Preparing for Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam – Tips & Tricks

Preparing for Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

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Are you dreaming of becoming a certified pharmacy technician? Are you Preparing for a pharmacy technician certification exam but not getting the correct tips and tricks to follow to prepare yourself?

We have you covered. Spending months planning and completing the pharmacy technician syllabus is overwhelming and if you are not getting the right tips to pass your exam, it is frustrating. With more than 4,02,000 pharmacy technicians around the US, the competition is only increasing with each passing day. To get your pharmacy technician certificate you have to know the correct time management and strategy to pass your exam.

No exam is easy to pass but a pharmacy license exam is tougher than many exams. To prepare yourself to stand out, you must have the best practice sets, and study materials to support you.

Before diving any further on how to prepare, we will look over the format of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCB).

Format of PTCB Exam

After January 2020, all candidates who want to appear in the PTCB exam must finish the PTCB recognized training education, complete an equivalent degree or required number of work experience. The current options are:

  • PTCB recognized training or equivalent education degree.
  • You must have a minimum of 500 hours of practical experience working as a pharmacy technician.

The PTCB examination is a computer-based exam. When filling the examination form, you will choose your exam center as the exam is administered nationally.

The exam duration is 90 minutes, and the exam consists of four core domains. Among the 90 questions, 80 are scored and the other 10 will be unscored.

The main topics are

  • Medication
  • Federal Requirements
  • Patient Safety and Quality Assurance
  • Order Entry and Processing

The PTCB exam occurs annually according to the Pearson Professional Centers schedule. After your application form gets approved, you may schedule your exam in your preferred exam center. The examination cost for the PTCB exam is $129.00.

How to Plan your Study

The topics to study for the PTCB exam where the questions come from are:

Core Domains Weightage 
Medications40%
Federal Requirements 12.5%
Patient Safety and Quality Assurance26.25%
Order Entry and Processing21.25%

Once you start with the exam preparation, you must follow a timeline and a timetable. Segment your syllabus according to the questions and topics to prepare accordingly.

Now that you know the format and what the topics of the exam are, we will talk about the steps you should take to increase your chances to qualify for the PTCB exam.

Know the Top 100 Drugs

If you are preparing for or have a slight idea of the PTCB exam, you know how important it is to remember the top 100 drugs, which could be overwhelming! Every drug on the market has a brand name, nomenclature, indication, classification, schedule, and interactions.

A simple way to remember the drugs is to remember that every drug belongs to a class and you can divide the drugs based on their effect on the body. For example, you can remember the drugs which are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants. The six major classes of the drugs are as follows:

  • Alcohol
  • Opioids
  • Cannabinoids
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Hallucinogens

Remembering many drug types based on classification either based on their chemical structure or effect on the body is simpler than naming each one individually.

Excel in Pharmacy Calculations

Pharmacy calculations are an important part of cracking the PTCB exam. If you are not confident in your math skills, it’s best to study practicing more practice questions, and check your time for each segment in the syllabus.

The fundamental quality you should attain to excel in pharmacy math is how to recognize the problems and how they work, but adaptability and memorization are also useful.

Focus on Federal Pharmacy Law

When preparing for the PTCB exam, remember that you are preparing for a national-level exam. Once you qualify for the PTCB exam, you are a licensed pharmacy technician who can work anywhere in the United States. 

When you begin the section on the preparation of federal law, you must remember three main laws. The most commonly known legislations are:

  • Durham,-Humphrey Amendment, 1951
  • Kefauver-Harris Amendment, 1963
  • Poison Prevention Packaging Act, 1970

The pharmacy laws account for around 10 questions which can accumulate about 11.1% of the total score. Apart from the three laws, there are other legislations to consider but remember these three before your exam day.

Prepare Medication Safety

If you followed the previous years’ questions, you know the PTCB board emphasizes Medication safety because, without proper medical safety precautions, patients can die.

Even if you are working as a pharmacy tech, you must have a medication safety certificate. When studying for medication safety, you must learn medication guidance and error prevention in medical practice.

Before you start with PTCB preparation, you should access previous years’ questions to gather information on important topics. Once you start preparing for the exam, practice more sample papers. You may try our PTCB Hero guide, which gives you a complete overview and 300+ practice test questions to prepare for your final exam.

Wrapping Up

Once you start with the exam preparation, you must follow a timeline and a timetable. Segment your syllabus according to the questions and topics to prepare accordingly. Once you get well versed with the syllabus, practice more PTCB practice tests. It will give you an idea of the types of questions appearing in the final exam.

The Pharmacy Technician Program Director at Concorde Campus, Carla Morgan, perhaps gave the best piece of advice for all.

Relax and allow a good night’s sleep, which should happen if you’re well-prepared.

We wish you all the best for your exam!