Let Me Find the Right CPA Review Course for You!
Discovering which CPA review course is best for YOU to pass the CPA Exam is critical. But who am I and why should you trust these CPA review course rankings?
Stephanie Ng, CPA
I passed the CPA Exam on the first try. And it's absolutely doable if you find the right CPA study materials. My CPA Exam scores are: AUD – 88; BEC – 87; FAR – 92; REG – 84. You can pass, too, with the right CPA study materials.
I've even written a best-selling CPA Exam guide to help candidates pass the CPA Exam. While I have other important credentials, here's what I need you to know: I have personally used all these courses. And there is one that will be best for you.
Table of Contents
CPA Review Courses Comparison Disclosure
Disclosure: The I Pass Team may earn a small amount of compensation if you purchase CPA review courses from our links; however, our team uses these revenues to maintain the site and produce awesome free content just for you!
Best CPA Prep Courses
- Becker CPA Exam review course (with live CPA classes available, too)
- Surgent CPA Exam prep course
- Gleim CPA Exam course
- NINJA CPA study material
- Wiley CPA Exam prep courses (with the ability to take live CPA Exam classes)
- Roger CPA preparation courses
CPA Review Courses
Biggest brand name in the industry
Best adaptive technology
Best MCQs and simulations
Best overall value
Best bite-sized lessons
Most unique course & best lectures
Pricing for 4 Parts
# of Lecture Hours
# of MC Questions
Access Time Limit
Until You Pass
Until You Pass
Until You Pass
Until You Pass
Until You Pass
Until You Pass
Flashcard App Only
Flashcard App Only
94% for Exam Day Ready users
Top CPA Review Courses Comparison: CPA Courses Ranked
Here’s a list of the best CPA review courses from 2021 and 2022, including my analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. Right now, the top courses on the market are Becker, Surgent, Gleim, NINJA, Wiley, and Roger.
Becker CPA Exam Review is the gold standard in CPA prep courses. That’s why I’ve named Becker our #1 rated CPA prep course.
Over 1 million CPA candidates have studied with the Becker CPA study programs. In fact, Becker works with the Big 4 and other top accounting firms to train their future CPAs. As a result, Becker developed courses that help you pass the CPA Exam the first time. Plus, Becker users have a CPA pass rate of 94%. Furthermore, Becker has more Elijah Watts Sells Award past winners than any of the other best CPA Exam courses.
Becker uses an adaptive e-learning platform that comes with access until you pass, digital and hard-copy texts, detailed explanations to all practice questions (many linked to videos), and digital flashcards. Plus, Becker’s exclusive SkillMaster videos walk you through every task-based simulation. What’s more, Becker also offers Live Online or Live CPA Exam prep classes and tutoring sessions for personalized attention.
Also, Becker’s Final Review is like a cram course with condensed reviews and new MCQs and simulations that are just as hard as the ones you’ll see on exam day. The timed mock exams look and feel just like the real exam as well.
I personally used Becker to pass the CPA Exam. When I sat for the exam, Becker was renowned for its live CPA classes, which were hard to get to after work. I love that Becker has the entire platform online today! The new Becker interface is especially impressive and easy to use. So now, candidates get the great Becker quality (just like I did) and even more learning tools than before, like videos that walk you through task-based simulations. (That is pretty rare.)
If you purchase a Becker course, use my tips on how to study with Becker CPA.
Becker WeaknessesSince Becker has the best CPA Exam review courses, it’s hard to point out any fundamental deficiencies. Nevertheless, in a toe-to-toe CPA prep course comparison, Becker’s video lectures are a little dull. Still, their learning value is high, cementing Becker’s standing as the best CPA study course.
Surgent CPA Review: Best CPA Exam Software
Surgent CPA Review is a popular CPA prep course with award-winning instructors.
Surgent packs their best CPA courses with lots of multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations. Plus, they include over 100 hours of video lectures, high-quality textbooks, practice exams, and access until you pass. And the Surgent CPA Review Ultimate Pass uses an adaptive learning platform—A.S.A.P. Technology—that builds your studies around your weak content areas. This method cuts down your study time. In fact, according to Surgent, their users spend less than 100 hours per section studying for the exam. And, users boast an overall 92% pass rate, too.
I also love that Surgent’s READYscore predicts your CPA Exam score with stealth-like accuracy. It’s so satisfying to watch your READYscore get stronger as your study! And I can tell that Liz, the accounting professor who teaches the videos, really wants everyone to pass the CPA Exam.
Surgent is always at the top of a CPA course comparison. However, remember that Surgent doesn’t have live classes, personal tutoring, or video explanations of all task-based simulations (like Becker).
Gleim CPA Review: Best CPA Exam Review for Practice Questions
Gleim Premium CPA Review produces affordable CPA Exam study programs without sacrificing quality. In fact, Gleim has been producing CPA materials since 1974, so they know a thing (or two) about the CPA Exam.
Gleim has over 10,000 MCQs and more than 1,300 task-based simulations, making it one of the best banks of CPA questions available. The Gleim CPA test bank is the best I have seen, and you can use it to target your weak areas to the deepest levels. Gleim also provides MCQ answer explanations for the right and wrong choices, which many providers don’t.
Plus, Gleim’s practice exams closely mimic the CPA Exam, so you’ll feel more comfortable on the big exam day. Gleim also has digital and print books, audio lectures, SmartAdapt courses, personal coaching, access until you pass, digital flashcards, and the Gleim Instruct Video Series. Not surprisingly, this CPA test prep is a good supplement to other lecture-heavy courses.
The Gleim books dive into the details, making them some of the more intense CPA Exam study materialsavailable. As a result, some users find the books a bit overwhelming. However, if you need an extensive review of the material, you actually might appreciate the level of detail in the Gleim materials.
NINJA CPA Review: Best CPA Material on a Budget
NINJA CPA Review differs from the other CPA test prep courses. Specifically, NINJA CPA offers a monthly subscription, a good option for CPA candidates on a tight budget. The NINJA approach uses “weapons” like MCQs, TBSs, notes, flashcards, textbooks, cram videos, and audio lectures to develop a “battle plan” of study.
