You’ve committed your time and effort to successfully completing your PTCB-recognized pharmacy technician program, and now it’s time to take all that information and use it to pass the certification exam and become a Certified Pharmacy Technician. But how?
PTCE Content Outline
First, visit www.ptcb.org to access and download the current exam content outline that defines the content that will be measured on the exam. The exam consists of four content domains: Medications (40%), Federal Requirements (12.5%0, Patient Safety and Quality Assurance (26.25%), and Order Entry and Processing (21.25%).
Schedule Exam Date
Consider relevant factors including program requirements, sponsorship, testing options and exam availability when determining the best time to take the exam. Visit www.ptcb,org to create an account. Using your personal account information, apply for and schedule your exam. If your exam is sponsored, you will be provided a voucher number from your sponsor to cover the $129 exam fee. For self pay, you should be prepared to provide credit/debit card information at this time.
Collect and organize your existing resources provided by your program. This should include any textbooks, notes, flash cards, online resource materials, practice exams, handouts, and proprietary content from a recognized program.
Additional Study Aids
Make use of PTCE resources provided by PTCB partner organizations. Some free resources available include the Pocket Prep PTCE Mobile App and the Pocket Prep Pharmacy Calculations Mobile App, both available for Android and iOS. Use any workbooks that accompany your textbooks, video content, and PTCE online games. Consider investing in an online question bank to practice taking questions that simulate the real exam. If you are working in a pharmacy while preparing for the exam, your pharmacist’s and coworkers are invaluable review and quiz resources. Make certain to use them!
Create a Study Plan
Create a written study plan based on the time you are able to commit to studying before your exam date. Set aside at least 6 hours per week (2 hours per day/3 days a week) for study and review up to the week before your scheduled exam. Each study session should focus on one content area, and you should dedicate more time to review the content areas in which you are weakest. For example, on days dedicated to Medications, use your Top 200 Drugs Flashcards to review drug information, and on days dedicated to Order Processing and Entry, perform dosage calculations and transcribe practice prescriptions.
The last week leading to your exam date should consist of only two practice test attempts. The closer you get to test time, the more relaxed you should be. You have put a lot of time and effort into this, and you are ready. The only thing left is to do it. The day before the exam, take time to do something you enjoy as a stress deterrent. Review the information provided concerning requirements such as dress code and restrictions regarding what is not allowed in the testing facility. Prepare your items for tomorrow, go to bed early, and get a good night’s sleep.
Eat a light breakfast, dress comfortably, give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the testing facility, remember your government ID, and DO NOT LEAVE ANY QUESTIONS BLANK! Good luck! You’ve got this!
Author: Kimberly Marshall, RPh