Virtual Entry Assessment (VEA)
If you applied for a job in the postal service, and you were lucky to be shortlisted as one of the successful candidates, there are high chances that you were subjected to a 473/47E exam to evaluate skills that could otherwise not be measured by looking at your academic qualifications or on-job experience. However, this exam was retired on April 1, 2019, and it has now been replaced by the USPS Virtual Entry Assessment Program, also known as VEA.
This new exam consists of various assessments, which are unique to specific job positions within the USPS. These assessments include;
- Postal Exam 474 for mail carrier jobs
- Postal Exam 475 for mail handler jobs
- Postal Exam 476 for mail processing jobs
- Postal Exam 477 for customer service jobs
On the postal website, you will find these tests specifically referred to as;
- The Mail Carrier VEA
- The Mail Handler VEA
- The Mail Processing VEA
- The Customer Service VEA
About the VEA
The four assessments within the Virtual Entry Assessment program are regarded as different since they are used for different positions within the postal service, but primarily, they all contain similar sections drawn from the personal characteristics and experience inventory section of the USPS 473E test.
Although the questions in this new test take a different angle from that of the previous test, rest assured that you will be presented with a certain number of timed questions, which will mostly cover your personal characteristics, experiences, and tendencies that will affect your overall performance as an employee of the service.
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Are the other sections of the 473/473E gone?
One of the biggest stressors of the postal 473/473E exams is that it contained four formidable sections, i.e., address checking, forms completion, coding & memory, and the personal characteristics and experience inventory. All these sections were timed, and this made it difficult for many people to ace it. The good news is, the first three sections have been scrapped in the new test, which means that you will only have to worry about the personal characteristics and experience inventory part when doing your practice.
How often can you take the test?
You can only take the test once every 12 months, which simply means you can only do it once every year. Therefore, if you are passionate about getting your dream job at the postal service, you need to develop an intensive practice schedule, or else you will have to stay for quite a long time before you get another chance.
How to complete the assessment process
Unlike the previous version of the USPS exam, the assessment process of the new program is quite straightforward. Once you are successfully shortlisted for a job that requires the VEA, you will receive an email from eCareer, which is the USPS applicant tracking system. This email will contain a lot of information, including a link that will allow you to launch the test.
The postal exam 474 portal is highly user-friendly, and you can access it using your smartphone, tablet, or PC at the comfort of your convenience.
You need to know that you will not take the VEA in a test center. Therefore, to boost your chances of acing it, it is highly recommended that you choose an environment that is free from distractions or noise. You can consider going to a public library, or better still, choose a quiet place within your home and alert everybody in your household not to cause any disturbance.
Is the VEA timed?
Just like many aptitude tests available, including the USPS 473/473E, the VEA is a timed test. Once you receive the email from eCareer, you will have 72 hours to submit the test. Three days might sound like a lot of time, but if you don’t manage it well, you might be unable to complete the exam. Don’t consider the last minute rush. It is highly recommended that you start working on it as soon as you receive the email invitation.
An important thing to note is that time management is part of the test. That said, if you are unable to complete the exam on time, you will miss out on the position you have applied for, but you will be allowed to apply for other openings in the future.
How to deal with technical difficulties when taking the VEA
Since this is a new exam by the postal service, you might be unable to complete the test within the allotted time due to technical difficulties. Luckily, this is not something to worry about. A link to technical support as well as a telephone number is provided at the beginning of the assessment, and you can call and get the issue solved. Also, there are quite several tips provided, which you can use to troubleshoot various technical issues, and ensure you complete and submit the test before the time lapses.
How to find your results
Once you have finished the test, you can check the results by logging in to your eCareer Candidate Profile. Go to Roadmap, then click the Assessment page.
Remember, the results you get in your VEA exam might be used if you apply for a job that requires the same version in the future. Therefore, you need to ensure you do adequate practice so that you can increase your chances of getting a good score.
What an “Illegible” message means
In case you don’t see your score in the eCareer candidate portal, but you see a message saying “Ineligible” it means you haven’t passed the test, and you will have to wait for at least one year before taking that version of the test. Nonetheless, you can apply other jobs that require a different VEA version.
Also, you are likely to get the “ineligible” message in case you don’t complete the test within 72 hours.
Does the test have an accommodation version?
In case you have a disability, and you cannot do the test under normal circumstances, a link for people with a qualified ADA disability is provided at the beginning of the assessment. Click it, and you will be redirected to an accommodation version of the test.
Tips to pass the USPS Virtual Entry Assessment Test
To pass this test:
- Research- first and foremost, make sure you understand what the test is all about, by re-reading this post. Then, ensure you know the skills that the employer will be testing using the test. This will help you in devising your focused-practice strategy.
- Practice- you cannot ace the VEA exam without practice. Even though this is a new kid in the block, there will be hundreds of practice tests available online in no time. Make sure you use VEA test practice packages from reputable sites and do as many practice tests as you can beforehand. This will go a long way in boosting your confidence and increasing your chances of success.
- Find a convenient place to take the test– on the test day, ensure you work in a quest place. Even though the test has questions from the same section, it is not as easy as it sounds. Your level of concentration will be a major contributor to your final score.
- Be in the right state of mind- the VEA is one stumbling block that stands between you and your dream job at the postal service. If you pass the test, you will proceed to the other steps of the hiring process, and ultimately get the post you have applied for. Therefore, make sure you get enough sleep before the test and be in the right state of mind during the test. In case you find yourself getting nervous when the clock has started ticking, try the deep-breath technique to ease the tension!