NINJA CPA Strengths
NINJA CPA strips away all fluff and tightly focuses on the content most likely to appear on the CPA Exam. What's more, NINJA is a great option if you need to supplement your existing CPA study materials. And quite affordably, too, since NINJA is one of the cheapest CPA review course options.
I personally used NINJA when I studied for the CPA Exam (in addition to Becker). NINJA was only a supplement back then, whereas now, it's a full course. However, the NINJA notes are still as concise and helpful now as they were when I sat for the CPA Exam. In my opinion, there's no better way to quickly review all the topics covered in the AICPA's CSOs than NINJA notes. And if you're unhappy with your NINJA products, you'll receive a no-questions-asked refund.
NINJA CPA Review is great as a full course or a supplement. It's actually one of the best-selling supplements on the market. For such a low cost, you really can't go wrong with NINJA.
Keep in mind that NINJA doesn’t have some of the features of other courses, like access to a live CPA review class or tutoring. If you’ll looking for this level of personal support, compare NINJA CPA vs Becker, for example, which gives you more ways to reach an accounting expert.
Wiley CPAexcel CPA Review: Best CPA Exam Prep for Short Lessons
The Wiley CPAexcel Review Courses are part of a family of exam-prep courses in the business and finance fields.
In part, Wiley makes the list of the best CPA review courses because of the bite-sized lessons. Wiley keeps the CPA Exam reviews and video lessons short so that users can squeeze studying into their busy lifestyles.
Lastly, Wiley CPAexcel’s Virtual Classroom Series presents live CPA exam classes in real-time online in a classroom-like environment. Students and instructors can even interact as they would face-to-face!
In my opinion, Wiley’s lessons can be a bit too short and sweet. While bite-sized lessons are fine if you just need a refresher, some users find Wiley’s lessons to be too brief. Therefore, if you need more guidance, I suggest checking out a course like Becker with deeper explanations of the exam content.
Roger CPA Review is best known for its video lectures, which are led by Roger Philipp himself and have a reputation for being quite engaging. A member of the I Pass team used Roger and still remembers the funny jokes and mnemonics Roger mentioned in his lectures. And because of these videos, Rogers consistently makes the list of best CPA Exam study materials.
Roger’s courses use an innovative platform, SmartPath Predictive Technology, to guide students through high-quality study materials that help candidates pass the CPA exam faster. In fact, according to Roger’s website, their AI platform helps users pass the exam three times sooner than other candidates. And Roger also has a notable 94% CPA Exam pass rate.
However, Roger’s comprehensive Elite course includes fewer MCQs and sample problems when compared to the other best CPA review courses from 2021 and 2022. But Roger’s creators claim they provide quality over quantity. They focus your study time on high-quality problems versus endless busy work with easy MCQs.
Runners-Up for Best CPA Exam Review Courses
Not every course can make the top “best of” list, but I still want to mention some other CPA courses that are top-notch and might be right for you, depending on your learning habits and budget.
Yaeger is one of the best CPA programs for personal phone support
First of all, the Yaeger CPA Review 4-Part Course Bundle comes with 120+ hours of in-depth video lectures per section, textbooks, audio lectures, CRAM courses, and printed flashcards. However, it’s Yaeger’s personal touch that really grabs my attention and makes it a runner-up to the top CPA review courses. This bundle comes with personalized phone calls with Phil Yaeger himself to set your study plan and review your progress.
Plus, for a small monthly fee, you have access to a 1-on-1 instructor hotline that directly connects you to Phil Yaeger and other instructors for up to 2 hours per exam part per month. Wow—that is a lot of personalized instruction for a CPA training course. In fact, this kind of support is even on par with Becker’s personalized tutoring sessions.
Check out the demo to see if you like the old-school teaching style. If you do, you can save a lot of money by going with Yaeger (it's one of my budget course recommendations). Or, at the very least, you could supplement with the Yaeger cram course.
Although I appreciate Yaeger’s personal touch, the test bank is much smaller than the other best CPA prep courses. Therefore, compare CPA review courses before purchasing one to make sure you’re receiving enough MCQs and TBSs for thorough CPA Exam prep. For instance, if you’re someone who learns by reviewing sample questions, consider Gleim. After all, the Gleim Mega Test Bank has over 10,000 questions.
Lambers CPA Review is another top CPA review course to consider.
The Lambers platform uses three learning modes to detect your content weaknesses and focus your CPA test review. First, the Pre-Test mode establishes your baseline knowledge. Next, the Adaptive Learning mode drills the topics you haven’t mastered. Finally, the timed mock exams in the Simulated mode mimic the feel of the real exam.
In addition, Lambers has great customer support. With the “Ask the Expert” feature, a content expert responds to accounting questions within 24 hours. Also, if you take a section of the CPA Exam and fail twice, Lambers will refund your purchase price for that section’s course.
If you already have an accounting background, you could benefit from Lambers’s style of instruction. Or, Lambers could be for you if you’re very busy and only have time for a no-nonsense course without a lot of extras.
Otherwise, Lambers could be used as a test bank to supplement another, more comprehensive review course. For instance, you wouldn’t need a supplement to Gleim because those courses come with the Mega Test Bank with over 10,000 questions. However, you could use Lambers to supplement a course like Surgent, NINJA, or Roger to boost your total number of MCQs.
Lambers does not have any audio courses. The company also does not have an app, but the mobile site works well on tablets and smartphones. Additionally, this course is not comprehensive, as the system lacks high-level video lectures, flashcards, live online classes, or textbooks. And the amount of simulations is quite limited at this time. Therefore, if you need a comprehensive review, you could try Becker. Not only does Becker include lots of learning tools (textbooks, a large question bank, and even tutoring), but you can download the Becker app for studying on the go.
Universal CPA Review is a fairly new player among CPA Exam courses.
