Has it always been your dream to help others in an official capacity? Dispatching for a public-safety organization may be the job for you! However, to become an emergency dispatcher, you’ll need to pass the CritiCall public safety dispatcher pre-employment test first (aka 911 CritiCall and 911 Dispatcher test).

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.

### Did you know?

The CritiCall Test is comprised of up to 23 modules. Job candidates are only assessed with modules that are relevant to the position they are applying for. The most common modules are: (1) decision making/multi-tasking, (2) data entry, (3) memorization, and (4) map reading. Passing scores for the modules range from 57%-70%. Successful candidates demonstrate their ability to think on their feet and respond quickly to simulated emergencies.

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!

Free 911 Practice

## CritiCall 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.

### Most Common Questions on the CritiCall Test

Decision Making / Multi-Tasking – 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. These scenarios usually pop up when you are in the middle of solving a completely different task, thus they assess your multi-tasking skill.

Choose the appropriate agency with these decisions rules:

Police:

• Threatening, attempting, or actually physically harming another person
• Damaging or causing harm to another person’s property

Fire:

• Immediate signs of a fire in progress
• Fire alarm is sounded
• Someone is trapped or confined and needs to be rescued or released

EMS:

• An emergency medical condition requiring intervention by medically trained personnel

Utility:

• A problem associated with malfunctioning or broken public infrastructure (e.g. water, electricity, gas, sewage)

Decision Making (Vocal) – this less common format works exactly like the module above, except for that the test taker answers in his or her own voice. The answer is recorded and later interpreted by the assessor.

#### Try a Decision-Making Sample Question

Data Entry – You will see information on the screen and need to type it into another field on the screen. At times, the data will be presented in a straightforward manner, and at times, you will have to extract the information from a report log or a conversation. The exact formats of the information change between organizations according to their needs.

Data Entry (Audio) – You will listen to information or an emergency call through the headset and type relevant information into fields while you are listening. You will only be able to hear the information once.

#### Try a Data-Entry Sample Question

Memorization (Text) – This module assesses your short term memory of textual information. You will either see a group of 6-9 numbers and letters, or a short phrase, and need to type it into a field a few seconds after it disappears.

Memorization (Audio) – This module assesses your short term memory of auditory information. You will hear a series of 6-7 numbers and letters, or a short phrase, but will not be able to type them into the computer. After a few seconds you will hear a tone indicating that you may type what you have just heard.

#### Try a Memory Sample Question

Map Reading – You will see a map with several indications on it–markers of the specific place and position of some emergency units. You will need to demonstrate your understanding of the map and use of relative and absolute directions, and take into consideration traffic restriction while directing the units to a desired location. In all cases, you must recommend the fastest route.

#### Try a Map Reading Sample Question

Prioritization – The system will present several scenarios. You need to decide which is the most critical based on a given priority list.

Vocalization Summary / Call Summarization – You will listen to a call and answer questions based on your memory of the conversation. During the call, you will be allowed to keep notes of the conversation and use them in order to answer the questions that follow.

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.

#### Try a Cross Referencing Sample Question

Probability – You will be presented with several sources of information that review the same subject and include details such as names, IDs, telephone numbers, dates, etc. You will need to answer multiple-choice questions in which the correct answer is based on the most prevalent data in the given information.

Reading Comprehension – You will be presented with a job-related level reading passage, which will be followed by several multiple-choice questions.

Sentence Clarity – You will be presented with two written passages and will need to choose the passage that most clearly communicates the meaning. The clear statement exhibits good syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The less clear statement may include a problem with any of the above and more.

#### Try a Sentence Clarity Sample Question

Spelling – You will need to fill in sentences with a correctly spelled word. The words may be confusing, like illicit, or be homophones like there and their.

Mathematics – You will need to demonstrate basic math skills, mostly involving the four basic operations, fractions, percents, and decimals. The questions are job-related scenarios that require some numerical computation.

## CritiCall Preparation Strategies

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.

