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Scoring

Passing Score

A panel of content experts established a passing score for the PTCE using industry best practices. The method used by the panel, as directed by a psychometrician, is known as the modified-Angoff method. This method requires that field experts (panel members) evaluate individual test items and estimate the percentage of qualified pharmacy technicians that would be able to answer correctly. These estimates were analyzed for consistency and averaged to produce the passing score. The passing score and all candidate results are reported as scaled scores. The passing scaled score for the updated PTCE is 1400, with a range of possible scores of 1000 to 1600.

Scaled Scores and Equating

The use of scaled scores is necessary because different forms of the PTCE are administered every year, and these forms may fluctuate slightly in difficulty. PTCB uses multiple forms containing different items to minimize item exposure and ensure the continuing relevance of test items. To ensure that the results of candidates taking two different forms are equivalent, PTCB uses a process known as statistical equating. Statistical equating is a process by which scores on different forms of the PTCE are calibrated onto a common scale. Equating ensures that candidates of comparable proficiency will be likely to obtain approximately the same scaled scores regardless of fluctuations in the overall difficulty level from one examination form to another.

Confidentiality of Scores Policy

Please refer to PTCB’s Privacy Policy. PTCB reserves the right to verify to any individual or organization whether or not an individual is currently certified.

Retake Policy

Candidates must apply and pay for each PTCE attempt. Candidates who fail the PTCE must wait 60 days from the most recent attempt to apply for the second and third attempts, and 6 months for attempts thereafter. After four attempts, candidates must provide completion evidence of acceptable preparation activities to PTCB for review and approval before applying for additional attempts. Preparation activities completed prior to the most recent attempt will not be considered. Acceptable preparation activities include any of the following:

  • Six months or more of tutoring by a pharmacist or PTCB CPhT (PTCE Preparation Attestation Form Required)
  • Completion of a formal review course or non-accredited training program 
  • Completion of an ASHP/ACPE-accredited training program 
  • Graduation from a pharmacy technician associate degree (A.S.) program

Candidates are not limited to a finite number of exam attempts, although candidates are strongly encouraged to prepare for each attempt. The PTCE is a very reliable exam, which means that candidates who fail the exam should expect to fail again unless they increase their knowledge of the PTCE content through additional preparation.

Exam Challenges

The primary mechanism for candidates to challenge the accuracy of exam content on the PTCE is to comment within the exam itself. Candidates can comment on any item during the exam. PTCB and subject-matter experts review all candidate comments prior to the release of official scores. In extremely rare circumstances the review of candidate comments may result in candidates receiving an official exam result that differs from the preliminary result provided at the end of the exam. Candidates who wish to challenge the accuracy of exam content after the exam is completed (i.e., did not comment within the exam), must submit their challenge according to the Certification Appeals Procedures within 30 days following the administration of the exam.

Exam Statistics and Pass Rates

As of December 31, 2016, PTCB has granted 618,408 pharmacy technician certifications since 1995 through the examination and transfer process. View data showing total examinations passed and pass rates by year.