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Whats on the Exam?

Electronic exam 473E is broken down into two sessions, a self-administered session you take on your own and a supervised session that you take at one of their contract testing facilities. Self-administered Session 1 is a Personal Characteristics & Experience Inventory test. Most people take this online test at home using their own computer, but you can take it anywhere using whatever computer is convenient for you (at a library, borrow a friends computer, etc.). This test builds a profile of your personality and is used to identify the best potential employees. Session 2 is an online electronic test as well, but it is taken at a testing site in a strictly supervised environment. Session 2 consists of three parts as follows: Address Checking has 60 questions. Each question is a pair of items consisting of an address (street/P.O. Box, city, and state) and a ZIP code. You are given 11 minutes to compare the items and answer A if they are exactly alike, B if they are different and the difference is in the address, C if they are different and the difference is in the ZIP code, or D if they are different and the difference is in both the address and the ZIP code. Considering the detailed comparisons to be made, the speed demanded on this section is quite challenging for most applicants. In Forms Completion , you are shown various forms used by the Postal Service and asked questions about how they should be completed. You are given 15 minutes to answer 30 multiple-choice questions. The answer choices are A, B, C, or D. If you were an experienced Postal employee, this task would probably be easier. But, since youve never seen any of these forms and never even heard of many of the topics involved, it becomes a most challenging ordeal. And one of the complaints I regularly hear is that choosing an answer is made even more difficult by the ambiguous and confusing wording of the forms. (Did you really think that a federal agencys bureaucratic forms would be logical or easy to understand?) Coding and Memory consists of two sections as described below. As the title suggests, one section is the Coding Section, and the other is the Memory Section. For both sections, you are shown a chart of delivery routes and various address ranges that fit within the delivery routes.
In the Coding Section, you are given 6 minutes to answer 36 questions. Each question is an address, and the answer should be the delivery route (A, B, C, or D) where the chart indicates that the address belongs. In the Coding Section, you are allowed to look at the chart as you answer the questions. This section is like an open-book test you took in school. The answers are right there on a chart waiting for you to look them up. The real problem, the reason many people fail, is the next section. In the Memory Section, you have 7 minutes to answer 36 similar address questions. Again, the answer is the delivery route (A, B, C, or D) where the chart indicates that the address belongs. But in the Memory Section, you are not allowed to look at the chart as you answer the questions. Instead, you are given a few minutes to

memorize the address ranges and delivery routes, and then you must answer the questions from memory. This is the Bad Boy! This section is one of the big reasons that so many people fail. The memorization is inhuman. Success calls for some unique memorization strategies developed explicitly for this test.

Since exam 473E is an online electronic test, you choose answers for all questions by clicking a radio button with the computer mouse.

Scoring Formulas
Each individual part of the exam is scored separately. Therefore, as we discuss scoring, we will look at each exam session, part, section, etc. individually. Session 1 that you take on your own, the Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory test, is scored, but the Postal Service refuses to release any details about how it is scored. They somehow convert your answers into a numerical score, but they wont share any information with the public whatsoever about how this is accomplished. The Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory test is probably the most important part of the exam to both you and the Postal Service. If you fail this part of the exam, you are deemed ineligible to take the rest of the exam and ineligible for Postal employment. Thankfully, however, all is not lost if this happens. Applicants can try again by retaking the exam after 120 days. As previously discussed, Session 2 (the supervised session) consists of three parts, and the final part of this session is broken down into two sections. Each of these parts/sections is scored individually, and these individual scores are all combined together along with your score from the Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory test to create you final overall exam score. We know how they score the individual parts/sections of Session 2, but again they will share no information about the formula used to combine all these scores together to calculate the final score. It is simply not possible to get them to share anything about scoring formulas for the Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory test or for the final overall exam score. I even submitted an official request to Postal headquarters for the scoring formulas under the federal Freedom of Information Act, but they refused saying that releasing such information would compromise the integrity of their testing process. So, we do not know what the overall scoring formula is, but we do know what the formula is not. It is not simply a combination of the individual part/section scores because, if you add up the individual part/section scores, the total can easily exceed 100. And the overall score is not a simple percentage. For instance, it does not mean that your score is an 85 just because you answered 85% of the questions correctly. Again, we know lots of things that the formula is not, but we unfortunately do not know what anything about what it is. Back to our discussion on session two, the scoring formulas for the various parts/sections are described below. It is beneficial for you to know about these scoring formulas, but you will not personally use them because each part/section of Session 2 in this guides electronic practice exams will be automatically scored for you. Comparing your results to the highest possible score on each part/section should

give you a reasonable indication of how you might have fared on the overall exam. Each time you take a practice exam, your goal should be to improve on your previous score.
1. To score Address Checking, they subtract 1/3 of your number of wrong answers from your number of correct
answers. The result is your score.

Example: Lets say that, out of the 60 questions, I answered 50 in the time allowed. And, of the 50 that I answered, 44 were correct, and 6 were wrong. To score myself, I subtract 2 (1/3 of the 6 of wrong answers) from 44 (the number of correct answers). My score is 42.

2. To score Forms Completion, they simply count your number of correct answers.
Example: Lets say that, out of the 30 questions, I answered 29 in the time allowed. And, of the 29 that I answered, 26 were correct, and 3 were wrong. My score is simply a 26 the number of correct answers.

3. Both sections of Coding and Memory are scored just like Address Checking. They subtract 1/3 of your number of
wrong answers from your number of correct answers. The result is your score.

Coding Example: Lets say that, out of the 36 questions, I answered 34 in the time allowed. And, of the 34 that I answered, 31 were correct, and 3 were wrong. To score myself, I subtract 1 (1/3 of the 3 of wrong answers) from 31 (the number of correct answers). My score is 30.

Memory Example: Lets say that, out of the 36 questions, I answered 30 in the time allowed. And, of the 30 that I answered, 21 were correct, and 9 were wrong. To score myself, I subtract 3 (1/3 of the 9 of wrong answers) from 21 (the number of correct answers). My score is 18.

