Free PTCB practice exam with detailed explanation
This is a 33-question mini practice exam that gives you a “taste” of our full practice
exam. This exam was created by instructors in pharmacy technician college programs
across the country.
1. A prescriber has ordered 240 g of nystatin, diphenhydramine, and 2.5%
hydrocortisone creams in equal parts. How many grams of hydrocortisone cream are
needed for the order?
A) 6 g
B) 8 g
C) 60 g
D) 80 g
2. The organ that performs the most drug metabolism is the:
D) small intestine.
3. A pharmacy technician is preparing a hazardous drug and spills some on the counter.
Before cleaning the spill, the technician should consult:
A) the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR).
B) the manufacturer of the drug.
C) the MSDS for the drug.
D) reliable internet sources.
4. How often should a patient profile be updated?
D) each time a prescription is filled
5. How many milligrams are in a 10-grain aspirin tablet?
A) 325 mg
B) 500 mg
C) 650 mg
D) 1,000 mg
6. The pharmacy technician receives a prescription for Cardizem that has “DAW” written
on the prescription. What does “DAW” indicate?
A) A generic equivalent may be substituted, at the pharmacist’s discretion.
B) A generic equivalent may be substituted, but only if the patient approves the
C) A generic equivalent must be substituted if it results in a cost savings for the
D) A generic equivalent may not be substituted.
7. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most frequently prescribed
class of drugs for managing:
8. A drug is dosed at 2 mg/kg every 8h. The drug is stocked in a concentration of 5
mg/mL. How many milliliters of stock solution are needed for one dose if the patient
weighs 125 lb?
A) 68.2 mL
B) 7.57 mL
C) 22.7 mL
D) 50 mL
9. When dispensing liquid medications, small-neck bottles are preferred because:
A) they better protect the medication from heat.
B) they allow for slower pouring.
C) they are less expensive than wide-neck bottles.
D) they limit evaporation of volatile medications.
10. Calcium channel blockers are indicated for all of the following disorders EXCEPT:
D) prevention of thrombosis.
11. A prescription for cyclobenzaprine 10 mg was presented to the pharmacy. The
physician wants a quantity of “XC” with a sig reading “i-ii tabs po bid-tid prn”. What
days’ supply should be given for this prescription?
A) 8 days
B) 15 days
C) 23 days
D) 30 days
12. The patient is receiving a medical device that requires all potential sources of
pathogens to be removed. The removal of all pathogens is called:
13. A prescriber ordered 250 mL of 10% sodium chloride solution. If the pharmacy
stocks 23.4% and 0.9% sodium chloride solutions, how many milliliters of each strength
will be needed to compound the order?
A) 101 mL of 23.4% and 149 mL of 0.9%
B) 101 mL of 0.9% and 149 mL of 23.4%
C) 72 mL of 23.4% and 178 mL of 0.9%
D) 72 mL of 0.9% and 178 mL of 23.4%
14. The pharmacy technician is filling a prescription for a drug to be administered by the
buccal route. The technician knows that this drug should be:
A) allowed to dissolve under the tongue.
B) swallowed with a full glass of water.
C) allowed to dissolve between the cheek and gum.
D) rubbed on the mucosal surface of the cheek.
15. An order for 20% dextrose has been received. How many milliliters of 50% dextrose
must be compounded with sterile water to make 1 L?
A) 286 mL
B) 400 mL
C) 600 mL
D) 714 mL
16. Which of the following routes of administration will result in the fastest onset of drug
A) intravenous (IV)
B) intramuscular (IM)
D) subcutaneous (SC)
17. Which of the following is the most common side effect in patients taking medications
by the intranasal route?
A) burning or stinging in the nose
B) frequent nosebleeds
C) increased coughing
D) loss of the sense of smell
18. A patient is filling a prescription for a medication that is a schedule II drug.
“Schedule II” means that the drug:
A) has serious adverse effects.
B) is an experimental medication.
C) is a controlled substance.
D) may not be administered to children.
19. On a prescription, what information should be included after the abbreviation sig?
A) patient name and address
B) instructions for taking the medication
C) prescriber signature
D) drug dose
20. Which of the following is the best example of an herbal therapy?
B) sodium bicarbonate
C) saw palmetto
21. The patient arrives with a prescription for Dilacor XR. The pharmacy technician
understands that “XR” means that the drug:
A) has a prolonged duration of action.
B) is a controlled substance.
C) must be taken once daily.
D) should not be administered to anyone under 12 years of age.
22. The inventory amount at which a drug is automatically reordered is called the:
A) mandatory purchase order (MPO) level.
B) lowest reliable inventory (LRI) level.
C) preset automatic ordering (PAR) level.
D) automatic order inventory (AOI) level.
23. What is the purpose of the patient profile obtained by the pharmacy tech?
A) to correctly identify the patient
B) to determine drug allergies
C) to determine all medications taken by the patient
D) all of these options
24. The following are all job duties of the pharmacy technician EXCEPT:
A) destroy controlled substances with expired storage dates
B) participate in medication error prevention programs
C) update and maintain patient insurance information
D) use point-of-care dispensing technology
25. Why is it necessary to obtain a listing of all concurrent medications on a patient
A) to determine if the patient can afford the medications
B) to examine for the possibility of drug interactions
C) to determine if the patient has allergies
D) to determine if the patient has the mental ability to take the medications
26. The overall primary goal of inventory control is:
A) to reduce waiting time for consumers.
B) to meet consumer demand at the lowest possible cost.
C) to maximize profit for the pharmacy.
D) to deliver safe and effective pharmacy practice.
27. Which law established the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to regulate the
manufacturing and dispensing of controlled substances?
A) The Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914
B) The Public Health Service Act of 1944
C) The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906
D) The Controlled Substances Act of 1970
28. In pharmacy practice, Rx means:
29. Medications may be removed from the pharmacy shelves due to a drug recall from
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Which of the following is a common reason for
a drug recall?
A) An unacceptable number of adverse effects have been recorded.
B) The manufacturer has decided to discontinue marketing the drug.
C) More effective medications have been introduced.
D) A cheaper, generic form of the drug is now available.
30 . Which law was the first to require that a drug receive governmental approval before
being marketed in the United States?
A) The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906
B) The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938
C) The Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914
D) The Durham-Humphrey Amendment of 1951
31. Which law was passed to speed the approval process so that new drugs could be
marketed at a faster pace?
A) The Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997
B) The Orphan Drug Act of 1992
C) The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938
D) The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003
32. A patient has a question for the pharmacy technician regarding the storage of a
medication she has just received. To be in compliance with the Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the pharmacy technician must:
A) obtain the answer from a pharmacist.
B) refer the patient to speak with the pharmacist in a private counseling area.
C) communicate the answer in writing by postal mail or email.
D) record the answer in the medical record of the patient.
33. A patient arrives at the pharmacy and requests a record of all prescriptions he has
filled over the past 12 months. These records:
A) must be given to the patient within a reasonable time period.
B) are the property of the pharmacy, and are not given to the patient.
C) are the property of the prescriber, and are not given out by the pharmacy.
D) must be mailed to the patient within 60 days after a written request has been filed.
Answers and Explanations :
To find the number of grams for each ingredient when ordered in equal parts, divide
the total weight ordered by the number of ingredients. Since there are three
ingredients, you would divide the total by three: (240 g)/3=80 g. Although the
hydrocortisone cream has a percentage strength associated with it, it has no
relevance in this example.
Liver metabolism is responsible for changing most drugs to a less active form that is
more easily excreted by the kidneys.
The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the hazardous drug should specify what
action should be taken during an accidental spillage.
The patient profile may change often; thus, any updates to address, medications,
physical condition, etc. should be noted each time the patient fills a prescription.
Use the following conversion factor in a proportion with the number of grains you
have: 1 gr = 65 mg. Using this formula: 1 gr/65 mg = 10 gr/X. Cross-multiply and
divide to solve for X: X = 650 mg.
Dispense as written (DAW) clearly means the prescriber wants the drug dispenses
exactly as written, without generic substitution.
SSRIs such as fluoxetine (Prozac) have replaced the older tricyclic antidepressants
(TCAs) due to their effectiveness and favorable safety profile.
