Learn to pass the 911 Dispatcher Test

Last updated 09/2022

The 911 Dispatcher Test, also known as the 911 Operator Test or the 911 CritiCall Dispatcher Test, is a tool
used by numerous emergency services agencies throughout the United States and Canada to determine if
one has what it takes to be a 911 dispatcher or 911 operator. The test is also known as the police dispatcher
test or the 911 operator exam by those already in the industry.


I’m Matt, Prepterminal’s Criticall Expert.
Any questions about the course? Let me know at [email protected]

intro-img Introduction to the 911 Dispatcher Test

With more than 95,000 dispatchers in the United States alone, emergency services agencies are still looking for outstanding individuals to help serve the public by coordinating and dispatching the appropriate emergency service to those in need whether it be law enforcement, firefighting, or medical.

These agencies do this by having prospective candidates go through a battery of tests under the 911 Dispatcher Test such as the 911 dispatcher typing test and the 911 dispatcher listening test to see if they have what it takes to be a dispatcher.

After all, the role of a 911 dispatcher, operator, or call taker, comes with a great number of responsibilities, and as such, agencies can and will be meticulous in their recruitment process.

Here at PrepTerminal, we believe in test preparation done better.

emergency A Curated 911 Dispatcher Test Learning Experience

With our 911 Dispatcher Test preparation course, you can secure a better chance of acing the 911 Dispatcher Exam and stand out from the rest of the candidates with our thorough, easy-to-use resource tools, 911 dispatcher test study guides, video guides, and practice questions so that you can move one step closer to having a long-lasting career in the emergency service dispatch industry.

If given all the time in the world, everyone could ace the 911 operator test.

However, more often than not, a majority, if not ALL, of the subjects contained within the test are to be answered with a strict time limit.

This is in order to see if the candidate has what it takes to take on the responsibilities of a 911 dispatcher who needs to get all the relevant information that they can about the caller, their location, and status, and send the appropriate emergency service that they require in a timely manner.

After all, in these kinds of situations, a second could very well be the difference between life and death for the caller, and being able to get all the relevant information in such a short period of time accurately would be the tool of the trade of a 911 dispatcher.

While these may seem daunting, with the tried-and-true methods on how to tackle each of the subjects of modules contained within the 911 operator test, you can turn this hurdle into a mere stepping stone. And we will be with you the entire way.

That being said, one should be wary of any free online 911 dispatcher test or
911 dispatcher practice test that you can see throughout the web as these tests rarely provide any hints or explanations on how to tackle the subjects contained within the actual exam.

emergency What to Expect in the 911 Dispatcher Test

As mentioned previously, the 911 Dispatcher Test utilizes a number of sub-tests such as the 911 dispatcher typing test and 911 dispatcher listening test to see if the candidate can accurately type in the details provided by a caller either on the first try or in a short amount of time.

Have a look at a sample question in the dropdown menu below so that you can have an idea of what to expect in the 911 Operator Exam:

How did you fare? Whether you managed to get none, just a few, the majority, or even all of the answers right, don’t read too much into your performance here.

These questions are just a very small sample of the vast array that you might be presented with when you take the 911 Dispatcher Test. It’s important not to get too down (or confident!) based on the outcome of this small testing sample.

Take note however that these questions are merely those of the 911 dispatcher typing test.

With our 911 dispatcher test study guide, we will walk you through each subject and question with an explanation at the end so that you can understand how to tackle them with ease.

For the 911 dispatcher listening test, there is not really that much difference. But in that case, instead of seeing a question, you will have to listen to a voice prompt or recording, only then can you type in the answer.

Remember, this is not just a police dispatcher test, this is a 911 operator exam that will require you to take calls when an emergency situation arises, so having the ability to listen closely and extract accurate information and details is vital.

Another thing to remember is that both tests, the 911 dispatcher typing test, and the 911 dispatcher listening test, are usually timed with some agencies choosing to either give you a set time limit for each question or provide you with a time limit to which you have to answer every module/subject contained within the 911 operator test.

emergency Other 911 Dispatcher Test Modules

Apart from the subtests provided above, some parts of the 911 Dispatcher Test are more focused on skill-based competencies that are expected to that of a 911 dispatcher while others are a more general test of reading, writing, and math ability.

Unfortunately, agencies do not allow you to just excel in one area as each of these modules are key performance indicators of a good and effective 911 dispatcher, and lacking in one area may cause problems both for the agency and the caller in the long run.

The good news here is that you shouldn’t be too afraid when tackling the skill-specific modules since the 911 Dispatcher Test is mainly used by employers to measure your skill level before completing any on-the-job training.

This means that you won’t necessarily need an inside scoop on workplace practices in order to complete the assessments, but rather a general understanding and familiarity with the types of questions and knowledge needed to achieve a passing grade.

And that’s exactly what you’ll find in the PrepTerminal 911 Dispatcher Test preparation course.

Our teaching guides are broken down into three different categories, each instructing, explaining, and testing you on a different aspect of the 911 Operator Exam.

Our guides are all interactive and include step-by-step methods for answering every type of question, as well as detailed explanations of practice test answers.

These categories are:




Computerized Data Entry

Listening to, or reading, data from a number of different sources and entering it quickly and accurately into a computer system via a keyboard.



