Preparing For The PTCB: When Should You Start Studying?

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Ah studying! Every high school student’s favorite pastime. But if you think you left cramming for tests behind you when you graduated, you’ve got another thing coming.

You see, taking the PTCB exam is an integral career move for any soon-to-be pharmacy technician. 

Luckily, we have the perfect study guide to help you pass on your first try.

So, how long should you allow yourself to prepare for your exam? Well, while 1-2 months is a good benchmark, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. 

But don’t worry, we’re here to break down everything you’ll need to consider before deciding how long you’ll need to allow yourself to study in anticipation of your exam. 

Ready, great! Let’s start by looking at how much you already know:

How much do you already know? 

When it comes to existing knowledge, everyone is different. And that means that you’ll probably hear of people passing their PTCB in very little time, while others take months in which to do so.

And I mean, that makes sense. After all, someone who has worked within a pharmacy for many years will have more existing knowledge than someone coming from another industry entirely. Or even straight from school.

So, think carefully about your personal experience and try not to be swayed if you hear of others passing in a matter of days. What’s important is how long you need to study in order to pass on your first attempt.

And that depends on what you already know. 

Now, the best way to accurately test your knowledge is by taking a practice test.

But don’t worry about breaking the bank because we offer a free practice test that can be found here. And, since we only use real questions from previous exams, you can be confident that your results give a true indication of how you’d do in the real thing.

So, once you have your results, what else do you need to think about? Let’s take a look:

How much time do you have available to study?

People from all walks of life make fantastic pharmacy techs. And it is a career that often fits well around other responsibilities.

But I’m going to level with you:

How long you have available to study is likely to impact how quickly you can pass your test.

Just think about it for a second. If you’re a parent who already works full-time, a whole load of your diary is already taken up. You have to work, keep your children fed, clean, and happy. And getting some sleep yourself is nice too!

Compare this to someone who is fresh out of school with a part-time job and no caring responsibilities and it’s easy to see how they could afford to allocate much more time to study each week.

So, think about your diary and be honest with yourself. How many hours per week can you commit to?

But don’t be too quick to write off the ‘dead’ time in your calendar. Our PTCB Hero study guide can be accessed on your phone or tablet. 

This means you don’t need to be at home to study. Instead, you can fit a little extra revision into any part of your day where you’d usually be waiting around. Instead of idly checking social media, you could fit in studying while you wait for the kids to get out of school or while you’re hanging around waiting for an appointment. You could even get a little bit of studying done on your commute!

OK, what’s next? Let’s take  look:

How good are you at retaining information?

If you think back to high school, you’ll remember that some students seemed to pick everything up effortlessly, while others had to work hard to pass each class. 

And that’s because we all have different skill sets. Some people find it easy to learn and retain information, while others need to put in a little more effort.

Now it’s important to consider how quickly you pick things up when planning how long you should give yourself to prepare for the PTCB. But don’t be downhearted if you’re one of the people that takes a little longer for things to really stick.

Often, it is the people who take longer to learn a subject that end up being the most skilled. So allow yourself as long as you need to study in order to pass your exam and shine in your new career!

What is the shortest amount of time needed to prepare for a PTCB exam?

The shortest amount of time needed to study for a PTCB exam is technically 0 hours. But, and it’s a big but… this only applies to people with a lot of experience.

For people with less experience, it may be possible to pass the PTCB exam in 1-2 weeks, providing that you:

  1. Have a lot of time available to study
  2. Find it relatively easy to take in large amounts of information quickly

However, trying to pass in such a short amount of time is highly risky. And that’s why we recommend that newbies allow at least a month to study in order to have the best chance of passing the PTCB exam.

But what if you want to take things slowly? Let’s take a look:

What’s the longest time needed to prepare for your PTCB exam?

OK, so you’ve got a lot of responsibilities and you don’t want to rush? No problem! There’s no maximum time limit on taking your exam unless you already have a job in a pharmacy and this limit has been set by your employer.

And that’s part of the reason why we offer lifetime access to our study guides at an affordable price – we don’t want you to be rushed.

What we would say, however, is that it’s important not to put off your exam too long out of fear. And with a pass rate of only 58%, we understand why you might be worried. 

But don’t forget that the pass rate for students who use our PTCB Hero program is a whopping 98%.

But what should you do if you’ve left it a little bit late to start your revision? Is there anything you can do?

Help, I haven’t studied for my PTCB exam!

OK, you booked your PTCB exam but forgot to study? We get it, sometimes life just gets in the way.

Now the first thing to remember is that you can reschedule your exam as long as you give 24hrs notice

But, what if that’s not an option. Perhaps you are already working in a pharmacy and have been given this deadline by your boss? 

Well, the important thing is to try not to panic. 

Instead, take a practice test to check your existing knowledge and then make a list of your weakest areas.

You can then use this list to concentrate your last-minute efforts where you really need them. 

And don’t forget, if you fail, you can retake your exam for the second or third attempt 60 days from your most recent attempt. However, if you fail on your third try, you will be required to wait 6 months before attempting the exam again.

Good luck!

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones

Michelle is Medical Hero's in-house expert on the PTCB exam and pharmacy technician careers.