Learn to Beat the 2024 Criticall Test in Just Three Hours With the Dispatch Primer System

Maximize Your Criticall Score With Our Comprehensive Prep Course
879 Reviews|6869 Students|Last Updated: Jun 03, 2024

The Criticall is one of the most difficult exams administered for any civil service position. Dispatchers need to be quick-thinking and efficient in their operation in order to serve the general public effectively.

Around 90% of dispatcher applicants nationwide are rejected as a result of failing the Criticall test. If you fail, your application will immediately be disqualified. Preparation for the Criticall is essential in such a competitive environment, so here’s our Criticall Test Prep Course to help you start your preparation today with our free practice test:

Take a free Criticall Practice Test

Test your skills and prepare for the CritiCall exam with our free practice quiz.

Hi, I’m Maureen Laneski. I’ve been a dispatcher for a small department just outside of Detroit for 18 years. I have a master’s degree in teaching and was our department’s first certified communications training officer. For over ten years, anyone who sat in dispatch in our department had some or all of their training from me. The role of a 911 dispatcher, or call taker, comes with a great number of responsibilities, and as such, employers can be meticulous in their recruitment process.

Those working as handlers/dispatchers for the emergency services play a pivotal role in ensuring public safety. As such, a number of fundamental key skills are required in order to effectively carry out this job.

Finding candidates that can display competency in a number of key skills across a variety of different tasks is why assessment programs such as the CritiCall are so highly valued within the public-safety industry.

The CritiCall tests were developed in order to quickly and efficiently screen applicants in order to check for these key skills prior to any training they might receive if they are hired as a dispatcher, so that unqualified individuals may be filtered out prior to the application process. Today, there is fierce competition for the role of a 911 dispatcher. To be a successful candidate, you need to pass the CritiCall test. The CritiCall test is challenging, so you must be prepared and ready to put in the effort.

The test itself measures a variety of skills, each particular skill having a section dedicated to it. In order to become eligible to apply for a 911 dispatcher position, one must achieve the CritiCall ‘pass’ score.

The CritiCall assessment is broken down into a number of different modules, each designed to assess your competency in a number of skills relevant to the everyday duties of a 911 dispatcher. Some of these modules are more role-specific than others, like Map Reading and Decision Making, for example, whereas others are a more basic test of your reading, spelling, and math skills. But regardless of their apparent workplace relevance, you must achieve the pass mark in each of them to successfully complete the assessment.

At PrepTerminal, we want you to realize your ambition of becoming a 911 operator, and that’s why we are here to help. We provide you with a free CritiCall practice test to assess your current testing level.

The CritiCall practice test is timed. There are ten questions, and you will have 5 minutes to complete the test.

What is the Criticall Dispatcher Test? Criticall Test Section Explained

The CritiCall Test is an extensive work sample assessment managed by Test Genius, created to reduce the attrition rate of 911 dispatchers as new hires often struggle with the high-pressure demands of the job.

The criticall test contains 23 modules but these 10 are the most important modules.

Map Reading
Data Entry
Memory Recall
Reading Comprehension
Vocal / Call Summarization
Cross-referencing Information
Spelling and Grammar
Typing / Keyboarding

Criticall Map Reading

The CritiCall Map Reading Test assesses candidates’ map-reading skills for public safety communication roles. The test features scenarios that require candidates to select direct routes, follow traffic rules, and answer questions based on computer-screen maps.

Map Reading Sample Question

A bus leaves the Theatre on the St. Vincent Street side. It drives south before taking the first available left turn until reaching the crossroads. Here, it takes a left turn and heads North until turning right to drop-off passengers. Once the passengers have left, it heads back, taking a left turn towards the crossroads. It carries on South on this road until taking the third road on the left. 

Question: Which road is the bus on now?
  • 1:
    10-th Avenue
  • 2:
    Borrelli Street
  • 3:
    DC Street
  • 4:
    East Street
Answer: 4

Explanation: Criticall Map reading Answer

Top Test Advice for Map Reading Section – Prepterminal’s CritiCall Rapid Prep offers map reading exercises similar to the actual test, effectively preparing candidates for this critical assessment component.

