What's the PTCB exam like?

Taking the pharmacy technician test

The PTCB Exam is made up of 90 multiple choice questions. There are 4 available answers, but only 1 is the correct answer. You have 2 hours to complete the test. It is in a random format, which means the subject matter jumps around randomly.

The test is currently broken down like this:

66% - Assisting the pharmacist in serving patients
22% - Maintaining medication / Inventory control systems
12% - Administration and management of pharmacy practices

To pass the PTCE:

You must score at least
650 of 900. Ten of the questions are sample questions for research purposes only and won't count against your passable score. You may read some online message boards (i.e. Yahoo groups) from people who have passed, telling what's on the test. Don't rely on that information because there are several test batteries that change every five years. The last update was in 2005, which means that they are currently updating it.

To schedule for the test:

You will need to
apply and be approved before taking the exam.

Make sure you have:

A High school diploma or equivalent (i.e. GED).
No misdemeanor conviction.(last 5 years)
No felony conviction.
No drug or pharmacy related convictions, including misdemeanors +/- 5 years old.
No denial, suspension, revocation, or restriction of registration of licensure, consent order,or other restriction by any State Board of Pharmacy.
No admission of misconduct or violation of regulations of any State Board of Pharmacy.

Here are some excellent Test Taking Strategies for multiple choice tests.
Including the
#1 biggest mistake people make on the PTCB exam.

My experience on test day

If you're like most people you probably don't enjoy taking timed proctored tests. I ended up taking the pharmacy tech exam on a weekday since the Saturday I wanted was all booked up. I had procrastinated and my enrollment was about to expire. I had to take the day off work and go in for the last timeframe of the day. Looking back, that was actually ideal. Having the day off of work was relaxing and it gave me time to do some final review.

I arrived and checked in early. There was some brief paperwork to fill out, simple stuff. They check your I.D. very carefully AND have you give a digitally recorded fingerprint.

Next, you have to put anything you may have on you into a locker, which is secure and you get a key.

I was called into the testing proctor area, which was a room surrounded by windows and monitors. In that room the proctors carefully watch you to make sure you take the test without any assistance. I believe there is video surveillance also.

The proctor gave me a simple calculator, some laminated paper and a dry erase type pen to write out math problems or other stuff. I was informed to turn those in (without erasing anything) at the end for the proctor to look at. (and not to erase anything). I was carefully fingerprinted (digitally) and identified again before being escorted to my test station. There were about ten stations in that room, all situated around the perimeter with the proctor cube in the middle watching everyone.

You get 2 hours to take the pharmacy tech test and you can use any additional time to check over answers if you finish early. The test computer was easy to use and the test was multiple choice like I had read about. I got done about 20 minutes early, for which I credit having studied pharmacy math, which could really drain your time if you don't. Take another look at the exam breakdown above. Math fits into all of those categories, right?

Anyhow, that extra 20 minutes gave me time to go back and review almost all of the questions. During that review I found a few questions where I had been wrong about some Sig Code Abbreviations and Measurements.

When I pushed the final button, the proctor was stepping into the room to escort me out. On the way out I was asked to return the calculator and scratch paper and again I was carefully identified and fingerprinted, which seemed laughable since I was in the room the whole time.

The proctor told me I could check out up front. I got up there and was identified and fingerprinted. This time I was laughing because I was the only test taker left in the building. Seriously though, they are very professional at Pearson Vue and take pride in running a tight center which I highly respect.

I was given a piece of paper that resembled a receipt and was excited because it said "Pass" in the results section. I had no idea I would find out any results that day.

It took about 10 business days to get my official paperwork from PTCB. Overall it was a great experience.

Try some Free Practice Exams to get a feel for how the Pharmacy Tech Test is formatted.

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