how to study for pharmacy technician exam

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

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How To Study For Pharmacy Technician Exam

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.

There are plenty of practice tests online you can take advantage of before the big day. Check out this Top 200 Drugs Quiz and the practice test by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.

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.

pharmacy technician practice test 2020

Pharmacy Tech Practice Test

Try our free Pharmacy Tech  Practice Exam below. Your results will be scored automatically and will display your strengths and weaknesses.

There are two ways to become a certified Pharmacy Technician – through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).  Check your state to see which form of certification is accepted.  The PTCB and the NHA both require the taking of an exam prior to certification. 

The PTCE Exam is 110 minutes long and consists of 90 questions arranged into four knowledge domains, including Medications, Federal Requirements, Patient Safety and Quality Assurance and Order Entry and Processing.  

Candidates taking the ExCPT are given two hours to answer 120 multiple choice questions. The test focuses on four general areas: Overview and Laws, Drugs and Drug Therapy, Dispensing Process and Medication Safety and Quality Assurance.

For complete practice of actual exam topics, check out the Pharmacy Technician Practice Exam Kit with 750 questions and fully explained answers, written by instructors in pharmacy technician studies, former FDA reviewers and subject matter experts in pharmacy. View Answers as You Go  View 1 Question at a Time

Pharmacy Law and Regulation
1. Which of the following is used to report medication quality problems?
a. FDA Form 79
b. DEA Form 222
c. MedWatch Form
d. Shipment receipt
2. How many refills are allowed on CIII drugs?
a. 5
b. 3
c. 1
d. 0
Medication Order Entry, Interpretation and the Fill Process
3. A 60 day supply for a prescription for Colace 100 mg capsule taken bid should be filled with ___.
a. 30 capsules
b. 60 capsules
c. 120 capsules
d. 180 capsules
4. A PRN order is an order for a medication that is used on a(n) ________ basis in a hospital.
a. regular
b. everyday
c. as-needed
d. nightly

Pharmacology for Technicians

5. Pharmacy technicians can refer to the _______ Book to find out of if two drugs are equivalent.
a. Blue
b. Orange
c. Green
d. White

6. What is the nature of a drug idiosyncrasy?
a. It is an unexpected response to medication.
b. It is an expected response to medication.
c. It is a planned response to medication.
d. It is a unique response to medication.

7. Before, after, and throughout each shift, pharmacy technicians should wash their hands with an anti-microbial agent for at least _____.
a. 10 seconds
b. 30 seconds
c. 60 seconds
d. 120 seconds

8. Which of the following defines a solvent?
a. The solution
b. The active ingredient
c. The solution plus a solute
d. The larger part of a solution


9. A physician order for a 120 mg dose of Gentamycin 40mg/mL should be filled with ______ of Gentamycin.
a. 80 mL
b. 5 mL
c. 3 mL
d. 60 mL

10.There are ______ ounces (oz.) in a pound (lb).
a. 4
b. 6
c. 8
d. 16

Anatomy and Physiology

11. Epilepsy is caused by excessive ______ activity within the brain.
a. chemical
b. hormone
c. blood flow
d. electrical

12. Which age ranges defines a neonate?
a. Birth to 1 month
b. 1 month to 1 year
c. 1 year to 5 years
d. 6 years to 12 years

Inventory Management and Quality Assurance

13. While working in a pharmacy, a technician can locate storage requirements for a particular drug in which resource?
a. Taber’s Medical Dictionary
b. Davis’ Drug Guide
c. United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary
d. Manufacturer invoice

14.Augmentin suspension should be _________ and it will last for ___________ days.
a. stored at room temperature, 30
b. stored at room temperature, 14
c. refrigerated, 10
d. refrigerated, 7

Medication Administration

15.The seven rights of medication include all of the following EXCEPT_______________.
a. route
b. gender
c. time
d. drug

16.After administering a drug, the time when the body first starts to respond to the medication is called:
a. Plateau
b. Peak plasma level
c. Onset of action
d. Drug half-life


17.A patient asks a pharmacy technician if it is okay to drink grapefruit juice every day while taking a Coumadin. A pharmacy technician should _______.
a. tell the patient that grapefruit is contraindicated while taking Coumadin.
b. tell the patient that grapefruit is ok.
c. refer the patient to a pharmacist.
d. tell the patient to call his doctor.

18.What should countertops in I.V. rooms be cleaned with?
a. Iodine
b. Iodide
c. 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
d. 90% Isopropyl Alcohol


19. Laminar flow hoods require ________ filters for use.
b. water
c. humidifier
d. double

20.Which scales are sensitive enough to measure a 650 mg to 120 g?
a. Class A balance
b. Class B balance
c. Electronic scale
d. Household scale

Billing and Reimbursement

21.Medicare ___ provides prescription coverage.
a. Part A
b. Part B
c. Part C
d. Part D

22.What three components are needed to bill a pharmacy claim?
a. Member ID number, BIN, and PCN
b. The patient’s insurance card, BIN, and PCN
c. Member ID number, BIN, and Condor Code
d. The patient’s name, date of birth, and phone number

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