI@uspis.gov with instructions to complete the questionnaire within three days.
Drug Screening Clearance
Prior to being offered the mail carrier position, you must pass a drug screening. You will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org with instructions to schedule your drug screen, typically involving providing a urine sample for testing.
It's important to note that specific steps and procedures may vary, so carefully follow the instructions provided in the emails and communications from USPS throughout the application process.
Learn more about all the USPS Assessments - 474, 475, 476, and 477.