Universal CPA Strengths
Basically, Universal’s course focuses on visual learning by combining multi-media video presentations, visually enhanced study guides, and a test bank with video explanations for all multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations. After all, you learn faster and retain information better from visual-based learning over traditional text-based methods. Therefore, the Universal study guides use images, charts, and infographics to reinforce concepts. Likewise, the animated videos depart from the classroom-style video lessons offered by most CPA reviewproviders. Instead, Universal’s video presentations heavily rely on visual aids to break down the exam’s most complicated problems.
Universal CPA Weaknesses
However, Universal CPA Review does not currently offer many of the additional tools used by other companies. For example, Universal does not have a mobile app, audio lectures, or flashcards if you plan to study on the go. Moreover, the course does not include timed mock exams, which are critical to practice before your exam day. And Universal doesn’t include authoritative research simulations, another type of question to practice for the CPA Exam.
What’s more, the test bank contains significantly fewer multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations than other CPA Exam review courses. However, Universal makes up for the smaller test bank by including video explanations for every sample question. But if you need a complete course that includes lots of sample questions, check out Gleim. And unlike Universal, other courses like Becker have timed mock exams, and that could make the difference between passing and failing the CPA Exam.
Other CPA Review Courses to Consider
I want to mention a few other CPA exam review providers that might be lesser known in the market but are definitely worth your consideration.
I-75 Tutoring offers a CPA review bundle with 5,000 MCQs and final exam testlets that mimic the real CPA Exam. The narrated question videos really explain problems; they don’t just lecture you through a screen like some other review providers’ videos. Also, I-75 Tutoring provides students with tutoring sessions via Skype with Darius Clark, the company’s founder. However, I haven’t received as much feedback from readers about I-75’s tutoring sessions as I have the Becker tutoring sessions.
Fast Forward Academy offers 80+ hours of videos, 7,000+ practice questions and simulations, unlimited practice exams, a digital flashcard creator, and real-time progress analytics. And the “FastFocus” final review condenses the most important material in your weakest areas to give you an intense review right before your exam. However, Fast Forward Academy is perhaps best known for its enrolled agent prep course.
MDS CPA is another good review course to consider. Unlike some CPA Exam prep that overwhelms you with large amounts of information that might not be on the CPA Exam, MDS CPA focuses on developing core skills. The program builds overall analytical skills. In fact, according to their website, MDC CPA can get you ready to sit for the exam in as little as 15 weeks. (But Surgent’s method reduces your study time, too, and has a bigger reputation.) In addition, they include options for online learning or traditional in-class learning at Ohio locations. (Check out Becker if you’re looking for live classes outside of Ohio.)
What Is the Best CPA Review Course?
I try to keep this list of CPA prep courses as objective as I can. But, since many of you ask which provider I generally prefer, I'll tell you what I think are the best CPA prep courses and supplements.
Go with Becker to:
- Take advantage of the best CPA study material
- Gain access to in-depth videos about task-based simulations, the most complex problems on the CPA Exam
- Enjoy a detailed performance tracking platform
- Learn from a course with an impressive record (90% of Elijah Watt Sells winners used Becker, making it one of the best CPA courses from 2021 and 2022)
- Benefit from the history and quality that comes from using a prestigious CPA review course
Go with Surgent to:
- Pass the CPA Exam with fewer study hours
- Use laser-focused analytics to determine when you're ready to sit for the CPA Exam
- Get access to some of the best guarantees and instructors available in Surgent’s top-rated CPA review courses
Go with Gleim to:
- Dive deep into concepts
- Access one of the best test banks available (either separately or as part of the comprehensive course)
- Keep your CPA review affordable with a complete course costing less than $2,000
- Benefit from the best money-back guarantee available
Go with NINJA to:
- Pass the CPA Exam without breaking the bank
- Supplement your current CPA course with additional materials (Notes, Audio, MCQ), all at an affordable price
- Get a unique perspective on the materials (Jeff uses some humor when explaining things)
CPA Exam Course Reviews: CPA Exam Supplements and Course Features
Which Courses Have the Best Adaptive Platforms?
Surgent’s A.S.A.P. Technology is a new platform that uses the MyMCQ feature to adjust the difficulty of your multiple-choice questions as you master the material. Surgent’s CPA candidates claim that using the MyMCQ feature has saved them hundreds of study hours. And no other adaptive software also accurately predicts your actual CPA Exam score.
Likewise, Gleim CPA Review uses the SmartAdapt platform. It detects your weak areas and recommends a study plan to get you caught up. What’s more, SmartAdapt was specifically designed for CPA candidates.
Becker CPA uses Adapt2U Technology powered by Sana Labs. You start your Becker course with an evaluation of your current skills. Then, the Adapt2U study planner directs your studies towards the areas you need to strengthen. It constantly re-assesses your progress and makes adjustments to your personalized study path.
What’s the Best CPA Test Bank?
The CPA Exam Blueprints reveal that the exam contains hundreds of questions about hundreds of topics. So, you'll need to answer a lot of practice questions to be ready to pass.
A test bank is a collection of questions previously released by the AICPA or written by the review provider. The benefits of using a big test bank include increased exposure to the exam content, opportunities to strengthen weak areas, and familiarity with the testing environment. You'll also enjoy a decreased chance of memorizing the questions.
Test bank size varies among CPA prep materials. That being said, a few review providers have compiled the biggest and best test banks available.
The Gleim CPA Mega Test Bank contains over 10,000 unique questions and 1,300 simulations as well as detailed answer explanations for every question. And with our Gleim CPA discount, the Gleim test bank is a great supplement to any CPA course. It's easy to use, and I haven't heard from a candidate yet who was unhappy with it.
The NINJA CPA Review test bank includes thousands of questions. Plus, it utilizes an adaptive learning algorithm so that you can focus on your weak areas. This test bank is a good supplement to any course.
Surgent CPA Review has a great test bank with questions that are highly referenced with explanations of the answers, links to videos, and notes. However, Surgent doesn't sell its test bank separately.
