To become a qualified pharmacy technician in the United States, you must pass the PTCB exam, or pharmacy technician certification board exam. Not sure how to pass the PTCB exam? Let’s find out!
Now is one of the most exciting times to become a member of this esteemed profession. Numbers throughout the United States continue to grow, a reflection of the need to have greater numbers of qualified healthcare professionals to meet the needs of local communities throughout the country.
That said, the PTCB test is challenging.
There are nine core areas you are expected to know. These range from pharmacology to medication safety to inventory management and information systems and their application. To pass the 2021 PTCB exam, candidates are expected to have a thorough knowledge of all nine core subjects.
Here is an overview of these 9 subjects and how many questions are allocated to each on the exam.
|Exam Subject||Questions Allocated|
|Pharmacology for Technicians||11 Questions|
|Pharmacy Law and Regulations||10 Questions|
|Sterile / Non-Sterile Compounding||7 Questions|
|Medication Safety||10 Questions|
|Pharmacy Quality Assurance||6 Questions|
|Medication Order Entry and Fill Process||14 Questions|
|Pharmacy Inventory Management||7 Questions|
|Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement||7 Questions|
|Pharmacy Information Systems Usage/Application||8 Questions|
In total, there are 90 questions on the PTCB exam. However, only 80 of these are used to determine each candidate’s final mark. A scaling score between 1,000 and 1,600 is used to measure the weight of each question, with applicants expected to achieve at least 1,400 to pass the test.
There are over 250 test centres nationwide. To schedule an exam appointment, candidates should contact Pearson Vue.
Now that you have decided to become a qualified pharmacy technician, and now that you have learned what subjects are examinable and what score you need to achieve, it’s now time to learn what you can do to prepare for the PTCB test.
The best preparation candidates can do is long-term. Avoid cramming; it not only carries a high risk of failure, but it also inadequately prepares you for the day-to-day professional needs that this profession demands. By deciding to become a pharmacy technician, you must take the role seriously.
This means studying each subject in detail, learning the relevance of course material to your professional application, as well as learning how to effectively apply these course materials to maximize healthcare outcomes for patients in your local community.
“Cramming”, then, only serves to undermine these essential objectives.
Because the PTCB exam is question oriented, with multiple-choice questions on each of the nine core subjects, the best form of preparation involves practicing PTCB exam questions. Quite simply, the more questions you practice, the more refined your knowledge and preparation becomes.
PTCB practice exams offer the following two advantages:
Practice exam questions, then, help recalibrate your study in a positive learning direction.
Without this constant refocussing of where and what to study, your study becomes biased. You may inadvertently leave out subject topics, or perhaps fall into the tempting habit of preferentially over-studying subjects you prefer to study at the expense of other important subjects and topics.
If you’re still not sure how to pass the PTCB exam, you need to think about creating a plan. Not just any old plan, but a detailed and comprehensive plan that covers what you need to study, where you plan to study, how you intend to study it, and when you plan to revise what you have learned. The more detail you inject into this plan, the better and more optimum your performance becomes.
There are now a great range of textbooks out there to help applicants with their PTCB test prep. Some are better than others and cover more subject details that you need to know.
There are also a great range of online PTCB test prep materials available. Many of these PTCB practice exams are free, offering an exceptional opportunity to practice what you need to know. At PTCB Test Prep, for example, we’ve put together the most complete online range of PTCB practice exams and test questions, covering all 9 core subject areas. We’ve also made it current for the 2019 exam, and even included some neat flashcards and mnemonics to further aid your study. As it’s online, you can take it wherever you are, studying where and when you need to.
That said, not everyone prefers to study online and that’s where textbooks and other course materials provided by a variety of institutions come in. We recommend studying in a way that suits your preferred manner of learning. If it’s notes-based, or perhaps image or audio-based, use the methods that work for you. The less forced, and the more enjoyable your study becomes, the better.
No matter what method you use in how to pass the PTCB exam, it’s essential that you remain dedicated to your study. Become efficient with your time, disciplined with your focus, and committed to maximizing exam performance. Then, and only then, can you be sure to pass the 2021 PTCB exam with flying colors.