Criticall Cross Referencing

The CritiCall Cross-Referencing Test evaluates emergency dispatchers’ ability to accurately respond to information from a written list or an audio file using a keyboard or speech. It tests candidates’ efficiency in finding details and providing timely responses.

There are three test variations of this:

  • Written Cross-Referencing: Candidates answer questions by finding specific information on an address book and entering the correct response.
  • Audio Cross-Referencing: Similar to the written version, but questions are presented audibly. Candidates find the requested information and respond using a keyboard.
  • Audio-Vocal Cross-Referencing: Test-takers receive questions audibly and respond verbally into a microphone. A test administrator evaluates the recorded responses later.

Written Cross Referencing Sample Question

Last NameFirst NameAddressPhone NumberVINLicense Plate
GarciaMaria4321 Elm Street555-123-45673KPC24A43KE0123458ABC123
KimDavid5678 Maple Avenue555-234-56781G6DW52Y7SR700987XYZ789
SinghRaj9012 Oak Road555-345-6789JN8AS5MV4DW3001234DEF567
NguyenThanh3456 Pine Street555-456-78903FAHP0HA7BR3012349GHI012
GonzalezJose7890 Cedar Lane555-567-89015NPEB4AC6BH200987LMN345
ChenMei1234 Birch Drive555-678-90122C3CDXCT9FH8123452PQR789
PatelPriya6789 Willow Lane555-789-01233VWLL7AJ1DM300987STU901
LeeJun2345 Oakwood Drive555-890-12341FT7W2BT1EEA01234VWX234
WongMichael8901 Pine Avenue555-901-23455XYZW3LT1DG012345YZA567
RodriguezJuan4567 Cedar Street555-012-34561FMCU0DG1AKB01234BCD789
Question: What is the last name of the person whose VIN number is 5NPEB4AC6BH200987?
  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
Answer: 4

Audio Cross Referencing Sample Question

Question: Listen to the audio & answer.
  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
Answer: 3

Top Test Advice for Cross Referencing Section – PrepTerminal’s CritiCall Rapid Prep offers practice for all test variations, helping candidates hone their skills and ensuring thorough preparation for this essential assessment.

Criticall Data Entry

The Data entry section of the CritiCall Dispatcher Test evaluates emergency dispatchers’ ability to enter information quickly and accurately. It has text-based and audio-based formats. In text format, candidates input on-screen information, while in audio format, they type details from an emergency call recording.

Data Entry Sample Question

Last Name - Garcia
First Name - Maria
Address - 4321 Elm Street
Phone Number - 555-123-4567
VIN Number - 3KPC24A43KE012345
License Number - 8ABC123

Question: Fill In the Requested Info
Answer: These are the correct responses


Name - Maria Garcia

Phone Number - 555-123-4567

License Number - 8ABC123

Top Test Advice for Data Entry Section – Practicing for the data entry section is crucial for enhancing speed, accuracy, and multitasking skills. Candidates must efficiently enter data types, like names and addresses, while responding to messages within 15 seconds. Prepterminal’s CritiCall Rapid Prep provides comprehensive practice, ensuring candidates are prepared to succeed.

Criticall Decision Making

The CritiCall Decision-Making Test is a vital part of the pre-employment evaluation for emergency dispatchers, assessing quick decision-making, long-term memory of formal rules, and determining the appropriate agency for handling emergencies.

PrepTerminal’s CritiCall Rapid Prep course provides thorough practice for this test, including:

  • Text format: Candidates decide which agency should handle on-screen emergencies within 15 seconds, while simultaneously solving another task, testing multitasking skills.
  • Vocal format: Less common, this format requires test-takers to verbally respond to scenarios, with their answers recorded and assessed later.

Decision Making Text Format Sample Question

A driver has called 911 to report a car accident on the highway with minor injuries.

Question: Which unit would you assign?
  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
Answer: 3

Decision Making Vocal Format Sample Question

A hotel manager has called 911 to report a gas leak in one of the hotel rooms.

Question: Which unit would you assign?
  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
Answer: 2

Top Exam Tip for Decision Making Section – With PrepTerminal’s realistic scenarios and time limits, candidates can sharpen their decision-making skills under pressure and effectively prepare for the CritiCall assessment.

Criticall Memory Recall

The CritiCall Memory Recall Test assesses your capacity to learn, recognize, and remember related information, a vital skill for dispatchers and call-takers.

The test has three formats:

  • Text format: You’ll see word pairs on the screen briefly before recalling and matching them.

  • Audio format (Alpha/Numeric): Listen to a sequence of numbers and letters, then input it from memory.

  • Audio format (Numeric): Hear a series of seven-digit phone numbers and input them after a short pause.

Memory Recall Text Format Sample Question

Maria - 555-123-4567

Jose - 555-567-8901

Question: What was the ending 4 digits of Jose’s number?
Answer: 8901

Memory Recall Audio Format Sample Question - Alpha Numeric

Memory Recall Audio Format Sample Question - Numeric

Question: What did you hear?
Answer: 403462142

Top Exam Tip for Memory Recall Section – Avoid taking notes, as it will result in test failure. To prepare and enhance short-term memory skills, consider Prepterminal’s CritiCall Rapid Prep, which offers practice simulations for all formats.

Criticall Reading Comprehension

The Reading Comprehension section of the CritiCall Dispatcher Test evaluates your understanding of job-related texts from operating procedures and training materials in communication centers. The test involves reading a passage and selecting the most accurate multiple-choice response, assessing your comprehension and reasoning skills.

Reading Comprehension Text Format Sample Question

Remote work has become more popular in recent years, and COVID-19 has accelerated this trend. This has resulted in benefits such as reduced commute times, greater flexibility, and access to a wider talent pool. However, communication and collaboration can be challenging for complex projects, and remote workers may experience feelings of isolation. Companies have invested in technology solutions and initiatives to foster a sense of community. Overall, remote work's benefits and challenges are likely to continue evolving.

Question: Which of the following statements is NOT true regarding remote work?
  • 1:
    Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years.
  • 2:
    One of the benefits of remote work is improved work-life balance.
  • 3:
    Remote work has reduced the need for physical office spaces.
  • 4:
    Communication and collaboration can be difficult for remote teams working on complex projects.
Answer: 3

Top Exam Tip for Reading Comprehension Section – Applicants who struggle with the Reading Comprehension module may benefit from practicing their reading skills. Prepterminal’s CritiCall Rapid Prep, offer 10 practice simulations ranging from basic to advanced levels, to effectively prepare for the Reading Comprehension section.

Criticall Vocal / Call Summarization

The Call Summarization Test assesses candidates’ abilities to comprehend and communicate information, distinguishing relevant details from irrelevant ones, crucial for dispatchers handling emergency calls.

The test has two parts: Summarization 1 and Summarization 2.

  • In Summarization 1, candidates listen to a statement, then verbally repeat a specific part (e.g., an address) into the microphone, measuring their ability to understand spoken information, take notes, and summarize essential facts.
  • Summarization 2 is more advanced, requiring detailed responses to provided information. Test administrators later assess the recorded responses to evaluate candidates’ abilities.

Vocal / Call Summarization 1 Sample Question

Question: What is the description of the person of interest?
  • 1:
    Caucasian, medium build, has a beanie, disguised.
  • 2:
    Caucasian, medium build, wears a beanie, a hoodie, and pants.
  • 3:
    Caucasian, medium build, wears a beanie, red band shirt, and torn pants
  • 4:
    Caucasian, medium build, wears a red beanie, band shirt, and pants.
Answer: 3

Vocal / Call Summarization 2 Sample Question

Listen to the recording and answer the question.

Where did the incident occur?

What is the name of the caller?

What is the nearest landmark to the incident?

Question: List out all the things asked above.
Answer: These are the Correct Responses


Where did the incident occur?

  • Carlyle Boulevard

What is the name of the caller?

  • James O’Brien

What is the nearest landmark to the incident?

  • The Princeton Exchange

Top Exam Tip for Vocal Summarization Section – To excel in the Call Summarization Test, consider our comprehensive resources and practice materials designed to prepare you for this crucial test section & enhancing your ability to process and communicate vital information during emergencies.

Criticall Prioritization

The CritiCall Prioritization Test assesses candidates’ prioritization skills using multiple-choice questions based on decision rules.

Prioritization Sample Question

  1. A woman calls 911 from a local park reporting a child who appears to be lost and crying.
  2. A man calls 911 from his home reporting that he has accidentally ingested a poisonous substance and is feeling lightheaded and nauseous.
Question: Which situation is more urgent?
Answer: 2

Top Exam Tip for Prioritization Section – Those who struggle with this module can improve their skills through PrepTerminal’s CritiCall Rapid Prep which offers realistic materials to enhance prioritization skills.

Criticall Spelling

The CritiCall Spelling Test evaluates spelling skills, including similar-sounding words with different meanings. Accurate spelling is crucial for emergency communication to avoid delays. The test requires typing the missing word in an audio sentence. Homophones like “peek” and “peak” or confusing words such as “compliment” and “complement” can make the test challenging.

Spelling Sample Question

Question: The correct spelling of the word is "necess___y."
  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
Answer: 3

Top Exam Tip for Spelling Section – Candidates struggling with spelling may benefit from Prepterminal’s CritiCall Rapid Prep course, which offers targeted practice for commonly confused words. Our course prepares candidates to excel in the Spelling Test with confidence. Good luck mastering the CritiCall Spelling Test!

Criticall Typing / Keyboarding

The Typing Section on the CritiCall Dispatcher Test evaluates typing speed (WPM) and accuracy, essential for 911 dispatchers and operators. Aim for at least 35 WPM to improve success chances.

In this test, type a provided text into an empty window. Use Backspace to fix mistakes, but it won’t count towards WPM. You have five minutes, with a timer displayed.

Typing / Keyboarding Sample Question

Original text: “The officer reported a suspicious vehicle near the park.”
Task: Type the sentence accurately and quickly.

Top Exam Tip for Keyboarding Section – To excel, practice on a standard keyboard, as you’ll use one during the test. Balance speed and accuracy for clear communication. Prepterminal’s CritiCall Rapid Prep Page offers resources and practice materials to sharpen typing skills.

Important Notice *** During the exam, emergency prompts may appear on your screen to test your ability to multitask like a real dispatcher. You’ll need to identify the best agency for each situation. Recommended agencies for each type of emergency include:
  • Police: physical harm to a person, or damage to their property
  • Fire: visible flames, smoke, fire alarm, or a confined space rescue
  • EMS: medical emergency requiring trained medical personnel
  • Utility: public water or electric power system problems, natural gas issues for home heating, or blocked sewer drainpipes.

How Is the CritiCall Dispatcher Test Scored?

The test is pass/fail, with each module being timed. The agency administering the test sets the passing score for each module, which may differ based on their specific needs and requirements.

Attention to Detail

Module Score to Qualify
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%

Basic Skills

Module Score to Qualify
Call / Vocal Summarization 70%
Call / Vocal  Summarization with Multi-Tasking 70%
Reading Comprehension 60%
Spelling Module 70%
Sentence Clarity 70%

Dispatcher Skills

Module Score to Qualify
Memory Recall 70%
Numeric Memory Recall with Audio 70%
Suburban-Rural Map Reading 70%
Prioritization 70%

CritiCall Dispatcher Course

How to Become a 911 Dispatcher - Application Process

Becoming a 911 dispatcher typically involves the following process:
  1. Meet minimum requirements: At least 18 years old, high school diploma, U.S. citizenship or permanent residency.
  2. Pass a pre-employment exam: This may include the Criticall test, assessing multitasking, decision-making, and data entry skills.
  3. Complete training and education: This may include classroom instruction, on-the-job training, and courses in emergency medical dispatch, CPR, and other relevant topics.
  4. Pass a background check: Including criminal history, drug screening, and driving record review.
  5. Complete an interview: Selected candidates will have an interview with the hiring team.
  6. Accept a job offer: Once offered the position, candidates must accept to start employment.
  7. Complete additional training: New dispatchers will undergo further training on agency procedures, policies, and technology.
Note: The process may vary depending on the agency and location, so candidates must research specific requirements before applying.

911 Dispatcher Job Description

A 911 dispatcher, or public safety dispatcher, receives emergency calls and coordinates with emergency responders such as police, fire, and ambulance services. Key responsibilities include:
  • Answering emergency calls promptly and gathering accurate information
  • Coordinating with emergency responders and providing updates
  • Monitoring emergency situations and providing ongoing support
  • Instructing callers on performing basic first aid or other emergency procedures
  • Accurately documenting each call
  • Operating communication equipment to dispatch emergency responders and maintain communication with emergency personnel
  • Following established safety protocols and procedures
The role requires excellent communication skills, the ability to multitask and make quick decisions while remaining calm under pressure. Typically, the job involves working long hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays, in a high-stress environment.

CritiCall Background Check and Panel Interview

A Dispatcher Panel Interview evaluates dispatchers’ communication, critical thinking, and stress management skills. Interviewers ask operational, situational, and behavioral questions.

A background check will also be carried out to ensure that you have no felony convictions, and to make a qualitative assessment of any previous convictions on your record. This does not necessarily mean that any non-felony convictions will immediately disqualify you from the role – previous convictions are considered on a case-by-case basis. The Criticall Dispatch Primer System includes a full written module that explores the background check in full detail so that you can properly understand what to expect.

Prepterminal’s CritiCall Dispatch Primer System equips you with comprehensive training materials and practice exercises to excel in your Dispatcher Interview. It targets general and dispatcher-specific questions, offering insights into managing stress in high-pressure situations and handling panicked callers and angry truck drivers. With CritiCall Rapid Prep, you’ll confidently demonstrate your qualifications and ace any Dispatcher Panel Interview.

911 Dispatcher Interview Questions

Here are some 911 dispatcher interview questions to help you practice:
  • What motivated you to become a 911 dispatcher?
  • Can you share your experience working in high-pressure environments?
  • How do you handle stressful situations? Can you give an example?
  • What would you do when handling multiple emergency calls simultaneously?
  • How do you prioritize and multitask efficiently?
  • How do you avoid mistakes and ensure accuracy in your work?
  • Share a time when you made a quick decision based on limited information.
  • How do you communicate calmly and professionally with callers in distress?
  • Describe a time when you worked as a team to resolve a problem.
  • What steps would you take if someone reported a non-emergency situation?

911 Dispatcher Background Check - What You Need to Know

911 dispatchers play a crucial role in emergency response, so it’s essential to ensure they meet certain requirements and have a clean background. Therefore, a standard part of the hiring process is conducting a thorough background check, which includes criminal record, employment history, and driving record reviews. Additional assessments, such as credit checks, drug testing, and psychological evaluations, may also be conducted by some agencies.

Criminal Record Check

The criminal record check searches state and federal criminal databases for past criminal activities, convictions, or charges. Candidates with a criminal history or convictions may be disqualified.

Employment History Verification

Employment history verification confirms the accuracy of the applicant’s work experience, identifying false information and ensuring they have the necessary experience.

Driving Record Check

Driving record checks are conducted to ensure that dispatchers can communicate with emergency responders while driving. A poor driving record with multiple violations or accidents may disqualify applicants.

Credit Checks, Drug Testing, and Psychological Evaluations

Credit checks, drug testing, and psychological evaluations help assess candidate suitability by revealing financial responsibility, detecting illegal substances, and identifying potential mental health issues that could affect job performance.

Ready to Kickstart Your Dispatch Career?

Score better than the competition, enroll today & succeed on your Criticall Dispatcher Exam!

1 Week


1 Month


3 Months

*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.
Maureen Laneski

Created by: Maureen Laneski

Psychometric Tutor, Prepterminal Test Expert

6869 students,
, 879 Reviews

About the Author: Maureen Laneski’s Journey as a Dispatcher and CritiCall Trainer
Maureen Laneski is an experienced public safety communications expert, dispatcher, and trainer with 18 years of dispatch experience and a master’s degree in teaching. She was her department’s first certified communications training officer and has trained numerous dispatchers over 10 years. Maureen started as a part-time dispatcher while pursuing her college education and competed against 800 other applicants for a full-time position, which she secured despite a lack of guidance and preparation. Maureen’s experience fueled her passion for assisting others in the dispatch field, and she now contributes to Prepterminal’s CritiCall Rapid Prep by creating comprehensive preparation materials for future dispatchers.

Any questions about the course? Contact Maureen at [email protected]

Success Stories

Discover what 879 students said about us:

Hey, if you're getting ready to take the CritiCall examination, I've got a tip for you. You should definitely use this material that I used when I prepared for the test. It worked for me, and I passed the exam easily. This resource is the real deal and covers all the knowledge you need to know for the test. I found it extremely helpful, and I think it's a must-have for all first-time applicants. Trust me, you won't regret using it.

Brandon J

The information provided in this prep course is accurate. The guides explain the correct approach to the multiple-choice questions, and the Criticall simulation course provides valuable tips on time management and other aspects of the exam and recruitment process. Thanks to this prep course, I was able to pass the Critical Test and secure a job with Rural/Metro Corporation.

Nathaniel L.

I've taken the CritiCall test before, but I'm gearing up for an upcoming opportunity at the NY Police Department, so I wanted to make sure I'm fully prepared. I gotta say, this prep material is the most accurate and reliable one I've come across. Thanks a lot for creating it! It's been a huge help in getting me ready for the test. I may even come back to use it again in the future, but hopefully, I won't have to if I get the opportunity. Fingers crossed!

Marcey F

The preparation package includes valuable advice and tactics for enhancing not just reading speed, but also comprehension. Although some of the tips and strategies may seem obvious, it is helpful to be reminded of them. While there are some repeated points throughout the material, this reinforces the course's key messages.

Sophia W.

The prep course is packed with valuable information, but unfortunately, I didn't pass the CRITICALL test due to my typing speed. Despite typing at 67 words per minute, I struggled with unexpected emergency broadcasts during the exam. However, this material was helpful for the multiple choice questions, and the map reading section was important. I highly recommend this prep course for anyone preparing for the test.

Eric L.

This prep pack can help you prepare for the Criticall police test. If you study it thoroughly and complete the included tests successfully, you will likely be well-prepared for the actual exam. The tests in the prep pack closely resemble the real thing and can provide valuable guidance for becoming a dispatcher. I currently work for the NJ Police Department and found this prep pack to be a helpful resource.

Harry R

Thanks to this prep pack, I passed the Criticall test and now work for Convergys. The study guide is excellent and provides a step-by-step approach. The best part is that it explains the right answers and why they are correct.

Dwight J

The material in this prep pack closely matched the official Criticall exam I took this month. One thing that really stood out to me was the importance of typing speed. I struggled a bit during the exam because I wasn't quick enough, but the practice I did on typing helped me save time in other sections and finally pass.

Alberto A

Although I could have saved some time by skipping a few of the math-related sections, I'm glad I purchased this prep course from Prepterminal. It provided a clear idea of the types of questions on my exam, and the practice test at the end was a perfect reflection of the actual exam. I highly recommend this prep course for anyone who wants to excel on the 911 operator exam.

Anuj G.

This resource is valuable for anyone considering a career as a dispatcher. While the price for the prep course is a bit high, the quality of the exercises is very good. I highly recommend this online course for anyone interested in becoming a dispatcher or curious about the 911 call process.

John E.

Criticall Dispatch Primer System
| 879 Reviews |6869 Students