As I mentioned earlier, Becker CPA also has high-quality test banks. Becker regularly updates the test bank to match the exam blueprints, so you’ll be studying relevant content. You can even purchase the Becker test bank as a supplement to another course.
Best CPA Review Video Lectures
For study sessions that feel a little less like studying, watch video lectures or recordings of instructors teaching about the exam concepts and questions. With video lectures, you can process information faster and retain it longer, deepen your understanding, engage with concepts more enjoyably, and have more convenient study sessions.
Since so many CPA courses have videos these days, base your decision on the quality rather than the quantity of the video lectures.
Becker has the highest number of video lecture hours, and they’re some of the best, too. Therefore, Becker covers more CPA Exam content in their video lectures than anyone else, making them ideal for audio and visual learners. But don’t worry—the videos are broken into 2-5 minute chunks, so you’ll have plenty of mental breaks in your studies. What's more, Becker’s exclusive SkillMaster videos serve as private tutoring sessions for all of Becker's TBSs and clarify the reasoning behind each problem’s answer. Finally, a team of CPAs, PhDs, and accounting, law, or business professionals with real-world experience lead the Becker lectures, so the instruction is accurate, insightful, and helpful.
Roger CPA features high-quality, entertaining lectures led by Roger Philipp himself. Roger CPA Review aims to be an effective, efficient, and enjoyable course, and the video lectures greatly help achieve that goal. In reality, Roger is a professional, energetic, and competent teacher, so his video lectures are among the best on the market.
Wiley CPAexcel includes an incredible 140+ hours of video lectures in the Platinum Review Course. The short videos are shorter than 30 minutes, so you can squeeze several into your busy day. Wiley also has a great “Deep Dive Videos” series that breaks apart complicated problems in just 10-20 minutes. Plus, unlike other courses that might use one or two instructors, the Wiley videos feature several instructors from top-rated U.S. colleges and universities. This variety makes it more enjoyable to watch hours and hours of CPA videos.
Surgent CPA Review also has really high-quality videos. Surgent’s bite-sized lectures are only 10-20 minutes in length. Each video covers a single topic. The expert instructors also provide study notes for each video to reinforce the concepts.
Best CPA Exam Multiple-Choice Questions
The majority of the CPA Exam is multiple-choice questions (MCQs), and these aren’t your typical MCQs. Rather, these questions test your refined application and analysis skills as defined by the CPA Exam Blueprints.
In your CPA Exam preparation, you must do more than just memorize formulas to answer exam MCQs successfully. Instead, you must consistently answer exam-caliber practice questions. Realistically difficult MCQs are an important CPA review component, so you need a course that delivers them.
Two of the best CPA course options for the most and best MCQs are Becker and Gleim.
Becker probably gives you more practice questions than you need, but that’s a good thing and makes Becker a top CPA prep course. What's more, Becker provides only relevant CPA Exam questions, which will keep you from learning outdated concepts that are no longer tested. Finally, Becker has been in the business long enough to know how to write an MCQ that looks like what you’ll see on the CPA Exam. So, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get your content knowledge where the exam expects it to be.
Gleim CPA Review is another course that has built its reputation on quality questions. In fact, Gleim supplies you with a mountain of MCQs. And with over 40 years in the industry, Gleim also has every AICPA-released MCQ. On top of that, Gleim’s detailed answer explanations accompany every MCQ.
Best CPA Exam Task-Based Simulations
The CPA Exam intends to ensure you're ready for the real-word responsibilities of a CPA. Therefore, the task-based simulations (TBSs) simulate the tasks of a CPA. TBSs require you to use the information provided to do things like fill out tax forms, enter amounts into a spreadsheet, or review a document.
TBSs are a significant part of the CPA Exam. For this reason, they should be a significant element of your CPA study materials. Some providers craft TBSs better than others, so you'll want to prioritize courses excelling in simulations. The number of practice TBSs included in your CPA test prep is also crucial, and it varies greatly.
I’ve found the TBSs of these CPA Exam study guides to be the top: Gleim and Becker have the best CPA materials when it comes to TBSs.
Not only does Gleim CPA Review offer the most TBSs, but they are also the highest quality. Almost every Gleim TBS meets the CPA Exam’s standards. As a result, your knowledge can meet the exam’s standards as well. Therefore, Gleim’s TBSs should put the company near the top of your CPA review course comparison list based on simulations alone.
Becker CPA Review offers 500+ TBSs, which is still generous. What's more, Becker has created an exclusive video series—SkillMaster videos—designed to help candidates master TBSs, the most challenging type of CPA Exam question. The SkillMaster series contain step-by-step tutorials for overcoming every single Becker TBS.
Best CPA Review Audio Lectures
Want to study for the CPA Exam on the go? Then make audio lectures the playlist of your exam journey. Audio lectures are pretty self-explanatory: they’re the auditory content of a lecture. So, they’re ideal for auditory learners or candidates wanting to maximize their time. As a result, some of the best CPA Exam prep course companies have developed audio lessons.
Audio lectures let you study for the exam when you’re simultaneously occupied with less demanding tasks like exercising, cleaning, or commuting. All of the review courses with audio lectures allow you to download and access them via whichever listening device you desire.
To determine which audio lectures you need, consider the amount of content coverage they offer and the lecturer’s teaching style. For instance, do they skimp on the details or thoroughly address explanations and examples? Likewise, does the instructor hold your attention or put you to sleep? Read each CPA Exam prep course reviews, and take advantage of free trials.
But which CPA course is best for audio lessons? NINJA CPA Review, Gleim CPA Review, and Yaeger are all good options.
NINJA CPA Review offers the most popular and best-selling audio lectures. These audio lectures cover the essentials and let you make the most of every minute until exam day. The audio lectures come with the NINJA CPA monthly package.
And NINJA CPA Review has freshly-recorded lectures available; no rips of the video lessons here!
The Gleim CPA Review audio lectures are professionally done and offer thorough coverage as well. If audio lectures are important to you, then you’ll find Gleim’s to be the most comprehensive and effective available. I wouldn’t call Gleim’s audio lectures “fancy” by any means, but they are a good study tool. On top of that, you can stream or download them according to your preference.
