In this detailed comparison of CPA review courses, I've listed my top CPA review courses on the market. Because I have firsthand experience with many of these courses, I'm confident that one of them will be right for you. So, please use this page to compare CPA review courses and learn more about your best CPA review courses options. With this information, you can pick the course that fits your learning style.
CPA Review Course
Price After Discount
Surgent CPA Review
Gleim CPA Review
Realistic MCQs & Simulations
Becker CPA Review
Biggest Brand Name
Roger CPA Review
Yaeger CPA Review
Live Phone Support
Ninja CPA Review
Monthly Access to Materials
Fast Forward Academy
Advanced Learning Tools
MDS CPA Review
Access to Actual CPAs
Lambers CPA Review
No known offers
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CPA Review Courses
Best adaptive technology
Best MCQs and simulations
Best bite-sized lessons
Biggest brand name in the industry
Most unique course & best lectures
Best live phone support
Best return policy
Pricing for 4 Parts
# of Lecture Hours
# of MC Questions
# of Simulations
Audio Review 
Final Review or Cram Course
Money Back Guarantee 
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
9 out of 10
Twice non-Becker students
 Included for free in Roger's Elite course.
 Conditions apply. Please check with the respective review course providers for details.
Below, you will find a more extensive and comprehensive list of the best CPA review courses 2020. In comparing CPA review courses, I've considered top rated CPA review courses, CPA review courses reviews, live CPA review courses, online CPA review courses, and cheap CPA review courses. I've also included my analysis of their strengths and weaknesses.
New company, familiar faces
Surgent CPA Review (formerly Surgent-Kolar CPA Review) is a relatively young brand. However, their founders, Jack Surgent and Liz Kolar, are both well-respected veterans in the industry.
Similar to Wiley CPAexcel, the Surgent lectures are an excellent choice for those who hate long lectures as much as I do. Each lecture is about 10-20 minutes. Additionally, lecturer Liz Kolar has won awards such as PICPA's Outstanding Educator of the Year.
Amazing adaptive learning technology
This system feeds candidates questions based on their weaker areas. Therefore, it's super efficient for first-timers and a godsend for re-takers. According to Surgent, candidates can use this tool to lower CPA Exam prep time to less than 100 hours per section. Yet, at the same time, they can still contribute to the overall 89.7% pass rate of Surgent's user pool.
Free trial and pass guarantee
This guarantee is a big plus, but be sure to read the fine print. It's probably one of the most complicated guarantees, aside from Becker's, that I've ever read.
Surgent's prices position their courses as very economical options, especially when you utilize my discount code.
Better suited for the e-course learner
Since everything is online, the course doesn't cater so much to social learners (no live reviews). For this reason, Surgent may not fit your learning style if you need live support, like a real person to explain something to you in the flesh. This course also may not be the best choice for you if you're accustomed to highlighting and circling terms or taking notes on the side of the textbooks.
Very long diagnostic quiz
Surgent requires you to take a large diagnostic quiz to determine your strengths and weaknesses. While this seems overwhelming, don't skip it, because the data will inform your personalization of the course.
If your budget isn't too tight, Surgent has some stellar features -- a great lecturer, adaptive learning technology, online tracking, a free trial, and a pass guarantee -- all in one nice package. And to discover even more details about Surgent, get answers to your Surgent CPA FAQs.
Great practice test prep software
The Gleim practice questions are tough and great for those who want to build more confidence for passing. The Gleim CPA test bank is also well-loved for the huge number of questions it has. Not surprisingly, this test prep is a good supplement to other lecture-heavy courses.
With SmartAdapt technology, the Gleim system is easy to navigate and adaptive. It also teaches you how to study effectively by encouraging you to strengthen your weak areas and learn from your mistakes. Moreover, the course includes university professor-led videos lectures that go over difficult CPA Exam topics and multiple-choice questions.
Help from Personal Counselors
When you purchase the Gleim CPA Review System, you'll receive access to a Personal Counselor for the entirety of your CPA journey. These counselors aren't accounting gurus, but they are very knowledgeable, supportive, and encouraging. They coordinate with the in-house experts to get you the answers you need. They also help you customize your study plans and stay on track for success.
The full 4-part Gleim CPA Review System costs $1,999 for the Premium version and $1,599 for the Traditional version (save an additional 20%-50% here). These prices make Gleim one of the most affordable among CPA Exam prep providers.
Dull video lectures
While Gleim has over 100 hours of professor-led video lectures covering the most important concepts and walking you through real-world examples, these are not the most interesting or inspiring videos on the market. The information is good, but the presentation is a bit boring. If accounting videos must be packed with action to hold your attention, you should probably pass on Gleim.
Somewhat overwhelming books
The books are very detailed. As a result, some of my readers really like the comprehensiveness, but others think it's too much. Sometimes, to get through the books, you have to pick and choose what you need to study.