Exam Scores
Earlier we discussed this exams historic failure rate of 80-90%. This is a real statistic quoted to me by Postal authorities. It is not something I made up. Another important bit of historic trivia is that the highest possible score recorded for the pencil & paper exam was just below 90. Theoretically, the highest possible score is supposed to be 100, but theories do not always hold up in the real world. And in this case, theoretical statements notwithstanding, the highest anyone ever really scored was just under 90. Note that in the above paragraph I spoke in the past tense, used the word historic, and referred to the pencil & paper test. As the Postal Service was making all the

recent massive changes to their hiring and testing program, former pencil & paper test 473 was converted to an electronic exam, its content was revised somewhat, and it was renamed the 473E. The E stands for electronic. Exam 473E is too new for us to make final judgments about it, but I have noticed a definite trend toward higher scores on the electronic exam. Having personally taken the new exam multiple times, I have discovered the reason for this trend

When taking the pencil & paper test, there were two full size 11 X 17 booklets open on a table in front of you. One was the question booklet, and the other was the answer sheet booklet with thousands of answer bubbles spread across it. Trying to not get out of order and to mark answers in the correct spots while traversing all this distance between booklets was quite distracting, challenging, and time consuming. Darkening the bubbles was also time consuming. If the bubbles were not fully darkened in a meticulous fashion, you would not get credit for the answer. And at the same time, you had to make very sure that no pencil marks strayed outside of the bubble. It seemed that you had to carefully scribble around and around in the bubble forever just to properly darken one single answer. This challenging method of marking answers definitely had a negative effect on exam scores. Just the opposite, on the electronic test, you choose answers by clicking a radio button with the computer mouse which is a breeze! One little click, and BAM your done. Whats more, the answer choices are always right next to the question, either just below it or just to the right of it, so theres no distance challenge involved. This one difference has had a positive effect on scores by enabling applicants to work faster and mark answers more accurately. People who previously took the pencil & paper test report slightly higher scores when taking the new electronic exam.

The bottom line is that I expect the highest possible score on the new electronic test to be something just over 90 rather than just under 90, and I expect the failure rate on the new electronic test to be slightly lower. I share all this with you for a particular reason. You need to realize that, regardless of what other people may tell you (including most other Postal test prep authors and many Postal employees who are ignorant of the real facts), a score of100 is simply not possible on exam 473E. When you receive your score, you need to know that the highest possible score you could have achieved was just over 90. This makes a huge difference when you are trying to gauge how good your score is. Lets say that you get a score of 86. If you believed that a 100 was possible, you would feel that a score of 86 is not very good. But now that you know the highest possible score is just over 90, you realize that an 86 is great only a few points below the best score anybody could ever get! This puts your score in a whole new light and shows that you are a success, not a failure. Talk about an attitude adjustment, news like this can change your whole world.

How Unanswered Questions Affect Your Score


Unanswered questions are not mentioned in the scoring formulas. But, do not mistakenly assume that this means they are acceptable. Just the opposite, unanswered questions severely hurt your exam score. Consider this In order to

make a high score, you need to capture as many points as possible on the exam. Every point you fail to capture, whether by leaving a question unanswered or by answering it incorrectly, reduces your final score. Obviously, it is to your advantage to correctly answer as many questions as possible and to leave the fewest possible questions blank.

Should You Guess?


You should not guess on the Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory test. You should answer honestly and sincerely. There are no right or wrong answers. For each question, you simply select the answer that best reflects your own individual personality, temperament, experience, etc. You also should absolutely not attempt to manipulate the questions by trying to select answers you think they prefer. There are built-in indicators that will expose any attempt at manipulation. The software that scores the exam is programmed to look for indications of manipulation. For each possible manipulation attempt indicated, the software deducts substantial points from your score. The quickest route to failure is to guess or attempt to manipulate on this part of the exam. Both ethically and practically, the best and only course is to answer honestly and sincerely. You should not guess in Address Checking or in Coding and Memory. Due to their scoring formulas, you are penalized for incorrect answers. Therefore, guesses are more likely to hurt you than help you. Subtracting only 1/3 of the number of wrong answers may not seem like much of a penalty, but when you factor in the odds that your guesses will be wrong three out of four times, the truth becomes obvious. The bottom line is that each guess will likely offset one of your correct answers. Therefore, each guess really costs you two points one point for the question you guessed at incorrectly and another point for one of the questions you answered correctly but failed to get credit for because the incorrect guess offset it. However, guesses are acceptable in Forms Completion due to its particular scoring formula. On this part of the exam, if you guess and get the correct answer, you picked up an extra point. And if you guessed wrong, you simply missed a point that you were not going to capture anyway. If you do make a guess, go with your first choice - don't sit and debate between two or three possible answers. Psychological tests have shown that your first choice is usually the best one. Obviously, however, guessing in any form should be a last resort.

Preparation Before the Exam


On this exam, knowledge is of no value without sufficient practice to develop the skills, strategies, and speed needed for success. This calls for consistent study and practice. Following are several tips for your advance preparation:
Study all of the material in this tutorial section of the guide and take all the practice exams before your test date. Do not wait until the day before the exam to start studying! On the other hand, do not complete all your practice

work months before the exam date either. Natural memory loss will cause you to lose some of the skills and speed that you worked so hard to master. It is very important that you practice under conditions as similar as possible to the real test. Find a quiet setting where you will not be disturbed while taking the practice exams. A term called the practice effect applies to all parts of the exam. The practice effect occurs when a person repeatedly takes an exam over and over a number of times during a brief period of time. For most people, exam scores will be higher the more often you take the test because of increasing familiarity with the material. This trend should become evident as you track your scores on the practice exams. Your score on the second exam should be higher than on the first, the third should be even higher, and so on.

As you learn to pace yourself for speed and accuracy, your scores should increase. For example, let's say that at first you were only able to finish half the questions on a practice exam during the time allowed. This may be discouraging, but at least you answered most of them correctly you only missed a few. You should be proud of this score, right? No, wrong --- Very wrong! You are putting far too much emphasis on accuracy and not nearly enough on speed. To solve this, you must push yourself and practice to develop more speed. Or, lets say you finish an entire practice exam within the required time period, but half of your answers are wrong. It should be obvious that you are placing too much emphasis on speed and not enough attention on accuracy. To solve this, simply slow down and check your answers more carefully. The key is to find a happy medium between speed and accuracy.

This guide gives you simple short-cut strategies that will greatly enhance your test-taking ability and your score. It is critically important that you understand and master these strategies so that you can make the highest possible score.

