PTCB Exam PTCB Test Prep

What to Expect on the 2023 PTCB Exam.

Jan 6th, 2023
what to expect on the 2023 ptcb exam

Syllabus for the 2023 PTCB Exam

The PTCB syllabus format remains unchanged for the 2023 exams.

Technicians are expected to prepare for the following four knowledge domains:

  • Medications – 40% of the exam
  • Federal Requirements – 12.5% of the exam
  • Patient Safety and Quality Assurance – 26.25% of the exam
  • Order Entry and Processing – 21.25% of the exam

The above exam structure was introduced in January 2021 and largely resulted from a reconstitution of the previous syllabus.

Some material was left out of the 2021 syllabus on the basis that it lacked relevance for technicians of today. Instead, the focus shifted toward practical and relevant skills and knowledge that impact how technicians work today within hospital, retail, and industrial pharmacy. At that time, there were 10 modules – and these 10 modules have since been re-organized into the above four, broader knowledge domains.

If you have been preparing for the 2023 exam on the basis of the 2022 syllabus and exam format, you can expect no changes to the format. Your study focus remains unchanged.

What about PTCB Math?

Pharmacy math is one of the most dreaded subjects of the PTCB exam.

Many technicians reach out to us to learn more about where pharmacy math is included in the above exam structure. PTCB.org have detailed that pharmacy math can play a role in all four knowledge domains of the pharmacy technician exam.

For instance, on the official PTCB course outline, they issue asterisks beside topics where math may be featured. Technicians are therefore expected to prepare for math that impacts these specific topics. In other areas of the syllabus, this is clearer.

Under the Order Entry and Processing knowledge domain, for example, we can see what kind of math may be asked:

  • Formulas, calculations, ratios, proportions, alligations, conversions, Sig codes (e.g. b.i.d., t.i.d., Roman numerals), abbreviations, medical terminology, and symbols for days’ supply, quantity, dose, concentration, dilutions.

Note that it is not possible to know how many math questions you may be asked on the exam. Some technicians are asked just a couple of questions whereas other technicians are asked many times more. Therefore it is always advisable that technicians prepare for all math topics of the PTCB exam – both easy and difficult – to ensure that you have covered all necessary subjects in this area.

Remember: math is an important cornerstone of your career as a pharmacy technician. Competence in this area is important for patient safety. Try to learn math with this in mind, and not because you want to learn as little math to simply just pass the PTCB exam. Once you appreciate the relevance of math to your professional career, you can summon both the interest and energy to apply yourself to this course material.

If it improves your capacity as a technician and improve the safety of patients, that can only be a good thing.

How to Prepare for the 2023 PTCB Test

PTCB have issued a detailed course outline.

All technicians need to do is put together a comprehensive, detailed plan about how you intend to execute your study. Any effective study plan must be realistic  – something achievable within your available study timeframe.

Always include revision spots within this timetable.

It’s essential that the notes you create are revised on a consistent basis.

Ensure you have an effective study environment free from distractions.

Ask yourself whether you have all course materials needed to complete your study of the PTCB exam. If you don’t have all materials to hand, you may not be able to prepare sufficiently for all syllabus requirements.

Don’t be discouraged if you struggle with math. It’s part of the learning process. Almost everyone finds it tough – and that’s because it is. But the more PTCB practice test questions you take, the better – because you can learn from answer explanations, plugging any knowledge gaps you may have.

And never study for the PTCB exam with memorization in mind.

Rather than trying to memorize a topic, try to understand it. Because once you understand a subject, you can memorize it easier. More importantly, it makes the information relevant to you and your career. Memorizing facts is never a good approach for long-term exam success. Though taking the time to understand course material is always harder, it is far more productive and efficient in the long-term.

Final Thoughts

The pharmacy technician exam of 2023 may remain unchanged, but that doesn’t mean your approach to the exam has to be the same.

There are always tweaks and adjustments you can make to improve your study plan. The more effective and creative the timetable, and the more effective and complete your study materials, the better your final score on the PTCB exam.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our free PTCB exam questions – complete with sample answer explanations. You can also delve into our comprehensive blog and social media posts to learn even more about what you need to know.

The 2023 PTCB exam doesn’t need to be difficult.

But with enough time and effort and productive study, there is no reason why you cannot succeed at the exam and build your career going forward.

Found this helpful? Become a registered member of PTCB Test Prep today and receive instant online access to your personal learning dashboard – everything you need to know to succeed at the 2023 PTCB test.

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PTCB Test Prep Author


Elaine Walker

Elaine joined PTCB Test Prep in 2017, currently serving as the lead product development manager overseeing both course development and quality improvement. Mrs. Walker is a graduate of California State University and has worked as a pharmacy technician for over twenty years – with particular interests in pediatric pharmacy, extemporaneous compounding, and hospital pharmacy. Over the past 8-years, she has helped prepare thousands of students for the PTCB examination.