Everything You Need to Know
If you’ve ever dreamed of dispatching firetrucks to put out a four-alarm blaze in a crowded downtown neighborhood or sending an ambulance to someone in trouble, you’ll need to pass the CritiCall public safety dispatcher pre-employment test first (aka 911 CritiCall).
The CritiCall test measures your ability to make decisions in the moment, summarize calls, and communicate with public safety officers clearly. It screens out applicants who don’t have what it takes and can highlight your unique ability to maintain a cool head under difficult circumstances.
Your hearing, reading, writing, spelling, map reading, and memory skills may all be put to the test. You’ll also be challenged to come up with the right solution after being given a challenging problem.
Each CritiCall test is customized for different roles a job might require. For example, a dispatcher’s test might focus more heavily on map reading, mathematics, and giving directions, while a call takers test might put more emphasis on call summarization, memory recall, and prioritization.
Your dream of becoming an emergency services dispatcher depends on you passing the CritiCall test. It’s time to get ready!
Question Types Explained
You’ll be facing a number of different types of questions while taking the CritiCall test. Throughout the test, you’ll also have emergencies pop on your screen which require you to click on the correct agency (police, fire, EMS, or utility) to handle.
There are a number of data entry modules, where you are required to type information into a field that either appears on screen or is said to you through your headphones. Some sections test your memory by not allowing you to type anything for five seconds.
Because the modules in your test are picked by the agency you want to work for, not all tests will include all of these types of questions. The test may contain the following:
Decision Making – You will see a scenario on screen and have to decide which agency should handle the emergency. You have 15 seconds to read about the emergency and make the decision.
Decision Making (Audio) – Listen to a call, type relevant information, and choose which agency needs to be sent to handle the call.
Data Entry – You will see information on the screen and need to type it into another field on the screen.
Data Entry (Audio) – Listen to information through the headset and type that information into fields while you are listening.
Memorization – You will see a group of 6-9 numbers and need to type it into a field after it disappears.
Memorization (Audio) – You will hear a series of 6 numbers but will not be able to type them in to the computer. When the list of numbers is finished being read, you will have to wait five seconds before typing the numbers into the field.
Map Reading (Multiple choice) – You will see a map with two points on it, and have to select the fastest route to go from point A to point B.
Reading Comprehension – Read a short paragraph that is 2-3 sentences long and answer questions relating to the main idea of the passage.
Spelling – You will fill in sentences with a correctly spelled word. The words may be confusing, like illicit, or be homophones like there and their.
Cross Referencing – You’ll be asked to find information in an address book, where you may be given someone’s name and have to find and enter the correct address.
Prioritization – The system will present several scenarios. You need to decide which is the most critical.
Math – You will need to demonstrate basic math skills, as you keep track of the number of units involved and total responders at a scene.
Vocalization Summary – You will listen to a call and answer questions based on your memory of the conversation.
Probability – You will listen to a call where it is difficult to understand what is being said, and you must do your best to guess what was said.
Character Comparison – The test will present two similar tables and require you to carefully go through the data to find any differences.
Passing the CritiCall test can be challenging. Here are some strategies you can use as you get closer to test day. Being prepared for the types of questions you will see on test day will help you feel at ease while taking the exam, and give you the confidence you need to pass the test.
- Read CritiCall’s test preparation guide before taking the test, which contains their test preparation hints.
- Create different scenarios to prepare for the test. If possible, wear a headset to simulate testing conditions; or have someone read addresses to you and accurately type them into your computer; or work on building up your speed and accuracy.
- Enlist family members to read phone numbers, names and addresses to you. Once they have finished, type them into a computer, and check to see if you entered the information correctly.
- Study maps and practice giving directions using both right and left as well as north, south, east, and west. Find the quickest routes from point A to point B.
- Practice using the number pad on your keyboard for faster typing.
- Utilize test prep activities like those offered by iPrep.
CritiCall has developed 23 different modules, which can take up to 3 hours to complete. Employers choose which modules to include on the test.
Over 600 public safety agencies use CritiCall software testing to screen dispatchers and call takers.
The CritiCall test measures your abilities in the following:
|Decision making||Multi-tasking||Data entry|
|Using a computer||Listening and using information heard||Using alphabetical lists|
|Comparing and contrasting data||Prioritization||Memory recall|
|Spelling||Sentence clarity||Reading comprehension|
|Map reading||Basic math||Keying a microphone and speaking clearly|
The test is typically administered by the hiring agency. You’ll sit at a computer with a headset and respond to items that are on-screen and come in through the headset. Some elements may also include your verbal responses.
Results Scale and Interpretations
Every agency can divide the test differently, and each one decides on their own Pass/Fail scores, but the average overall passing score is usually 70-75%. Based on our research, many agencies require passing scores in the following ranges. Please be aware that some agencies may require higher passing scores in some sections.
Attention to Detail
|Data entry with multi-tasking||55-60 keystrokes per minute|
|Audio data entry with multi-tasking||28-40 keystrokes per minute|
|Keyboarding||35 words per minute|
|Spelling and sentence clarity||68%-70%|
Your score report will provide you with the following information:
- Your overall score
- Your score on each module
- The minimum score you needed to achieve to pass the module
- Your typing speed. Some agencies may tell you your keystrokes per minute, while others report your keystrokes per hour.
- The modules included in your test
- A Pass/Fail report
iPrep: Concise. Focused. What you need.
CritiCall Test FAQs
The CritiCall test is used to screen candidates for 911 call centers and dispatchers. It presents different scenarios to test takers to test their likelihood of success in these roles. According to CritiCall, Washington County 911 in Oregon saw their employee retention rate increase from 15% to 86% in just two years.
The CritiCall test takes between 1-3 hours, depending on the number of modules included in the test.
