Mar 19, 2015
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Hello, everyone! I just wanted to give some study tips for the PTCE and what I think really helps. I was really nervous about taking this exam and desperately searched this website on the best way to study, so I just wanted to put my method all in one place. I ended up being really confident with how much I studied AND during my test, which is definitely a good feeling to have!

First of all, let it be known that I put off this test for two years because I am just really afraid of tests. I kept telling myself that I was too busy to study for it, and it wasn't until I was about to apply for pharmacy school that I actually forced myself to take this test. Being a certified technician would only help me, so why not go ahead and get this over with? Also, I worked as a pharmacy tech trainee for about six months before I took this test, so that helped with some of my studying as well. I highly recommend working as a pharmacy tech trainee if possible in order to cut down on your studying.

Now it seems silly that I had such a fear for this test because I literally spent about five days studying for it. Here's exactly what I used:

1) http://www.pharmacy-tech-study.com/
Comb through this website first and write down as much information as you can (laws, how to do alligations, information about schedules, etc.), but don't worry about the practice exams yet. This website does a good introductory job about getting you familiar with some pharmacy related information, and isn't too overwhelming. Also, use this website to know which top 200 drugs to study.

2) Flashcards!
I am not a flashcard person, but this was the best option for me to make memorizing drugs "fun". I color coded the classes of drugs because I truly believe that color helps in memorizing. Knowing the class is helpful because the exam uses classes of drugs to ask some of its questions. On one side I put the generic name and its class, and on the other side I put the brand name(s). I also just did the top 100 drugs, but I work at a pharmacy so I was familiar with many of the drugs already. One thing I found that helped in memorizing is finding little clues between the words of generic and brand names. For example, aTORvastatin and LipiTOR both had "TOR" in their names. There are many more drugs like this, so use these little clues to your advantage. Based on how unfamiliar you are with drugs, it might be a good idea to do the top 200 drugs. Don't feel bad about not knowing all of them by the time of the test because drug questions on the exam can often be solved through process of elimination. It may take a couple of hours to make these cards, but once they are made, try to get through them as many times as possible until test day. At the very least, know your suffixes! I also downloaded a flashcard app so I could review my drugs while I was on the go or just sitting around. Just remember, memorization takes time and sleep!

3) This book:
PTCE - Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam Flashcard Book + Online by Khoury

This flashcard/question book is really helpful for the test because it has the drug information for the top 100 drugs (but it has slightly different drugs than the other site's top drugs) and lots of practice questions. Some of these questions were actually on my test, word for word! Use this book to learn more details about pharmacy law, procedures, and other pharmacy related information. It's more specific than that first website I suggested, but still not overwhelming. The questions have explanations for the answers, and I highly advise reading the explanations for each answer because you learn more along the way by doing this. There are also math questions in this book which I think are enough review for the test, possibly even more than you need. After going through this book, go ahead and take the practice exams provided on the website I provided above. You should be able to answer most of them by now.

4) And this book:
Mosby's Review for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination by Mizner

If you do everything in the above order, I would only suggest this book for its practice questions and if you really wanted to get detailed about anything pharmacy related. This book is dense, and quite overwhelming if you try to read it. You will know most of the information anyway from the flashcard/question book. I only used this Mosby's book for the practice questions, but beware! Some of the answers are not aligned correctly, so be sure you are matching up the right answer choice with the right question! This book was mainly a confidence booster for me because it had questions from all knowledge areas that the PTCE website says the exam covers, and I was able to answer most of the questions right away. I didn't do the math questions from this book because I heard from others that the math on the exam is really not that hard (and it really wasn't). After I did all the practice questions from this book, I felt super ready for the exam and knew I could pass this exam. Feel free to do more practice questions online if you'd like! They can only help you!

Exam tips:
1) Relax! If you reviewed at least the top 100 drugs and went through the practice questions, you are already in a good place for passing this exam.
2) Do all the non-math questions first. Out of the 90 questions, I think about 10 were math related. Just save these for last because you don't want to get bogged down on a math problem and lose your confidence.
3) Don't worry too much about not having enough time. You have two hours for this test, and I finished in about an hour. I'm a slow test taker, so there's plenty of time. I just took another extra 30 minutes though to check all my answers and redo the math problems to double check myself.
4) If you've worked at a pharmacy, try to use your experience to help you answer questions you don't know the answer to. If you haven't worked at a pharmacy, try to use your best reasoning skills.
5) If you absolutely don't know the answer, it's okay to guess (it's also your only remaining option)! I guessed on about 3-4 questions, but didn't feel too nervous about this because I was pretty sure about all the other questions I answered.
6) I believe in you! You CAN pass this test if you just set aside a couple of hours every day for a week. There is no reason to stress too much about this test, I promise.

Good luck!
 
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