How to Pass the Pharmacy Technician Test

The pharmacy technician test is an evaluation procedure that is required for those who have successfully completed the pharmacy technician certification program. It is designed to verify if technicians have gained the skills to become more effective pharmacists in the delivery of safe and effective services and patient care. Aside from the test, there are specific eligibility requirements that have to be met based on the criteria of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).

All candidates are assessed by the PTCE based on their competence in the performance of their duties as pharmacy technicians. As a council composed of experts in the field of pharmacy, either as pharmacists or pharmacy technicians, it delivers a wide range of settings that will allow candidates to practice their field in different geographical areas. With more than 400,000 certified technicians across the country, chances of passing the pharmacy technician test can be increased by understanding:

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1. Appropriate passing scores

One of the basics of passing any type of test is being aware of the passing score. With the pharmacy technician test, the passing score was determined by a panel of experts based on the best practices in the industry. The modified Angoff method was used under the direction of a psychometrician to allow the panel members to individually evaluate test items and arrive at an estimate percentage that can be answered correctly by qualified pharmacy technicians.

The estimates are normally analyzed to reveal the consistency of the answers before they are averaged to reach the passing score. All scores of candidates are reflected as scaled scores. The PTCE sets the scaled passing score at 650 with the possible score from any candidate landing in the range of 300 to 900.

2. Equating and scaled scores

Candidates of pharmacy technician certification should understand that the choice of scaled scores is necessary primarily because of the different forms of PTCE being administered yearly. The forms can result in slightly fluctuate in difficulty. To ensure the relevance of test items, the PTCB makes use of multiple forms that contain various items to help minimize exposure of the items.

The implementation of statistical equating will ensure that results of candidates that are taking two different types of forms will always be equal. Basically, statistical equating is a method where scores on various forms of the PTCE will be calibrated using a common scale. By equating these scores, the comparison of proficiency among candidates will be ensured.

This limits the potential effects of fluctuations on the test results based on the overall difficulty level experienced by one examinee to the other.

3. Policy of confidentiality for test scores

For those who are interested to take the pharmacy technician test should be aware that upon submission of the application for the PTCB exam, it is presumed that authorization is given for the release of official test scores to the candidate and PTCB only. It is the prevailing policy that all examination scores and status of applications are kept confidential by the PTCB as well as its contractors.

Candidates will have the peace of mind that the status of their application as well as their test scores can never be disclosed to any third parties without their written authorization. The right to verify information however is reserved by the PTCB to validate whether a certification exists for a particular candidate. The PTCB also has the exclusive right of cancelling any test score if there is ample result to support any misconduct.

4. PTCB policy on pharmacy technician test retake

It is an understandable fact that not all candidates can pass the test on their first try. This is why it becomes so important to have a clear understanding of how to be able to retake the PTCE if necessary. Initially, candidates need to be aware that the retake policy allows them to take the exams up to three times. However, if after three takes and the candidates still fail to satisfactorily pass the exam; they would need to file a petition to the PTCB for additional chances.

The review and approval of petitions will be done on a per case basis. There should be a waiting time of 60 days between the first two takes of the PTCE. Candidates are required however to wait at least six months before they can take advantage of a third retake of the PTCE.

5. Requests for hand score

When a candidate gets a failing score on the exam, a request for a hand score can be done on the answer sheet of the candidate by submitting the appropriate request form. The request for hand score should be done by the candidate in handwriting to the PES and must be received within 90 days immediately after the test date. The request should include information of the candidate like:

  • Social Security Number
  • Date test was taken
  • Signature of candidate

The administrative fee for the hand score must also be paid by check or money order and should be made payable to the PES . The administrative fee applies to every request for hand score checking, so every candidate should wait to receive their score report from the PES before attempting to request for this type of service. This option should be used if there is a firm belief that conventional scoring has some errors.

6. PTCE key points

The PTCE has been designed to sample the knowledge of the candidate including their skill sets. The questions have been carefully crafted, referenced, and validated to ensure not only its accurateness and correctness. The experts that draft the exam come from various practice setting as well as geographic areas. This means that candidates should prepare for a wide horizon of questions.

The credibility of the examination is based on the fact that it is supported by nationwide studies in the clinical practice of pharmacy technicians in different settings like institutional and community pharmacies among others. Candidates should be aware that the exam is made up of 125 questions of the multiple-choice variant with 15 additional questions that are non-scored to complete the 140 items.

Candidates who familiarize themselves with these six vital points will realize that they will have an increased chance of passing the pharmacy technician test.

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Get information on Pharmacy Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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