Test 473 is an entry-level test designed by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to measure general aptitude and suitability for certain types of postal work. It is not a test of factual knowledge.

Test 473 and Test 473-C are identical exams; in other words, they are one and the same test. Sometimes the test is administered only to fill City Carrier positions, in which case the exam is called Test 473-C. So the C stands for “City Carrier.”This article will answer most of your questions about Test 473. First, you’ll familiarize yourself with the format and various parts of the exam.

Note: Since Test 473 and Test 473-C are exactly the same, we’ll refer to both simply as Test 473 throughout the rest of this article.

Format and Description of Test 473

Test 473 consists of four separate parts, each of which is timed. Here’s the basic format:


Number of Scored Questions

Time Allowed

Part A: Address Checking

60 questions

11 minutes

Part B: Forms Completion

30 questions

15 minutes

Part C: Coding and Memory

72 questions (total)

13 minutes (total)

Coding Section

36 questions

6 minutes

Memory Section

36 questions

7 minutes

Part D: Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory

236 questions (total)

90 minutes

Personal Characteristics

160 questions


76 questions

The following is a brief description of each of the exam’s four parts.

Part A: Address Checking

Part A will present 60 correct addresses and ZIP codes, numbered 1 through 60. To the right of each address and ZIP code, another address and ZIP code will appear. The two should be the same, but the one on the right might contain one or more errors; in other words, it might not match the correct address exactly. Your job is to determine whether there are any errors and, if so, whether the error is in the address, the ZIP code, or both.

For each of the 60 items in Part A, you select one of four answer choices: (A) if the address and ZIP code are exactly the same, (B) if there’s a difference in the address only, (C) if there’s a difference in the ZIP code only, or (D) if there’s a difference in both the address and the ZIP code.

Part B: Forms Completion

In Part B, your job is to answer a total of 30 questions involving a series of simulated Postal Service forms, such as mailing receipts and shipping instructions. The questions are designed to gauge your ability to complete standard Postal Service forms accurately and properly. More specifically, the questions gauge your ability to fill in the various fields (lines and boxes) on the form with the appropriate information for each field.

Expect to encounter about five different forms on Part B, each one accompanied by about 5 to 7 questions based on the form. For each of the 30 questions, you are given four answer choices: (A), (B), (C), and (D). Some questions ask where certain information should be entered on the form, while other questions ask what types of entries are appropriate for particular fields (lines or boxes) on the form.

Part C: Coding and Memory

Part C is essentially a mail-sorting exercise, in which your job is to assign various street addresses to one of four delivery routes, lettered A, B, C, and D, according to a Coding Guide. Part C is divided into two sections: a Coding Section, which consists of 36 addresses to be coded in 6 minutes, and a Memory Section, which consists of 36 addresses to be coded in 7 minutes. During the Coding Section, you can refer to the Coding Guide, but during the Memory Section, you can’t. (That’s why it’s called the Memory Section.) You will use the same Coding Guide for both sections of Part C.

In each of the two sections of Part C, before you code the 36 scored items, you’ll attempt a series of brief, timed practice exercises to familiarize yourself with the Coding Guide. Thus, the total time for Part C is greater than the 13 minutes allowed for the two scored segments.

Part D: Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory

In Part D, you have 90 minutes to answer 236 questions. The questions in Part D are designed to assess all the various personal characteristics, preferences, and experiences that are relevant to working effectively as an employee of the Postal Service. Part D actually consists of two sections: Personal Characteristics (160 questions) and Experience (76 questions). The Personal Characteristics section contains two basic types of questions. In one type, your job is to identify the extent to which you agree or disagree with a given statement by selecting one of four answer choices: (A) strongly agree, (B) agree, (C) disagree, or (D) strongly disagree. In the other question type, you identify the frequency with which the description fits you by selecting one of four choices: (A) very often, (B) often, (C) sometimes, or (D) rarely or never. The Experience section is designed to gauge your experience in areas relevant to performing effectively as a Postal Service employee. In this section, the response choices vary from one question to the next.

Note: There is no “correct” answer to any question in Part D. However, Part D is scored. How it is scored is a well-guarded USPS secret.