### Familiarize Yourself with Multiple CritiCall Question Formats

One of the things about the CritiCall test is that you cannot know in advance exactly which question types will appear in your specific test since each agency picks the modules from 23 available formats. Therefore, try to familiarize yourself with as many question types as possible so that you reduce the chance of being surprised on test day and boost your confidence.

Learn how to approach each type of question in advance—this way you can use the sample questions, which are provided in the beginning of each section of the actual CritiCall test, to start your engine rather than acquiring new knowledge.

### Practice Accurate CritiCall Test Simulations

There is no replacement for simulating accurate CritiCall practice tests—this is the best preparation approach available. Therefore, do not settle for familiarizing yourself with the question formats. but rather try to find a preparation course that simulates an entire test as accurately as possible and with the respective time constraints. Taking the actual test will feel much less intimidating afterwards.

CritiCall tests are completed at a desktop computer. To prepare for real test conditions, ensure you are using a full keyboard with a keypad and a mouse (not a laptop trackpad).

### Learn the CritiCall Decision Making Rules by Heart

Decision making tasks, as portrayed above, will accompany you throughout the CritiCall test. These already pose a great deal of effort on your attention as they require you to split your attention. Therefore, it is crucial to learn the CritiCall decision making rules in advance—this will allow you to act faster and more accurately while responding to these emergency scenarios. A good preparation course will introduce you to many scenarios in which you will need to choose which unit to dispatch in each scenario. Nonetheless, you can create scenarios in your mind as well and dispatch units to them. The most important thing is that even if you are awoken in the middle of the night, you will know instantly which unit you need to dispatch.

### Use Forums and Social Networks

As mentioned, each agency creates its own version of the CritiCall test. You can try contacting the administration office and enquire about the anticipated format, but it is likely that you will not get a definitive answer. Instead, use your social networks to ask other applicants what you

should expect on your specific test. This may help you focus on the most important skills you’ll need to sharpen.

### Read CritiCall’s Test Preparation Guide

Even if you found the perfect course, do not give up on meticulously reading CritiCall’s test preparation guide before taking the test. This guide contains their test preparation hints, some images from the actual test, and important administration tips that may not be found in your course. You will also likely receive a test preparation guide from your recruiting agency. Read it as well as it will contain relevant info to your test. However, these official study guides are always partial and never replace a good preparation course.

### Strengthen Your Weak Basic and Dispatcher Skills

You must pass each section of the CritiCall dispatcher test individually, which means that you cannot rely on your strengths to cover for your weaker skills—you have to be sufficiently capable in all aspects. Therefore, once you realize what your weaknesses are after completing a few CritiCall practice tests, you can find ways to improve the specific skills. For example:

• Typing speed too slow? Improve your speed by interacting with some of the numerous free online typing coursewares such as typing.com and typingtest.com and thepracticetest.com.
Sharpen your typing skills with a regular keyboard and the numeric keypad.
• Maps confuse you? Focus on a random Google map and explain to a friend how to get from point A to point B using terms such as block, left-right-straight, north-south-east-west. Make sure to get feedback about how clear and accurate the instructions were.
• Data-entry frustrates you? Have someone read phone numbers, names, and addresses to you and type while listening. In addition, create your own lists and type them into a blank document. Finally, you can simply try to transcribe or summarize various audio sources and then verify that you correctly spelled the information. You can also use online sources such thepracticetest.com.
• Need to sharpen your short-term memory? Enlist family members or friends to read or show you words and phrases, and wait 5-10 seconds to type them in after you heard or saw them.

### Find a Study Buddy

The previous tip mentioned a few examples in which studying with a friend will improve your skills. Besides that, mutual study sessions ensure that you will be committed to your studying schedule.

### And Finally – Choose your CritiCall Preparation Course Wisely

There used to be no CritiCall practice tests at all. That is not true any longer.

