The ExCPT exam is a standardized test consisting of 90 multiple choice questions. The questions cover all topics which a pharmacy technician should be familiar such as pharmacy law, HIPPA regulations, pharmacy math, and pharmacy administration. There are many techniques which can be used to study and prepare for the taking the pharmacy technician certification test.
One of the most practical ways to study for the ExCPT exam is by using flash cards. These can easily be carried with a person and reviewed whenever time allows. Pharmacy technician flash cards can be bought in bookstores and online. The student can also make their own. These flash cards can have commonly used brand name medications on one side with the generic name on the other. Flash cards are also a good way to learn sig codes. These are codes which are commonly used on prescriptions and doctor’s orders. Using this type of flash cards to commit this information to memory will not only prepare you for the ExCPT, but it will also help you in your daily job duties as a pharmacy technician.
Another area to study is pharmacy math or dosage calculations. Mathematical errors account for the majority of pharmacy mistakes. It is very important that pharmacy technicians understand calculations for medication dosage. Mistakes can have grave consequences for the patient. Much of pharmacy mathematics involves ratios and fractions. Practice is the key. The pharmacy technician should practice adding and subtracting improper fractions, reducing ratios, and calculating percentages. There are many practice math tests available online for pharmacy technicians.
There are many study guides available to help students prepare for the ExCPT exam. These can be found in bookstores and online. The National Health Career Association offers printed text books, online tutorial, and practice tests. Another good source is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. They also offer text books and practice exams on their website, www.ptcb.org. These books usually cost $50 – $100, but they are well worth the price. Many study guides include a lab book which will help you practice. They give you real example of questions and mathematical problems that you will encounter on the exam and in your job as a pharmacy technician.
Before taking the ExCPT exam, the student should take several different practice tests to prepare. The cost of the exam is over $100, so you want to make sure that your pass it the first time. These practice tests usually cost around $20 to take online. They allow the student to become familiar with the way questions are formatted. You can see the areas in which you are the weakest, so you can concentrate your study efforts on those topics. When reviewing the graded practice test, write down any questions that you miss. Then make a flash card with that question to help you commit it to memory. Taking the practice test will help you to feel more relaxed and confident when you take the real test. You will feel much better knowing what to expect.
The best way to fully prepare for taking the ExPCT exam is by taking a preparatory course. Certificate programs are offered by several online companies as well as community colleges. These usually take less than a year to complete. Diploma programs are another option. These programs usually last 12 months. Either of these options prepares the student to pass the ExPCT exam and to work as an entry level pharmacy technician. If you want to further invest in a career as a pharmacy technician, then you might consider attending a university that offers an associate’s degree for pharmacy technicians. This will take about 2 years. Pharmacy technicians with an associate’s degree are paid more and are more likely to be given leadership roles.
The key to passing the ExCPT exam is being prepared. Do not assume that you are ready merely because you have worked as a pharmacy technician. Take the time to fully prepare and study before sitting for the exam. If possible, take a couple of practice tests to make sure that you are truly ready. With preparation you will soon earn the status of CPhT.