Last Updated on by
A lot of CPA candidates have been asking me to compare two popular review providers: Wiley CPAexcel vs. Becker CPA Exam Review. Both companies have been in business for a long time and have strong reputations. Today, I’m going to break down each review course and assess its overall value. (I’ve created more CPA course comparisons, too, if you need them.)
CPA Review Attribute
Becker CPA - Pro Course
Wiley CPA - Platinum Course
Access Until You Pass
High -- If your materials expire before you've passed the exam, you'll have to purchase new ones.
Medium -- Visual learners comprehend and remember more when studying from video lectures.
275+ hours of video lectures
140+ hours of video lectures
CPA Test Bank
High -- Without working practice questions, you won't be prepared for the real CPA Exam.
High -- Books help you learn the concepts, especially if you don't like to watch video lectures.
Printed and digital
Printed and digital
Low -- If you like to utilize flashcards, research shows you're more likely to retain the information if you created them yourself.
1,400 printed flashcards
1,000 printed and 4,000 digital flashcards
I’ll get right to the point: In this head-off between two strong CPA review courses, I am declaring Becker CPA Review as the winner!
However, please review my detailed analysis below to determine if Becker or Wiley is best for you.
Crowning Becker as the winner was a hard decision. Both Becker and Wiley CPAexcel offer adaptive learning platforms, study planners, sample exams, and plenty of TBSs. The Wiley courses start at a lower price point, have more engaging video lectures, and offer access until you pass with all review packages. But still, many CPAs argue that Becker’s industry reputation is worth the extra bucks. Becker’s plans come with many more hours of video lectures and provide comprehensive study materials that are constantly updated. Becker CPA Review also includes several ways to reach professional mentors, and that personal touch can make a big impact on your success.
Becker CPA Review has a long history. In fact, Newton Becker created one of the very first CPA review courses in 1957. Since starting the Becker CPA Review company in 1960, Becker’s courses have received consistent praise from professionals. Today, Becker is the largest provider of review courses and boasts many accolades. Also, did you know that between 2005 and 2018, over 90% of the winners of the Elijah Watt Sells Award for high CPA Exam scores used Becker? Impressive. It’s not a surprise that Becker has a stellar reputation among the Big 4 accounting firms and serves 99 of the top 100 accounting firms in the U.S.
Wiley also has a long history, although the company’s start was quite different from Becker’s. Wiley began as a major publishing house over 200 years ago. Although they initially published American literature, they expanded their focus and now distribute some of the most respected scientific and technical journals in the academic field. Wiley has also developed a series of digital learning assessment tools for the accounting, scientific, and medical fields. In 2012, Wiley purchased Efficient Learning Systems, Inc., and CPAexcel now provides outstanding test prep materials for several professions, including the CPA, CMA, and CIA exams.
Wiley CPAexcel and Becker CPA Review both use platforms that adapt to your learning pace. The Becker CPA online interface is one of the best learning tools available. The well-designed course uses Becker’s Adapt2U technology powered by Sana Labs that begins by assessing your existing knowledge on a given topic. After studying the suggested material and taking practice quizzes, the technology analyses your progress and recommends review material to strengthen your weak content areas. Furthermore, you receive detailed reports about your overall progress towards mastering the material likely to appear on the CPA Exam. Becker also gives you an interactive study planner that helps you manage your study time.
About a week before your scheduled exam day, the Becker CPA Final Review will lead you through new MCQs and TBSs to refine your knowledge and make sure you’re ready for all types of exam questions. Finally, the format of the Final Review looks just like the “real exam,” which will help you feel more at ease at the testing site.
Wiley CPA Review also uses an innovative adaptive learning platform. As you work through sample problems and practice quizzes, the adaptive system tracks your progress and recommends additional study materials to fill in your knowledge gaps. Wiley helps you study more efficiently by pinpointing your weak areas, so you don’t have to waste time studying content you’ve already mastered. CPAexcel utilizes “bite-sized” lessons, which are less than 30 minutes, to maximize your learning even when you’re short on time. Additionally, the platform constantly updates your progress so you can keep your studies on track.
Wiley and Becker both offer 100+ hours of videos that reinforce important concepts. However, since so many students rely on quality videos as one of their main sources of instruction, it's essential to learn how each courses' videos prepare you.
If you choose Becker CPA Review, you’ll get access to hundreds of hours of videos. The Pro and Premium packages include 275+ hours per section -- that’s more than any other review provider on the market. All videos are led by CPA instructors with experience in accounting, business, or law. The information is presented in small chunks of 2-5 minutes.
I will admit that some of the Becker videos feel a little boring and can get too long. Still, at their core, they are quite comprehensive and break down complex issues in a way that makes them easy to understand.
Plus, Becker has created additional SkillMaster videos that outline specific steps to grapple complicated task-based simulations. The instructors give deep-dive explanations about WHY they solved problems in a certain way, increasing your overall logic and problem-solving skills.
The Wiley CPA 2020 courses come with over 140 hours of videos, which is still impressive. The “Bite-Sized Lessons” combine video lectures, text, and multi-media visual elements. Some Wiley users complain that the video lectures could present material in more depth, although the Wiley CPA books provide ample supplemental information. Also, Wiley CPAexcel’s Platinum CPA Review Course includes Deep Dive Videos, which are 10-20 minute lectures that break apart difficult problems; they’re especially useful for CPA candidates without a strong accounting background. Additionally, the Platinum course also includes on-demand lectures that happen in real-time. You can ask questions during the lectures and participate just as you would in a real classroom.
So, in conclusion, Becker offers more hours of videos. They are in-depth, but you might lose interest because of their length. Both companies have created shorter videos that explain complicated problems, and I think that’s crucial for your success.
CPA candidates often ask me, “How long will I have access to a CPA Exam review course?” The important answer may have a big impact on the overall success of your CPA journey. The CPA Exam can change; the AICPA usually makes small adjustments to the CPA Exam twice a year, and major modifications are made as needed to cover contemporary issues that CPAs face. Therefore, it is important to choose a review provider that adjusts materials to reflect the current CPA Exam accurately.
In my professional opinion, it’s also crucial to pick a CPA review course with unlimited access to the materials until you pass the CPA exam. You probably already know that once you begin the process, you have an 18-month rolling window to pass all 4 sections. Most candidates fail at least one section once so that 18-month timeline easily turns into 24 months or longer. But let’s say you sign up for a review course that only gives you access for 18 months—the pressure is now on to pass all 4 sections in that time frame or pony up more money to renew your access to study materials.
Wiley CPAexcel provides access until you pass for all of their review courses. For this reason alone, Wiley is a good value.
Becker CPA Review does provide unlimited access, but only for the Pro and Premium packages, their most expensive complete courses.
Personalized support from expert CPAs can make a big difference in the success of your studies. I highly recommend reaching out to competent and knowledgeable professionals when you have a question or can’t quite wrap your head around a concept.
Becker’s CPA Exam review course comes with access to professors who will answer inquiries within 48 hours. Plus, Becker archives these questions in a forum; users can search the archive and find answers to common questions. If you choose the Becker Pro plan, you’ll also receive up to five one-on-one academic tutoring sessions. Furthermore, if you are someone who really thrives with the help of a tutor, this is an important feature to consider.
Wiley’s Platinum and Gold course include online mentoring support from professors with demonstrated content expertise. The Wiley forum is similar to Becker’s. Students can post questions to the forum and receive a reply from a professor within 48 hours, or students can search the forum for common questions. You can also reach professors in the Live Virtual Classroom Series, which I discuss below.
Many CPA candidates use flashcards to quiz themselves on concepts. When my friends and I were studying for our CPA exams, we got out the glue sticks and markers and made our own flashcards. And while CPA craft time might be fun, it may not be a very efficient use of your time.
Each of Becker’s full review courses includes 1,400 digital flashcards with brief questions and answers. These online flashcards are searchable by topic if you just need to drill certain concepts, which is a nice feature. Or, you can electronically “flip” through the flashcards in random order and track your progress as you correctly answer questions. If you purchase the Pro package, you’ll also receive 1,400 printed flashcards. Otherwise, if you want printed flashcards, you’ll have to purchase them separately for an additional cost.