Nowadays, you may find several test prep options, all claiming to provide decent preparation. Therefore, you must be an intelligent customer. First of all, make sure that the preparation is tailored to the CritiCall test (there are a few generic preparation courses available for dispatcher exams, which may only confuse you), check who the author of the course is, read the user reviews, try some sample questions and see if they actually resemble the CritiCall format, and only then make a choice. Obviously, we believe in ourselves. iPrep is the one and only CritiCall preparation course that was written by a 911-expert, who is closely familiar with the test and the dispatch world.

## Test Features

CritiCall has developed 23 different modules, which can take up to 3 hours to complete. Employers choose which modules to include on the test.

CritiCall is used by over 1,800 agencies, including 50% of State Police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to screen dispatchers and call takers.

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.

### CritiCall Is a Dispatcher Skills Assessment

The CritiCall test measures your abilities in the following:

#### Dispatcher Skills

There are some hallmark responsibilities for an emergency dispatcher and the CritiCall test tries to assess them. These responsibilities include the abilities to quickly process information, remember facts, and make fast decisions. Based on these, the dispatcher must accurately dispatch emergency units. The relevant CritiCall modules are:

• Decision making
• Prioritization
• Memory recall

#### Attention to Details

This is a basic requirement of a dispatcher—he or she should be attentive to small details, which may prove valuable in the process of dispatching accurate and sufficient emergency units to any scenario. The following skills are included:

• Audio data entry with multi-tasking
• Comparing and contrasting data
• Cross-referencing
• Using alphabetical lists
• Character comparison

#### Basic Skills

In addition to the above, the applicant must demonstrate a sufficient level of basic skills that allow him or her to carry out the various tasks of the dispatcher’s routine. These skills are:

• Call summarization (listening ability)
• Spelling (writing ability)
• Sentence clarity (writing ability)
• Basic math
• Speaking clearly (not always tested)

### 911 Dispatcher Test Vs. CritiCall Test

The CritiCall test is a 911 dispatcher skills test. There are several other dispatcher skills tests that are used throughout the US, but the CritiCall test is the most common one. We recommend verifying with your recruiting agency if they will be administering the CritiCall dispatcher test or a different dispatcher test as it will be most beneficial for you to prepare for the specific test format you are about to encounter.

## Results Scale and Interpretations

### What is a CritiCall test passing score?

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%.

### Did you know?

It is important to note that in most cases, the agency requires a passing score in each and every section, and not just an overall passing score. This highlights the importance of familiarizing yourself with the test format prior to taking the test.

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.

### Basic Skills

Your score report will provide the following information:

• A pass/fail report on each of the modules included in your test
• Your score on each module
• The minimum score you needed to achieve to pass the module
• Your typing speed – some agencies may report your keystrokes per minute, while others report your keystrokes per hour

Unfortunately, most agencies do not release candidate test data. They simply tell you if you were successful or unsuccessful or, in rare cases, give you the overall score as a percentage. Your scoring per section will not be disclosed.

### iPrep: Concise. Focused. What you need.

Immediate access
Practice
Online self-paced
Pass
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## CritiCall FAQs

What is the CritiCall test?

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.

How long is the CritiCall test?

The CritiCall test takes between 1-3 hours, depending on the number of modules included in the test.

How do I pass the CritiCall 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.

How do I prepare for a CritiCall exam?

There are many ways to prepare for the CritiCall exam. Practicing in advance, using simulated questions and circumstances, increasing your typing speed, and working on your data-entry, map reading, and attention to details skills will help you get ready for test day.

Can I retake CritiCall if I fail?

Every department has its 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. If you apply to several agencies at once, you may be required to take the test in each hiring process regardless of your score in the other process.

What does the CritiCall Test measure?

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.

Can I take CritiCall from home?

For the most part, 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, all of which are available at the agency. However, an agency may decide to allow taking the CritiCall test from home; however, it will probably require passing applicants to retake the test at the agency to verify the results.

Which agencies use the CritiCall test as part of their application process?

Over 1,800 public-safety agencies use CritiCall to recruit new dispatchers, including 50% of the US Highway Patrol and State Police agencies, the US Department of Homeland Security, and Canadian provincial dispatch agencies.

What is a passing/good score on the CritiCall test?