Being prepared is the best way to pass the CritiCall test. Know what to expect, and practice using test prep tools like those provided by iPrep, as well as using the tips included in our Preparation Strategies section.
Every department has their own policies. However, the test is part of the hiring process, so you will typically have to wait until the next round of hiring before you can try again.
The CritiCall test measures the likelihood of your success as an emergency dispatcher or call taker. The different modules measure your ability to react under pressure, transcribe information, and recall numbers, as well as basic math and reading comprehension.
No, the CritiCall test is typically administered at the agency location where you are applying for a job. It requires a computer, headset, and recording device to complete the test, which are all available at the agency.
- Test Location: The CritiCall test is administered by the hiring agency, usually in their office.
- Test Schedule: It generally takes place early in the hiring process, as a way to screen out candidates who will be unable to complete the job tasks or who will feel the nature of the job is not for them.
- Test Format: Computerized simulation
- Test Materials: You will take the test on a computer, and wear a headset. You may also have a microphone connected to the headset if the test includes verbal responses.
- Cost: The fee of the test is usually included within the job application fee ($0-$100)
The CritiCall test was created by Biddle Consulting Group and administered by the organization hiring the employee. It is used by public safety agencies to screen potential employees, as well as show candidates what the job as a dispatcher is like.
Disclaimer – All the information and prep materials on iPrep are genuine and were created for tutoring purposes. iPrep is not affiliated with Biddle Consulting Group.
Get a taste of the CritiCall Test by practicing with these sample questions:
0 of 6 questions completed
You have already completed the test before. Hence you can not start it again.
Test is loading…
You must sign in or sign up to start the test.
You must first complete the following:
0 of 6 questions answered correctly
Time has elapsed
Tips for Passing
To do well on a timed test that includes English, diagrams, and numbers, all you need is precision, plan, and practice. Although it may be difficult, the following tips will help:
- Keep the time in mind: Some questions have a time limit, which adds in another element of stress. Practicing is the main thing that can help you; so practice as many timed questions as possible. iPrep’s CritiCall simulations include this important element.
- Listen and read all the instructions very carefully.
- The CritiCall test is generally set up with a CAPS LOCK keyboard so that all answers will be in uppercase letters. iPrep’s test will mimic that experience.
- Use the NumLock on the keyboard and utilize the keypad for quick typing of numbers. Be prepared that some sequences may be alpha-numeric and you may need to include letters with your left hand.
- Practice using the “Tab” and “Shift+Tab” buttons to navigate between text fields.
- CritiCall tests are often completed at a desktop computer. For practice purposes, ensure you are using a mouse (not a laptop trackpad) and a full keyboard with a keypad.
- Practice your typing skills to improve speed and accuracy. Use online typing tests or typing training resources.
- Ensure that you understand directional terms such as North, South, East, West as well as Left, Right, Up and Down
- Familiarize yourself with the “Decision-Making Rules” prior to the test. Throughout the test several call scenarios will pop up and you must select the appropriate service to dispatch based on these rules. The full CritiCall Decision-making Rules are explained and simulated in iPrep’s CritiCall simulations.
- Question 1 of 6
(Turn your phone sideways, to landscape-position, to view this question)
Read the attached call summary and enter the pertinent details in the correct fields.
Dispatcher Jenifer Rosen took a call for a single vehicle collision in Louisville. The call came in at eleven thirty-four in the morning. The caller lived at 218 Clovedale Drive in apartment 229. His name was Jeff Thomas and he was calling from 404-718-8847. He advised that a truck ran into his front yard and hit a tree. No one was injured but he is upset about the damage to the tree. The vehicle left the scene moments after the accident but Jeff took a photo of the license plate. It is a Kentucky plate number RA45E2. Caller’s Name Phone Number . . Address Apartment . . City Problem Type . . License Plate No. Emergency Agency . . Dispatcher Name Call Time Dispatcher Jenifer Rosen took a call for a single vehicle collision in Louisville. The call came in at eleven thirty-four in the morning. The caller lived at 218 Clovedale Drive in apartment 229. His name was Jeff Thomas and he was calling from 404-718-8847. He advised that a truck ran into his front yard and hit a tree. No one was injured but he is upset about the damage to the tree. The vehicle left the scene moments after the accident but Jeff took a photo of the license plate. It is a Kentucky plate number RA45E2. . Caller’s Name . Phone Number . Address . Apartment . City . Problem Type . License Plate No. . Emergency Agency . Dispatcher Name . Call Time
- Question 2 of 6
Instructions: Select the clearest statement of facts from the two choices below.CorrectIncorrect
- Question 3 of 6
Instructions: Use the map to navigate the four emergency vehicles throughout the city. Always use the most direct route that is safe and obeys all traffic laws.
Unit A needs to respond to OnPoint Community Credit Union quickly. They must avoid 8th and 9th Avenue due to construction delays. What is the shortest legal route they can take?CorrectIncorrect
- Question 4 of 6
Instructions: Listen to the audio track and fill in the correct answer only after hearing the beep.
Letters and numbers sequence:
- Question 5 of 6
Instructions: Analyze the following tables. How many differences are there between Table 1 and Table 2?
TABLE 1 TABLE 2 Jeffrey Morgan Jefferson Jeffrey Morgan Jefferson 28-06-1968 28-06-1968 689-898 Rowlands Dr 689-898 Rowlands Rd Mississippi Mississippi MI5987227111369 MI598722711369 8986-4171-5565-4111 8986-4171-5565-4111 511-333-177 511-333-117 511-336-717 511-336-717CorrectIncorrect
- Question 6 of 6
Select the most appropriate agency to respond to each emergency scenario.
Teenagers have broken into a local high school. They were drinking and using illegal drugs when one teen had a seizure.CorrectIncorrect