One of my Facebook readers Jennifer has introduced me to MDS CPA Review. I have to say I haven’t heard of them before, but after some research I am happy to present my findings as well as some preliminary thoughts on this CPA exam review for your reference.
I am currently reviewing this product, and will update this post once I complete the evaluation. Please get the latest update from my Facebook page
Who IS MDS CPA Review?
Formerly known as Martin, Dalton, Spettle CPA Review, MDS is now headed by Steve Martin and is based in Ohio.
Steve has been teaching CPA review courses for the last 27 years (since 1985) . He is a former law update instructor and editor for the Becker course, and has written and recorded part of REG, FAR and AUD classes for Becker CPA Review. Beside Steve, there is another instructor as well as two staff who take care of the marketing and sales.
MDS offers live classes at the Ohio Society of CPA office in Dublin, OH as well as self-study courses online.
What Does MDS CPA Review Provide In The Course?
I haven’t got the chance to review the actual courses, but from looking at the video on their homepage, the guided review course is quite interesting.
The video is showing the lecturer (Steve) talking on the screen and at the same time there is a screen capture of the lecture note with the instructor highlighting and outlining on what he is saying.
My First Impression
Steve mentioned that there are 70 hours of lecture in the self-study course, together with the homework software, a book and a stack of flash cards.
1. The Video
70 hours of lecture is considerably less than the typically 100+ hours in other major CPA review courses. It can mean good or bad — if it is concise and to the point, I don’t see the need to go beyond the 70 hours; but it can run of risk of being too summarized and not comprehensive enough for the exam.
2. Homework Software
It is essentially the test prep software that is available in Becker, Wiley and Gleim for example. It mimics closely the format of the actual CPA exam which is helpful (but I have to say almost every competitor does that these days).
It also has a button that you can click to show you the explanations of each answer. For example, if C is correct, then it explains why C is correct and why A,B, and D are wrong. I find this pretty useful to show explanations on both correct and incorrect answers.
One feature that it lacks when compared to, say, Gleim is that there isn’t an anlaytical tool for you to mark the correct/incorrect answer for further reference.
It may or may not have it but the video that I watched did not show other analytical tools such as performance graphs, the average time you need to finish each questions and other useful statistics that come with other popular test prep software.
Again, it may be there but I may not be aware of it. This maybe something you want to ask MDS if you are interested in their offer.
Steve Martin did mention that there are 5,000 multiple choice and simulation questions in the database which is comparable to (or even more than) other CPA review course providers.
Steve Martin writes the book himself. From what I could see from the video, it does look organized and user-friendly with an outline format. It isn’t thick at all — which could mean (1) very condense and to the point; or (2) it doesn’t contain enough information.
I did read about one comment in a CPA exam forum that the candidate finds the materials not sufficient to prepare for the exam. But then he took the exam back in 2005 and his one-and-only-one comment may not be representative. I will work hard to collect feedback from my readers.
I do like the flashcards in terms of the look and feel. It is nicely printed with 175 cards concentrating on the key concepts, which I think is what flashcards are used for.
I also got another comment in the forum who spoke highly of the cards, but again one comment is not statistically reliable.
5. Customer Service
Steve does sound like a nice, down-to-earth type of guy. He said that whenever students have any questions, they can email him. He reminds me of Phil Yaeger a few years ago, before their major upgrade in online platform.
Would You Give MDS CPA Review A Try?
I would love to hear from any one of you who have or are seriously thinking of giving MDS a try. Unlike the rest of the post I am going to leave the comment section open so please do let me know your thoughts.
For general inquiry on other topics on the CPA exam, please ask me a question via my Facebook page.
Thanks and good luck everyone to your CPA exam.