Breaking Down the PTCB Exam: What to Expect on Test Day

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam is a crucial step for anyone aspiring to become a certified pharmacy technician. This certification is recognized nationwide and demonstrates a technician’s knowledge and skills in various aspects of pharmacy practice. Understanding what to expect on test day and how to prepare effectively can make a significant difference in achieving certification.

What to Expect on Test Day

ArrivalArrive 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment time
IdentificationBring a valid, government-issued photo ID
Personal ItemsStore phones, calculators, and study materials in a locker
Policies AgreementAgree to PTCB policies, including the Code of Conduct
TutorialOptional tutorial to familiarize with exam format

Understanding the PTCB Exam

The PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) exam is a computer-based test designed to assess a candidate’s knowledge and skills required to become a certified pharmacy technician. This certification is highly regarded and can open doors to various opportunities in the pharmacy field.

For more information on the PTCB exam and certification, visit the official PTCB website.

Structure of the PTCB Exam

Test Format:

Number of Questions90 multiple-choice questions
Scored Questions80
Unscored Questions10 (randomly placed throughout the test)
Time Allowed1 hour and 50 minutes
Average Time/Question1 minute and 22 seconds per question
Additional Time5-minute tutorial, 5-minute post-exam survey

Knowledge Domains and Weightage:

DomainPercentage of Exam
Federal Requirements12.5%
Patient Safety and Quality Assurance22.5%
Order Entry and Processing25%

Specific Topics:

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy Law and Regulations
  • Sterile and Non-Sterile Compounding
  • Medication Safety
  • Quality Assurance
  • Order Entry and Fill Processes
  • Inventory Management
  • Billing and Reimbursement
  • Pharmacy Information Systems

Preparing for the PTCB Exam

Study Resources

  • Books: PTCB study guides and textbooks.
  • Online Courses: Interactive courses that offer practice exams and tutorials.
  • Practice Exams: Simulated exams to practice time management and question types.

Study Tips and Strategies

  • Understand the Exam Format: Familiarize yourself with the structure and types of questions.
  • Create a Study Schedule: Allocate specific times for studying different topics.
  • Use Multiple Resources: Combine books, online courses, and practice exams for a well-rounded preparation.

Test-Taking Strategies

  • Answering Multiple-Choice Questions:
    • Read each question carefully.
    • Eliminate obviously incorrect answers.
    • Use logical reasoning to select the best answer.
  • Time Management:
    • Keep track of time and pace yourself.
    • Don’t spend too much time on any single question.
  • Handling Difficult Questions:
    • Mark difficult questions and return to them if time permits.
    • Stay calm and don’t panic.

After the Exam

Scoring and Results

  • Immediate Feedback: Receive unofficial scores immediately after the exam.
  • Official Results: Posted online within 2-3 weeks.

For details on scoring, visit the PTCB Scoring Information.

Next Steps

  • If Passed: Review next steps for certification and employment opportunities.
  • If Not Passed: Analyze areas of weakness and prepare for a retake. See PTCB Exam Retake Policy.


The PTCB exam is a significant milestone for pharmacy technicians, offering professional validation of their skills and knowledge.

Candidates can confidently approach the exam by understanding its structure, preparing effectively, and knowing what to expect on test day.

Utilize the resources and tips provided to maximize your chances of success and embark on a rewarding career as a certified pharmacy technician.

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