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# Address Checking Strategies Study Guide for McGraw-Hill's Postal Exams 473/473C

By McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Jun 23, 2011

#### Check Each Part of Each Address Separately

An address and ZIP code may consist of as many as seven distinct parts:

• The number preceding a street name (or the P.O. Box number)
• The street name
• Apartment or suite number (if any)
• City
• Two-letter state abbreviation
• Five-digit ZIP code
• Four-digit ZIP code extension (if any)

Many test takers will read an entire two-line address before inspecting the address to be checked, and all nine digits of a nine-digit ZIP code before inspecting the ZIP code to be checked. The problem with this method is that it can be difficult to remember all that information, and so the possibility of making an address-checking mistake is high. So, for each address, you should check each element of the preceding list separately and in the order listed. For example, first check the number preceding a street name or the number of a P.O. box. Then proceed down the list, finally checking the ZIP code extension if there is one. In addition to decreasing the chances of overlooking an error, checking each part separately will save you time. How? Once you find an error in an address, there’s no need to check the other parts of the address. For example, consider the following address:

 Correct List List to Be Checked 39810 West Gambol Street, Ste. 9 Scottsbluff, NE 39801 West Gambol Street, Ste. 9 Scottsbluff, NE
By initially inspecting only the very first part of this address, the number preceding the street name (in this example, 39810 and 39801), you discover right away that there’s an error in the address to be checked (right column), and so you can ignore the rest of the address’s first line and the entire second line. It doesn’t matter whether there are any other address errors. You know that there’s at least one error in the address, and that’s all you need to know. The correct answer choice must be either B or D, and all that’s left for you to do is check the ZIP code. That’s a real time saver! Similarly, for ZIP codes that contain nine digits, you should focus initially just on the first five digits. For example, consider this pair of ZIP codes:

 Correct List List to Be Checked 69361-0633 69391-0633
Focus initially on just the first five digits, and you’ll immediately see an error (in this example, 69361 and 69391). This means that you can ignore the four-digit extension. It doesn’t matter whether the extension contains any errors. You know there’s at least one error in the ZIP code, and that’s all you need to know.

#### Use Your Fingers to Point to Addresses as You’re Checking Them

When you first learned to read in school, your teacher probably told you not to use your finger to help you read. Well, forget that advice for Test 473! As you check each part of an address, use your left-hand index finger (or pencil) to point to the correct address, and your right-hand index finger (or pencil) to point to the address to be checked. Put your fingers right on the paper, just below the part you’re checking. This method helps you focus, and it ensures that you compare matching parts of the same address.

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