Addresses are composed of word combinations (address, city, and state) and number combinations (address number and zip code). Therefore, the error in the pair will be comprised of an error with either a word, or a number, and sometimes both.

In this section we will discuss the various forms of errors you will have to identify, and what to ignore.

Use Sectional Analysis

The most important tool for improvement in this case is not this manual, but scoring analysis on your practice exams. USAPostalExam provides detailed breakdowns of which errors you are picking up and which you are missing. You can use these sectional analysis provided after every practice exam to analyze what you are missing and find these errors on the final scored exam. Be sure to study the sectional analysis carefully as it will pick up on what you are missing in error checking.

Errors with Words

Any misspelling of a street name or city (for example 123 Waterloo St./123 Watarloo St.)

Subtle changes in the actual name of a street or city (an example would be changing 123 Plainbank to Plainmont)

Street Abbreviations
There will always be a street abbreviation. Many errors involve switching these types (for example, Road to Drive or Avenue to Street)

Abbreviated Words
Abbreviating a word (for example, Suite to Ste. or Drive to Dr.) or changing an abbreviation to the complete word (for example, changing Rd. to Road or Hwy. to Highway)

Errors with Numbers

Digit Switches
Switching two digits in a street address, ZIP code, or other number (for example, changing 18823 to 18283)

Adding or Omitting
Adding or omitting a digit in a number (for example, 423 to 4232)

Digit Changes
Changing one digit in a number (for example, 583 to 588)

Types of Errors Not to Look For

Capitalization is not tested. Don't waste time looking for capitalization errors (for example, Los palmos or elf Street)

You will not be tested on punctuation in the address. Punctuation is often found in address abbreviations like ave. (short for avenue) or st. (short for street). Sometimes these will be followed by a period, and sometimes they will not be. Ignore any small discrepancies with punctuation.

Zip Codes are not actual for the tested location.
The 473-E is an exam of skill and not knowledge. Therefore, all of the zip codes will be fictional for the given address pairs. If you happen to see a zip code that couldn't be used in real life (for example a zip code you know is only used in California for an Arizona address) don't worry about it. You aren't being tested on the validity of the zip codes, only any errors between the pairs.

Section Hint

Since this section of the exam penalizes wrong answers, it is a very good idea to practice until you can complete the section in just 6 minutes, so you have the chance to go back and check your answers.