Entry-Level Test Battery

Public Safety Dispatcher - Applicant

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where can I take the test?
    Contact law enforcement agencies and/or communication centers in your area to determine if they are administering the POST Entry-Level Dispatcher Selection Test Battery. Unfortunately, POST does not maintain a list of nor provide referrals for testing locations; however, the POST Website does provide a list of POST participating law enforcement agencies that may offer entry-level testing. Again, you will need to contact the agencies and/or communication centers directly to determine if and when they offer the test.
  2. How do I get my test results?
    All agencies that use the POST Dispatcher Test are required to provide candidates with their test results within 30 days of the test administration. If it has been less than 30 days, you should allow time for the agency to process your results. If it has been more than 30 days, you should contact the agency where the test was originally administered to inquire about your results. For security reasons, POST is unable to provide test results directly to candidates.
  3. How long is my test score good for?
    A score on the POST test has no shelf life; therefore, a candidate may submit the department letter from the previous administration to the prospective employer. Individual departments, however, have the discretion to establish their own acceptable time frames for the shelf life.
  4. Must I retake the POST test if I apply to a different department?
    Not for the purposes of satisfying POST requirements. Departments who use the POST test are required to provide candidates with a letter indicating their t-score. Other departments have the discretion of accepting this letter as evidence that the candidate has met the POST standard, if the score is deemed acceptable by that department. Alternatively, departments may opt to administer another POST or alternative test to their candidates.
  5. Can I take the exam multiple times?
    Yes, however, before you can retest, you must wait for a period of one month (30 calendar days) before taking the exam again. This applies even if the exam is taken through a different department/agency than the original exam.
  6. What if I retest within 30 days?
    If you retest within 30 days either with the same or a different department/agency, your test results will be invalidated. You MUST wait at least 30 calendar days prior to retaking the test.
  7. How do I interpret my test results?
    When POST electronically scans your test answers, statistical calculations are performed to convert your raw score (the number of items you answered correctly and subtracting a portion of a point for those answered incorrectly) into a “T-score.” A T-score is a standardized score that places your performance on the test into a normal distribution (bell-shaped curve) with a midpoint (average) of 50 and standard deviations (statistically-significant variations from the mean) of 10. If your score falls around 50, your performance is considered “average” when compared to other candidates who have taken the same test. If you score 40 or below, your performance is considered “below average” when compared to other candidates who have taken the same test. If you score 60 or above, your performance is considered “above average” when compared to other candidates who have taken the same test.
  8. Why do I have to take the test?
    Commission Regulation 1957 mandates that “public safety dispatchers shall demonstrate Verbal, Reasoning, Memory, and Perceptual Abilities at levels necessary to perform the job.“ These abilities must be evaluated before hire to assure the presence of ability levels commensurate with the performance of dispatcher duties, as measured by the POST Entry-Level Dispatcher Selection Test Battery (POST Dispatcher Test) or alternative job-related tests of these abilities. Since scores on the POST Dispatcher Test are predictive of both training proficiency and job success, many law enforcement agencies and communication centers use the POST Dispatcher Test to measure your aptitude for performing public safety dispatcher work.
  9. What should I expect when I take the test?
    The POST Dispatcher Test is designed to measure aptitude for performing public safety dispatcher work. The test consists of eleven (11) brief tests that measure a candidate’s:
    • Verbal Ability (the ability to read and listen to information and identify facts and draw conclusions; and the ability to write clearly),
    • Reasoning (the ability to apply general rules to specific problems to attain logical answers; and the ability to correctly follow rules to arrange things or actions in a certain order),
    • Memory (the ability to store and retrieve facts, details, and other information), and
    • Perceptual Ability (the ability to quickly and accurately compare letters and numbers presented orally and in written form; and the ability to shift back and forth between two or more sources of information, both written and orally imparted, in performing a task).
    Each test is administered with its own set of instructions and is timed separately. The separately-timed tests range from 5 minutes to 15 minutes each. The entire test battery takes about 2½ to 3 hours, including a short break.
  10. How do I prepare for the test?
    The POST Entry-Level Dispatcher Selection Test Battery Examinee Guide (pdf) provides information about the test. Because the test measures general abilities, there is no study guide or reading list for the test. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the test formats shown in the Examinee Guide. If you are not accustomed to test-taking in general, of if you tend to get tense in testing situations, you may find it helpful to practice doing activities similar to those described in the Examinee Guide.
  11. What if I have additional questions?
    Additional questions about the POST Entry-Level Dispatcher Selection Test Battery can be directed to testorders@post.ca.gov or the Test Coordinator Information Line at (916) 227-4888.

Additional Resources

Public Safety Dispatcher Job Analysis: