7 Best PTCB Prep Books (2020)
For people working as pharmacy technicians, completing an education program, or renewing their certification, the PTCB exam is vital.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is nationally accredited to provide certification to pharmacy technicians, who can then identify as a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). A certification proves that the pharmacy technician meets specific standards of excellence in providing services to patients.
Achieve certification by passing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). Many states are requiring certification, and it has the added benefit of aiding in career advancement. By taking the time to achieve certification, you prove to employers and colleagues you are serious about your career and helping patients. Passing the PTCB exam is an investment in yourself.
Eligibility to sit the exam comes by meeting one of two requirements. Either by completing (or within 60 days of finishing) an education or training program, or having a minimum of 500 hours of work experience as a pharmacy technician.
To have the highest chance of success, you need to spend time preparing for the exam. There are many study guides on the market, some helpful and some are just a waste of time. We have put together this guide to save you time and money when selecting a PTCB study guide.
The Best Books to Prepare for the PTCB Exam
Table of Contents
- Top PTCB Study Guides: The Official List
- 1. Ascencia PTCB Exam Study Guide 2020-2021
- 2. Newstone Test Prep PTCB Exam Prep 2020-2021
- 3. Barron’s PTCE with Online Test: Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
- 4. Test Prep Books Pharmacy Technician Certification Study Guide 2020 and 2021
- 5. Mometrix Test Preparation Pharmacy Technician Certification Study Guide 2020 and 2021
- 6. Coventry House Publishing Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam Practice Question Workbook
- 7. Ascencia PTCB Practice Exam Book 2020-2021
- What To Look For In a PTCB Study Guide
- Success on the PTCB Exam
Top PTCB Study Guides: The Official List
Below are our top picks for PTCB study guides (and one to avoid). Each one targets the knowledge base required for the test, and our reviews will help you decide which one is best, based on your learning preferences.
1. Ascencia PTCB Exam Study Guide 2020-2021
The Ascencia PTCB Exam Study Guide features two full-length practice tests and online study aids to make this a powerful tool for busy professionals.
Publisher: Ascencia Test Prep
Our Final Grade: A
As a working Pharmacy Technician or a student just finishing up your education, you are busy and this study guide gets right to the point. Filled with graphics and real-world examples, the Ascencia PTCB Exam Study Guide 2020-2021 makes it easy to understand precisely what you need to know to pass your exam.
This guide is organized into sections that focus on each main element of the PTCB exam, allowing you to focus on the information you need most. Practice questions are sprinkled throughout the text, so you get immediate feedback on comprehension.
With access to a wealth of online resources, Ascencia allows you to study even on the go. Online materials include a full-length practice exam, flashcards, cheat sheets, and a video with tips and tricks to pass your exam the first time.
This study guide contains valuable information, even for those working in the industry for years. Make the most efficient use of your limited time and refresh the knowledge most practical to passing your exam.
- Two full-length practice tests
- Online study resources
- Aligned with the PTCE blueprint
- May not have the newest blueprint information
2. Newstone Test Prep PTCB Exam Prep 2020-2021
Detailed sections and four exams with answer explanations in the Newstone Test Prep PTCB Exam Prep book will prepare you for sitting the real exam.
Publisher: Newstone Test Prep
Our Final Grade: A-
One of the most comprehensive study guides on the market, the Newstone Test Prep PTCB Exam Prep is organized into small sections to make it easy to study in small chunks of time. You can use your time most efficiently by focusing on a single subject at a time.
It also has four full practice exams with explanations for each answer. This simulates taking the real test, with the same number of questions and in a similar format. Feel more confident about taking the exam when you know what to expect.
It features a section on tips for avoiding mistakes when taking the exam. It is one of the only guides with information on what to expect after you pass the exam and start working as a Pharmacy Tech.
- Four full practice exams
- 360 questions with explanations
- Has information related to working as a Pharmacy Technician that is not directly related to the exam
3. Barron’s PTCE with Online Test: Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
For someone looking to recertify, from a well-known publisher of test prep materials, this guide has straight forward practice exams at a value price.
Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series
Our Final Grade: B+
The Barron’s PTCE study guide is best for someone already familiar with the PTCB exam who is looking for review and advice on the latest updates to the test structure. It comes with a pre-test, so you know precisely the areas you need to spend the most time studying.
Get right to the information you need without the background fluff. Two full practice tests come in the book, and one test is available online. All test answers feature detailed explanations to help you retain the information.
This edition was updated to reflect the most recent updates to the exam, which is extremely helpful to someone who has taken the exam before and needs to recertify. This guide also has information on updated certification requirements, test-taking skills, and scheduling the exam.
- Updated with the 2020 test changes
- Two practice tests with another full practice online
- A pre-test to help you focus your study efforts
- Missing several key knowledge areas
- Not as comprehensive as other books
4. Test Prep Books Pharmacy Technician Certification Study Guide 2020 and 2021
Get explanations for each answer and help from a real person via email with the Test Prep Books Pharmacy Technician Certification Study Guide.
Publisher: Test Prep Books
Our Final Grade: B+
Following the national board exam, this guide makes it easy to flip to the sections where you need the most help. It starts with a review of what the PTCB exam is and what information is on the exam.
Maybe you have learned mostly on the job. There may be some gaps in your knowledge, and because this guide is organized into sections that match the national exam, you can quickly see where you need to focus your study efforts.
