The PTCB exam, commonly known as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam, is a comprehensive and challenging assessment for men and women looking to enter this rewarding and fast-paced field of health care. The test is developed by a consortium of professional pharmacy organizations.
The exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions, 10 of which are pretest questions that do not contribute to the final score. It is not possible to identify pretest questions, which are used to develop future versions of the PTCB exam. All of the exam questions have four possible answers, only one of which is correct.
The PTCB exam content can be broken down into three function areas: assisting the pharmacist in serving patients (66 percent of the exam); maintaining medication and inventory control systems (22 percent); and participating in the administration and management of pharmacy practice (12 percent).
The exam is administered via computer at special testing facilities around the country. In order to sit for the PTCB exam, candidates must bring a valid government-issued photo identification, such as a passport or driver’s license.
An unofficial score report is available immediately upon completion of the test. This unofficial report indicates whether the candidate has passed or failed. A more comprehensive and detailed score report is mailed to each candidate one to three weeks after the date of the PTCB exam.
PTCB Exam Practice Questions
1. A patient is to receive 100 mg/m of docetaxel. What is the appropriate dose for a patient weighing 175 pounds with a body surface area of 1.8m?
a. 180 mg
b. 360 mg
c. 4400 mg
d. 8,000 mg
2. In a horizontal flow hood, how far should one work inside the hood?
a. 4 inches
b. 6 inches
c. 10 inches
d. 12 inches
3. Crushed or broken tablets of which prescription medication should NOT be handled by a pharmacy technician who is pregnant?
4. What can direct mixture of calcium gluconate and potassium phosphate solutions for injection cause?
a. lactated Ringer’s solution
5. Which auxiliary label should NOT be applied to a prescription label on Biaxin oral suspension?
a. Shake well.
c. Finish the entire course.
d. Take on an empty stomach.
1. A: Body surface area (BSA) is a measurement of the surface of the body using height and weight and is often used for dosing of certain medications, such as chemotherapy. In this instance, the answer is 1.8 m 100 mg/m for 180 mg. Weight is unneeded, as it had already been incorporated into the patient’s BSA.
2. B: One should work at least six inches inside the hood to ensure adequate sterile compounding and airflow. One should also position hands during compounding in an effort to avoid blocking airflow.
3. C: Women who are pregnant and handling medications should consider taking precautions against drug exposure, such as wearing gloves or a mask. Broken or crushed finasteride should not be handled by a pregnant female due to the risk for fetal harm. Furosemide, famotidine, and fluoxetine do not carry the same precautions regarding handling.
4. C: An emulsion is the mixture of one liquid dispersed with another with the aid of a dispersing agent. An example is fat emulsion used for total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Lactated Ringer’s solution is used intravenously or for irrigation and contains sodium, potassium, and calcium salts. A suspension is generally a solid mixed in another vehicle such as glycerin or water (for example, oral azithromycin suspension). The combination of calcium gluconate and potassium phosphate can result in a precipitate, which is a potentially dangerous formation of solid crystals. Caution should be exercised when dosing and admixing these agents for use in IV preparations, such as for TPN.
5. B: Biaxin oral suspension should be shaken well prior to use, may be taken with or without food, and the entire course should be finished. Biaxin oral suspension should not be refrigerated.