CritiCall Dispatcher Test

Last updated 08/2020

The CritiCall is a computer-based assessment program used to screen candidates applying for dispatch and call taking roles within the emergency services.

PrepTerminal’s comprehensive teaching guides, practice materials and exam questions are the ultimate preparation resource for the 911 dispatchers of tomorrow.


I’m Maureen, Prepterminal’s Criticall expert.
Any questions about the course? Let me know at

intro-img Introduction

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 10 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. 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.

Here at PrepTerminal we believe in test preparation done better. Our CritiCall preparation course is a thorough, easy-to-use resource tool that provides you with everything you need to ace the CritiCall exam and move one step closer to a career in emergency service dispatch.

Try our free practice questions now, or read on to learn more about this challenging assessment.

emergency What is the CritiCall?

Emergency service agencies across the United States and Canada can tailor and administer the CritiCall software to suit their various recruitment demands, meaning candidates may be faced with slightly different variations of the CritiCall dispatcher test from state-to-state, or agency-to-agency.

However, it’s safe to say that employers are going to be screening all candidates in core tasks such as data entry, decision making and multitasking. And as somebody who’s going to be sitting the CritiCall, your best chance of success is to ensure you are familiar with the format, layout and contents of these core modules.

PrepTerminal’s CritiCall course provides guides and quizzes that cover every aspect of the exam, so no matter where or when you take the exam, you can be confident knowing your preparation has all bases covered.

A Curated Criticall Learning Experience


While you may find sets of practice questions for the Criticall elsewhere online, our course is the only resource which also offers a route to success – not only do we provide the best practice resources available online, but we also provide fully-curated guide modules which explain the tactics needed in order to ace the test. By learning with our guides and applying the knowledge gained in our practice test resources, you will be fully-prepared for your Criticall test and have a distinctive edge over your peers.

What is the purpose of the CritiCall Dispatcher Test?

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. 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.

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.

read CritiCall Modules

Some CritiCall modules are clearly skill-specific to the role of a 911 dispatcher, whereas others are a more general test of reading, writing and math ability. But to pass the exam you need to successfully complete every module the assessors quiz you on.

Don’t be put off when we say ‘skill-specific’ here, as the CritiCall is used by employers to measure your skill level before completing any on-the-job training.

It means 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 CritiCall preparation course.

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




Computerised 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 response.



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.

CritiCall Passing Scores

As the CritiCall exam 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 NamePassing Score
Call Summarization70%
Call Summarization with Multi-Tasking70%
Reading Comprehension60%
Sentence Clarity70%

Dispatcher Skills

Test NamePassing Score
Memory Recall70%
Numeric Memory Recall with Audio70%
Suburban-Rural Map Reading70%

Attention to Detail

Test NamePassing Score
Data Entry with Multi-Tasking60 KPM
Audio Data Entry with Multi-Tasking28 KPM
Keyboarding35 WPM
Cross-Referencing with Audio70%
Character Comparison70%

Criticall Background Check & Panel Interview

img When you apply for a dispatcher position, a background check will 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. This course includes a full written module which explores the background check in full detail so that you can properly understand what to expect.

img  In addition, you will face the dreaded panel interview in order for your prospective employer to know a little more about you as a person, so that they can have a more three-dimensional view than would be provided by simply testing your cognitive/work-related skills. While the experience can vary for each individual, this course includes a guide on the best methods for your panel interview, so that you can set yourself apart from the competition and show the panel your best side.

How to Pass the CritiCall Dispatcher Test

The CritiCall exam 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. Here are just a few of the most important!

  • 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 protocol 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 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. The CritiCall 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, the layout of the questions and the best, 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 CritiCall 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.

CritiCall Dispatcher Test

Last updated 08/2020

The CritiCall is a computer-based assessment program used to screen candidates applying for dispatch and call taking roles within the emergency services.

PrepTerminal’s comprehensive teaching guides, practice materials and exam questions are the ultimate preparation resource for the 911 dispatchers of tomorrow.

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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

Lessons Status

CritiCall Introduction


Data Entry & Typing


Decision Making


Memory Recall


Map Reading


Reading Comprehension


Basic Numeracy




Sentence Clarity