Ace the Postal Exam 474 - Virtual Entry Assessment in 2023

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Working at the United States Postal Service (USPS) can provide many benefits. To become a postal employee, you will first need to pass an assessment. The USPS uses the Virtual Entry Assessment 474 (VEA 474) test exams for most entry-level positions. For example, to become a mailman at the U.S. post office, you must first pass The Virtual Entry Assessment (MC 474), also known as the Mail Carrier Test. USPS Exam 474 must be taken and given by anyone wishing to become a mailman.

The table below shows which sections you’ll be taking as part of your Postal Exam 474:

 Postal Exam 474Postal Exam 475Postal Exam 476Postal Exam 477
Tell Us Your Story🗸🗸🗸🗸
Describe Your Approach🗸🗸🗸🗸
Interpersonal Skills🗸🗸🗸🗸
Situational Judgment Test🗸🗸🗸🗸
Finding Duplicatesx🗸🗸🗸
Work Your Registerxxx🗸

Prepterminal’s All-Inclusive Postal Exam Course covers every section of every variant of the Postal Exam. If you’re taking any of the Postal exams, this course will walk you through every step of the process and teach you how to ace the exam with expert shortcuts and realistic mock exams. Start studying now to master the Postal Exam and kickstart your career!

What is the Postal Exam 474?

Postal exam 474 is one of the four new Virtual Entry Assessment tests recently developed and launched to replace the now-obsolete exam 473. Postal exam 474 is also known as the Mail Carrier VEA 474 exam, and it is used in the recruitment process for all mail delivery jobs. Below is a list of specific mail delivery jobs. Anyone applying for one of these job positions will need to complete the USPS exam 474.

  • City Carrier
  • Casual City Carrier
  • City Carrier Assistant 1
  • City Carrier Assistant 2
  • Rural Carrier
  • Assistant Rural Carrier
  • Rural Carrier Associate

Free Postal Exam 474 Practice Test

Let’s take a look at a short Postal Exam practice test to get to know the test a bit better.

Why Take the Postal Exam 474?

The Virtual Entry Assessment – MC 474 is a compulsory screening step that you must take and pass if you want to become a mailman.

Achieving a passing score of 70 is essential, as applicants who don’t get this score attain an ineligible status. Once you receive this status you can only retake the test after a 12-month period.

According to the USPS, 80%-90% of applicants fail the USPS exam 474. The difficult nature of the exam and the knowledge that you only have one chance to pass per year increases anxiety levels. That is why it is highly recommended to start preparing for the 474 exams as early as possible.

What is Included in the Virtual Entry Assessment – MC (474)?

The USPS VEA 474 Postal Exam features the following 3 sections:

Section #1. Tell Us Your Story

this section will present you with questions about aspects of any previous job positions you may have held. Don’t stress if you don’t have any prior work experience, you can just answer that this is your first job. You will also be asked about your attendance record, your working relationship with your peers, and how your supervisor may evaluate your performance.

Section #2. Describe Your Approach

this section asks you questions that relate to how you handle other people, your approach towards specific parts of your work, and how you would react on a personal level when placed in certain conditions.

Section #3. Work Scenarios (Work Situations)

in this section, you will be given descriptions of possible work situations and then asked how you would react in those work situations. In other words, what you would or would not do under those specific situations.

Postal Exam 474 Prep Course

Sample Questions for the Virtual Entry Assessment – MC (474)

SJT/Work Scenario Question:

While assigned at the drop-off office, a customer hands you their filled-up form along with the parcel that they want to send to a relative. Upon inspecting the details of the form, you notice that the zip code of the recipient is missing. After pointing this out to the customer, they state that they do not know the zip code of their relative’s address.

Question: Which of the following courses of action are you most likely and least likely to take?
  • 1:
    Inform them that you will not be able to accept the parcel without the zip code.
  • 2:
    Ask them to contact their relative for their zip code.
  • 3:
    Tell them that they can search for the zip code online.
  • 4:
    Offer to search for the zip code in the USPS database and have the customer confirm it if possible.
Answer: D (most likely) and A (least likely)


This question isn’t about getting the zip code correct; at least, this isn’t the main point of it. Instead, this question is put in the postal exam because the organization wants to measure just how helpful you are towards customers, especially those who are not familiar with how the requirements of sending in parcels based on how many details have to be in the forms.

Option D would show that you are not just a candidate that would shrug off a customer just because they messed up an application form for their parcel and call it a day. This will allow the USPS to know that you are willing to go the extra mile to show how friendly and helpful employees of the postal service is.

Option A can be considered as the least likely course of action that you should take as you are not being helpful even though the situation can easily be solved.