Wiley’s courses come with 1,000 printed flashcards—250 per CPA Exam section—and access to an additional 4,000 digital flashcards online or via the app. Wiley also gives you Focus Notes, printed spiral-bound cards similar to flashcards but with more information.
Therefore, if you’re someone who likes to use flashcards to study, Wiley’s offerings are definitely more comprehensive.
CPA candidates are usually concerned about pass rates for the different review providers on the market. I get it: you don’t want to waste your money on a system that doesn’t work. However, it’s complicated to report on pass rates, because many review providers don’t publish their pass rates at all.
The Becker CPA pass rate is not made public, so it’s difficult to give you any hard data. However, according to Becker, 90% of the Elijah Watt Sells Award winners between 2005 and 2018 used Becker to review for the CPA Exam. The award is only given to those CPA candidates with the highest scores, so this fact alone speaks about Becker’s quality.
Wiley, on the other hand, does advertise their pass rates. According to Wiley, about 90% of CPA candidates who use Wiley to review for the CPA Exam pass.
In many ways, the Wiley and Becker courses are both geared toward CPA candidates who are visual learners, since they combine a variety of printed materials and videos. I’ve already reviewed many of the courses’ features like learning platforms, test banks, flashcards, and access to professionals. But we haven’t covered one important topic yet: classroom settings. Both Wiley and Becker offer some sort of live or live online classroom experience to supplement their other materials.
Wiley CPAexcel delivers live instruction through the Virtual Classroom Series with the Platinum-level full course. In this online platform, you “sit” in a virtual environment with other students while professors lecture on given topics. You can interact with fellow classmates and ask the professor questions in real-time.
Becker’s most expensive plans, the Pro and Premium courses, include live courses similar to Wiley’s. However, the Pro course features in-person classes held weekly at university campuses across the country. Depending on your location, you may want to consider Becker’s Pro plan if you need this type of face-to-face instruction.
Wiley and Becker both give generous discounts to their full courses. The Becker CPA promo code can be especially deep—discounts as much as $500-$1,000—to help bring the overall cost closer to less-expensive review courses. I always keep my candidates updated with Becker's offers.
I also have a Wiley CPA discount code available for my readers. With my discount, you’ll pay even less for their popular review courses.
The Becker CPA cost is higher than its competitors. Becker has three different course review packages. The most comprehensive course, the Pro, costs $3,499 before any Becker CPA discount. The Premium course is $2,999, and the Advantage course costs $2,399. Separate parts of the review courses are available for $799 if you only need to review one section of the CPA Exam.
Wiley CPA Review is a little less than Becker. Wiley’s Platinum Course is $2,800, followed by the Gold Course at $2,275 and the Silver Course at $2,100. Users can also purchase reviews for separate sections for $600-$800.
The Pro and Premium Becker courses both come with access until you pass the CPA Exam. If you choose the Advantage plan, you only have access for 24 months. However, the Becker CPA guarantee, also known as the “Becker Promise,” gives you some financial protection. If you finish your entire Becker CPA Review course within a given time period but still fail to pass the CPA Exam, Becker will provide a tuition waiver to repeat the course. However, there are a few catches. Consequently, here's the catch explained at a high level: you’ll need to correctly solve at least 90% of the course’s MCQs and TBSs, take at least one simulated exam and get a score of at least 50%, and provide your failing CPA Exam scores.
To me, since the Pro and Premium packages already have unlimited access, the Becker Promise is most applicable to the Advantage review course that only has access for 24 months.
Becker provides a 50% discount on course renewals, so you'll pay $1,199 in renewal fees for the Advantage course. If you're worried about having to pay renewal fees in the future, I'd recommend purchasing the Becker Pro or Premium Course (at a discount, of course), or pick another review course entirely.
All of Wiley’s full review courses have an access until you pass guarantee. So, you will not have to pay renewal fees if your CPA journey takes longer than you originally planned.
With Becker’s Pro and Premium full courses, you’ll receive unlimited access. However, access to the Advantage plan expires after 24 months.
As I mentioned above, all of Wiley’s courses have unlimited access until you pass the CPA Exam. That said, you won't have access forever, which I know could be disappointing, especially for CPA candidates who would like to have their course as a resource they can tutilize in their careers as a CPA.
Becker CPA Review periodically has sales. However, there are no best times to buy Becker, as their promos are inconsistent and very much depend on the supply and demand of CPA candidates.
Wiley CPA Review also puts courses on sale, even more frequently than Becker does. It is rare to see a Wiley course at its full list price, although you'll save the most money if you purchase all 4-sections at once.
If you purchase an online Becker CPA Review course, you can receive a full tuition refund if requested within 10 days of your initial purchase or your first course login, whichever comes first.
If you purchase an online review course, Becker will issue a full refund within 10 days of purchase at your request. If you purchase items like flashcards or supplemental MCQs independent of an online course, those items are non-returnable.
Wiley CPA Review also has a 10-day refund policy. If you are unsatisfied with your materials, you can request a full refund (minus shipping charges and e-book fees) within 10 days of your initial purchase. Once you request a course refund, you will have 14 days to return your hard-copy materials (like books), which Wiley’s staff will inspect upon receipt; hard-copy materials must be returned in a like-new condition. E-book purchases are not eligible for refunds.
The Becker CPA study resources have a strong reputation. Despite the elevated price tag, the Becker CPA team provides quality materials and an adaptive learning platform that makes studying more efficient. Their videos, although lengthy and somewhat dry, promote understanding concepts over strict memorization. The number of flashcards is limited, and the test bank is average, although Becker’s Premium and Pro review courses do include over 500 TBSs. Only the most expensive plans come with access until you pass. But still, the Becker CPA books are thorough and detailed. The live, live online, and one-on-one tutoring sessions could be a big boost if you thrive on that kind of personalized support. For these reasons, a Becker CPA course could be right for you.
Wiley’s full courses feature quality CPA study materials at an affordable price point. With video lessons, Deep Dive videos, books, and flashcards combined with the adaptive learning platform, Wiley gives you lots of ways to study for the big exam day. The Wiley test bank vs. Becker is certainly larger. The no-gimmick access until you pass policy removes some of the inherent pressures of studying for the CPA Exam. Finally, since 9 out of 10 CPA candidates who study with Wiley pass the exam, it might be the best review course for you.
Becker CPA Review
Access Until You Pass
Help From Experts
From this table, you can see that my team of CPAs gave Becker CPA Review a score of 5.5/6. Wiley received slightly fewer points—5/6—because Wiley CPAexcel includes fewer hours of video lectures and offers less personalized support from experts.
I used Becker to study for the CPA Exam and passed on the first time. But that was several years ago, and many review providers, like Wiley, have improved their courses and offer excellent reviews at more affordable costs.
With that being said, after comparing Wiley CPAexcel to Becker CPA Review, I encourage you to consider Becker. Becker’s breadth of study tools, coupled with live classes and personal support, could help you proficiently study for and pass the CPA Exam. So, if you're a visual learner, you'll likely get more out of the Becker course than a course built for a tactical learner. Therefore, if you learn best by watching instructors and attending live lectures, Becker is likely the best course for you.
However, if your budget is already stretched, or if you're a tactical learner, I'd encourage you to consider Wiley. Since Wiley is more affordable and still offers CPA candidates an excellent value, it's an excellent option for some. Additionally, because Wiley includes so many more practice questions, it may be the best course for tactile learners, who prefer to learn by drilling CPA Exam questions.
I hope that my comparison of Wiley and Becker helps you decide between these review providers. But if you’re still unsure, please contact me—I can give you a personalized recommendation based on your learning needs and budget. And if you need more information about the journey to becoming a CPA, you'll want to get my free CPA Exam details.
Additionally, if you'd like to review more of my comparisons, you can check out:
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!