Ace Your Online Pharmacy Tech License Exam With These Prep Steps
Feeling nervous about taking the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)? You're not alone.
According to the National Pharmacy Technician Association, nearly one-third of test-takers report experiencing anxiety during the comprehensive exam. However, with proper preparation and practice, you can conquer your anxiety, ace your online pharmacy tech license exam, and get one step closer to becoming a certified pharmacy technician.
To help you succeed, here are some top tips for preparing for the PTCE.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam at a Glance
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), is a crucial examination for individuals aiming to establish themselves as certified pharmacy technicians. This exam is designed to evaluate a candidate's knowledge and skills across various areas critical to the role of a pharmacy technician.
In order to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, applicants must have completed a PTCB-recognized education program or have a minimum of 500 hours of work experience as a pharmacy tech.
Typically lasting for two hours, the PTCE comprises 90 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as medications, federal requirements, patient safety, and order entry and processing. Of these 90 questions, 80 are scored, while 10 are randomly unscored.
Achieving a passing score on the PTCE — ranging from 1,400-1,600 — not only validates your competency in the field but also opens doors to better career opportunities and potential advancements in the realm of pharmacy.
Common Topics on the PTCE
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam tests your proficiency in a range of industry-related topics, with the top ones including:
- Pharmacology for Technicians: Understanding drug classifications, side effects, and name distinctions.
- Pharmacy Law and Regulations: Grasping federal requirements, controlled substance regulations, and FDA processes.
- Sterile and Non-sterile Compounding: Mastering aseptic techniques and dose calculations.
- Medication Safety: Strategies for prevention, error reporting, and safe storage/handling.
- Pharmacy Quality Assurance: Ensuring risk reduction and maintaining accurate patient records.
- Medication Order Entry and Processing: Deciphering prescriptions and preparing accurate labels.
- Pharmacy Inventory Management: Overseeing stock ordering, storage, and rotation.
- Dosage Calculations: Conversions, age-specific dosing, and understanding dilutions.
- Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement: Navigating insurance claims and understanding plans.
- Pharmacy Information Systems: Utilizing electronic health records and ensuring data security.
Best Ways to Prepare for the Pharmacy Tech Exam
Preparing for the pharmacy tech exam requires more than just enrolling in a quality pharmacy technician school.
With a 70% current pass rate, the PTCE can be a challenging, yet certainly not impossible, endeavor to take on. You'll need adequate time management, patience, and diligence, which will benefit you in the long run once you get a passing, or even excelling, score.
Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true preparation practices that can help increase your chances of walking away one step closer to your pharmacy tech license.
Use quality study materials
Your PTCE preparation will only be as good as the quality of your study materials.
If you've enrolled in a top-notch pharmacy tech school, you'll have a plethora of resources gained from your courses that you can reference while studying.
Gather your textbooks, all your notes, and any recorded instructor lectures. Once you start sifting through them, determine what you'll need to use as key study materials, and set aside what you might need for later. This can help you organize your resources by topic, book chapter, and corresponding lecture.
If you have any additional questions about the best prep materials, be sure to reach out to your instructors. They can help ensure you're always on the right track.
Create a study schedule
Just like with any discipline, a solid study plan ensures you aren't going into the exam winging it.
Typically, students are recommended to set aside at least four to six weeks to properly and confidently prepare for the PTCE. However, it also never hurts to start much sooner.
It's best to list out all the topics you need to cover and allocate specific days or weeks to each. This systematic approach will prevent cramming and promote a greater, in-depth understanding of the materials.
Practice regularly with mock tests
Taking mock tests gives you a feel for what to expect when you actually sit down to take the real exam. You'll get an understanding of how questions are formatted, what they are most likely to cover, and how best to manage your time.
You can access mock tests by either using an exam prep book or taking the Pre-PTCE exam, PTCB's official practice exam, priced at $29. This exam is the closest simulation of the real PTCE, using previous test questions to best acquaint you with test day. Plus, after the practice exam is finished, you'll get explanations to test answers so you can determine and improve any knowledge gaps.
Join a study group or seek a tutor
Sometimes, studying solo can get lonely and overwhelming. And, in the worst cases, immense feelings of anxiety can even lead to a loss of motivation.
Never hesitate to tap your classmates and form a study group. Aside from helping you feel more confident and comfortable about reaching your goals, studying in a group setting also develops and strengthens your grasp of the exam materials.
If you find that you need more of a 1-on-1 approach, experienced pharmacy tech tutors can also offer a wealth of information and support. You can always look online for available tutors or just ask your pharmacy tech school for recommendations.
Earn Your Online Pharmacy Tech License With Accelerated Academy
Whether you've nearly made it through pharmacy tech school or you're just now enrolling, it's never a bad idea to start thinking about your PTCE prep.
At Accelerated Academy, our 10-week online pharmacy tech school prepares you for certification success, with courses covering core topics spanning from medical terminology to pharmacy calculations. All our live instructors are experienced pharmacy technicians, each passionate and dedicated to your success beyond the classroom.
To learn more about how we can help you move the needle forward with your pharmacy tech career, get in touch with us today.