911 Dispatcher Practice Test for CritiCall, CA POST, NYPD

911 Dispatcher

If you are interested in a career as a 911 Dispatcher you are probably a bit confused about the test that you need to take. Rightfully so, this test is given to ensure that candidates have the right qualities for the job. Although, many states have a different version of the test. We are here to walk you through the different components of the test and learn what to expect.

What Is a 911 Dispatcher Test?

The 911 dispatcher test, also referred to as the dispatcher skills test, or the national dispatcher selection test is a computer-based assessment that is given to potential applicants to make sure they have the qualities needed to be a 911 dispatcher or call handler. The test is broken down into various sections that target specific skills needed on the job. We will review with you what to expect from the most common 911 Dispatcher tests.

The following topics are covered on the exam:

Data Entry

  • Data Entry - The focus on these questions is to test your ability to make quick decisions, prioritize and multitask. You will be given information through both audio and written formats and you will need to input data into the correct tables.
  • Cross Referencing - You will be required to enter identifying information from address books into a corresponding table.
  • Character Comparison - You will be given two tables which look very similar and be required to identify the differences.

Dispatcher Skills

There will be various types of questions that will test how successful you will be as a dispatcher. The questions types will focus on your:

  • Decision making - As a dispatcher you are the first line of defense and you need to know which emergency service to dispatch. Be prepared to listen to potential situations and pick a course of action.
  • Prioritization - You will need to rank a few incoming calls according to urgency.
  • Probability - It is often difficult to hear exactly what the emergency caller is saying. So you will be given questions asking you to decipher unclear calls based on how probable the situation potentially is.
  • Map Reading - As a dispatcher you must have a strong understanding of your area and know how to read maps well so you can send the correct emergency unit to the scene. In this question you will need to choose the best route while obeying traffic laws for the emergency vehicle to get to the scene the quickest.

 Memory and Comprehension

  • Summarization - You will be required to listen to an audio call simulation answer questions related to the call and summarize the data. Be prepared to input identifying information into proper data fields.
  • Reading Comprehension - You will also be presented with information in a written format and be expected to answer questions or choose the best summary of information.
  • Memory Recall - You will be presented with visual and audio information including sets of numbers, phrases, and letters and be asked to recall the information. A huge part of being a dispatcher is being able to recall information presented to you. You will also be given scenarios where you will be required to keep track of all responding emergency units, including how many and the number of people at the emergency.

What Are Some of the Most Common 911 Dispatcher Tests?

CritiCall Test

The CritiCall Test is the most common test used by most counties. Each county can choose which topics they feel are important to include on the test. The question types are quite interactive. The main topics on this test include:

  • Data-Entry
  • Cross-Referencing
  • Character Comparison
  • Decision-Making
  • Memory Recall
  • Prioritization
  • Probability
  • Map Reading
  • Call Summarization
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Clarity
  • Math Concepts

Practice for the CritiCall Test today or try a FREE CritiCall Test now.

POST Dispatcher Test

The California POST Dispatcher exam is a multiple choice test which takes about 2.5 - 3 hours to complete. You are scored based on the number of correct answers and the scores of the 11 subtests are combined and compared to the average score of all the test takers in California to give you your final score. The POST Entry-Level Dispatcher exam is made up of the following subtests:

  • Public Safety Bulletin
  • Assigning Field Units
  • Evaluating Facts
  • Setting Priorities
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Clarity
  • Recalling Facts & Details
  • Call-Taking
  • Oral Directions
  • Checking Coded Information
  • Checking & Listening

Learn more about the California Post Entry-Level exam.

NYPD 911 Operator Exam

The NYPD operator is known by many names including the NYPD PCT, NYPD emergency dispatcher, and public safety telecommunicator. This role in the New York emergency system includes a variety of roles. You will be expected to perform 911 call-taking and radio dispatching. The first step to landing this job is passing the 911 operator exam. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) administers the NYPD operator exam also called the NYPD Police Communications Technician test. The test is given at the New York City Computer-based Testing and Application Center. You must get at least a 70% to be considered for the job. The test covers the following topics:

  • Written Comprehension
  • Written Expression
  • Memorization
  • Problem Sensitivity
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Inductive Reasoning
  • Information Ordering

Learn what to expect on NYPD 911 Dispatcher Test.

How Can I Prepare for the 911 Dispatcher Test?

There is a lot of information covered on these tests. We have included some hiring process advice, free sample questions, study guides, and practice tests. The point of this exam is to create a high stress situation where you are expected to think fast, remember information, and make quick decisions. These are skills that can be learned through practice. In case you are not sure which test you are expected to take. This 911 Dispatcher Test will help cover all the bases. This test simulates how the actual exam will be. It includes study guides, test taking tips, answers with explanations. The following topics are covered on the exam:

  • Coding/decoding information
  • Map skills and following directions
  • Name and number checking
  • Problem solving
  • Ordering information
  • Deductive and inductive reasoning
  • Typing test
  • Personality Test to help prepare for the psychological evaluation

Free 911 Dispatcher Test Sample Questions

Data Entry Sample Question

Free 911 Dispatcher Test Sample Questions: Data Entry Sample Question
Credit: JobTestPrep
  • Fill in the name of the second person in the table?
  • Who lives at 56 West Street?
  • What is the catalog number of the only person from Florida?

Dispatcher Skills Sample Question: Determining Urgency

In this type of question you will get a simulation of a call you would receive as a 911 operator. As the 911 operator you are responsible for determining and categorizing calls from least to most urgent.

Here is a rubric of how you determine the level of urgency of a call:

  • Situations which involve a loss of life or serious injury
  • Situations which involve a sexual assault of a serious nature
  • Situations which involve a property loss of a serious nature
  • Injuries which do not include an immediate life loss
  • Situations which include minor property loss
  • Non-emergency calls which report a crime
  • Non-emergency calls that don't report a crimes

If you receive multiple calls in the same category always prioritize the situation that can be stopped. Always prioritize a situation where the suspect is unknown.

Determining Urgency Sample Questions:

Which of the following situations is the most urgent?

  1. A father calls saying his son fell from his bike, and he hurt his leg.
  2. A woman calls saying she is walking in an area without a lot of people and a group of drunk men are stalking her.
  3. An older woman calls reporting a teenager who vandalized the wall of her garage.
  4. A man calls to report a factory pipe which has been leaking in the town lake for about a month.

B is the correct answer.

Memory Recall Alpha-Numeric Drill Sample Question

Listen to the following sequence of letters and numbers. Type in the sequence in its entirety and please use all CAPS.

Selective Attention Sample Question

Choose the exact copy:


  1. %$BHYE4K*)_+*^+&#\:.
  2. %$BHYE4K*)_)*^+&#\:.
  3. %$BPLE4K*)_)*^+&#\:.
  4. %$BHYE8K*)_)*^+&#\:.

Comparing and Contrasting Sample Question

NY Transit BureauNY Transit Bureau
2001 Premium FreePass ticket sales:2001 Premium Free-Pass ticket sales:
Brooklyn 13,294Brooklyn 13,294
Staten Island 17,534Statin Island 17,534
Queens 2,445Queens 2,455

The number of errors in the COPY when compared to the ORIGINAL is:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. None of these

3 is the correct answer.

The errors are marked in bold:

NY Transit BureauNY Transit Bureau
2001 Premium FreePass ticket sales:2001 Premium Free-Pass ticket sales:
Brooklyn 13,294Brooklyn 13,294
Staten Island 17,534Statin Island 17,534
Queens 2,445Queens 2,455

Learn more about the CritiCall Test.

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