Best CPA Exam Study Guide Planners
Passing the CPA Exam involves making plans about the exam requirements, applications, dates, and more. Thankfully, your course can help with a CPA Exam study planner.
Not all online CPA review courses contain a study planner. But of the planners available, I’ve found the interactive, adaptive ones are best for keeping you on track for success. In my opinion, a quality study planner is straightforward, simple, and intuitive. It should also be customizable and generates a personalized agenda incorporating your days off. Finally, it should adjust by recording your progress, modifying due dates as necessary, and holding you accountable. Study planners meeting these criteria come from Surgent CPA Review and Gleim CPA Review.
The study planner in Surgent CPA Review is definitely one of the best because it is based entirely on your schedule and your daily learning progress. Your exam date and days when you're not available to study dictate your overall study schedule. Then, your daily study plan (daily surge) adapts according to how well you performed in previous lessons.
The Gleim CPA Review study planner is just as good, as it also lets you insert your schedule information and study preferences before revealing a realistic plan. Equally important, the Gleim study planner adapts when you add or remove blackout dates. It also texts or emails you about missed study sessions.
Best Customer Support
A good CPA course covers the exam content. But a great course features a variety of study materials. And the best course goes above and beyond to support you as you study. In reality, phenomenal customer service is a hidden gem of quality CPA review, and only a few of the CPA Exam online courses truly provide it.
Contact via phone, email, live chat, and social messaging comes standard for many CPA review providers. However, a select few outfit their courses with access to teams of experts. Such extra steps enable these providers to really distinguish themselves and boost their overall CPA review ranking. To that end, the courses I find to have the best customer support are Gleim CPA Review and Surgent CPA.
Gleim CPA Review has an outstanding reputation for customer support for three reasons. First, Gleim offers access to exam mentors called Personal Counselors who will help you create a study plan, supply advice, answer questions, and extend encouragement as needed. Second, the Gleim team also includes technical experts who will assist you with any computer or course access problems. Third, Gleim has made it easy for you to tap into the knowledge of their accounting experts by incorporating a practice question inquiry system into their course.
Surgent CPA offers its own trio of candidate services. First, the Access Until You Pass Guarantee gives you free CPA online study content and courseware updates until you pass. Second, their CPA mentoring lets you receive online support from CPA Exam experts. Finally, the Ultimate course allows candidates to ask content questions of educators and responses are answered within 24 hours.
Best CPA Exam Cram Courses
There are two scenarios in which you may prefer to cram for the CPA Exam: when you want to pass super-fast or when you want to feel super prepared. In either instance, a cram course can help you out. A cram course is a condensed review of critical exam topics with a limited period of access. They're basically a study insurance policy designed to ensure you have all the facts, definitions, dates, rates, and formulas memorized before exam day.
Though several are distinct courses, most cram courses are supplementary to your primary CPA preparation course. After all, you take them only after you've completed a more comprehensive CPA study guide. In some instances (but not most), you can only purchase the cram course if you're already using another course from that review provider.
The two providers with cram courses that stand out are Becker CPA Review and Roger CPA Review.
Becker has a final cram course called the Becker Final Review. You should start this cram course 1-2 weeks before your scheduled exam date. The course includes condensed reviews of the most important and challenging topics likely to appear on the exam.
Roger CPA Review’s online cram course comes with everything you need to boost your CPA Exam score by up to 10 points in a short period of time. This two-week curriculum reinforces critical topics and provides an intensive last-minute review. With 2 months of access, you get 10 to 25-minute micro lesson lectures, practice questions on the lectures with in-depth explanations, and succinct digital textbooks.
Best CPA Exam Flashcards
They may not be the most technologically advanced study tool, but flashcards still offer some tried-and-true advantages that can help you pass the CPA Exam.
Flashcards are great for memorizing definitions, formulas, journal entries, and anything else you're struggling to understand. While making your own increases your comprehension and retention of the information, buying pre-made flashcards saves time and effort. Consequently, if you want to experience the convenience of these handy study aids without getting a cramp in your hand, you should purchase flashcards from these providers.
Roger CPA Review gives you flashcard options. On the one hand, you can select the digital flashcards that are accessible via phone or tablet to stimulate your memory and develop active recall. With the digital flashcards, you can flag cards you’ve mastered and even break the deck down by topic. On the other hand, you can choose the printed flashcards as well. These section-specific collections keep things simple by including an assortment of over 200 terms, mnemonics, and summaries of foundational CPA Exam concepts.
Surgent CPA has created a complete set of spiral-bound printed flashcards for all 4 exam sections that cover over 1,000 terms and definitions in total. And Surgent updates their flashcards quarterly so that they always match the latest CPA Exam Blueprints. Surgent's printed flashcards come with the Premier and Ultimate courses or can be purchased separately. However, Surgent also has 2,200 digital flashcards in the free flashcard app. The fact that no purchase is necessary to access these flashcards makes them useful even if you make your own flashcards as well.
I also appreciate Becker CPA's flashcards. The Pro course comes with both printed and digital versions of the Becker flashcards, and you can also purchase them separately. Becker's flashcards are the best I have found at helping candidates commit topics to memory and improving overall retention.
Best CPA Classes Near Me
Nowadays, more and more CPA exam review courses are taught online via e-learning platforms. A few, however, incorporate live or live online classes. If you go with the Becker CPA Pro review, you can attend live classes that are taught across the United States. Some classes are offered on weekends, but some weekday classes are available, too.
Check out Becker’s live classroom schedule to see if there is a class near you. (Although, in my opinion, Becker’s live courses are a little overrated. Given that you can learn the material from the very qualified instructors via the pre-recorded videos within the course, I see no reason to deal with traffic, going somewhere after work, etc. Instead, I recommend choosing the Becker online course.)