Even knowing what is on an exam, it can be difficult to pass without knowing how to take the test. This guide includes strategies for test-taking as well as the information contained in the exam.
Sometimes you just need a little extra help understanding a problem or strategy. Test Prep Books offers live customer support through email for your questions or comments.
- Updated for the latest exam version
- Explanations for each answer
- Live customer service through email
- Some typographical errors
- Light in the math section
5. Mometrix Test Preparation Pharmacy Technician Certification Study Guide 2020 and 2021
The Mometrix Test Preparation Study Guide contains detailed information presented in an easy to understand format.
Publisher: Mometrix Media LLC
Our Final Grade: B
Written in concise, easy to follow language, the Mometrix Test Preparation Pharmacy Technician Certification Study Guide gives you the tools to pass the PTCB exam successfully. Organized like the PTCB exam structure, each section of this study guide is packed with details.
Get in-depth reviews of all the sections of the PTCB exam. Quickly find the information you need to make the most of your study time. This guide features essential vocabulary along with concepts and practical examples to prepare you. All sample test questions have explanations for the correct answers.
Included with this study guide are tips for getting your best performance on each section of the test.
Mometrix also sells flashcards that go along with this book, if you are looking for a more portable way to study. Combining a book study guide with flashcards is a great way to vary your studying routine and allow you to fit more study time into a busy day.
- Most Up-to-date guide
- Concise language makes concepts easy to understand
- Explanations for each test answer
- Only one practice test
- Less time on the market means its effectiveness is not as thoroughly verified as some other study guides
- Expensive compared to other study guides
6. Coventry House Publishing Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam Practice Question Workbook
For the person who wants extra practice answering questions formatted like the exam, this guide is excellent for supplemental material.
Publisher: Coventry House Publishing
Our Final Grade: B
This is an excellent guide for someone looking for extra practice questions, as it only contains practice questions. It does not have comprehensive review sections like most other study guides.
If you feel you lack knowledge in a specific area, this guide has practice questions broken out by domains. Just go to the section you need help with, and you can focus only on the subject areas where you need the most help.
This guide features a robust math section, giving you confidence in any math-related questions you find on the exam. It includes formulas and 100 calculation questions.
- Five full exams
- 1,000 practice questions
- Detailed answers to all questions
- A specific section for math-related questions
- Based on the old test format of 9 knowledge areas so this may cover information not included in the current exam
- Does not have comprehensive review sections
7. Ascencia PTCB Practice Exam Book 2020-2021
While this does offer four tests worth of practice questions, it is not aligned with the current test standards.
Publisher: Ascencia Test Prep
Our Final Grade: D
The Ascencia PTCB Practice Exam Book claims to be for the 2020-2021 testing cycle. However, it does not conform to the testing format released in 2020. It may be helpful for people trying to increase their general pharmacy technician knowledge, but will be of little value to most people.
- Lots of practice questions
- Contains most of the general knowledge featured on the test
- Not aligned with the 2020 test standards
- Has information that is out of date or no longer covered by the exam
What To Look For In a PTCB Study Guide
Everyone has different ways to study and retain information. The best guides contain most, if not all, of the following:
- Format – the guide should be written in an organized way that provides information clearly
- Comprehensive Content – covering all the major knowledge areas found on the exam
- Practice Questions and Complete Tests – give you a feel for the formatting and what to expect on the exam
- Explanations for Correct Answers – aid in retaining information and furthering your knowledge
- Online Resources – in your busy life it is essential to have resources available on the go so you can study whenever and wherever you have time
Tests change, so you need the latest edition of any study guide optimized for the current version of the test. January 2020 is the current update for the PTCB exam.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about PTCB study guides. Make an informed decision on the best choice for your needs before purchasing a study guide.
What is the best way to study for the PTCB exam?
Knowledge of the test material is essential, but so is understanding the format of the test. Get in plenty of practice questions, so you are familiar with the structure of the test. You will be less nervous on test day if you have an idea of what to expect. Identify areas of weakness before you begin, so you can focus on what you need the most.
What is the PTCB exam format?
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is an online test containing 90 multiple-choice questions with four possible answers. It takes approximately 2 hours to complete. You will receive an unofficial score at the end of the exam and official scores within two weeks.
What topic areas does the exam cover?
There are four broad knowledge areas covered on the 2020 version of the PTCE exam:
- Federal Requirements
- Patient Safety and Quality Assurance
- Order Entry and Processing
Success on the PTCB Exam
If you are finishing a pharmacy technician education program, already working in the field and looking to certify for the first time, or need to recertify, a PTCB exam study guide will help you focus your efforts and feel confident when you sit the exam.
However, not all PTCB exam study guides are created equal. Beyond the information contained on the test, you need to choose a PTCB study guide that will work with your learning style and time commitment. It is also helpful to learn strategies for taking the test.
Make sure your study guide is the most up-to-date edition because exam administers frequently update content to reflect current industry standards and best practices.
The best guide in the world will not help you if you do not use it. Make a plan to study for this challenging exam by setting aside time to work through the material. The more time you can devote to studying, the higher your chance of successfully passing the exam the first time.
You are a busy professional and need to make the most of your limited time and resources. You don’t need to figure it out on your own. There are many resources to help you be successful in your career. With diligence and a helpful guide, you can pass the PTCB exam and further your career as a pharmacy technician.