Police Communications Technician Exam Practice Tests [2024]

What Is On The Police Communications Technician Exam?

The Police Communications Technician Exam, also known as the NYPD 911 Operator Exam, is 85-questions long and takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete. It assesses your abilities in 7 sub-areas, which are important for performing the duties of a 911 operator/radio dispatcher.

If you're taking a different 911 dispatcher test, visit the dispatcher test prep guide or our CritiCall exam guide and CritiCall free practice questions to get more information and try sample questions.

The minimum passing score on this exam is 70. Your score on this test determines your rank on the eligibility list.

If you pass all conditions and qualifications for the 911 operator position, you will be considered for employment when your list number is reached.

This means that the higher you score, the higher you'll be placed on this eligibility list and therefore receive a job offer faster.

Here's a breakdown of the seven NYC PCT exam sections:

  • Written Comprehension – On the test, you will have to analyze, summarize, and draw conclusions based solely upon the information provided. This pre-employment test measures the depth of your ability to understand the provided content.
  • Written Expression – The exam assesses your ability to express yourself in writing. Specifically, the test aims to measure the clarity, grammatical proficiency, and accuracy of your written communication.
  • Memorization – Your memory will be tested through the use of pictures, numbers, words, and procedures.
  • Problem Sensitivity – To assess this skill, tasks will include the identification of problems in addition to determining the elements created or included in the problems.
  • Deductive Reasoning – This aptitude involves the application of a given rule to specific situations. The focus is on logical solutions to questions by using the rules and procedures presented.
  • Inductive Reasoning – Your task is to find the rule or link between items in a set. Look for the reason that the objects, people, or events are included within the series presented.
  • Information Ordering – You will be asked to correctly sequence sentences, words, numbers, letters, pictures, or mathematical operations using the given rules or procedures provided. Some items require a logic-based sequencing of information.


Free Police Communications Technician Practice Questions

Written Expression Sample Question

OFFICER NOTES: Responded to a shooting in the Alley behind Silver Supermarket. Saw one woman lying on the floor, not moving.

QUESTION: Which one of the following choices most clearly and accurately expresses the facts presented in the notes?

A. When I responded to a call from Silver Supermarket, on the floor, I saw, pulling into the alley a woman on the floor.
B. Responding to a call from Silver Supermarket, and pulling into the alley, I saw the dead women lying on the floor.
C. I responded to a call from behind Silver Supermarket. When I pulled into the alley, I saw a woman on floor, not moving.
D. Responding to a call, I saw a woman on the floor of the alley.

Answer and explanation:

The correct answer is (C).

Answer A: This answer is incorrect because “…on the floor, I saw, pulling into the alley" is not phrased and punctuated correctly. It would be better phrased: "When I responded to a call from Silver Supermarket, while I was pulling into the alley, I saw on the floor a woman not moving."

Answer B: This answer is incorrect because “I saw the dead women lying on the floor” suggests that the officer knew that the woman was dead. The note said she was lying on the floor not moving, we do not know if she is dead.

Answer C: Correct. The answer provided all the information in the notes in the correct sequence. The officer responded to the call from the supermarket, pulled into the alley, and then saw the women on the floor.

Answer D: This answer is incorrect because it did not tell you who called. It is missing information. It is also missing information of where the alley is located, which alley? When you are writing your reports remember that the most important information is who, what and where. Who was involved? What happened (stabbing, burglary, fire)? Where is the event taking place?


The prep package includes 24 practice tests that cover both the Written Comprehension and Written Expression sections of the exam.


Problem Sensitivity Sample Question

Read the RULE carefully and answer the question.


A correctional officer whose life is not being threatened may not shoot a violent inmate with a rifle or handgun unless it is a .22 caliber rimfire using rubber, sand, or rock-salt ammunition.

Which of the following is in violation of the RULE?

A. Officer Jerry Thomson shot a violent inmate, who was beating another inmate, with a .22 caliber rimfire rifle, using .22 rock-salt ammunition.

B. Officer John Adams shot a violent inmate who threatened his life with a shotgun, using rock0salt ammunition.

C. Officer James Kelly shot a violent inmate with a .22 caliber rimfire rifle, using .22 sand ammunition.

D. Officer Kim Buckley shot a violent inmate who was not threatening his life with a .22 caliber rimfire handgun, using .22 Short ammunition.

Answer and explanation:

The correct answer is (D).

"A correctional officer whose life is not being threatened may not shoot a violent inmate with a rifle or handgun unless […]" – Buckley shot a violent inmate with a handgun while not under life threat."“[…] unless it is a .22 caliber rimfire using rubber, sand, or rock-salt ammunition.” – Buckley's handgun is a .22 caliber rimfire, but he used .22 Short ammunition, which does not comply with the RULE.

In answer (A), just as in (D), Jerry's life was not threatened. However, he used the correct ammunition.

In answer (B), Officer Adams's life was threatened. Since the RULE only addresses shootings when the officer's life is not threatened, no violation occurred.

Notice that answer (C) does not mention whether the officer's life was threatened; either way, there was no violation of the RULE:

If Officer Kelly's life was threatened, then there could be no violation of the RULE, just as in answer (B).
If Officer Kelly's life was not threatened, no violation of the RULE had occurred, since the correct ammunition was used.


The prep package includes 5 practice tests that cover the Problem Sensitivity section.


Information Ordering Sample Question

The following steps should be followed when approaching a crime scene. (These steps are not listed in the correct order.)