Of course, because of our hectic modern lifestyles, it can be hard to get to a classroom at a certain time every week. Thankfully, some providers now offer “live online” courses that you can “attend” from the comfort of your home. Becker offers LiveOnline classes, as does Wiley. Wiley’s CPA Virtual Classroom Series blends live recorded instruction with pre-recorded lectures to review the most frequently missed questions in the Wiley CPAexcel courses. Students can ask instructors real-time questions during the live sessions or access archived recordings to review lectures at their convenience.
Best CPA Exam Mobile Apps
You always have your phone with you, right? Well, depending on the provider you choose, that means you could always have your CPA review course with you as well.
This convenience is made possible by the mobile apps some CPA review providers have created to complement their courses. Whenever you have a chance to glance at your phone or tablet, you have a chance to study, thanks to mobile apps.
The functionality of CPA Exam mobile apps varies. Some contain digital flashcards, others create quizzes, a few encompass an entire course, and one is a game. Each has their pros and cons, but the best mobile apps come from Becker Roger CPA Review.
The Becker CPA mobile app is a must for its users. This fantastic app includes the full course -- no more lugging heavy books around with you. The app syncs with the online course so that both resources track your study progress, which is awesome. On top of that, you can even use the app to study offline when you don’t have internet access.
Roger has two great mobile apps. The first is the flashcards app, and the second is a multiple-choice question quiz app. This app lets you study from a test bank of over 3,500 AICPA-released questions and learn more about the answers to these questions with expert-written explanations. On top of that, you can even keep track of your score, bookmark specific questions, and use a calculator and timer just like those found on the CPA Exam.
What Is the Best CPA Exam Review Course on a Budget?
Although our discounts can reduce the cost of CPA review courses, almost every full CPA coursecosts over $1,000. In fact, many come in at or above $2,000. I think some of these courses offer a lot of value, so I don’t believe they are all overpriced. However, if your funds are limited, I think the best budget CPA review course is NINJA CPA.
In fact, NINA is one of the best cheap CPA review courses. It’s for budget-conscious CPA candidates who might not need to invest in an entire comprehensive course. Although NINJA CPA does not offer an adaptive learning platform, it has high-quality videos, texts, and MCQs at an affordable price point. Plus, NINJA CPA Review allows you to subscribe to the content on a month-by-month basis, which could save money in the long road.
Best Option for Candidates Googling "Fail CPA Exam"
If you fail a section of the CPA Exam, you may suspect that your course is to blame. When you need to move on to another exam prep in light of these points, I recommend turning to Surgent CPA Review.
With adaptive technology powering its course, Surgent aims to be the champion of CPA Exam re-takers (e.g., candidates searching "fail CPA Exam" on a Friday night -- don't worry: you're not alone!). Surgent’s technology adapts to you, pinpoints your weak areas, and saves you time as you progress through your studies. Additionally, the course comes with a free trial and an access until you pass guarantee. With a re-taker-friendly price point and this Surgent CPA Review discount sweetening the deal, Surgent can be just what you need to boost your exam score above 75.
Best CPA Study Materials for Accounting Students
Still in school? In this case, the best time to take the CPA Exam is immediately after you earn 120 credit hours. If you’ve reached that milestone, you should begin your exam journey and purchase a CPA review course. In order to pass the exam, you’ll want exam prep interesting enough to energize you when you come to it after class. Furthermore, your course must be comprehensive enough to keep all the accounting information you’ve learned fresh in your mind.
With these points in mind, I believe Becker CPA is the course for students. The Becker course doesn’t bog you down with details: it just gives you vital exam information that is directly aligned with the AICPA Blueprints. The Adapt 2U Technology ensures that you’re capable of a passing performance. The SkillMaster videos are second to none.
And with live online classes and 1-on-1 academic tutoring, you can overcome even the most difficult topics you might be struggling with. Plus, with the most comprehensive courses offering unlimited course access, you can take as long as you need to pass as you finish your degree.
Best CPA Review Course for Recent College Grads
If you’re a recent college graduate with coursework that overlaps with the exam study material, I suggest a course that will quickly pinpoint your content weaknesses. For example, Surgent CPA Review might be right for you because of the A.S.A.P. Technology learning platform.
Best Choice for CPA Candidates Working Full-Time
If you’re working full-time as an accountant, you need the CPA certification so you can tap into your full career potential. Because the CPA will help you earn more money, more benefits, and more job opportunities, you can’t afford to put it off much longer. And when you use exam prep that covers all of the testable content in a clear, concise, and applicable way, you can pass the CPA Exam faster than you think.
Gleim CPA Review and Surgent CPA Review both provide all of the information you need to know and present it in simple, digestible formats. Surgent specializes in focused lessons, while Gleim’s SmartAdapt™ technology plans your study sessions for you. Additionally, each of these courses will help you discover your weaknesses with the CPA Exam Blueprints. For this reason, they’re excellent for accountants who’ve been out of school and in the field for some time.
Best CPA Course if I Graduated a Long Time Ago
If you’ve been working in the field, you may already have many of the skills needed to pass certain sections of the CPA Exam. Therefore, consider a provider that can quickly assess your weaknesses and develop a personalized study plan to fill in those content gaps. For that reason, I suggest Surgent CPA Review.
What Is a CPA Review Course?
If you're on the fence about purchasing CPA study materials, allow me to provide some more explanations about what a CPA review course is. A CPA review course is a collection of self-study resources designed to prepare CPA Exam candidates to pass by teaching them about the exam content. You can access most CPA course components online. Unless they are supplements, the best CPA study guide courses include everything you need to pass.
CPA Study Material Reviews:
- Digital or physical books
- A bank of practice questions and simulations
- Video lectures
- Audio lectures
- A study planner
- Performance tracking software
- Customer service access
- Limited time access
Some must-have CPA study materials from this list include books, practice questions and simulations, and a study planner. Video lectures, flashcards, audio lectures, and adaptive technology are helpful but less essential. Finally, elite courses offer convenient guarantees like access that doesn't expire. These guarantees are especially handy if finishing the exam takes you longer than 18 months (which is the length of access for some courses). Furthermore, you can purchase CPA prep courses for each exam part separately or as a complete set. Once you purchase a course, the only other thing you need to pass is the determination and willpower to keep studying!
