If you are interested to become a pharmacy technician, you must sit for and pass the PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) exam or the PTCE (Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam). You can take the exam at special test centers around the country. The main focus of the exam is to assess your preparedness to start practicing as a pharmacy technician.
The standardized computer-based test comprises of multiple-choice questions and usually has 90 questions. Students are required to complete the exam within two hours.
There are nine specific domains that are tested in the PTCB exam. These are the domains that are critical for the pharmacy technician. Therefore, it is important to prepare well for the exam by using some of the best PTCB study guides that may include printed materials, video lessons, and practice exams.
Read on for our review of the best PTCB study books on the market.
Best PTCB Study Guide – Comparison Table
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|3||2 practice tests|
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Best PTCB Study Books Review
The only PTCB review book you will need to pass your exam is the Mosby’s Review. This PCTE prep book covers every information you will need for the PCTB in its 384 pages. The content is well organized, has handy outlines and is supplemented by electronic flashcards that will make it easy for you to learn.
The book has useful tips on how to take the PCTE exam. By applying the strategies taught in the guide, you will be ready for the exam on the D-day.
Mosby’s Review is written by J. Mizner, a reputable pharmacy technician educator. The book has 17 practice tests, each with 100 questions that will test your knowledge on the various topics that are likely to be tested in the PCTE exam. The 3rd edition of the book has been updated to be in line with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Blueprint. In the book, you will also find content on current drugs and pharmacy practice procedures.
Below is an overview of what is included in the Mosby’s Review for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam:
- 10 online practice exams. There are both timed and untimed exams with instant feedback on your performance. You also get tips on how to improve your scores.
- 7 practice exams in the book
- Tips and suggestions on preparing for the exam by instructors that tool the PCTB exam. The tips will help you know what to expect during the test and find triggers that will help you, especially when you are running out of time.
- 700 electronic flashcards that cover abbreviations, top 200 most prescribed pharmaceuticals, top 50 herbals, and sound-alike drugs.
- 1700 questions available online and in the book. The questions are structured in a similar format to the actual PCTB test questions to give you a realistic experience.
From the topics covered and the resources available, it is clear that Mosby’s Review is the best PCTB study book on the market.
- The topics are well explained, making them easy to understand
- Covers all the information you would need to know before the exam
- Has tons of practice questions and exams
- Follows the PTCB blueprint
- We can’t find any cons with the study guide. We highly recommend it
The PTCB exam blueprint is quite comprehensive and can be overwhelming. For this reason, it is important to look for a simplified version of the study material. The best PTCE study book that is simplified for the exam is the PTCB Exam Simplified. In its 298 pages, the book covers the nine knowledge areas you should be familiar with to pass the PTCE test. Other contents covered in the book include the top 45 OTC drugs, top 30 herbal supplements, and the top 250 prescription drugs.
The book is updated to cover information required in the current PTCB blueprint. You will go through some pharmacy law highlights as well as learn the secrets of solving pharmacy math problems. Finally, there is a step-by-step guide on how to interpret a prescription. This knowledge is necessary for you to pass the PCTE exam.
After reading the book, you can test your strength and weaknesses through the full-length practice exam that is included in the book. The exam comes with detailed answers.
- The technical content related to PCTB is well explained
- The information is organized in a good layout
- The compact book can be carried around for easy reading anywhere you are
- Math problems are included in each section to sharpen your skills
- In-depth concepts and broken down in an easy way to understand
- Some of the information available in the book is not required for the test but is important to know as a pharmacy technician
Another reliable PTCB study guide is the Ascencia’s Test Prep. This guide is developed by experienced industry professionals and contains a comprehensive review of everything you should have mastered before the exam.
The guide has tips from healthcare professionals that will be helpful in your pharmacy technician career. When you purchase the guide, you will have access to two full-length practice tests that will help you get familiar with the real test.
Below is an overview of the topics covered in Ascencia’s Test Prep study guide:
- Pharmacy Math (you will learn about percentages, portions, calculating ratios, measuring liquids, and so on)
- Compounding Pharmaceuticals (sterile and non-sterile)
- Administration & Management of the Pharmacy
- Pharmacy Law & Ethics
- Assisting the Pharmacist (investigational drug data, pharmacy automation, and ambulatory and institutional pharmacy)
- Pharmacology (principles, Pharmacy Abbreviations, Systems Pharmacology, Introduction to Medical Terminology, and others)
We love the structure of the PCTE study guide. The information is presented in a clean format.
However, some sections are not covered in-depth. In particular, the anatomy section is just briefly covered. While you will learn a lot about the drugs, you may need some other resources to learn more about the topics that are not covered in depth.
- Clean content structure
- Excellent guide for learning the basics of the knowledge sections required for the PCTE exam
- Comprehensive information provided for the Pharmacology section
- Some topics are not covered in depth. If you don’t have prior pharmacy experience, you will need a more comprehensive study guide
The Barron’s PTCE study guide is an excellent budget option for anyone that has some practice in the field. In this guide, all the information you need for the test is presented in a clear manner. There are also sections dedicated to reviewing the information that will be covered in the test.
Here is an overview of what you will get in this PTCE study guide:
- Updated tips, test-taking skills, and information on PCTE requirements. There is also information on how the exam is scored.
- Detailed content on all the nine domains you should be knowledgeable in before the test
- 3 full-length practice exams that are structured according to the PTCB blueprint. Two of the tests are in the book and one is available online.
- Hundreds of test questions to help you track your knowledge
- A pre-test that will help you learn about our weaknesses in the PCTE topics
We love this resourceful guide, especially the way the authors explain in details why certain answers are correct and why other would be incorrect.
However, the guide does not cover all topics comprehensively and, therefore, we recommend it for students that have some prior pharmacy experience.
- Explains why various answers are correct or wrong
- The explanations are concise
- Has a pre-test section that will help you to assess how well-prepared you are for the exam
- Some topics could have been covered more in-depth
If you need short and concise notes on various PCTB topics, the Secrets of the PTCB Exam Study Guide is the resource you need. This resource is excellent both for beginners and students that have some experience in pharmaceuticals. The book has well-organized information and presents the concepts in an easy-to-understand manner.
Some of the areas covered in the book include:
- Participating in the Administration and Management of Pharmacy Practice
- Maintaining Medication and Inventory Control Systems
- Assisting the Pharmacist in Serving Patients
The book also provides strategies on how to take the exam and helps you uncover your weaknesses in various topics. The PCTB study material comes with a free CB that has over 50 questions that follow the PCTB exam format.
The only issue we have with the Secrets of the PTCB Exam Study Guide is that it does not cover the concepts in-depth. While the content is good for understanding the basics, it is not in-depth for a beginner.
- The concepts are described in a manner that is simple to understand
- The information is well-organized
- Only has a few practice questions
- It’s a short guide that covers PCTB concepts only briefly
Editor’s Verdict: Best PTCB Study Book
Preparing for the PTCE/PTCB exam can be quite difficult. However, using any of the study materials above will make your work easier. If you are a beginner and know nothing about pharmacy, we suggest you get the Mosby’s Review for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam. This PTCE study guide goes in-depth into all the concepts tested in the exam. Moreover, there are tons of practice questions you can go through to help you get familiar with the exam.
On the other hand, if you have some knowledge about pharmacy, you can purchase the concise Barron’s PTCE Exam guide. The study material covers enough information for the test and has three full-length practice exams.