Cross Referencing

Cross-referencing information from an address book and entering it quickly and accurately into a computer system via a keyboard.



Character Comparison

Identifying and highlighting differences between two tables of seemingly identical information.




Vocal Summarization

Summarising information from simulated 911 calls or conversations and entering it into relevant data fields.


Reading Comprehension

Comprehending written information from a number of different texts and then answering subsequent questions.




Spelling a number of commonplace words to test the candidate’s ability to clearly and accurately relay information between callers and emergency services.



Sentence Clarity

Determining which sentence best clarified a set of facts from a list of similarly worded sentences.




Calculating a number of basic math questions to test the candidate’s ability to perform tasks such as addition, subtraction, and percentage work.




Decision Making

Assigning emergency response units to incidents based on strict geographic and company protocol.



Memory Recall

Recalling sequences of numbers & letters from short-term memory. Sequences may be presented in written or spoken form.




Prioritizing and ranking the urgency of emergency incidents based on company protocol to help determine necessary dispatch responses.



Map Reading

Reading and navigating a number of different maps to then choose the most efficient or suitable route for emergency service units to travel.

911 Dispatcher Test Passing Scores

As the 911 Dispatcher test consists of different sections corresponding to different skills, each section comes with its own passing requirement. When preparing for this exam, it is important to bear these requirements in mind; one cannot simply do exceptionally well at half of the exam and flunk the other half expecting to scrape a passing grade. Proficiency in all components is essential.

Basic Skills

Test Name Passing Score
Call Summarization 70%
Call Summarization with Multi-Tasking 70%
Reading Comprehension 60%
Spelling 70%
Sentence Clarity 70%

Dispatcher Skills

Test Name Passing Score
Memory Recall 70%
Numeric Memory Recall with Audio 70%
Suburban-Rural Map Reading 70%
Prioritization 70%

Attention to Detail

Test Name Passing Score
Data Entry with Multi-Tasking 60 KPM
Audio Data Entry with Multi-Tasking 28 KPM
Keyboarding 35 WPM
Cross-Referencing 70%
Cross-Referencing with Audio 70%
Character Comparison 70%

How to Pass the 911 Dispatcher Test

The 911 Operator Test challenges candidates with a variety of different question formats, all delivered on a computer program designed to mimic an emergency-dispatcher system. But despite this diversity in question form, there are a number of best practices to observe throughout the entire examination.

  • Follow all instructions provided during the test. Lots of questions will be very specific in their demands. Make sure that you’ve read the questions thoroughly and abide by any rules or protocols that are provided.
  • Before each module of the test, practice items will be provided to help you understand the format, layout, and design of the questions to follow. And don’t worry, scores from the practice items will not go towards your final mark. In fact, these practice items are optional, and you can skip them if you please––we highly suggest you don’t do this as the practice questions are a great way of familiarising yourself with a question and answer layouts.
  • During the test, you will have to listen to spoken information through a headset (provided on the day), before answering any relevant questions. You will be able to adjust the volume on the headset before you start and should take this time to make sure you can clearly understand everything that’s being said. Answering the practice questions also provides a great opportunity to do this, as adjusting the volume during the exam questions may prove to be a costly distraction.
  • It’s been noted in the past that a number of test takers find it helpful to turn on the keyboard “Num Lock” setting for ease of data entry; however, this is wholly contingent upon personal preference and if you aren’t familiar with this feature, then trying it during the exam probably isn’t the best time to start!
  • In a simulation of a computerized dispatcher system, the computer will only allow the input of information in UPPER case letters. However, other tasks may ask you to input information into data fields identical to the way it’s been formatted in another screen. Always be careful that you use the appropriate capital letters and punctuation marks where required.
  • A penalty is incurred for any questions which are skipped during the test unless the candidate is informed otherwise during the instructions for that portion of the test. Considering that a lot of the questions/answers will be multiple-choice, it’s always better, then, to take an educated guess at the answer as opposed to simply leaving it blank.

As far as specific preparation is concerned, our best advice is that you try your hand at practice tests before sitting down to take the real thing – our course covers a wide variety of practice materials with it being a comprehensive 911 dispatcher test study guide.

The 911 Dispatcher Test is likely to be very dissimilar to any other kind of testing you’ve faced before and becoming familiar with the content of the test and the layout of the questions, and the most reliable way to approach answers is your safest and fastest route to success.

Prepterminal’s expert team has composed a wide range of resources to ensure you receive only the best preparation for the 911 Dispatcher assessments.

Making use of both text and video tutorials, as well as creating thorough, exam-like practice questions, you’ll find everything you need to move one step closer to your new career as a 911 dispatcher right here.

*Note: Criticall Dispatcher and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with PrepTerminal or this website.

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  • What’s Included in the Course
  • Computerized Data Entry tests
  • Fully-voiced Map Reading questions
  • Over 100 fully-voiced memory recall exercises
  • 300 numeracy practice items
  • Decision Making questions involving scenarios based on lifelike emergency situations
  • Thorough and comprehensive spelling and sentence clarity tests
  • 7 full-length reading comprehension practice sets
  • Guides and best practices on how to approach and answer every type of question
  • Fully explained answers and methods included with all practice questions

Course Content