Test Day
Actually, you will have two test days, one for self-administered Session 1 and another for supervised Session 2 taken at one of their contract facilities. Once you apply, you are told that you must complete the entire testing process within several days. You are able to take Session 1 anytime you like beginning immediately after you apply. After completing Session 1 (unless you failed), you are offered various dates and times within the several days specified to take Session 2 at a nearby testing site. (This is another benefit of the new application system. Regardless of where the job you applied for is located, you will take the exam at a testing site close to your home. You can conveniently apply for jobs all across the U.S.) The below pointers primarily relate to Session 2, but some are applicable to Session 1 as well. When the big day arrives
Get a good nights rest, and have a light, nutritious meal.

Do not drink too many liquids before the test. Do visit the restroom before the test. This may sound childish, but it may literally make the difference between success and failure. You surely will not perform well if forced to take the exam under uncomfortable and distracting conditions.

Dress in layers so that you can comfortably tolerate extreme temperatures in the exam room. I have gone to testing events during the heat of summer dressed in light clothing only to freeze due a supercharged air conditioning system. I have gone to testing events during the cold of winter dressed in warm clothing only to be roasted in the exam room due to a supercharged heating system. Dress so that you can add or remove layers of clothing to accommodate whatever environment is encountered in the exam room.

Leave home early, and plan to arrive at the test site early. Allow time for any conceivable delays (auto problems, traffic congestion, etc.) that you can possibly imagine. The official policy is that you should arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled test time to allow for the check-in process and that you will not be allowed to take the exam if you are more than 15 minutes late. However, some exam administrators are more strict about this, and some are more flexible. The bottom line is that you should not take any chances. Do whatever it takes to assure that you arrive more than 15 minutes early just to be safe!

Another reason to arrive early is to have a chance to familiarize yourself with the exam room. Applicants who have acquainted themselves with their surroundings are more comfortable and tend to perform better.

In order to take the exam, you must have a picture ID and your Login ID and Password chosen as you were applying online. Personal items are not allowed in the testing room. In particular, no electronic devices (cell phones, beepers, PDAs, etc.) are allowed.

Work diligently on each part/section of the exam to make full use of the limited time allowed. Every second counts. If you finish before time is called, go back to check your answers. You can go back to review questions in the part/section currently being taken, but you cannot go back to other parts/sections taken previously or forward to other parts/section not yet taken.

Pace yourself. Find a happy medium between speed and accuracy. Do not spend too much time on any one question.

Try not to let other people or noises distract you. Ear plugs will be made available for your use at the testing site if needed or so desired.

Exam Content & Test-Taking Strategies


Overview

Top

There are four essential keys to test preparation knowledge of exam content, testtaking strategies, realistic practice tests, and commitment. We provide everything you need except the commitment. Thorough and complete test preparation demands dedication and a drive to succeed.

Success is virtually impossible without effective test-taking strategies. Following are strategies that apply to the test as a whole. Later we will learn about strategies the individual parts. Exam Strategy #1: We will use the military strategy Divide and Conquer. If we master each part of the exam individually, we cannot help but succeed on the exam as a whole. Exam Strategy #2: Where the questions are on the left and the answer choices are on the right, use the curser to guide your eyes back and forth across the screen between the questions and the answer choices. In essence, you are using the curser to track your progress as you race through the test so that you dont click answers incorrectly or out of order. Exam Strategy #3: Each strategy presented offers value in terms of points earned on the test. Some strategies enable you to capture many points, and others only a few. The sum total is what is important to you. To achieve your highest possible score, you should master all these strategies through practice. Do not ignore the ones that may seem less valuable. Any tool that can add any points at all to your score is incredibly valuable. Exam Strategy #4: The three parts of Session 2 are rigidly timed. In each part you are asked to complete more questions in a limited period of time than most people can accomplish without help. This guide is your help. Your goals are to (1) learn about exam content; (2) study the test-taking strategies; and (3) master the necessary skills, strategies, and speed as you take the practice exams. On this type of exam, knowledge is of little value without practicing to master what you have learned. Exam Strategy #5: Once you begin to master the speed required, you should have time to answer all the questions within the time allowed and then even go back to check your answers. On both the real test and the practice exams in this guide, there are "Previous Page" and "Next Page" buttons at the bottom of each test page. Use these buttons to go back and/or forth page by page to check your answers within the exam section you are taking at that time. You cannot go backward or forward to other sections; you must stay within and check answers within only the particular exam section you are taking at that time. The answers youve already marked will be displayed as you go back and forth between the pages. Similarly, if you did not answer a question - if you left a question blank - it will displayed without an answer choice marked when you return to it. To change or correct an answer, simply click the new answer choice. The change/correction will be immediate and permanent unless you decide to make yet another change for the same question. Exam Strategy #6: As you are beginning to see, this exam is not like any other test youve ever taken. In many cases, the information and strategies presented will be understood better and appreciated more after experiencing a practice exam. You are therefore encouraged to review the instructions and strategies again after completing each of your practice exams.

Personal Characteristics & Experience Inventory


Personal Characteristics & Experience Inventory is the first session that you take on your own without supervision. The part of the exam is both simple and confusing at the same time. It is simple in that you read a question/statement and then respond by simply stating how it applies to you. It is confusing in that both the questions and the answers can seem ambiguous. And you will notice that they ask about the same topic multiple times. They ask in different ways each time, but the topic (frustration, stress, temper, organization, tolerance, motivation, safety, etc.) is the same. In this session, you have 90 minutes to answer 150 questions. Unlike all other parts/sections, the time allowed for this part of the exam is generous. This is a rare Postal exam situation where speed is not an issue. Most people finish before the 90 minutes run out. All questions are multiple choice. The number and type of answer choices vary as follows:
For the first portion, approximately one third of the questions, the answer choices are Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree. For the second portion, the choices are Very Often, Often, Sometimes, and Rarely or Never. On the final portion, the answer choices are worded differently for each question.

