This Preparatory Guide for the Telecom Operator
Aptitude Test was developed by RCMP Research Branch.
Research Branch, a branch of the Human Resources Directorate, was responsible for the developmentof the current version of the Telecom Operator Aptitude Test (TOAT). The preparatory guide is designed to familiarize you with what to expect when writing the TOAT. It includes recommendations and suggestions about how you can best prepare yourself for the TOAT. It also includes several practice questions similar in format to those that appear on the TOAT. In addition, this preparatory guide includes the answers to the practice questions, and a detailed set of rationales for the answers.
Pleased be advised that if you are interested in being considered for both a career as a Regular Member (Police Officer) and as a Civilian Member Telecom Operator you are encouraged to write the RCMP Police Aptitude Test (RPAT). The Telecom Operator Aptitude Test (TOAT) score can be extracted from a RPAT score within 12 months from the day of writing the RPAT. An applicant who has written the TOAT cannot write the RPAT for 12 months following the date they wrote the TOAT.
The TOAT is a multiple-choice test that forms one component of the process used by the RCMP to select telecom operators. The test is designed to evaluate your potential aptitude for the job of telecom operator. The test measures two skills that have been identified as essential in completing the duties of a telecom operator. These skills include English Composition (Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary) and English Comprehension.
There are 50 multiple-choice questions in total on the TOAT. You will have 45 minutes to answer them. Each multiple-choice question will have four possible options. One and only one of these options is the correct or best answer.
Some general test taking strategies:
Listen to the instructions carefully. It is important that you clearly understand what you are expected to do. If you are unclear, ask questions before you start the exam. Not following the instructions provided will probably result in a lower obtained score. As well, not following the instructions provided could disqualify you from the telecom operator selection process.
Read the questions carefully. Make sure you understand what the question is asking before answering.
Try to arrive at an answer before looking over the choices. However, read all of the offered choices before selecting your final answer.
If you are unsure of an answer, eliminate the options you know are wrong. Even if you can only eliminate one option, you will at least limit your guess to fewer options and, therefore, increase your chances at guessing correctly.
Do not get hung up on any one question. If you are having difficulties with one particular question, make your best guess at the answer and move on. You can always come back later and spend more time with the question. If you waste time on a question to which you do not know the answer, you might not reach some questions to which you do know the answer and, therefore, will not get the points.
Never leave a question unanswered. Guess at any questions to which you do not know the answer.
Bring a watch to the test. While the test administrator will occasionally announce the time remaining, it is better to have a timepiece available so that you can better judge your time. Time management is a valuable test taking skill.
Do not panic. Exams can be very stressful events. If you feel yourself getting too anxious during the test, take a couple of minutes to collect yourself. When you are ready, proceed with the test. It may be a good idea to move on from a question that is causing you to panic and come back to it later.
Some general practice exercises that can be completed to improve your TOAT score:
There are examination guides available to prepare for jobs similar to the RCMP telecom operator position (e.g., public safety dispatcher, 911 operator), most including some evaluation similar to what is included on the TOAT . While many are American, the constructs being evaluated may be very similar.
There are several guides available for other standardized tests such as the American Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the Graduate Records Exam (GRE), the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), etc. While what is being measured on these exams might differ to some extent, most include some evaluation of composition and/or comprehension that overlaps with the TOAT. Note that the levels required to pass some of these test are not the same as the TOAT, especially for exams such as the GRE and LSAT. Treat them as only practice to get you familiar with the type of question you can expect to see on the TOAT, and not as an indicator of how well you will do on the TOAT.
This section will examine your ability to articulate, in a written format, complex thoughts in a clear and concise manner so that others can understand. Specifically, this section will examine your knowledge of grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. Some of the sources used to create this section include ITP Nelson Canadian Dictionary of the English language: An Encyclopedic reference (1997), Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1984), Shaw’s (1993) Errors in English and ways to correct them, and Strunk Jr. & White’s (1979) The elements of style. Using these references may be helpful in improving your performance.
In all, there will be 39 English Composition questions on the TOAT. These will include 10 spelling, 10 grammar, and 19 vocabulary questions.
Some additional practice exercises that can be completed to improve your English composition performance.
Read, read, and then read some more.
Familiarize yourself with the use of dictionaries and thesauruses. When reading, identify any words that you do not know and look up the definition of these words in a dictionary.
Use memory aids to help you remember the correct spelling. For example, mnemonics such as “i before e except after c” can be very useful.
Make it a point to learn at least one new word every day.
Practice with a friend by having him/her verbally dictate to you short written passages while you attempt to write out the passage. Afterwards, check your spelling.
Try to spot spelling mistakes in newspapers or other documents. Confirm your findings by looking up the correct spelling in a dictionary.
Do crosswords puzzles found in newspapers, magazines, and puzzle books. Continue to challenge yourself by progressively completing more difficult puzzles.
This section is designed to evaluate your ability to read and accurately interpret written material. You will be presented with a series of short passages. For each of these passages, two or three questions will be asked to determine if you have correctly interpreted the content of the particular passages.
In all, there will be four short passages presented to you. Accompanying these passages will be a total of eleven questions.
Some additional practice exercises that can be completed to improve your English Comprehension performance:
As with the composition exercises, read, read, and then read some more.
It is important to challenge yourself to the reading level expected to adequately perform the job of telecom operator. A selection of magazines that have similar levels of reading as that on the TOAT include Canadian Geographic, Saturday Night, and some of the longer articles in MacLean’s. Your local library should have a selection of these and similar magazines.
Have a friend read an article or passage that you have also read. Discuss the contents of the text to confirm your interpretation of the message.
Questions 1 to 3 refer to the this passage *1
Throughout its long history, China has seen the rise and fall of a large number of secret organizations. Originally, most of them had no criminal intent. They were simply brotherhoods based on shared political purposes and mutual assistance. However, some of them fell under the control of dishonest people. They then drifted into crime and ended 4up posing a threat to the social order. This was the case for two of the largest secret organizations of Chinese modern history, the Tsing and Hong organizations.
Many criminal organizations such as the Tsing and Hong and many others controlled brothels, opium dens, casinos and drug trafficking operations. They forced business owners to give them a percentage of their profit. They also committed more serious crimes such as abduction, the trade of women and children, and even assassinations. To achieve impunity from the law, they corrupted government and colonial officials. It was not uncommon for leaders of these organizations to occupy legitimate positions in companies or even in government agencies. They used these jobs as a front for their illegal activities. Each organization had its own system of laws and punishments. The internal law of the Hong organization had five possible punishments: capital punishment, corporal punishment, caning, degradation and banishment. A strict hierarchy existed and obedience to superiors was mandatory. New members, called apprentices, were placed under a master and were at his service. In the golden age of the Tsing and Hong organizations, a powerful leader could recruit thousands of apprentices.
*1 This passage was taken from : © Zhang, 1 X.,
Editions Marcel Meihtry, 1996
ITP Nelson Canadian Dictionary of the English language:
An encyclopedic reference (1997). Scarborough, Canada: ITP Nelson.
Shaw, H. (1993). Errors in English and ways to correct them (4th ed).New York: Harper Paperbacks.
Strunk Jr., W., & White, E.B. (1979). The elements of style (3rd ed). New York: Macmillan Publishing.
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1984). Markham, ON: Thomas Allen & Son.