Convert the patient’s weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing by a factor of 2.2:
125 lb/2.2 = 56.82 kg. Multiply the dose by the weight to get the number of
milligrams in each dose: 2 mg * 56.82 kg = 113.6 mg. Set up a proportion using the
concentration of the stock vial and the milligrams needed to find the milliliters
required for the dose: 5 mg/1 mL = 113.6 mg. Cross-multiply and divide to solve for X: X = 22.7 mL. The “every 8h” is irrelevant in this problem because the problem
only asked for a single dose, not the total daily dose.
Small-neck bottles permit slower pouring, which limits spillage.
Calcium channel blockers are not prescribed for thrombosis prevention:
anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs are used for this purpose.
This scenario involves converting Roman numerals to Arabic and calculating days’
supply. In Roman numerals, X = 10 and C = 100. When the smaller number (X) is
placed before the larger number (C), the smaller number is subtracted from the
larger: 100 – 10 = 90 tablets. The physician has also written the variable dose in
lowercase Roman numerals: i = 1 and ii = 2. When calculating days’ supply using a
variable dose or variable frequency, always use the maximum quantities for each
with the following formula: quantity prescribed/(maximum dose * maximum
frequency), so 90 tabs/(2 * 3) = 15 days. This method ensures that a third-party
payer will not reject a claim because it was refilled too soon.
Killing all pathogens on a device or other object is called sterilization. This term is
sometimes used interchangeable with medical asepsis, though there are distinctions
between the two terms.
Use an alligation grid (see next page) and subtract diagonally to find number of parts
of each solution: 9.1 parts 23.4% and 13.4 parts 0.9%. Calculate the sum of both
parts: 9.1 13.4 = 22.5 parts total. Divide the number of parts of 23.4% by the total
number of parts, then multiply by the volume you require: 9.1 / 22.5 * 250 mL = 101
mL. Repeat the same process for the 0.9%: 13.4 / 22.5 * 250 = 149 mL. Therefore,
the order requires 101 mL of 23.4% sodium chloride and 149 mL of 0.9% sodium
Buccal medications are tablets placed between the cheek and gum.
Use an alligation grid (see below) and subtract diagonally to find number of parts of
each solution: 20 parts dextrose 50% and 30 parts water. Calculate the sum of both
parts: 20 + 30 = 50 parts total. Divide the number of parts of dextrose 50% by the
total number of parts, then multiply by the volume you require: 20 / 50 * 1000 mL =
400 mL dextrose 50%. You may use a similar method to solve for the volume of
water required, but it is not necessary in this problem.
The IV route is used to deliver emergency medications because drugs will have the
fastest onset of action.
Intranasal medications often cause burning and stinging of the nasal mucosa;
however, this side effect tends to diminish with continued use. 18. C
Schedule II medications, such as morphine, are categorized as controlled
substances because they have a high potential for dependence and abuse.
Sig is the Latin word for signature, which means “write on the label”; directions for
taking the medication are included in this location.
Herbal therapies are products derived from plants that are available without a
prescription; saw palmetto is sometimes taken by people to treat an enlarged
XR, LA, XT, and SR are abbreviations that indicate that the drug has an extended
duration of action.
Inventory is electronically monitored and a drug is reordered when the PAR level is
An accurate patient profile is obtain to correctly identify the patient, determine any
patient drug allergies, and to determine all medications the patient is taking.
The destruction of controlled substances is strictly controlled by the Drug
Enforcement Agency and is beyond the scope of practice of the pharmacy
The listing of all medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) assists the
pharmacist in looking for potential drug-drug interactions.
The purpose of inventory management is to ensure that the drugs most needed by
patients are readily available at a reasonable cost.
The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (also called the Comprehensive Drug Abuse
Prevention and Control Act) established the DEA and the five schedules for
classifying abused drugs.
The abbreviation Rx, originally taken from the Latin word for recipe, now means
The FDA recalls drugs due to safety reasons: usually, the drug has been found to
have unacceptable adverse effects.
Prior to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, drugs could be marketed and
sold without being approved by the U.S. government.
The FDA Modernization Act was passed because the public and legislators were
concerned that the FDA was too slow in approving new drugs for AIDS and cancer.
HIPAA requires that all discussions regarding medical care be conducted in privacy.
HIPAA requires the pharmacy to provide patients access to their medical records
within a reasonable time period.
Now check your answers against the Key on page 9 to assess the areas where you are
weak, and where you require further study.