Regardless of how many answer choices are presented or how the answer choices are worded, you can only click one answer choice per question. Even if two or more choices seem appropriate, you must choose only one. As previously discussed, the Postal Service will not release any information about how this part of the exam is scored, but it is indeed scored. There are no right and wrong answers. For each question, you simply select the answer that best reflects your own individual personality, temperament, experience, etc. The purpose of this part of the exam is to create a psychological profile of you as a potential employee. They somehow create a numerical value to be assigned to your profile as a score. So, how do we prepare for this section? The answer is just the opposite of what you want to hear You cannot prepare of this section. This is so important that I must repeat it emphatically It is impossible to prepare for Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory. I know what youre thinking: But, this is probably the most important part of the exam. You said so just a few minutes ago. Theres just got to be some way to prepare for it. Your concerns are valid, but this does not change the unhappy fact that you simply cannot prepare for this section. Allow me to explain As part of my research, I interviewed professionals in the field of psychology and individuals with the company that helped the Postal Service create this part of the exam. Without exception, they all gave me the same information detailed below. On this part of the exam, it is imperative that you answer honestly and sincerely. You may be tempted to choose the answers that seem to make you look best. But, you

absolutely should not attempt to manipulate this part of the exam by trying to select answers you think they prefer. There are built-in indicators that will expose any attempt at manipulation. Computers score the exam, and the computers are programmed to deduct points when any evidence of manipulation is indicated. If you attempt to manipulate, you will get caught, and your score will suffer. You may think that you can outsmart them, but you simply cannot. Both ethically and practically, the best and only course is to answer honestly and sincerely. I thought long and hard about including sample Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory questions in this guide. My concern was that, if I included sample questions, my clients might try to figure out ways to manipulate the questions. Whether it was done intentionally or unconsciously, this would be the worst thing you could do. But on the other hand, test-taking anxiety is a very real problem that can adversely affect an applicants performance and that can only be overcome by becoming familiar and comfortable with the exam content. In the end, the need for overcoming test-taking anxiety won out, and I included one full Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory sample test in the guide. As you take this sample test, be aware that these questions are presented only so that you can experience and become comfortable with this section, that it is not possible to practice or prepare for this section in a traditional sense, and that it is not possible to score this section or to predict how your answers might have influenced your final overall exam score. The bottom line is that the best preparation anyone can give you for the Personal Characteristics and Experience Inventory test is this advice
Answer honestly and sincerely! Do not attempt to manipulate the questions!

Address Checking
The Address Checking section consists of 60 questions to be completed in 11 minutes. You are given a Correct List of addresses and ZIP codes. A List to be Checked, also with addresses and ZIP codes, appears next to the Correct List. The List to be Checked should be exactly like the Correct List, but it may contain errors. Your task is to compare each row of information in the Correct List and the List to be Checked to find if there are A) No Errors, an error in the B) Address Only, an error in the C) ZIP Code Only, or an error in D) Both the address and the ZIP code. Mark your answer (A, B, C, or D) accordingly. It is most important that you understand what they mean by Address on this part of the test. The Address includes (1) the street or the P.O. Box address and (2) the city and state. It includes everything in the column labeled Address. It includes everything but the ZIP code. So, when looking for Address differences, you are looking for differences anywhere except in the ZIP code. Lets review the below sample questions that are laid out exactly like the real thing.

Sample 1. Looking closely, we find that the addresses (street, city, and state) are identical. But, looking at the ZIP code, we find a difference. The last four numbers on the left are 1822, and on the right they are 1882. The difference is in the ZIP code only, so we would click answer choice C. Sample 2. Here we find that everything is alike the address (street, city, and state) and the ZIP code. So, we should click answer choice A. Sample 3. Comparing the addresses, we find that the street names are spelled differently. On the left, Cardona is spelled with an n. On the right, Cardoma is spelled with an m. Everything else, including the ZIP code, is alike. So, we would click answer choice B. Sample 4. Close examination shows that the P.O. Box numbers are different (63114 on the left and 63314 on the right) and that the first five numbers in the ZIP codes are different (26555 on the left and 26655 on the right). So, we should click answer choice D. There are some details about the Address Checking format that are not terribly important, but I will describe them so you wont be taken by surprise. They first give you a brief introductory exercise or two with only a few questions to be answered in a few minutes just to show how this part of the exam is structured. These exercises are not scored and are irrelevant to you because you will already know everything about Address Checking that there is to know. After these exercises they give you the actual 11 minute test with 60 questions. This part of the exam is more of a speed test for many people. Comparing addresses is not terribly difficult, but doing so accurately at the pace demanded can be quite challenging indeed. Following are the strategies needed to master Address Checking. Address Checking Strategy #1: Push yourself for speed. Force yourself to practice at pace beyond your level of comfort. When you become comfortable at that faster speed, push yourself yet again to an even faster pace beyond your newly acquired level of comfort. Repeat the cycle over and over as you continually increase your ability and tolerance for speed. All of us learned in school to place most our emphasis on accuracy and little, if any, on speed. The result is that most of us have a speed/accuracy imbalance at least in terms of this exam. The challenge is, via

practice, to learn to place a little more emphasis on speed and a little less on accuracy. This may sound odd, but consider this How good a score should you expect if every question you answered was correct, but you were only fast enough to answer half the questions in the time allowed? You will score far better if you answer all the questions within the time allowed, even if you answer a few incorrectly because you were working so fast! Address Checking Strategy #2: Distributive Practice is what athletes do consistent practice over a period of time. Considering the speed and eye/hand coordination demanded, Address Checking is similar to an athletic event. Approach your practice as though you were training for the Postal Olympics rather than for a Postal exam. Address Checking Strategy #3: You cannot eat a pizza whole you cut it into manageable pieces. Similarly, you cannot compare the complete address and ZIP code all at the same time you need to break them down into bite-size pieces. Look at the below sample. 2232 2232 Baltazarr Baltazarr St. 9734297324St. Bakersfield, 2911 2911 Bakersville, CA CA Do your comparison step-by-step. Start with the street/P.O. Box, then the city/state, and finally the ZIP code. Comparing our sample step-by-step, we first compare the street addresses and find them to be alike. Then we compare the city/state and find a difference - Bakersfield on the left and Bakersville on the right. Finally, we compare the ZIP codes and find another difference - 97342 on the left and 97324 on the right. So, we would mark the answer D. Breaking the items down into bite-size pieces and comparing them step-by-step dramatically increases speed and accuracy. Highlighting each individual item with the curser as you analyze it helps most people focus and compare more accurately. Address Checking Strategy #4: A quick and easy way to compare the addresses for differences before moving on to the zip codes is to first check only the states. Checking only the states is exceptionally easy and quick. If you see a difference in the states, stop right there and move on to checking the zip codes. Dont waste time comparing the street/P.O. Box and city. When comparing addresses, all it takes is one difference to make them different. Finding 100 more differences wont matter at all. If you find a difference in the states, you have determined that the addresses are different. However, if you do not find a difference in the states, you must check the street/P.O. Box and city for differences before moving on to compare the zip codes. Address Checking Strategy #5: It would be easier to answer these questions if we could mark any differences in the addresses before moving on to the zip codes. Then we would not have to rely on memory when working at such a confusing extreme rate of speed. Unfortunately, this is not an old fashioned paper test where you can make such

identifying marks with a pencil. This is an electronic computerized test. But all is not lost. You can mark differences with the curser. If you find a difference in the addresses, highlight it with your curser before moving on to the zip codes. After comparing the zip codes, look back at the addresses for any differences you highlighted. Combining the differences found and highlighted in the addresses (if any) to the differences you just found in the zip codes (if any) tells you immediately what answer to mark. Address Checking Strategy #6: One of the most important strategies is to memorize the answer choices. You do not have time to look back at the instructions after each question to determine which answer to mark. If you have look back each time, you will never be able to answer all 60 questions within the 11 minutes allowed. The answer choices are copied below for you. Memorize them right now! Do not go forward one more inch until you know them by heart.
A. No Errors B. Address Only C. ZIP Code Only D. Both

Do not guess on Address Checking. As previously discussed, due to the scoring formula, wrong answers count against you. On this section, there is more risk of harm than good when guessing. Address Checking Strategy #8: Practice is the key to performance. The only way to master the skills and speed demanded is to practice. You cannot practice too much. There are six practice exams with this guide. Take all of them. Experience tells us that six is the ideal number of practice exams. If you feel the need for more practice after taking all six exams, you can simply take them again as many times as you like. After taking six full practice exams, you will have dealt with over 1,300 addresses. The likelihood of your remembering individual addresses at that point is very small indeed.
Address Checking Strategy #7:

Forms Completion
Forms Completion tests your ability to identify information needed to complete various Postal Service forms. This part of the exam consists of 30 questions to be completed in 15 minutes. You will be shown 5 different forms and be asked to answer 6 questions about each form. In every case, the form will be displayed on the left side of the screen, and the questions about that form will be on the right side of the screen. As you progress through the test, the same format (forms to the left and questions to the right) will continue. As with Address Checking, there are details about the Forms Completion format that are not terribly important, but I will describe them so you will not be surprised. Again you are first given a brief practice exercise with only a few questions that is not

scored and is irrelevant to you because you will already know everything about Forms Completion that there is to know. Then they give you the real test. For a better understanding of this part of the exam, lets take a look at the below sample form and at the few sample questions about this form that follow it.
Sample Question 1:

Where should you enter the customers address?

A) Box 2 B) Box 6 C) Box 9b D) Line 10b


The customer address is supposed to be entered in Box 2. Answer choice A is Box 2. So, we would click answer A for question 1.

In which box or boxes could 10/12/09 be an acceptable entry? A) Box 3a or Box 3b B) Box 7 C) Line 10a D) Box 3a, Box 3b, Box 7, or Line 10a
Sample Question 2: This is a trick question. Looking at answers choices A, B, and C, we see that they all call for a date. So, we would click answer choice D because it includes all the items listed for A, B, and C.

This part of the exam is really about common sense. They ask you what information should be entered on a form and/or where it should be entered. You look at the form and find the answer. The form is right there for you to see. You do not have to memorize or remember anything. Some questions can be tricky, like sample question 2 above. If you looked no farther than answer choice A, you might assume that it is the correct answer. Be sure to consider all the answers before making a decision. Check each answer choice to determine which one is the correct answer. Dont let the format of the answers confuse you. For a particular question, say question 9, you may look at the form and find that the correct answer for this question is Box 6b, which happens to be answer choice D for question 9. At this point you are working with several numbers and letters 6, B, 9, and D as in Box 6b, question 9, and answer D. So you start to click an answer choice and immediately get confused. Are you supposed to be choosing 6B, 9D, 9B, 6D, or what? Youre working at maximum speed dealing with what seems like eighty million different numbers, letters, boxes, answer choices, dates, ZIP codes, addresses, etc., etc, etc. Its a wonder that you can get your name straight, much less the answer to question 9. The bottom line is that you must choose your answers carefully making sure that you are clicking the correct answer choice for the proper question number (9D) and not a box number (6b) that was involved in the question or answer. Before you begin answering questions, glance over the form briefly meaning only a few seconds, not a few minutes. You want to become slightly familiar with the form, not to memorize it. You simply do not have enough time to spend more than a few seconds looking over each form. Plus, reviewing the form does not help you that

much anyway. There might be anywhere from 10 to 30 boxes on a form, but they will only ask you 6 questions about each form. Why spend time reviewing 100% of the form when they may only ask you about 20% of the boxes? As with all parts of the exam, practice is the key to performance. Practice is the only way to master the skills, master the speed, and assure a high score.

Coding & Memory


Coding & Memory consists of two sections the Coding Section and the Memory Section. Both sections are scored, so you get two scores from this one exam part. Both sections are broken down further into various segments.
About the Coding Guide

The first thing we need to do is explore the Coding Guide, the focal point of this part of the exam. Below is a realistic sample of what the Coding Guide will look like on your exam. The same Coding Guide will be used throughout the whole of Coding & Memory. All the Address Ranges and Delivery Routes in the guide will remain the same all the way through both the Coding Section and the Memory Section. Notice the below points about the Coding Guide.

