CPAexcel was developed by a team of professors back in 1998 and has been part of Wiley since November 2012. CPAexcel is one of the fastest growing CPA review providers, and its product appeals to international students because of the sophisticated online delivery platform.
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Why CPAexcel Gets in My Recommended List
1. 87% Pass Rate And Big 4 Recommendation
Not only that the 87% is impressive, I appreciate the way they explain how they come up with the statistics so I feel that this is a number I can trust instead of another gimmicky claim with no proof.
CPAexcel has recently got the endorsement from one of the Big 4. While I don’t think a Big 4 endorsement should be the deciding factor, it gives comforts to candidates not familiar with this brand name.
2. No-Gimmick Unlimited Access Until You Pass
The first thing I really like about CPAexcel is their no-nonsense approach to protect CPA exam candidates.
Most of the major CPA exam providers offer a variety of “promises” to those who may not be able to pass the CPA exam on their first attempt. Some offer a discount if you reach a certain attendance rate; others may offer you continued access with limited time frame.
All other CPA review course providers charge extra for updates after a specified date. When you realize that more than 50% fail to pass the CPA exam each year, this is a very important point to consider.
If you are busy and have lots of commitments at work and family, but still want to give CPA exam a try, CPAexcel is great because it allows you to take time off (if needed) and get back whenever you are ready, without the extra cost.
3. More Digestible, Thus More Effective Bite-Sized Lessons
Instead of a half-day, or even full-day course once a week, CPAexcel’s online capability allows candidates to study at their own schedule and own pace with “bite-sized” lessons. Judging from my own experience in Becker live class, this is a definitely plus.
The lessons typically take 30 minutes to complete, which many of us can do during lunch time — and assuming you have an one-hour break, you’ll still have another half-an-hour to digest the materials and work on a few MC questions. You can also use the remaining lunch hour in student discussion and professor mentoring.
And frankly, even if you have the time, accounting isn’t too much fun and I would much rather learn from short online videos vs. a 4 hour long lecture. Accomplishing a little at a time is more motivating.
4. Impressive Analytical Tools To Keep You On Track
One of the reasons why candidates fail is time management — they don’t set aside enough time for final review, or they don’t finish studying all the materials. CPAexcel can provide a great solution to these candidates.
I am very impressed with the personalized exam plan functionality that builds in with the candidate’s accounts, and let me tell you exactly what it is.
Before you begin the study, you are asked to enter the exam date, or the number of hours you plan to devote to studying each week.
Once you enter the information, the system spits out a detailed schedule of a list of assignments (the actual course work) and “exam planner events” (reminders e.g. submission of application) with specific date and number of hours required. There are also check boxes that you can check upon completion.
If you need somebody to help keep track of the study progress, no one will ever do a better than this computerized exam planner.
The CPAexcel platform is very “high tech” that allows to track your progress to the second and generate lots of cool charts for you. If you are analytical, you will love it.
5. One Free Complete Set of Wiley Test Bank! (Expired)
To celebrate the CPAexcel acquisition, Wiley is giving away its best-selling test bank (i.e. test prep software) to those who got the Video Gold Medal course. The test bank alone is worth $299 and compliments greatly with CPAexcel review materials.
Walk-Through of CPAexcel Online Platform
Experience Sharing From My Reader
I think CPAexcel is a stellar review course– the bite-sized lessons are perfect for those studying while working full-time. The system support staff is extremely responsive and quick. I also liked the student discussions and best of all, exam tutor. The course was well worth the price ($1500 for all 4 parts), and the unlimited updates is a definite distinction.”
Every Course has its Limitation. This is What I Feel about CPAexcel
1. A Bit Intimidated By The Many Choices
Possibly because of its numerous capability and choices for candidates, you may at first find the CPAexcel platform a bit intimidating.
I was overwhelmed and hesitant to look further, but once I watched the course demo I felt better. All in all I don’t think this is such a big deal once you take the time to sort out the different offerings.
2. Great For PC-Based Learner, But…
CPAexcel is showing everything on the computer. I understand that students learn best in different mediums. If you are NOT one of those who can live in front of a monitor and stare at the screen for a long time, this may not be something suitable for you.
I also understand that many students are accustomed to underline, highlight and take notes on actual books to facilitate their learning. You won’t be able to do this in CPAexcel.
Note: I used to think that CPAexcel won’t work well in countries where there are constant electric black-outs or with poor internet connection. But I realize that they are now offering both online and DVD access. I don’t know how they do it, but the amazing thing is that the access modes can be synchronized.
3. Some Find The Lectures Too Summarized
Got a few similar comments from readers. Take this example:
Their lectures although short and sweet are very general and usually do not touch upon the specifics of the topics at hand. For example, I had to get my old intermediate accounting book and do research on how the Accruals and Deferrals work, now I am having to go back to that same intermediate book in order to refresh my memory on the Single and Multiple step Statement of Cash Flows because the lecture just touched upon their purpose but no exercises were shown.
Anyway, I am committed but it seems to me I will have to put in a lot more time more than the ½ hour they advertise.” ~ Maria
In short, if you are a fresh grad, then no problem at all; but if you need more guidance because you are a non-accounting major or have been out of school for years, then take note of this.
4. Fewer Recommendations From Past Students?
I would think that such a stellar platform would garner lots of great recommendations from past students. But when I search through the CPA exam forums, it isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong — they do get good reviews but the number of reviews is less than the big guys as well as smaller ones such as Yaeger and Roger.
But then, after running this site for more than 1 year now, I realize — to my surprise — that forums are not as objective as we may think because the moderators can delete or block posts as they wish. Since then, I have been relying a lot more on the feedback from my own readers, who have kindly taken the time to drop a note in the comment section as well as via email.
I am happy to report that an overwhelming majority of my readers who commented on CPAexcel give positive review. To add to the list, here is a recent comment from a reader submitted via the contact form:
I am pretty impressed with CPAExcel so far. They have 98 Task Based Simulations for FAR alone, and include aggressive accounting updates (for example the Conceptual Framework, which as of 2011 Becker is still teaching as the old framework).
Plus, their bit-sized study sessions are written a bit clearer and cleaner than Becker, and closely follow self-study CPE courses as well. I like that. I am using their auto-study plan for FAR on May 30th, so we will see what happens!” ~ Dennis
(Thanks Dennis for the sharing)
CPAexcel is now offering a free set of printed flash cards with the purchase of their 4-part Video Gold Medal course.
Enter coupon code* upon checkout: IPASS-FLASH
* Note: This coupon code can be used with CPAexcel’s 20% student discount. May not be used with other coupon codes. Code expires on February 28, 2014.