  1. Evaluate what kind of physical evidence may be present
  2. Capture the scene photographically
  3. Initiate a preliminary survey of the scene
  4. Prepare a narrative of the scene
  5. Conduct a detailed search of the scene
  6. Secure and protect the scene
  7. Record and collect evidence
A. 6, 1, 3, 7, 5, 2, 4
B. 3, 6, 4, 7, 5, 1, 2
C. 6, 3, 1, 2, 5, 7, 4
D. 1, 2, 6, 3, 5, 7, 4
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is C.

When approaching a crime scene, the first step is to secure and protect it (step 6). If the scene is not secured or protected, evidence may be moved or tampered with, which can strongly harm the investigation. Answers B and D can therefore be eliminated.

Step 7 instructs you to record and collect evidence. When investigating a crime scene, the location of evidence can be important and therefore evidence should only be collected after the scene has been captured photographically (step 2), and after a detailed search of the scene has been conducted (step 5). We can therefore eliminate answer A, and conclude that C is the correct answer.

You may also have noticed:

A narrative of the scene can only be prepared (step 4) after the scene and the evidence have been closely examined. This must therefore be one of the last steps.

The word “preliminary” in step 3 indicates to us that this is one of the first steps. Taking a preliminary survey should come before evaluating what kind of physical evidence may be present (step 1).


The prep package includes 4 practice tests that cover the Information Ordering section.


Police Communications Technician Job Description

The NYPD PCT title is also known by other names, such as 911 operator or dispatcher, emergency dispatcher, and public safety telecommunicator.

Regardless of the specific job title, this position performs a duality of roles: 911 call-taking and radio dispatching. As the key emergency resource for all five boroughs of New York City, the PCT position entails many diverse tasks.

911 operators work on state-of-the-art equipment that can handle 50,000 calls per hour. The average number of calls per year is in excess of 11 million.

One of the primary skills associated with this communications job is listening carefully to all callers in order to initiate appropriate emergency responses. Sometimes, to serve those in need, emergency dispatchers provide emergency response services and share interagency information with NYPD and FDNY operators and emergency medical dispatchers.

Life and death are literally in the hands of emergency dispatchers; therefore, excellent reasoning ability and sound judgment are essential characteristics of all who are hired as NYC Police Communications Technicians. The NYPD PCT exam assesses job-related criteria and explores the aptitudes needed for effective job performance.

What Is the Role of an NYC 911 Operator?

Before launching into the test, it would be a good idea to mention a few words about the position for which you are applying. This will also help you to better understand the test itself. The dispatcher (aka. Technician) has some very serious responsibility to ensure that the entire operation runs smoothly. While we obviously cannot go through all the metrics related to the job, here are a few highlights. 


An NYPD 911 operator must have knowledge in the following key areas: 

  • CPR and first aid 
  • Department policies 
  • Telecommunication Systems 
  • Geography and City Maps 
  • Dispatch codes, abbreviations, and terminologies  


Here are a few most important top skills you will need to get the job done: 

  • Strong people skills  
  • Logic and Reason 
  • Stress management  
  • Communication skills 
  • Follow instructions 


Of course, you will have many critical responsibilities, as you are the primary clog in the engine Let’s take a look at a few: 

  • Handle multi communication systems  
  • Translating codes 
  • Update response teams in real-time 
  • Update multiple databases on national, state, and local levels. 
  • Analyze phone calls in real-time.  

NYPD 911 Operator
 Application Process 

So now that you have a broad overview of the skills need and pre-qualifications – how do you apply? 

The application process is fairly simple; after going through a background check and drug test, you will go online to fill out the form on the NYC exam website. 

Next, after a 14 day wait period, you will receive a notification via online and/or mail of your test date. Please note that you must bring a physical copy of the test notice with you to the test site. Additionally, you are prohibited from using any electronic device within the testing area. 

Learn more about how to become a 911 dispatcher. 

NYPD 911 Salary and Benefits

The current salary starts between about 39-45,000 USD per year. After 3 years, the salary can climb to about 53,000 USD. 

Benefits include: 401K Plan, dental insurance, employee discounts, health insurance, and life insurance. 

NYPD 911 Operator Pre-Qualifications  

Aside from passing the Civil Service Examination for Police Communication Technician, there are several other requirements needed to get the role. 

  • English requirement 
  • Four-year high school diploma or equivalent. 
  • One year of paid clerical experience. 
  • One year of paid public contact work. 
  • University or College 30 credits.  
  • Honorable Discharge from US Military with two years of active duty. 
  • Note: A candidate no longer needs to live in the 5 boroughs. 


How do you become a NYPD dispatcher?

Before being hired as a 911 dispatcher, you'll need to complete training through the New York State Public Service Commission. The training includes at least 200 hours and 40 of which are in a classroom. Before the training itself, you'll need to take the NYC 911 Dispatcher test.

How much does a NYC 911 operator make?

Usually the salary for 911 operators in New York is around $45,800 - about $5,000 higher than the national average. The top 10% of them earn $66,460.

How to apply for 911 operator position?

1. First you need to contact your local dispatch center and ask about job openings. This number can be found through the local police station or sheriff's office.
2. Ask for the dispatch supervisor or senior dispatcher.
3. Apply to become a 911 operator.
4. Go through the aptitude testing - The PCT Test
5. Attend the training.

How long is the Police Communications Technician Exam?

The test is two hours and 45 minutes to compete. It is 85 questions long.

What is a Police Communication Technician?

A PCT is another name for a Dispatcher/Operator. They get  emergency calls, decide what to do with them and act accordingly. They are the front-line of emergencies services.



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