To pass the CritiCall test, you must get a passing score on every individual module. Usually, the passing threshold is 70-75% and roughly 3,000 keystrokes per hour. The better your score is, the sooner you will be invited to take part in the next step of the hiring process.

How long does it take to get CritiCall test results?

Results are immediately sent to the hiring agency except for tests that include vocal responses, which may take a couple of days to arrive. However, usually candidates do not get a personal report of their achievement but only a pass/fail notice from the recruiting agency within 1-2 weeks.

What should I wear to the CritiCall test?

Business casual should be fine. You cannot really overdress, but make sure to wear an outfit that will be comfortable for up to three hours of computerized testing.

Is the CritiCall exam hard?

The honest reply is yes. The time constraints, the multiplicity of testing formats, and the necessity to succeed in passing each individual module make it quite difficult to pass the CritiCall. Familiarization with the format, simulating timed tests, and ample practice on your weaknesses should make passing the test simpler.

Which dispatcher skills are assessed on CritiCall?

That depends on the modules chosen by the recruiting agencies. The common skills, which are assessed are decision making, multi-tasking, data entry, using a computer, listening and using heard information, using alphabetical lists, comparing and contrasting data, prioritization, memory recall, spelling, sentence clarity, reading comprehension, map reading, and basic math.

Free 911 Practice

## CritiCall Test Tips

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. Even if you are familiar with the format by virtue of your preparation, it is always good to refresh yourself and to make sure that the test is not a variant of the format you know.
• Do not skip multiple choice questions. Any question that you skip is considered as a question answered incorrectly and you will lose points! Therefore, if you have to skip, make your best guess and maintain a 25% chance of getting the points for the question.
• The CritiCall test is generally set up with a CAPS LOCK keyboard so that all answers will be in uppercase letters. Punctuation should generally be ignored as well. 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.
• Use “Tab” and “Shift+Tab” buttons to navigate between text fields. These respectively move you to the next and previous data entry fields.
• Practice your typing skills to improve speed and accuracy. Use online typing tests or typing training resources.
• Sharpen your map reading skills in advance. Ensure that you understand directional terms such as north, south, east, and west and that you can read and direct people using standard online maps.
• Familiarize yourself with the CritiCall “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.

• Test location: The CritiCall test is administered by the hiring agency, usually in its 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 in the job application fee ($0-$100)

## Test Provider

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.

This test preparation course is based on the original CritiCall test that is designed to assess the skills associated with 9-1-1 communications. Please note that Biddle also offers other non-emergency pre-employment testing products. On rare occasions, 9-1-1 communications centers have used the non-emergency products and referred to them as “CritiCall tests.” These tests are not intended to assess 9-1-1 communications skills and this package does not include preparation for these tests.

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, which is the owner of CritiCall brand.

(168 Ratings)

Welcome to iPrep’s 9-1-1 CritiCall test preparation course.

This course will help you boost your skills and with it your confidence towards your upcoming CritiCall test. The course will provide you with the following tools and benefits:

• You will become familiar with the test’s various types of questions.
• You will be experiencing 4 full-length CritiCall-style simulation tests. These simulations include similar questions to those you will encounter in the real test with the same level of difficulty. All the questions are followed by full solutions and explanations.
• The relevant sections of the test also have the same time limit as the real CritiCall test. Experiencing the test’s time pressure will ensure it will not come as a surprise on test day.
• You will be provided with a great variety of helpful tips for the different types of questions. Some of the tips are general in nature and tackle the general nature and features of the CritiCall test and some tips are specific for each type of question to make sure that you develop the proper solving methods for each type of question.

20 Learning Hours34 Practice Tests1212 Questions30 Day Access

By the end of this course, you will be more knowledgeable and comfortable with the CritiCall Test – Knowledge and familiarity with the test are the two most significant factors that can help you maximize your score and improve your chances of success.

The course is comprised of both practice and learning sessions. The introductory sections also include practice questions for you to get a feel for the challenge ahead. You will have the option to review your answers and question explanations.

Following the introductory sections, you will be simulating full-length tests that accurately follow the structure and concepts of the CritiCall. Once done, you will be able to get full question explanations and even see how well you performed in comparison with other people who have taken the test. You will also be able to take the tests in practice mode without any time limit to enable a self-paced progression of the simulation.

Wishing you an enjoyable learning experience!

What you will gain from this course

Understand the CritiCall test structureMaster each question typeDevelop speed and accuracy

#### Curriculum

1. Course Introduction
2. Test Overview & Test Tips
3. Question Types Introduction
4. Full-Length CritiCall-Style Simulation Tests
5. Course Conclusion

### Melissa Taaffe

Emergency Number Professional

Melissa Taaffe is a college professor and author of pre-employment testing materials.  She has worked as a 9-1-1 communicator and supervisor in 3 different communications centers and is currently a certified instructor for the Association of Public-Safety Telecommunicators (APCO) and the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM).

Through hard work and experience, Melissa has been designated an Emergency Number Professional, an accreditation earned through the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). Melissa is also a chief contributor to “911-operator” and is the owner of “911Professor”.  When she’s not working or playing with her kids, you can find her mountain biking or drinking craft beer at a rock concert.

Take This Course

CUSTOMER TESTIMONIAL

I’ve recently applied for a 911 communication operator position. This would be a major change for me and I was feeling nervous my anxiety would overwhelm me during the interview and CritiCall test. This prep course is helping ease those anxieties and prepare me for what’s to come. I’m so thankful I came across this program!

Deandra Holt

June 8, 2020 at 10:37 PM

## Reviews

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(168 Ratings)
1. Rebecca F*******
May 16, 2022 at 8:19 PM

Iprep’s questions were incredibly similar to the actual 911 critical test. The free tests you can find other places online are simply not the same as this. I didn’t past one section of my test only because I misread the directions in that section of the actual test. Every other category I got 80 – 100% on. This training was well worth the investment.

May 11, 2022 at 7:43 PM

I normally never take the time to write a review a product but, I took my exam today. Not only did I do well but I received a call from the dispatch supervisor letting me know that I scored a 93% on my exam. He was shocked and mentioned the highest scores they typically see is 80-83%. I used IPrep to study for the CritiCall exam for approximately two weeks. Thanks to this course I am now moving to the interview portion of the application process. It was worth every penny! Take the plunge and pass your test!

3. Ashley J********
May 10, 2022 at 4:00 PM

After looking for many resources to take the test, this is exactly what I was hoping for! Testing anxiety can get the best of people, so this automatically makes me feel more comfortable and prepared. Good luck to anyone taking the test but this is a great resource to use- definitely worth it!

4. Leo T***
May 8, 2022 at 5:51 AM

My performance examination for 911 dispatcher job is in less than 10 days! I was so happy to find this website and although I’m not completely finished with the course, I’m very happy with my progress so far. I know I’ll be going into the exam much more prepared and look forward to finishing up this program before my exam!

5. Kylie B****
April 13, 2022 at 9:30 PM

Such a good way to practice for the test! I want to be a 911 operator and I am taking my test soon. this is helping me so much improve on my scores

6. Zarriah K******
April 12, 2022 at 10:57 PM

This program is truly worth a pay it helps me improve a lot I suggest you get it if you want to pass your critical call test hopefully, I pass mine, but the program was worth the pay. The first time I took my critical test I failed this program is just like the test. So, if you do good on here, you’re bound to do good on the test

7. Cassidy R*****
April 10, 2022 at 7:26 PM

I have a test for a dispatcher position in 5 day. I found out about it 4 days ago, with such short notice, I began to panic about be under prepared. These practice tests have made me feel better prepared and to know where I stand in certain criteria.

8. Karina R*******
April 7, 2022 at 3:47 PM

I definitely wouldn’t have been as prepared or as successful as I was at passing my CritiCall test if I didn’t get this to study. It was a great study tool and similar to the actual test. I would recommend this to anyone aspiring to be a dispatcher.

Get a taste of the CritiCall Test by practicing with these sample questions: