After a few years in banking, I went to work for my client in their Finance Department specializing in internal corporate finance. It was apparent that all senior guys in the department have a CPA qualification, and I figured I better get mine some day, soon.
As a coincidence, my boss gave me a challenge: To pass the CPA exam in one go within the year, just as she did more than 10 years ago. As a non-accounting major with a full time job this sounded like a daunting task.
I Took Becker… But Ended Up Disappointed
In February, I took the challenge and immediately signed up for accounting classes and the Becker course. The course material was good but the live classes were a big disappointment (let alone expensive!) At the end I decided to skip all the classes and focused on studying on my own at home.
In November I took the exam and managed to get the following score:
- AUD – 88
- BEC – 87
- FAR – 92
- REG – 84
Diligent Research For Friends Led to Pleasant Surprises…
Possibly because I was able to finish off the CPA in one go and on my first attempt, many colleagues, friends, and friends of friends have been asking how I manage to achieve this.
I started to research more carefully on the CPA exam courses, and I am surprised that there are actually very helpful, affordable (and if not better) exam review courses besides Becker.
I have summarized my findings in CPA Exam Review Courses Comparison, and most people, after reading this together with their own research, decided to choose something else.
And My Recommendation is…
CPAexcel, Gleim and Roger. And here is why.
What makes CPAexcel stands out from the crowd:
- Bite-sized lectures that are easily digestible
- Genuinely unlimited access until you pass
- Lots of analytical tools to help evaluate your progress and make sure you don’t fall behind in your study
In short, perfect for those who are busy and needs every flexibility they can get.
You can take a look at my evaluation on CPAexcel, together with the pros and cons of this program.
2. Gleim CPA Review
Did you know Dr. Irvin Gleim and his wife author the first version of Wiley Exam Review? Gleim has since set up his own shop providing a comprehensive review system, including video instruction, text book and practice questions delivered online. His son, Gareth (also a CPA), helps run the business, but we still see Dr Gleim saying hello and answering questions on my Facebook page from time to time.
Based on my experience, you really need to understand the concepts (instead of blind memory of the mnemonics) to pass the CPA exam. You also want to learn more about specific CPA exam tactics which the Gleim Team has all the experience and knowledge to offer.
You can take a look at my in-depth evaluation on the Gleim CPA review, together with the pros and cons of their learning tools.
3. Roger CPA Review
Roger Philipp has a revolutionary style in teaching accounting. Yes, he makes studying for the CPA exam (almost) fun — and helps his students pass at the same time.
Roger offers an integrated package of videos, text books, flash cards and recently developed their own test prep software. Click here to learn more about Roger CPA review.
CPAexcel vs Gleim vs Roger
These courses have impressive passing rates (around 88%) but they cater to very different candidates.
CPAexcel is excellent for those who can only study during lunch hours or while the kids are sleeping, and those who need a good system to keep track of their study progress.
Gleim used to be too intense, but a lot of effort was put in to improve the user-friendliness. The obvious benefit is cost (very good value for money), the unique and systematic approach to help self-study students, and the largest database of online practice questions.
Roger is great for those who get bored easily and needs a lively and charismatic instructor to cheer you up and get you up powered up to fight the beast.
The Bottom Line is… What Does It Mean to You?
- It means that a CPA qualification is completely doable for anyone willing to put in the time and effort.
- It also means that you should NOT follow the crowd and pick the “big guys” and make the same mistake as I did. One of the reasons I set up this website is to tell all CPA aspirant that there are better, cheaper CPA exam review courses out there with more personal customer service and higher passing rate.
Hope I can make CPA exam preparation less of a hassle for you!
How I can Help YOU Become a CPA
I am happy to send you free information on the process, potential pitfalls, and tips to pass the exam in the form of a mini e-course. Please select the version most suitable for your needs:
|For US candidates|
(Those with US degrees, or
graduate/live/work in the US)
|For Intl Candidates|
(Those who study abroad, or
graduate/live/work outside of the US)