The Address Range column of the Coding Guide contains address ranges. These are not addresses; they are address ranges. For instance, the address range 1200 - 1579 Stargate Dr. includes all addresses from 1200 to 1579 on Stargate Dr. The Delivery Route column contains one-letter codes for delivery routes. Each route serves the address ranges in its row. For instance, Delivery Route A serves addresses 1200 to 1579 on Stargate Dr., addresses 800 to 900 on Maple Street, and addresses 20 to 60 on State Rt 63. Some street names appear twice in the Coding Guide. For instance, Maple Street is served by Route A for addresses 800 - 900 and served by Route C for addresses 901 - 1200. Delivery Route D serves all addresses that do not fall into the ranges listed for Routes A, B, and C. This would include, for instance, 127 Hwy 90 (the Hwy 90 range ends at 20) and 825 W Main St. (there are no W Main St. addresses listed at all). The layout of the Coding Guide can vary from one test to another, but the format of the street names and numbers remains the same. And, our strategies (to be discussed shortly) work the same regardless of the layout. For instance, in our sample, there are three address ranges for Route A, two for Route B, and three for Route C. I call this a 3/2/3 pattern - 3 in A, 2 in B, and 3 in C. On some tests, you will see a 2/3/3 pattern - two address ranges for Route A, three for Route B, and three for Route C. I have personally taken tests with 3/2/3 and 2/3/3 patterns. It may be possible to find a 3/3/2 pattern on a test, but I have not personally seen this pattern. So that you will be prepared for various layouts, I have included 3/2/3 and 2/3/3 patterns in my practice exams. The number of address ranges per route can change, but the way the address ranges are listed, the way the street names repeat,

and the way you use our strategies will remain the same. Therefore, the fact that the layout can change is really of no importance.

Sample Questions
Following are samples that show how the questions look in both the Coding Section and the Memory Section. Each question is an address. Your job is to find which Delivery Route (A, B, C, or D) serves this address. You do this by first finding which address range on the Coding Guide the address in the question belongs to. Then, for an answer, you select the proper Delivery Route (A, B, C, or D) for that address range. The Coding Guide and address ranges remain the same in both sections. The only difference between the Coding Section and the Memory Section is that, during the Coding Section, you can look at the Coding Guide to find your answers. However, during the Memory Section, you must answer from memory. You are given a few minutes to memorize the Coding Guide, and then you must answer questions based upon what you memorized. The following sample questions are laid out exactly as you will see them on the real test. Note that the address appears on the left and the Delivery Routes / Answer Choices are listed on the right. As we work these sample questions, refer to the sample Coding Guide above provided below as well. 1) 1050 Maple Street: Lets attack this question step-by-step. Looking for Maple Street on the Coding Guide, we quickly find it in the Delivery Route A box. But, the address of 1050 in the question doesnt fit the range of 800-900 for Maple Street in Box A. So, Route A cannot be the answer. So we look to see if there is another listing for Maple Street, we find another listing in Box C, and we find that the address of 1050 in the question fits in the Box C range of 901-1200 for Maple Street. The answer must be C, so we click the radio button for answer choice C. 2) 12002 Bluebell: Bluebell only appears once in the Coding Guide in Route C. And, the address of 12002 in the question falls within the range of 10000 - 15000 for Blubell in Route C. So, the answer is Route C, and we would click the radio button for answer choice C. 3) 78 State Rt 36: This is a trick question. State RT 63 appears in the coding guide. But, the address in the question is on State RT 36, not State RT 63. However, working at high speed, it is easy to confuse these two addresses. The correct answer is D (Route D) because the address in the question does not appear in any of the address ranges listed for Routes A, B, or C. 4) 1660 Stargate Dr.: This address fits the Stargate Dr. range in Route B, so the answer is B.

Format of Coding & Memory


The various Coding & Memory sections and segments can be confusing. It is imperative, however, that you fully understand the format in order to use the strategies discussed later. Below is a breakdown of the format. As we review the

format, remember that the Coding Guide and all the address ranges stay the same throughout both sections and all segments. Neither the Coding Guide nor the address ranges change as you work your way through Part C. They always remain the same. Memory Section The second section, the Memory Coding Section Section, is broken down into 4 The first section, the Coding segments. Section, is broken down into 3 Memory Section - Segment 1 segments as described below. The first segment is a 3 Coding Section - Segment 1 minute study and The first segment of the memorization period. Coding Section is a 2 minute Memory Section - Segment 2 introductory exercise. The second segment is a 90 Coding Section - Segment 2 second (1 minutes) The second segment is a 90 practice exercise. second (1 minutes) Memory Section - Segment 3 practice exercise. The third segment is a 5 Coding Section - Segment 3 minute study and This is the actual Coding memorization period. Section test. You have 6 Memory Section - Segment 4 minutes to answer 36 This is the actual Memory questions. Section test. You have 7 minutes to answer 36 questions. Okay, thats about as clear as mud. For a better understanding, we will pick both sections apart piece-by-piece. First we will get a handle on all the confusing segments, and then we will discuss strategies for mastering this challenging part of the exam.

Coding Details & Strategies


The first section of Coding & Memory is the Coding Section. This section is broken down into 3 segments. The Coding Guide is displayed for your use during all 3 segments. Below is a detailed breakdown of the Coding Section. The Coding Section is broken down into 3 segments as described below. During all 3 segments, the Coding Guide is displayed for your use in finding answers.

Coding Section - Segment 1 The first segment of the Coding Section is a 2 minute introductory exercise with only a few questions and with the Coding Guide shown. The purpose of

the segment is to show unprepared applicants how to answer the questions. This exercise is not scored and does not affect your final exam score. Coding Section - Segment 2 The second segment is a 90 second (1 minutes) practice exercise with 8 questions and with the Coding Guide shown. Its purpose is to allow you to experience the very real pressure of time. And again, this exercise is not scored, and it does not affect your final exam score. Coding Section - Segment 3 This is the actual Coding Section test. You have 6 minutes to answer 36 questions with the Coding Guide is shown. This segment is scored and does affect your final exam score. Note: Pay particular attention to the fact that, in Segments 1 and 2 of the Coding Section above, the Coding Guide is displayed and the exercises are not scored. We will use this to our advantage when discussing our memorization strategies for the Memory Section. The Coding Section can be challenging, but not nearly as difficult as the Memory Section, the next section. This is because you can use the Coding Chart to look up answers during all segments of the Coding Section. However, you absolutely do need to practice the Coding Section to (1) master the skills and speed involved, (2) train yourself to quickly identify where the addresses fit into the Coding Guide, and (3) train yourself to identify the tricky addresses designed to confuse you. As we continue discussing Coding & Memory, bear in mind that the Coding Guide and the address ranges in the Coding Guide remain the same throughout both sections and all segments.

