6 Ways to Prepare for the Pharmacy Technician Exam
By Kristina Ericksen on 10/05/2015
You’ve spent nine long months working toward earning your pharmacy technician certificate and can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. All of your hard work, focus and determination are about to pay off. Balancing work, school and your family has been no easy feat. You have a lot to be proud of!
But there’s still one thing left to check off of your list: the pharmacy technician exam.
It’s the last hurdle standing between you and your future career. You’re confident that the knowledge and hands-on training you acquired in school has prepared you to pass the test, but you still can’t help but feel nervous.
All that’s missing is a little last-minute advice to help you feel cool, calm and collected as you take on the challenge. Keep reading for six expert tips for preparing for the pharmacy technician certification exam (PTCE).
6 tips to help you ace your pharm tech exam
1. Hit the books
Make sure you look over both your course textbooks AND your class notes. If you’re still in school, take advantage of your pharmacy technician capstone course, which provides an extensive review for the exam, suggests Sherri D. Ojikutu, Pharm.D., M.S. and pharmacy instructor.
There are also plenty of review books out there to help you prepare. Ojikutu recommends Certification Exam Review for the Pharmacy Technician.
As you look over the material, reach out to your instructors if there’s anything that still remains unclear. Getting a group of students together or finding a study buddy may also help clear up confusion and solidify your learning too, Ojikutu recommends.
2. Study up on the exam itself
Of course you’re going to want to study the material, but it’s also important review the details about the actual test. Knowing what to expect on the exam can help you to optimize your prep time.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The PTCE is a computer-based exam taken at your local Pearson VUE test center.
- There are 90 multiple choice questions and only 80 of the 90 are scored, though you won’t know which.
- You will be given two hours to complete the exam, which includes one hour and 50 minutes to answer the exam questions and 10 minutes for a tutorial and post-exam survey.
- The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board publishes an extensive overview of the topics covered in the exam in their Exam Blueprint – Ojikutu urges students to use it!
3. Take practice tests
Another way to prep for the pharmacy technician exam is to take a practice test. Having a dry run will allow you to get a feel for the types of questions you’ll encounter and discover which topics you need to study up on. You’ll also get a better idea of how much time you’ll have to spend on each question.
4. Condense your knowledge
The exam only has 90 questions, which isn’t a lot for all the pharmaceutical knowledge you’ve accumulated in school. Here are some ways to help you condense all of that information:
- Create flashcards to review terminology, laws and regulations and any difficult concepts.
- Summarize key concepts on cheat sheets to reference as you study.
- Try apps like Quizlet to help you to stay organized and store digital flashcards for free.
5. Schedule out studying
This may be the most important piece of pharmacy technician exam advice we can give you: DO NOT wait until the last minute to study! Schedule out time in your day to study leading up to the exam. This will help you to better retain the information as opposed to cramming the night before.
Another downside to procrastinating is that it often impedes on crucial sleep time the night before an exam. This loss of sleep then backfires, resulting in lower performance, according to a study by UCLA researchers.
6. Get your head in the game on test day
Remove any unnecessary stressors from your day leading up to the exam so you can remain focused on what’s important. Know your directions to the exam location and leave plenty of time to arrive, relax and refocus or review notes one last time. Make sure you get enough sleep and eat something substantial to give you some brain power.
And most importantly, don’t psyche yourself out.
“Believe in yourself! I cannot emphasize this enough,” Ojikutu says.
You can do it!
The pharmacy technician exam may seem daunting or even intimidating, but remember: you can do it!
With a little self-confidence, some strategic studying and preparation for the exam itself, you can arm yourself with the best possible tools to pass the exam, and more importantly, get you one step closer to your dream career.
Remember – it will all be worth it in the end. Check out this article for a little reminder to keep you motivated: 3 Reasons a Pharmacy Technician Certification is Worth It.