Whether you're studying on your own, under the mentorship of a pharmacist, or doing coursework in preparation for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), it is equally as essential to learn about the format of the test itself, as it is the material tested. Much like preparing for other standardized tests, familiarity breeds a cool and confident test-taker; so, taking practice tests, understanding the format, and illuminating areas of potential improvement, can make a substantial difference in your score, and save you from repeating the $129 exam fee.

Pharmacy Technician Test Format

The PTCE consists of ninety multiple-choice questions, with each question having four answer options with one discernible best answer. Of the ninety questions, ten questions are randomly included to survey for future tests, and your answers to these ten questions will not affect the outcome of your final score. The test is timed and should be completed easily within the two-hour time constraint.

Pharmacy Tech Exam Content

The pharmacy tech test is broken down into three main areas of content concentration, so as to highlight areas of particular strength and weakness for test-takers. "Function areas" are identified as:

  1. Assisting the Pharmacist in Serving Patients (66% of exam)
  2. Maintaining Medication and Inventory Control Systems (22% of exam)
  3. Participating in the Administration and Management of Pharmacy Practice (12% of exam)

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) provides a thorough outline, and a complete list of publications used in developing test questions. In addition, they offer practice tests on their website, to assist potential examinees in identifying the material that requires additional study, and thereby allowing the greatest potential for score improvement.

Scoring the Pharmacy Technician Exam

A passing score on the PTCE is 650 out of a possible range from 300 to 900. According to the PTCB, it is to the test-taker's benefit to answer every question. The PTCB also reports using the modified Angoff scoring method to tabulate test results. For more information on this method, please refer to the Scoring Procedures page of PTCB.org.

Testing and Re-testing

Eligibility for taking the PTCE requires that applicants have a clean background check and hold their High School Diploma. In addition, candidates can apply online to take the test at a locally sanctioned testing center. Accepted applications will result in an Authorization to Test Letter, which will confirm applicant information and assist with testing site locations. Please refer to the PTCB website for additional information on special accommodations and test day protocol.

If you are not satisfied with your test scores and want to re-test, you will be able to do so after ninety days from the previous test date. Re-testing requires payment of the $129 fee for each test. There are no limits to the number of times applicants can re-test.