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Page 1 Coding and Memory Study Guide for the Postal Service Exam™

How to Prepare for the Coding and Memory Sections of the Postal Service Exam™

General Information

These two sections of the test are given one right after the other, with the Coding section being first. There is a reason for this—you will need information from the same address code list to answer questions in both sections. The difference is that when you answer the questions in the Coding section, you’ll be able to look at the list to determine which code to mark as the answer. During the Memory section, you won’t—you’ll have to determine the code from memory.

Both the Coding and Memory sections exact a penalty for guessing. One-third point will be subtracted from your score for each answer you get wrong. Therefore, it’s not advisable to randomly mark an answer for every question. Don’t guess unless you can narrow the choice down to two.

Coding Section

This section of the Postal Service Exam™ assesses a skill that is often required of postal workers as they sort mail. It involves matching addresses to coded postal routes. The routes are coded A, B, C, and D for the purpose of the test.

Each question will feature an address that includes only a number and street name. No city, state, or ZIP code™ is involved. Your job is to find where that address falls on a list of street numbers and names for each of the four codes. You’ll have about 10 seconds per question if you answer all 36 of them.

The Code Guide

Here is an example of a coding guide:


The list on the test will, of course, be different from this one, but all lists used tend to be similar in several ways and knowing this can help you address this type of question:

  • There will always be a code D that applies to any addresses not listed on the chart, to be used when the number does not fall into the range listed for that street or the street is not listed on the chart at all.

  • The list will include five different streets. Three of these streets will have two different codes for different number ranges, and two of the streets will only be listed for one code each. Usually, the streets listed twice will cover a continual series of numbers, like 200-400 and 401-1000, but this is not always true.

  • Note that only street numbers and names are listed. There may be a direction designation before or after the street name, as in N. Winston St. and Glaxton Ave. SE, but there will be no city, state, or ZIP Code™ listed in this code guide.

The Questions

Each question will list an address, such as this one:

438 Holly Ave.

You will need to consult the code guide and find the range of numbers and street name that includes it. This address is included in the listing 401-900 / Holly Ave. in the guide, so the answer would be code B.

But what if the address in the question was 231 Holly Ave.? Then, the answer would be code A.

If, on the other hand, if the address in the question was 173 Holly Ave., the answer would be code D because 173 is not included in either of the Holly Ave. listings: 200-400 (A) or 401-900 (B).

So, any address that does not correspond to either number range or street name would be coded D.

Memory Section

The Memory section of the Postal Service Test™ is nearly identical to the Coding section, with one important difference: you will not be able to use a code guide as a reference, so you will have to answer the questions from memory. The good news is that you will be given a few minutes (our sources say between 3 and 5 minutes) to study the guide before answering any questions and it will be exactly the same guide you just used for the Coding questions. From your very recent coding experience and the study time, you should have a quick working knowledge of most of the codes. In addition, you will have just a few more seconds per question (about 12 seconds each if you answer all 36) in this section as opposed to the Coding section.

Here are some tips for addressing the Memory section of the test. During the few minutes you have to study the list of addresses and their codes, try these tricks:

  • Keep the description of the characteristics of the coding guide in mind. Quickly note the two streets that are only listed once and commit their codes to memory.

  • Don’t try to memorize entire names of streets. Give them a “code” of your own, instead, such as H for Holly and B for Benago, etc.

  • Note where the twice-listed streets are located in the guide. In this instance, H (Holly) is in codes A and B. B (Benago) is listed in the same codes. Therefore, you’ll know that any Benago or Holly address is probably either A or B, unless the number does not fall into the listed ranges.

  • You can quickly scan the number ranges for clues, as well. In this coding guide, only street numbers on Holly St. between 200 and 400 are coded A. A larger range of Holly St. addresses are coded B: from 401 through 900.

  • Note any gaps in numbers left in the listings. Does the second listing of a street pick up where the first left off, in terms of numbers? It usually does, so you can mentally note the beginning and end of that total range and know that any address outside of that range will be coded D.

  • You will not be allowed to make notes during the study time, but you can make notes once you begin answering the questions (when the coding guide is no longer available). If there are any particular things you remember from studying the guide, quickly note them for your reference. Notes such as these will be helpful and don’t take much time. See if you can find what they correspond to on the guide above.

200-400 H
50-75 B
2100-4000 48

higher H
75-199 B

4001-8000 48

You’ll notice we did not list D because you know that code is just used for anything that is not in A, B, and C codes. And if you can’t remember exact number ranges, you’ll at least know which codes cover a street and that lower ones will probably be listed first on the chart. Anything you can remember and write down during the first few seconds of question answering time may prove helpful.