Checking Strategies


Success on the address checking section involves learning a few simple techniques and strategies and then repetition. Becoming an expert at this exam section is about technique, not knowledge, and like any technique it must be practised.

Answer code memorization

The most helpful technique in improving address checking performance is simply memorizing the answer codes. The four options, (A) No Errors (B) Error in Address (C) Error in Zip Code or (D) Errors in BOTH Address & Zip Code are a constant across the exam. And if you haven't memorized this order it can pose a major problem. Often, applicants will lose time by not having the answer options memorized. This results in them constantly scrolling back up to the top of the test page to view the legend and then back down to their position on the exam. Given the amount of questions, this can be a costly waste of time.

SusieVlogs @susievlogs 1m
Susie Vlogs explains how the memorization of the address error options saves testers' time & helped her ace the address checking section of the exam.

Engrained answering order

After memorizing the answer key your next priority should be regimenting your answer strategy. Here, you have two options. You can check the address, then the city, state combination & then the zip OR you can reverse the order and start with the zip code and end with the address. In general, we find that applicants tend to answer more effectively with the reverse order rather than the address first order, though you will have to decide what works best for you.

Regimenting order is important because it is very easy to miss subtle errors in an address pair. Therefore, regimenting not only organizes how you approach address checking but it engrains how your eyes move across the address pairs ensuring that you don't miss small errors.

Below we've provided an address pair and a guide to using the address first order. Try using both the instructions and then reversing the order and checking the address pair again to see which way is more comfortable for you.

450 Racoon Rd.
Seattle, WA
405 Racoon Rd.
Seattle, WA
  1. First, check the top line street address. Scan across and check it against the address to be checked. If you see an error, skip the next listed step, because you only need to identify one error in order to know that there is an error in the address portion.
  2. Second, look directly beneath the address to the city and state pairing. Now compare this against the address paired with it. See the difference? By comparing line by line, you've simplified what you have to remember during the comparison!
  3. Third, check the zip code. Same as above, scan across. However, you may want to break this into two separate steps, comparing separately the zip code numbers separated by the hyphen (ie 42231-5323 is a standard zip code for the exam).

Jordan Ashbaugh @jordanashbaugh 20s
Jordan uses USAPostalExam (version 1.0, now updated to 2.0) to teach the rigid technique of checking addresses and explain his favored zip code first strategy.

Answer Efficiently

After you have practiced your address checking order you need to worry about speed. Your must practice enough to minimize the amount of time it takes you to efficiently check an address pair going through each step. You should aim, in the end to optimize your checking so it takes no more than 8 seconds to check an address pair for errors. Again, you should know well in advance how many pairs you will be able to check in the allotted time before writing the final exam. Never guess, as the exam penalizes for wrong answers and this can dramatically harm your score.

Do NOT Guess on this section.

Because the address checking section penalizes wrong answers, it is not wise to guess. However, do not hover over an answer until you are 200% sure it is correct.

Practice Hard and Often. Watch the Clock

Practice on this section of the exam is especially crucial. Because you are penalized, you ideally want to be able to go over your answers a second time. Therefore, you should be aiming to complete this section in half of the allotted time. The only way to correctly acheive this is to do it at speed.