Postal Worker Test Preparation: Testing Procedures and Rules for Test 473 (page 3)
After You Apply for the Exam—the Scheduling Notice
About two weeks after you apply to take the exam (using one of the two methods just described), a scheduling notice will be mailed to you at the address you provided in your application. The notice will indicate your scheduled testing date, time, and location (the address of the exam office where you are to report for the test). The notice indicates the time by which you must report to the test site, not the time that testing actually begins. Your testing date will probably be about six weeks from when you receive the notice (eight weeks after you applied for the test), but the time might be even longer. The packet that you’ll receive will actually contain two separate items:
- Your admission pass, which tells you when and where to report for the test
- A 15-page booklet about the exam that contains the following information:
Some sample questions similar to the ones on each part of the exam
Instructions about what to bring with you to the exam office on the day of your exam
The same two-tier survey that the USPS Web site provides during the online application process
A brief description of each part of the test, along with some basic test-taking suggestions
Exam Accommodations for Persons with Qualifying Disabilities
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the U.S. Postal Service must find ways to accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities, where appropriate, during the examination process (as well as on the job). Under the act, a disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity,” which includes functions such as hearing, seeing, walking, speaking, caring for self, performing manual tasks, and breathing.
If you are a Postal Service applicant and you believe that you are a qualified individual with a disability who requires accommodation during the application process (including a Postal Service exam), you are responsible for making your needs known as early as possible. Request accommodation in advance by contacting the official, or local, manager of human resources of the examination administration office in the city or region where you plan to take the exam. Explain the nature of your limitations and the accommodation you need. (This request can also be made by someone else on your behalf.)
If your disability is not obvious, you may be required to provide documentation from an appropriate professional to clearly explain the nature and/or impact of the disability and your need for reasonable accommodation during the application process, including the test.
For more information, see USPS Publication 316, “Reasonable Accommodation in the U.S. Postal Service: A Guide for Employees and Applicants.”
The Day of the Exam
On exam day, there are two very important points you must remember:
- Don’t be late! Be sure to leave for the test site early enough so that you are sure you won’t be late. Keep in mind that if you arrive any later than the reporting time indicated on your scheduling notice—even only by a minute or two—you won’t be allowed to take the exam.
- Don’t forget your admission pass and a picture I.D. You won’t be admitted to the testing site or allowed to take the exam without these two items. Also be sure to take at least two sharpened No. 2 pencils along. Don’t count on the exam supervisor or another test taker to have extra pencils in case you forget yours.
We cannot emphasize the preceding points strongly enough. After all, if you’re not allowed to take the test, you’ll need to start the application process all over again, delaying your possible employment by the USPS by at least two months. If the application period has expired, you’ll need to wait until the next vacancy announcement, which might not occur until the next year or even later, before applying again take the exam.
Note: On exam day, be sure to eat a good meal before you leave for the test site, and check the location of the test site given on your scheduling notice to make sure you know where it is and how to get there.
Testing Procedures and Rules
Once you and the other test takers have been admitted to the exam room and the time deadline for reporting to the test site has passed, the exam supervisor will explain the testing procedures and rules and will pass out test booklets and answer sheets. Expect these pretest procedures to take at least 20 minutes.
The exam supervisor will state key procedural rules that you must follow during the test and answer any questions about them before the timed testing begins. Here are key rules that you must follow:
- All test takers begin each part of the test simultaneously, and only when the exam supervisor instructs you all to begin.
- Once you begin a particular timed part of the test, you are not allowed to work on any other part of the test. The exam supervisor will patrol the testing room to monitor for cheating.
- At the end of each timed part, the supervisor will inform all test takers that they must stop, put their pencils down, and refrain from turning to another part of the exam.
- Just before each part begins, the supervisor will announce how much time is allowed for the part, and then will announce that you may begin work on the part.
- You can leave the testing room at any time to use the restroom, stretch, get a drink of water, or for any other reason. However, the testing clock continues to run, whether or not you’re working on the test.
- Test takers are subject to disqualification and expulsion for failing to follow the procedural rules, for disturbing others during the test, or for cheating.
After completion of the timed test, the exam supervisor will collect all answer sheets and exam booklets. The total running time of Test 473 is 129 minutes (2 hours, 9 minutes). Allowing for the pretest and posttest procedures, you can expect to spend up to 3 hours at the test site.
After the Test—Your Rating on the Entrance Register
After the test, your answer sheet will be sent to the National Test Administration Center for scoring. Within about four weeks, you’ll be notified by mail of your test score and whether you qualify for postal employment based on the results. Any score of 70 or above on the 0 to 100 scale is considered a qualifying score for Test 473. If you fail to attain a passing score of 70 on the exam, you do not qualify to continue with the hiring process; if you still wish to pursue postal employment, you’ll need to start over by applying to take the exam again during a later vacancy-announcement period.
A passing score qualifies you to continue with the hiring process, but it is no guarantee of a job with the Postal Service. Assuming that you qualify, your name will be listed on the Postal Service’s entrance register, along with the names of all other applicants who qualified by passing the same test during the same announcement period. The register rates all such applicants numerically in descending order, except for disabled military veterans, who are placed at the top of the list (and ranked amongst themselves separately), ahead of all other applicants.
Other military veterans receive either 5 or 10 additional rating points, depending on the length of their military service and certain other factors. Among all applicants other than disabled veterans, preference is given to veterans over other applicants receiving the same final rating after veteran preference points are added. For example, among three applicants with the same rating, if one is a military veteran, that applicant will be placed ahead of the other two applicants on the register.
As job positions become available, the Postal Service selects applicants from the top of the entrance register and notifies them of how to proceed with the next step in the hiring process.
Note: During the hiring process, the Postal Service is required to give preferences to military veterans under the Veterans’ Preference Act of 1944.
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