Memory Details & Strategies


This is the Bad Boy one of the reasons why so many people fail! Most people have a horrible time with the memorization. Below is a detailed breakdown of the Memory Section. The Memory Section is broken down into 4 segments. Your goal in this section is to memorize the Coding Guide and answer the questions from memory. Memory Section - Segment 1 The first segment of the Memory Section is a 3 minute study period. You are to spend the 3 minutes trying to memorize the Coding Guide which is displayed during this segment. There are no questions to answer during this segment; it is strictly a study period. Memory Section - Segment 2 The second segment is a 90 second (1 minutes) practice exercise with 8 questions. The Coding Guide is not shown. You are supposed to try answering the questions from memory. This exercise is not scored and does not affect

your final exam score. Memory Section - Segment 3 The third segment is a 5 minute study period. You are to spend the 5 minutes trying to memorize the Coding Guide which is displayed during this segment. There are no questions to answer during this segment; it is strictly a study period. Memory Section - Segment 4 This is the actual Memory Section test. You have 7 minutes to answer 36 questions, and you must answer from memory. The Coding Guide is not shown. This segment is scored and does affect your final exam score. The Memory Section questions are just like the Coding Section questions - they are addresses for which you are to identify the proper Delivery Route (A, B, C, or D) from the Coding Guide. Except, in the Memory Section, you must do it from memory! If you had enough time to study and memorize, you could handle it. But, they give you only two brief, broken study periods - a 3 minute period and a 5 minute period. These two broken study periods only serve to break your concentration. The least they could do is give you all 8 minutes (3 minutes + 5 minutes) together in a single study period. But even if they did, the memorization would still be almost impossible without some serious help in the form of strategies. Thats where my guide comes in. The best part of this guide is the memorization strategies. My strategies make this inhuman section manageable. In fact, after learning my strategies, many people find the Memory Section to be the easiest part of the test instead of the hardest! Lets explore these strategies that make the Memory Section manageable Memory Strategy #1: The Coding Guide seems to be arranged to make the memorization as hard as possible. So, we will rearrange the address ranges in our mind to make the memorization easier. Our sample Coding Guide is copied below. You will need to refer to the Coding Guide as we discuss this strategy. First, though, we will examine the Coding Guide to identify particular features that will be important as we attack the memorization. Then, we will look at the address ranges in the Coding Guide one at a time to find the best way to memorize each. Okay, if youre ready, buckle your seat belts, and were off
As we start looking at our strategy, first notice a few points about the address ranges o Some of the street names repeat. For instance, Stargate appears in both Routes A and B, Maple Street in both A and C, and State Rt 63 in A and B. So, we must plan to memorize two different ranges for each of these streets. Notice that when a street name repeats, the addresses increase. The numbers in the second range for a particular street are larger than the numbers in the first range. Notice also that when a street name repeats, the second range for that street usually seems to pick up exactly where the first range stopped.

Notice that the ranges can fit different descriptions. Some end in a zero like 800-900. But, when the first range for a particular street ends with a zero, then the next range for that same street must begin with 1 number like 901-1200. Other ranges for a particular street end with a 9 like 1200-1579. When the first range ends with a 9, then the next range for the same street will begin with a zero number like 1580-1800. Some ranges have smaller numbers like 1-10 or 61-99, other ranges are large address numbers like 10000-15000, and yet other ranges fit somewhere in the middle.

Now that we have a pretty good picture of how the ranges are formatted, lets take a look at how to memorize the first street, Stargate Dr., along with its two address ranges. o The address range for Stargate Dr. in Route A is 1200-1579, and in Route B it is 1580-1800. Lets choose 1580 as the breakover point between Routes A and B because 1580 is a nice round number thats easier to remember than 1579. Using 1580 as our breakover point, we can safely say that any address on Stargate Dr. between 1200 and 1580 belongs in Route A, and any address on Stargate Dr. between 1580 and 1800 belongs in Route B. Our goal is to make the memorization easier by reducing the amount of material to be memorized. Having determined the starting point, the breakover point, and the stopping point, heres the rearranged address info we will memorize by silently repeating it over and over Stargate Dr.-1200 1580-A 1800-B Said out loud, Stargate Dr.-1200 1580-A 1800-B would sound like this Stargate Dr. - twelve hundred (pause) fifteen eighty - A (pause) eighteen hundred - B The object here is to minimize the number of items that must be remembered. This strategy enables us to condense the memorization down to only the below three items Stargate Dr.-1200 which is not terribly difficult to remember. It almost sounds like a normal address. Say it in a single breath without pausing between the street name and the number to give it the feel of a single item and therefore easier to remember. o 1580-A which is short and easy to remember. Make it even shorter and easier to work with by saying it in a single breath without pausing between the number and the letter. 1800-B which again is short and easy to remember. And, again, make it easier to use by saying it in a single breath without pausing between the number and the letter. Okay, weve memorized the line Stargate Dr.-1200 1580-A 1800-B. Now, what do we do with it? When taking the test, if a question has a Stargate Dr. address, reciting this line silently will immediately tell us the answer like this o If the address in the question fits within the 1200-1580 range, the answer is A. If the address in the question fits within the 1580-1800 range, the answer is B. If the address in the question doesnt fit within either of these ranges, the answer is D.

As explained below, this strategy enables you to quickly and easily identify the Delivery Route for every possible Stargate Dr. address except one - the address 1580 Stargate Dr. We memorized the line Stargate Dr.-1200 1580-A 1800-B. Reciting or looking at this line, it is not possible to tell where the address 1580 Stargate Dr. fits. We know that 1580 is the breakover point, but does it actually belong to A or B? So, what do we do?

If you happen to remember that the A range really ended with 1579 and the B range started with 1580, then you know that the correct answer for 1580 Stargate Dr. is B. If you dont remember this, then you simply choose either A or B as your answer. Dont let this bother you, though. You see, the odds that you will find this particular address - 1580 Stargate Dr. - in a question are only one chance out of several thousand. The odds are tremendously in your favor. The bottom line is that this strategy is the easiest method to correctly answer over 99% of the possible questions/addresses.

