To prepare for any exam, you must know what to expect. That means knowing
what the exam format is like, and granular detail about what topics and subjects
you are expected to master.
Only 80 questions are scored.
Pass Score Required: 1,400
Candidates can re-take exam 60 days after, for first 2 re-take attempts. Third retake attempt must be taken 6 months later. After that, appeal to PTCB board required.
Pearson VUE is responsible for administering the Pharmacy Technician exam. To schedule and exam appointment, candidates can go to www.pearsonvue.com/ptcb or call 1-866-902-0593.
Pearson VUE operates over 250 test centers nationwide. In addition, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, online testing has also been introduced.
Passing the PTCB exam allows pharmacy techs to use the CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) designation. In order to continue using the CPhT designation, however, pharmacy tech's must successfully complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years.
An updated syllabus was introduced from 1 January 2020. There are four knowledge
domains that aspiring pharmacy technicians are expected to study and prepare for
in the coming weeks and months.
PTCB also state in their official syllabus that pharmacy calculations form part of the syllabus of some of the topics in each of these four knowledge domains.
It depends. Some candidates are asked only a couple of questions, whereas other candidates are asked more - as many as 8-10. Therefore, calculations form an important part of any PTCB study guide. Aside from the PTCB exam, pharmacy technicians must have a rounded knowledge of pharmacy math to operate in their professional capacity.
Candidates taking the PTCB exam should assume they will be asked many math questions.
This is necessary from a professional perspective, to ensure that you are prepared to work as an effective pharmacy technician but also because there are many math calculation topics to cover and only preparing for half will land you in trouble on the day of your exam!
No PTCB study guide is complete without a thorough understanding of the Top 200
drugs and medicines!
Many candidates struggle learning the top 200 medicines. There’s no doubt about it, it can seem
overwhelming at first. But there are ways and means of maximizing your study performance.
Metformin is used to treat type 2 diabetes and Glucophage translates to mean “Glucose eater”, which makes perfect sense given the indication.
Albuterol is used to treat asthma/COPD, hence the reference to “air / ventilation” in the medicine name.
Pantoprazole is a PPI used to suppress gastric acid, hence the medicine name to “prevent acid” build-up!
A drug used to treat seizures and neuropathic pain. It also ends in -ntin, just like the drug itself.
Zolpidem is used to treat insomnia. Ambien takes its name from AM (morning) and “-bien”, which is Spanish for good.
An antiviral drug used in the treatment of influenza, hence the suffix ‘-flu’ in the medicine name.
Flashcards should be more than just information.
The more interesting and relevant the information, the better and more memorable it becomes. Note how we presented the data above, and how it is more accessible to learn compared to information just flatly listed – without explanation.
Flashcards should be more meat than bone.
The more effective your flashcards, the better and faster you can memorize the top 200 drugs and medicines.
These strategies are highly effective tools when you are sat during the PTCB exam.
These strategies are highly effective tools when you are sat during the PTCB exam. For example, if you are asked to identify the active ingredient of a medicine and you know what the active ingredient is used to treat – you can now dismiss other answers if they appear to be used to treat other conditions. In the case of Prevacid above, for example, if you know the active ingredient is not used to treat gastric acid build-up and dyspepsia, you can eliminate this answer and move onto the next. This increases your chance of selecting the correct answer.
In other words, even if you do not remember all top 200 drugs and medicines, you can still harness what you do know in the exam – even if you do not know the answer initially.
Now that you know what to study, you must put together a long-term study plan that works!
The PTCB study guide you create must account for all the above topics discussed in the syllabus. It must also be flexible enough to ensure that you have enough time to study each topic – and that you build enough time into your schedule to create effective notes.
You must understand the topics first, even if it takes much longer.
As we learned about in the section above, creating innovative and creative word associations offer a great way to increase memorization. In fact, the crazier the word association, the easier it becomes to memorize.
Remember, you are not taking the PTCB exam for the sake of it. What you learn now matters, a lot! It will determine how effective you are as a pharmacy technician in the months and years to come. Stay motivated to study be realizing how relevant this information is to your future career. Avoid seeing study material as alien and irrelevant - as this is never the case and it only serves to demotivate you and stifle study progress.
The more revision you do, the better. Make effective notes and always write these notes in your own words, facilitating greater understanding. Make flashcards, too, and be creative!
The more questions you practice, the more gaps you plug in your knowledge. Questions also help to identify strengths from weaknesses, redirecting your study as you adjust accordingly.
If you do not understand why a formula is used or are using it for the sake of it without knowing what’s really going on, then you need to adjust your approach. Try to think about the question from a conceptual perspective – line-by-line – and figuring out what’s going on. Then, you can use equations/formulae alongside this to ensure you have two methods of working out any problem.
If you have found this PTCB study guide helpful, you can access even more exclusive features and content, which covers the entire syllabus above, alongside 1000s of PTCB practice questions; calculations; the Top 200 drugs, and much more – maximizing your performance and building success into your study.Access PTCB Test Prep Study Guide