Do You Really Need a CPA Study Course?
In short, yes. Almost every CPA candidate needs a CPA test prep course because of the nature of the CPA Exam. The CPA Exam is a challenging test covering an extensive amount of information. After all, the exam’s purpose is to ensure that candidates possess the knowledge and abilities required of modern Certified Public Accountants. To tackle this noble goal, the CPA Exam features four sections with hundreds of questions each and assesses candidates at very high levels of skill. So, unless you've just graduated and have a photographic memory like Sheldon Cooper, you’ll need the guidance and evaluation that only a CPA course can offer. In general, CPA study materialbenefits candidates in three specific ways.
The best CPA review courses cover and present the exam content in a convenient and efficient way.
The AICPA does provide a free practice exam, but because this exam contains only a handful of questions, it can’t replace a CPA test bank. The AICPA also shares some very general information about what's on the exam in the form of the CPA Exam Blueprints. However, these documents are an inadequate substitute for a review course as well because they don’t go into great detail. Consequently, filling in the gaps would require countless hours of additional research. Thankfully, a CPA prep course gathers and distills all this information for you. Specifically, a quality review course features expertly-authored materials that address every area of the exam content. So, purchasing a review course frees you to focus on mastering the material rather than compiling it for yourself.
A review course also monitors your understanding because the CPA Exam expects you to reach certain levels of skill with the exam content:
- Remembering and Understanding: The perception and comprehension of the significance of an area utilizing knowledge gained.
- Application: The use or demonstration of knowledge, concepts, or techniques.
- Analysis: The examination and study of interrelationships of separate areas in order to identify causes and find evidence to support inferences.
- Evaluation: The examination or assessment of problems and use of judgment to draw conclusions.
The best CPA reviews supply a support system for additional information, advice, and encouragement.
If you’d rather not take on the CPA Exam alone, I’ve got good news: Most CPA study materials provide some form of customer service. Depending on the course, you may be able to rely on friendly exam mentors to answer your questions, help you create your study plan, coach you through the course, encourage you during study struggles, and keep you on track to reaching your goals. Besides that, your course may also come with the aid of a technical team for resolving computer or course issues. Finally, you may even get to the chance to have questions and concepts explained to you by accounting experts and professors. You can usually talk with these members of your CPA Exam team via your phone, email, or course.
How Much Does CPA Review Cost?
The cost of a CPA course varies by review provider, but the average is a little under $2,000. However, some review course prices rise well above this dollar amount. Yet, plenty of courses pack a lot of value into a $2K price tag. For the sake of your wallet, you should know that you might pay more in the end if you purchase a course that doesn't have unlimited access. Specifically, your access to the best CPA Exam preparation courses doesn’t expire after a set time, and you can keep studying until you pass.
Do I Have to Buy Materials for 4 Parts of the CPA Exam at Once?
No, you don't have to buy your CPA Exam prep for all four parts at once. Instead, you can purchase materials one section at a time. However, you'll save much more if you DO purchase all four sections at once.
For example, let's take a look at Gleim CPA's prices for each section vs. all four sections:
- AUD Review Course: $599
- BEC Review Course: $599
- FAR Review Course: $599
- REG Review Course: $599
- Cost if you buy all four at once: $1,999, before Gleim CPA discounts
If you were to purchase the four sections one by one (e.g., buy CPA Exam BEC prep now and the other three sections later), you'd end up spending $2,396. In the long run, this means you'll spend $396 more than you would by purchasing the four sections together. Additionally, individual sections almost never have any discounts, making this choice the most expensive by far.
Will I Need a CPA Exam Tutor?
While CPA tutoring can be helpful, if you find the best CPA online class, it shouldn't be necessary to also enlist the help of a CPA tutor.
Becker conducts our favorite CPA online study course, and tutoring is included at no extra cost in the Pro package. Additionally, there are CPA self-study options too, which are more budget-friendly.
However, if you're really struggling, CPA exam tutoring might be an excellent idea, especially if you have utilized all the resources in your course.
What to Focus on When Selecting a CPA Review Course
Most CPA study programs include standard materials like textbooks (hardcopies, PDFs, or online text), test banks with sample multiple-choice questions (MCQs) often gleaned from previous exams, sample task-based simulations (SIMs), video and/or audio lectures, and other study materials like flashcards. Plus, some of today’s best CPA reviews are developing innovative e-learning platforms to help students study with more efficiency.
Some courses also include classes that are held live (an instructor and students gather in a classroom setting) or live online (an instructor in a classroom is connected with students via a live video stream). So if you liked your college classroom-style lectures, get a course with live CPA Exam prep class options.
I think it’s helpful that some providers now include one-on-one support via live chat forums, face-to-face mentoring, or phone calls to answer questions and provide encouragement when needed.
Of these standard materials, which is the most important? What’s the best CPA course material to learn from? Honestly, that depends on your learning style. I’m someone who likes to read hard-copy texts and highlight important passages while taking notes (I refer to this as active reading). But maybe you learn best by listening to audio lectures over and over during your daily commute. I suggest taking a few moments to think about your learning needs, learning style, and budget before purchasing a CPA review course.
Pick a Review Based on Your Learning Style
How do you learn? It might be a short question, but the answer could guide your journey to becoming a CPA. Most people are tactile or visual learners or a combination of the two.
If you are a tactile learner, you prefer “hands-on” methods of learning. Therefore, you benefit from courses with big test banks, lots of MCQs of varying difficulties, and plenty of task-based simulations.
If you’re a visual learner, on the other hand, you might want video lectures. You may find that videos that incorporate multi-media elements will hold your interest longer, allowing you to grasp more of the material.
CPA Review Comparisons
Here are some brief comparisons of CPA review courses.