However, after mastering this strategy while taking your first few practice tests, you can
experiment with memorizing the actual ranges instead of rounded off ranges if you want to assure the ability to answer 100% of the questions instead of 99%. Referring back to our Stargate example, when memorizing actual ranges, you would use the below line. Stargate Dr. 1200-1579-A 1580-1800-B If you do not find it overly difficult when adding in the extra number (1579) that must be remembered, continue memorizing the actual ranges instead of the rounded off ranges. Okay, now that we understand how to rearrange the address ranges for easier memorization, lets look at how to memorize the two Maple Street address ranges. The range for Maple Street in Route A is 800-900 and 901-1200 for Route C. So we use 900 as our breakover point and memorize Maple Street-800 900-A 1200-C. As before, when we see Maple Street in a question, we recite this line and immediately know the answer. On to the memorizing the next address ranges for State Rt 63. The State Rt 63 address range for Route A is 20-60 and 61-99 for Route B. We use 60 as a breakover point, memorize State Rt 63-20 60-A 99-B, and answer accordingly. Now it gets a little easier. The remaining two address ranges do not repeat in different Delivery Routes, so we only have to remember one address range for each. We will first work on Bluebell. Since Bluebell appears only once in Route C, we will memorize it with its exact numbers like this Bluebell-10000 15000-C. Finally, we will work on the Hwy 90 address range in Route C. Since Hwy 90 appears only once in Route C, we memorize it with its exact numbers like this Hwy 90-1 20-C. This strategy significantly reduced the amount of material to be memorized and, more importantly, it rearranged the addresses for an easier memorization job. This strategy is one of the sweetest features of my study guide. It has enabled us to convert the complete coding guide into the below simple lines that are not nearly as hard to memorize.

Stargate Dr.-1200 1580-A 1800-B Maple Street-800 900-A 1200-C State Rt 63-20 60-A 99-B Bluebell-10000 15000-C Hwy 90-1 20-C Memory Strategy #2: As you use the above strategy to memorize, can you abbreviate the street names to make the memorization easier? No! You absolutely cannot! As detailed below, they throw in trick questions that prohibit you from abbreviating.

They use different, but very similar, street names to trick you. For instance, on one exam I took, the correct street name in the Coding Guide was Marydale. In a few of the questions, however, they had a street name of Maryville. You immediately see the difference as I am explaining it. But what about when you are being forced to race through the questions at 90 miles per hour and you are trying to answer from memory? Catching such a subtle difference under those circumstances in most challenging.

Obviously, if you tried to abbreviate the street name Marydale down to just Mary or, worse yet, tried to abbreviate it down to just the initial M, you would never be able to answer the trick questions correctly.

On another exam, the street name in the Coding Guide was County Rd 42. On this test, they had trick questions with names like County Rd 24 and County Rd 442. Again, if you did not memorize the full street name, you could not answer these questions correctly.

Now that we know the best way to memorize, how would like to have an extra two study periods? Well, you can. Heres how. Think back to the Coding Section, and remember that the Coding Guide stays the same all the way through both sections.
Memory Strategy #3: Segment 1 of the Coding Section is 2 minute introductory exercise where you have the Coding Guide to look at, and the exercise is not scored. Since its not scored, why should you try to answer the questions correctly? Why not spend the 2 minutes studying for the Memory Section thats about to hit you square in the face? You can, but with one stipulation. Take a couple of seconds to click a random answer for each question, and then spend the rest of the time studying. The directions for this segment say to mark some answers, and if the exam administrator sees that you havent marked any answers, he/she may interrupt you to assure that you understood the directions. To avoid this interruption, spend a few seconds marking random answers, and then spend the rest of the time studying. The same is true of Segment 2 of the Coding Section. This is a 90 second (1 minutes) practice exercise that is not scored. So again, why try to answer correctly. Again, take a couple of seconds to click some random answers, and then spend the rest of the time studying. You just picked up two extra study periods. Very few, if any, of the other test takers will have this advantage only those who bought my study guide like you did and who diligently applied themselves to their test preparation like you did!

As always, practice is the key to performance. The one and only way to master your memory strategies is to practice extensively. As stated over and over again, you cannot practice too much, and there is no such thing as too much practice. However, with the Memory Section, you need to complete and stop all your practice work about two days before your test date at least one day before. If you continue doing memory practice work all the way up to the day before the test, you may go into the real test with the address ranges from the practice exams still floating around in your brain. The memory section is hard enough as it is. Dont make it even harder by confusing yourself this way.
Memory Strategy #4:

The very last memory strategy I will give you is my Last Resort Memory Strategy. With this strategy, the memorization is tremendously easier, but also with this strategy you are guaranteed to answer approximately 20% of the questions incorrectly. Thats why I call it a Last Resort. This strategy is only for people who have truly serious problems with memorization. If you simply cannot handle the memorization, if using the strategies already discussed is beyond your ability, and if you really believe that you will fail the Memory Section without some type of drastic measures, then use this Last Resort Strategy. After all, capturing only 80% of the available Memory Section points is definitely better than losing 100% of the points. To explain this strategy, lets look back at the Stargate Dr. address ranges in our sample Coding Guide. The address range for Stargate Dr. in Route A is 1200-1579, and in Route B it is 1580-1800. The breakover point between Routes A and B is 1580. Using the Last Resort Strategy, heres what we memorize 1580 Stargate Dr. A-B. Thats it thats all we memorize 1580 Stargate Dr. A-B. Thats so easy that youve probably already got it memorized 1580 Stargate Dr. A-B. When taking the test, if we see a Stargate Dr. question, we silently recite this line and immediately know which answer to choose. Since 1580 is our breakover point, we mark answer choice A for any Stargate Dr. question whose address is smaller than 1580 and answer choice B for any Stargate Dr. question whose address is larger than 1580. We memorize the other repeating address ranges similarly using their breakover points as the key element. The problem is that, while our memorized line tells us that 1580 is the breakover point between A and B for Stargate Dr., it doesnt tell us the starting point for A or the stopping point for B. Using this strategy, if the address in the question is 1120 Stargate Dr., we would mark the answer A because 1120 is smaller than 1580. But, the correct answer is D because 1120 falls outside of the 1200-1579 Stargate Dr. range for A. Similarly, if the address in the question is 1950 Stargate Dr., we would mark the answer B because 1950 is larger than 1580. But, again, the correct answer is D because 1950 falls outside of the 1580-1800 Stargate Dr. range for B. In my experience, approximately 20% of the memory questions have addresses that fall outside of the ranges on the Coding Guide. Obviously, these questions should be marked with the answer D. Using the Last Resort Strategy, we would answer most of these questions incorrectly. But, this strategy also enables us to quite easily and correctly answer the other 80% of the questions. The bottom line is that you must decide for yourself, based upon your individual abilities, which memory strategies to use and which not to use.
The Last Resort Memory Strategy: