Dispatch - Written Exam Requirements
9-11 Dispatcher & Communications Officer
The Dispatcher Selection Tool (DST™) was designed to measure numerous areas that are related to successful performance as a dispatcher. The DST™ contains cognitive ability questions that are presented in two formats: oral and written. It is important to note that the DST™ does not measure job-specific knowledge or any specific skills that require specialized training. You will not need any specific dispatcher knowledge or skills to succeed on the DST™.
In order to better familiarize you with the diversity of questions you will experience in the cognitive section of the DST™, the following table will describe each cognitive ability area and the manner in which it might be demonstrated on the job.
- Deductive Reasoning: Deductive reasoning is the ability to apply rules and principles to make decisions about what to expect from a specific situation. Dispatchers often use this skill when they apply certain procedures (e.g., CPR, Poisoning, etc.) to aid victims in a situation.
- Inductive Reasoning: Inductive reasoning is the ability to combine specific pieces of information to arrive at a conclusion about what the causal relationship is between those pieces of information and the resulting outcome. Dispatchers frequently exercise this ability when they take in multiple pieces of information and then make decisions about how to react to a scenario based on that information.
- Information Ordering: Information ordering is the ability to identify the best or proper order of given actions or steps. This ability is fundamental to understanding the proper order of steps in performing a specific task safely. Dispatchers must piece together the proper order of events from information provided by caller.
- Oral Comprehension: Oral comprehension is the ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. Dispatchers use this ability as a primary source of acquiring information from callers.
- Selective Attention: Selective attention is the ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted. Dispatchers must be able to focus on the information provided by the caller in the presence of background noise and static.
- Spatial Orientation: Spatial orientation is the ability to understand how to navigate within spaces or how to get from one point to another. Dispatchers require this ability to assign proper units to incidents based upon their proximity, and need to be able to provide responding units with information of how to get to an incident scene.
- Speech Recognition: Speech Recognition is the ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. Dispatchers interact with callers as their primary job and must be able to understand the speech of callers.
- Written Comprehension: Written comprehension is simply the ability to read the English language and understand what is being communicated. This involves an understanding of vocabulary, grammatical structure, punctuation and literary style. Dispatchers are required to read and understand a vast amount of training materials and are confronted with on-going professional training throughout their career that is presented in a written format. Dispatchers also have to read and understand policies, procedures and other written material.
- Written Expression: Written expression is the ability to communicate intended thoughts using the English language. This ability requires an understanding of vocabulary, grammatical structure, punctuation and syntax. Dispatchers are responsible for taking notes from callers and creating reports of incidents, as well as communicating information through logs and records; therefore, dispatchers must be able to communicate intelligently and professionally via the written word. It is necessary to understand how to spell common words, properly use and pair parts of language (e.g., nouns, verbs, articles, etc.), punctuate sentences properly, and compose meaningful sentences.
Once your payment is received for your testing fees, you will be emailed an Introductory Test Guide for the written examination.
You must score at least 70% on the written examination to be considered "Passing" on this portion of the exam process.
The typing test is a critical component of your written test score and you are required to complete the online typing test before the day of your exam. You will be allowed four (4) attempts at the typing test every seven (7) days and are responsible for selecting the score that you want PST to forward to the agencies you have applied with.
You must complete this step by choosing "Typing Tests" from your drop-down menu when you are logged into your PST account. Failure to complete the typing test may result in an automatic disqualification from the hiring process, as there will be no score to report to the agencies.
Most agencies require a minimum of 35 WPM, 90% accuracy, unless the department you are applying to requires a higher or lower WPM score. You can view individual agency requirements on the agency profile pages.
Once you complete your test registration process, you will be provided a free basic introductory guide to review prior to your test date.
A Preparation Guide, seeks to provide critical information about the DST™ that will allow you to prepare for the test-taking experience, hone your cognitive skills, minimize test-related anxiety and is available for purchase.
TESTING IN WASHINGTON STATE CANCELED THROUGH MAY 31, 2020
All pre-employment tests in Washington State have been canceled until May 31, 2020 unless government restrictions are eased. With recent updates, facility closures, and government guidelines, this step is necessary and could be modified at any time. The health and safety of our customers, our staff, and their families is of the highest priority.
We will continue to evaluate developments and make changes to this policy as necessary. When we do resume testing, there will be plenty of events for everyone to test. We are in regular communication with our public safety agency partners, assessing alternatives to the traditional testing model and our testing policies. Any future updates will be posted on the PST website and our Facebook page.
If you have tested with PST in the past 12 months, there may be additional positions you are now eligible to add. Several departments have temporarily changed their testing policies due to the suspension in testing that COVID-19 has caused. Please login to your PST account and navigate to the ‘New Positions’ page to see what departments you can add! We will regularly update that page in your account as departments send updates.
FUTURE TEST REGISTRATION
We know that there will be testing in the future - we just don’t know when! We want you to be prepared for when testing begins again so we have created test events on our calendar that you can register for that will place you in a queue to be first notified. These tests are not “real” test events, they are essentially a holding area. You will be able to “reschedule” out of that event to any other event date/location at no cost. Registering now will also give you time to work on your Personal History Statement (PHS) so that your data will be ready and up-to-date to send to your departments once testing resumes.
To sign up for this placeholder event, select the June 15, 2020 test date in your category (police, fire, 911 dispatch, corrections, etc.).
You may also click on the test event of interest below to sign up:
Please check back here frequently and ‘Like’ our Facebook page to stay updated.
PST staff are working remotely and are available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We anticipate a high email volume and will respond as quickly as possible.