Describe Your Approach:

Question: I value accuracy over speed.


As a postal officer, it is vital that every parcel, letter, or package is sent to the right recipient, meaning you must be able to deliver them to the correct house or apartment unit no matter how confusing or large the area is.

This isn’t to say that making deliveries on time is not important, but it is more difficult to explain why a parcel was given to the wrong person/address, especially if the address was given completely and correctly.

How Long is the Postal Exam 474?

The 474 Virtual Entry Assessment is a self-administered assessment that is typically completed in about 45 minutes. The exam must be completed within 72 hours (3 days) of submitting an application for a job.

This time limit is also present in the 475 virtual entry assessment, which is primarily used for mail handler applicants, the 476 virtual entry assessment, which is for clerks and operators, and the Postal Exam 477 for associates and customer service representatives.

As there is a very limited amount of time available for preparations after applying, so it is advisable to start practicing for the 474 exams as soon as you decide you wish to become a mailman. Thus, ideally, you should enroll in our preparatory Postal Exam course prior to applying for a job.

However, if you have already submitted your application, don’t stress. Just make sure to plan to sit the exam near the end of your three-day time period. This gives you at least a couple of days to prepare using our prep course.

What is the Passing Score for the VEA 474?

The maximum score you can achieve on one of the exams, as well as the VEA 475, 476, and 477, is 100. You will need to achieve a score of at least 70 in order to pass. You can find out what score you attained upon completion of your test by logging into your candidate profile on the USPS website. If you do not manage to pass, you will get an email that says you are “ineligible.” This indicates that you will not be considered for the job position you applied for. If you can, make good use of a free practice postal exam 474.

Who This Course is For

  • Applicants to USPS who want to prepare for the Virtual Entry Assessment – MC (474).
  • Previous applicants to USPS who did not get the job and would like to be better prepared the next time around.

FAQs About the 474 Postal Exam

What is a good passing score on the 474 Postal Exam?

The passing score is similar to that of postal exam 473, namely 70. Ideally, you should aim to score 85 or above in order to be a competitive candidate.

Is the 474 postal exam difficult?

The Postal Exam 474 is a hard assessment, and according to the USPS, 80%-90% of applicants fail the test. The test can be tricky as many of the questions are hypothetical and because there often isn’t one clear answer that presents itself as the right option.

What is featured on the Mailman Test?

The MC (474), also known as the Mail Carrier or Mailman Test, features the following sections and a number of questions.

Work Scenarios – 8 questions that need to be answered in approximately 7 minutes. Tell Us Your Story – 20 questions that need to be answered in approximately 2 minutes. Describe Your Approach – 56 questions that need to be answered in approximately 6 minutes.

Can I Resit the Virtual Entry Assessment – MC (474)?

If you don’t pass your 474 postal exam the first time, you cannot take the test again for one year. You can, however, choose to sit a different one of the four exams. Yet this means submitting an application for a different job, which may not be your ideal position. If you do pass the 474 postal exams but want to retake the test to better your score, you will need to wait 24 months.

What else do I need to do to become a Mail Carrier?

To become a mailman at USPS, you need to have a clean criminal background check and driving record and possess U.S. citizenship. You will also have to pass the postal exam 474 and attend a job interview.

How long will my Virtual Entry Assessment – MC (474) score remain valid?

Your USPS postal exam 474 test scores will stay valid for between two and six years, based on whether you pass the test and the job position you submitted an application for.

How our 2020 USPS Prep Course can Help you

According to the USPS, around 80-90% of all candidates will not pass their postal exam. Thus, the passing score implemented for all U.S. Postal Service exams is considerably high. If you want to pass this test you need to achieve a score of at least 70 out of a possible 100. Practicing leading up to the day of your exam will help you refine your test-taking skills and know-how and maximize your chances of passing this difficult exam.

At PrepTerminal we are here to help you optimize your 475 postal exam score. Our tailor-made preparatory postal exam course will help you familiarize yourself with the structure and format of this tricky exam. Our prep course is modular and features both text and video-based material. As such, you can easily follow along, stay engaged and learn the strategies you need to ace your postal test. Don’t hesitate! Give yourself the best possible chance of landing your USPS job and start practicing with us today.

*Note: USPS and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with PrepTerminal or this website.
Matthew Appleyard

Created by: Matthew Appleyard

Psychometric Tutor, Prepterminal Test Expert

1426 students,
, 265 Reviews

I’m Matt, Prepterminal’s Postal Exam Test Prep expert. Any questions about the course? Let me know at [email protected]

Postal Exam 474 Prep Course
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