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Pharmacy Math: “But I’m Not Good At Math”.

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At Pharmacy Tech Lessons we get a ton of students that have tons of questions about pharmacy math, alot these questions stem from the fear of not knowing if they will be good enough to pass the PTCB or ExCPT exam due to “not being good at math”.  A huge component to getting good a pharmacy math is practice exams.

In our experience of teaching thousands student successfully to pass the pharmacy technician exams, we have come to understand that even the worst person at math can become a math tutor with the right information.  Let’s go into all the elements of pharmacy technician math.

Pharmacy Math

What is pharmacy math?

Pharmacy math is a type of math that contains these main components:

  • Weight
  • Volume
  • Temperature
  • Time

To pass the PTCB or ExCPT exam, knowing basic algebra is important to learning complex word problems, and conversions in pharmacy technician math.

How hard is pharmacy math?

The difficulty level of pharmacy math is one of the biggest questions we get a Pharmacy Tech Lessons.

And the answer to this question is, pharmacy math is really not that hard, once you have a strategy on how to learn the information such as formulas, word problems, etc.

One of the biggest issues that students have is knowing how to solve a math word problem.

Does the PTCB or ExCPT Have Alot of Math?

According to the PTCB there is 33% of math on the PTCB Exam.

Now, be cautious to this number because depending on the student, the amount of math students say they have on their exam varies drastically.

On the other hand, the ExCPT states that their exam has 54% of math.

Pharmacy Math Requirements

To learn pharmacy math you do not have to have a solid background in chemistry or physics.

You basically need a good background in knowing basic algebra.

Pharmacy Math for Dummies (Plus Pharmacy Math Formulas)

Here is a general list with some of the types of math you need to know to pass pharmacy technician exams:

Business Calculations

Pharmacy business calculations involve markup, discount, net/gross profit, and inventory control are routinely encountered in the pharmacy.

Pharmacy Alligations

Pharmacy alligations include the “tic-tac-toe” method that most pharmacy technicians commonly use.

An example question that you would commonly come across when it comes to pharmacy alligations looks like this:

“An order has arrived for 250mL of 2% solution. You stock solutions of: 1 Gal. of 3%solution and 1 Gal. of 1%solution. You must mix together the two solutions to compound the custom ordered volume.How much of the 3% will you use?”


A bunch of the medications that pharmacy technicians deal with are prescribed to patients in decimals.  It is important to understand decimals and know how to use the decimal formats when solving problems.

Roman Numerals

Roman numerals are ancient!  Here is a video that can clearly help you know how to use roman numerals in the world of pharmacy.

Watch this video for pharmacy technicians on roman numerals.

Temperature Conversions

To accomplish temperature conversions most pharmacy technicians use the F = 1.8C + 32 formula.

It is good to know how to convert temperature to both celsius and fahrenheit.  If you don’t understand this already, take a look at this video that can give you understanding.

Watch this video on pharmacy temperature.

Dosage Calculations

There are many dosage calculation formulas out there, here are a couple to start out with:

Young’s Rule

This formula can be used when AGE is involved.  

Clark’s Rule

The formula can be used when patient WEIGHT is involved.

Body Surface Area

The formula can be used when HEIGHT and WEIGHT involved

Pharmacy Math Conversions (Unit Breakdown)

More indepthly students trying to pass the pharmacy technician exam whether the PTCB or ExCPT can sometimes have the hardest time with word problems, and pharmacy math conversions.

Here are a list of the most popular pharmacy conversions:


1 oz = 30 grams

1 lb = 454 grams

1 kg = 2.2 lb

1 gram = 15 grains

1 grain = 65 mg


1 mL = 1CC

5 mL = 1 tsp

15 mL = 1 tbsp

30 mL = 1 ounce

480 mL = 1 pint

3840 mL = 1 gallon


3 tsp = 1 tbsp

2 tbsp = 1 oz

16 oz = 1 pint

2 pint = 1 qt

4 qt = 1 gallon

16 oz = 1 lb


1L = 1000 mL

1kg = 1000 g

1 g = 1000 mg

1 mg = 1000 mcg

What is your #1 goal right now? 

If you’re looking to pass the PTCB & ExCPT exam, I have a free class that reveals The EXACT Process Students Use To Pass the PTCB Exam in 3 Months or Less Without Failing. Click here to check it out.

If you’re ready to work with me so I can help you pass the exam, go here.

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-O’neisha Biggs

Free Masterclass Reveals: How to Pass the PTCB Exam in 3 Months or Less Without Failing Your First Attempt.

The way you prepare for the national exam has a huge effect on the scores you get — We can teach you time-tested formulas, methods, and brain-hacks that’ll get you more of what you want in pharmacy.