ptcb study guide

PTCB Study Guide: What to Know Before Taking the PTCB Exam?

Preparing for the PTCB exam is considered a hard process. In this article, we will provide you with an updated and comprehensive PTCB study guide.

Updated at November 15, 2022

Those individuals who are interested in being certified as pharmacy technicians are required to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which was developed by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Pharmacy technicians who earn this certificate demonstrate to potential employers that they have the knowledge to provide safe and effective patient care in a variety of pharmacy settings. 

Take notice that while the board utilizes the phrases “PTCB exam” and “PTCE exam” indiscriminately, they refer to the same examination: the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam. This PTCB study guide is made to assist you in your preparation for the PTCB exam.

ptcb study guide

PTCB Exam Format


The examination includes 90 questions with multiple-choice answers, each of which is grouped into one of 4 categories of knowledge.

Time Limit

During the test, you will have a total of 2 hours to respond to each of the 90 questions that are presented (10 of which are unscored). Both a lesson for the PTCB practice test and a post-exam questionnaire each take up ten minutes of time during the exam. The vast portion of the time, which is one hour and 50 minutes, is allocated to react to the questions on the pharmacy technician test. You will be presented with four different potential answer options for each PTCB review question, and you will need to choose the one that best fits the question.

Exam Delivery

The PTCB is a computer-based test that is given in locations all across the country. When registering for the PTCB exam, you will be presented with a list of available Pearson VUE test centers and asked to choose one that is most convenient for you to take the exam from that list.

You will have the chance to understand the structure of the pharmacy technician certification exam as well as how to navigate the testing screen when you are studying for your pharmacy technician certification. It is highly advised that you take several pharmacy technician practice tests to get acquainted with the structure of the exam prior to the actual test day.

Exam Outline Review

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam questions are organized into four distinct areas. These areas were developed by pharmacy content specialists in order to evaluate prospective candidates on the abilities that are essential for the role of pharmacy technician.

No.Testing AreasProportion
2Federal Requirements12.5%
3Patient Safety and Quality Assurance26.25%
4Order Entry and Processing21.25%

PTCB Scoring System

Scored Questions vs. Unscored Questions

Only 80 of the licensed pharmacy technician multiple-choice questions are included toward a candidate’s total score. There are 10 questions that are not scored, however, these unscored questions are not disclosed. They are indeed dispersed at random all across the PTCB test to prevent candidates from identifying the unscored PTCB questions.

Your final score is not impacted in any way by these questions since they are not being scored; rather, it will be determined by the answers you choose for the other 80 scored questions on the test. Be sure to give yourself a PTCB practice test well in advance of your scheduled exam date so that you can acquire a feel for the format of the examination that you will be expected to take.

PTCB Scores

There is a range of potential scores from 1000 and 1600, and to pass, you need a score of 1400 or more.

A group of subject matter specialists used a modified version of the Angoff technique to arrive at this score, which was then assigned. By using this approach, the panel of experts is needed to examine each test item to ascertain what proportion of already-qualified pharmacy technicians would be able to give an accurate response to the question. The final passing score was determined by taking the average of all of these estimations.

Obtaining Your Exam Score

Your Personal Training Certification Board test result report will provide you with information on your scores for each of the four knowledge categories. Utilize this information to analyze your existing skills and identify any areas in which you may improve. You will be given the option to repeat the test free of charge in case you do not get a score that is considered to be passing. If this is the case, you need to carefully evaluate your test results to determine which areas of knowledge were more challenging. 

Exam Registration, Cancellation, and Renewal Process


To proceed with the registration process to participate in the exam, your request will first need to be accepted. After you have been accepted, you will have permission for ninety days to arrange when you will sit for the PTCE. You have the option of registering for an examination online via Pearson VUE or by calling them directly. The exam is handled by Pearson Professional Centers located all around the country. As soon as they have received your requested appointment time, we will send you a verification.

There is a one-time application cost of $129 to take the test.

ptcb study guide

Exam Cancellation

If you need to change or reschedule your date after you have already booked it with Pearson VUE to take the test, you will be required to contact them to do so. Canceling or postponing your exam does not incur any costs; however, you are required to do it at least 24 hours before your scheduled appointment time. If you do not follow these instructions or do not show up for your scheduled appointment, you will be responsible for paying the full cost again.

Retaking the Exam

You will have the opportunity to repeat the examination 60 days from the date of your first test for your 2nd and 3rd tries, but after that, you will be compelled to wait 6 months before attempting another retake. If, after a total of four tries, you are unable to pass the PTCB test, you will not be eligible to apply for certification until you have completed preparatory activities and shown proof of having done so.

Read more >> PTCB Top 200 Drugs: How to Remember All of Them?

What to Expect on the PTCB Exam Day?

You should make plans to attend at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment on the day that has been set for your test. At the location of the pharmacy testing area, you will be expected to provide proof of identity that has been pre-approved. You will not be authorized to take the test unless you have an appropriate identity that confirms your name inside your PTCB Account. Therefore, you should verify your identity very carefully before you register for the examination to avoid any problems.

The majority of one’s personal belongings are required to be stored in a locker outside of the examination room and are not allowed inside. You are not permitted to bring a personal calculator with you since there will be one present throughout the test; however, a member of the examination facility staff may be willing to provide a physical calculator if you ask for one. If you take a device that is not permitted into the test room, you will be kicked out of the test facility and all of your costs will be refunded to you.

You will be required to read all of the National Pharmacy Technician Certification regulations, such as the Code of Conduct and Test Center Rules, prior you start the examination. When you accept these regulations, you will be allowed to go forward. 

Final Words

We hope that the above PTCB study guide has provided you with enough information for your learning and preparation process. Good luck and hope you can ace this exam!