Becker CPA Review vs. Wiley CPAexcel CPA Review
Becker CPA Exam Review and Wiley CPAexcel are both strong courses with good reputations among CPAs. Regardless, in addition to top CPA study material, Becker has more hours of video lectures. And that’s an important point to consider if you are a visual learner. And of course, Becker’s live classes and tutoring sessions can help boost your exam score.
Still, Wiley offers many more practice questions and task-based simulations in the Platinum course than Becker.
In the end, I'd choose Becker over Wiley if a budget was not a concern. But you can also keep your CPA prep course cost down with our discounts.
Becker CPA Review vs. Surgent CPA Review
Becker CPA Review is one of the most well-respected names in CPA exam review courses. With plenty of MCQs and TSBs, lots of personal support, and a final review, I understand why Becker comes highly recommended by so many CPA professionals. However, Surgent has a slightly bigger test bank and a sophisticated learning platform that cuts down your study time, all at a lower price point than Becker. Surgent, therefore, is better for recent grads and professionals who need to cut down their study time (because work is all-consuming, right?).
Becker, though, has some of the best CPA classes available. Consequently, Becker is an excellent option for candidates who need more detailed teaching and hand-holding. So, if you don’t have many recollections of your college tax class, you'll probably do best with Becker’s in-class CPA review courses.
Becker CPA Review vs. Roger CPA Review
Becker CPA’s Pro plan comes with more lecture hours, MCQs, and TBSs than Roger CPA’s Review Elite package. However, Roger is probably the best CPA training program for engaging lectures. If you learn best from unique presentations of complicated materials, I suggest taking advantage of Roger CPA’s free trial and checking out the sample video lectures.
Gleim CPA Review vs. Wiley CPAexcel CPA Review
If you are wavering between Gleim CPA Review and Wiley, think about how you learn. Wiley has some of the best bite-sized videos. So, if you are a learner who enjoys short bursts of engaging content, you may want to consider Wiley CPAexcel.
However, if you are more of a hands-on learner, you may benefit from the realistic test bank that comes with the Gleim Premium Review System. Plus, Gleim’s system includes an incredible 1,300+ practice task-based simulations. Since TBSs are such a large component of the CPA Exam, Gleim’s MCQs and TBSs could help you feel more prepared for the real exam.
Frequently Asked CPA Exam Questions
How Do I Apply for the CPA Exam?
First, visit the NASBA website. Check out the particular requirements of your jurisdiction. Next, fill out your application with NASBA and wait for your NTS (Notice to Schedule). Finally, using the info on your NTS, schedule your exam at a Prometric site near you. If you need more advice, check out my longer article about the CPA Exam application.
Is the CPA Exam Hard?
I’m not going to lie to you: The CPA Exam is one of the most difficult professional licensing exams and only has a 50% pass rate. That’s why it’s important to be prepared by using a review course that best suits you. But I definitely think the CPA Exam is not overly hard, and it's certainly passable. And if you're curious, here are the common reasons candidates find the CPA exam to be hard.
You may be interested to know that the CPA Exam and Bar exam have relatively similar pass rates, but the CPA Exam is slightly harder than the Bar exam.
Which Section Should I Take First?
Each section has a different focus and format. BEC requires a lot of writing, while FAR, AUD, and REG have more MCQs and TBSs.
Since the content of FAR covers a range of financial accounting and reporting topics, I often recommend CPA candidates start with FAR followed by AUD and REG.
Since the contents of BEC are a little more unique with its themes of governance and economic analysis, I usually recommend tackling it last. (I have more recommendations about which CPA sections to take first, too.)
How Do I Become a CPA?
Although every state has different requirements to become a CPA, jurisdictions have some common requirements called the 3 E’s:
- Education, or 150 credit hours earned through an accredited college or university.
- Exam, or pass the CPA Exam (and in some states, a CPA ethics exam, too).
- Experience, or 1-2 years of professional accounting experience.
If you want more information about becoming a CPA, check out my article.
Is the CPA a Global Certification?
The Certified Public Accountant designation, which is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), is recognized in the United States and places with U.S. regional offices.
However, the CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant) certification for CPAs is globally recognized. Two organizations grant the CGMA: the AICPA and the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants).
Why Should I Be a CPA?
First, you’ll have access to significant CPA benefits. After all, CPAs have more job opportunities in government agencies, international business firms, non-profit organizations, and even educational institutions. Second, you’ll have greater job security and flexibility, which is especially important in a down economy. And third, CPAs make 10-15% more than accountants without their CPA license. Some firms even give bonuses to employees who obtain their licenses, in addition to raising their CPA salary.
How Long Do I Need to Study For the CPA Exam?
Most CPA candidates study 80-100 hours per section for a total of 300-400 hours. Learn more about how many hours you'll study for the CPA Exam in my detailed article.
What Are the CPA Exam Requirements in My State?
The United States has 55 accountancy jurisdictions. Although jurisdictions used to have widely different requirements, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy have been collaborating to develop more commonalities. I’ve outlined the details in my article, CPA Requirements by State.
Can I Take Multiple CPA Exam Sections in the Same Window?
Yes—you can take multiple exams for different CPA sections in the same window. But the old exam windows are extinct, and the AICPA now lets you sit for the CPA Exam year-round. However, if you fail a section, you must wait for your score before retaking it.
CPA Exam Discounts
Many CPA exam review providers provide substantial discounts to my readers. You can find a list of CPA discounts and promo codes on this website.
What Are the Best CPA Study Materials?
CPA candidates often ask me about the best CPA review course for 2022. Every future CPA is different, and everyone has different learning needs and time constraints. But if I had to buy one exam review for myself, I would purchase Becker CPA Review.
Let me tell you why Becker is the best study guide for the CPA Exam. First, if I had to study for the CPA Exam again, I would want a review that gave me the biggest advantages in terms of study time. Not only does Becker provide high-quality study materials, but their personalized learning approach will help you study more effectively and more efficiently, pushing you to the finish line.
Did You Find What You're Looking For?
Thanks for going through this long post with me! If you need a specific recommendation, just drop me a note.