Gleim is an exceptional choice for those who prefer self-study but need occasional help from a Personal Counselor and accounting experts. In addition, Gleim's test bank is a great alternative to the Wiley test bank if you're looking for additional online practice questions.
The Wiley lectures are just the right length for learning without getting overwhelmed or bored. The lecture length ranges from a couple of minutes to ~ 30 minutes. Furthermore, the lecturers are actively-teaching professors from various renowned universities.
Partner Until You Pass Guarantee
This policy is the most generous in the industry: a real, no-gimmick, no-nonsense offer. And knowing you have free online content and courseware updates until you pass means there's no more pressure to finish within 12 months or have to pay for a retake!
CPAexcel's online CPA review courses fully utilize the capabilities of online connectivity by churning out a personalized study planner and a collection of diagnostic charts and analyses for you. As a financial analyst by profession, I find this quality very attractive.
Wiley has a highly recommended program. According to Wiley, 9 out of 10 users pass. Additionally, the course is endorsed by one of the Big 4 firms.
A slightly confusing course catalog
When I first visited the site, I found the course catalog a little intimidating because you can apparently pick and choose what you want in your course. But when you think about it, the fact that they give you options for your CPA Exam prep can be a good thing, as you only pay for what you want. So, if you're willing to spend the time to look around and learn about the various offers, you can get everything you need.
Better suited for e-course learners
If you need live support throughout your studies, like someone who will talk to you in person or on the phone to provide answers and explanations, you might take issue with the heavily computer-based Wiley system. Similarly, if you like to interact with your textbook by taking notes, highlighting sentences, and circling terms, Wiley may not be right for you.
The CPA Exam features a LOT of content, but you don't have a lot of time. For that reason, Wiley CPA Review courses are especially suitable for busy candidates juggling work and family commitments. If you'd prefer to intake all that CPA Exam content in small, easy-to-digest portions when you need to keep your study session short, Wiley is the course for you.
Excellent lecture notes, MCQs, and software
The materials are comprehensive and user-friendly.
Big 4 endorsement
The Big 4 recommends the Becker live CPA review courses and often provides the online CPA review courses to employees.
Constantly updated materials
Becker employs a professional team to update the materials on a regular basis. Also, even with the consistent updates, there are very few typos and errors. If there ever is an error, Becker does a good job of posting the updates to their website for everyone see.
A bit expensive
If you use your own money to pay full price for this course, then you're subsidizing the deep discounts Becker offers to companies through its partnership program. Not fair!
Overrated live classes
In the Becker CPA Review courses live classes, the "lecturer" shows you a pre-recorded lecture in a classroom and tells you to "circle this, highlight that" for 8 hours straight. Additionally, the quality of the "lecturers" (whose main job is to turn on and off the pre-recorded video) is really mixed. Check out my experience with the Becker CPA Review Course.
The Becker CPA Review courses online software license expires in 18-24 months, which is usually not enough time for many candidates to finish their studies. On top of that, re-taking the classes costs $1,500-$2,000+ (50% of the retail price).
If you have to pay for Becker yourself (i.e., your firm doesn't offer it for free), make sure you have the budget to accommodate the cost for Becker. Becker CPA does have great notes, but other CPA review courses have great notes, too.
If you have the budget and your course's name and prestige are important, then this course could be a good fit for you.
Most unique course technology
The new SmartPath system that Roger has developed is like no other on the market. It uses predictive technology to help you study efficiently, but what we find most exciting is the new way it helps students learn. Specifically, the course tracks your progress toward targeted goals, serves you the right questions (not just more questions), adapts to you, and guides you on a clear path to success.
Roger Philipp (the founder) has a very distinct teaching style -- it's entertaining and intense. In fact, it's so engaging that you feel like you're taking live CPA review courses. For this reason, many of his students are die-hard fans. So, in this area, Roger gets high CPA review courses ratings.
Roger writes his own notes. He also records the lectures for every class so you know who is teaching you and what their qualifications are.
Not very detailed
Roger purposely skips the non-critical parts of the exam content. As a result, some students love it, but others may struggle to catch up. If you want to know as much as you can about accounting for the CPA Exam and your career (as all that extra accounting information is good for both), you won't get the content coverage you're looking for in Roger's course.
Small test bank
Compared to some other courses, the Roger CPA Review test bank is lacking. It doesn't have very many multiple-choice questions or task-based simulations. Consequently, if you're the kind of candidate who really likes to drill questions to build confidence and you purchase the Roger CPA Review course, you'll want a test bank supplement like Wiley or Gleim.
The high-tech course platform is excellent. The technology sets Roger's course apart from any other CPA Exam prep and should be a big help to many candidates. As a result, candidates who prefer an instructor who makes accounting interesting and technology that saves study time should give Roger a try.
Champion of the old-school approach
If you like someone who writes on the board and explains concepts to you in an old-fashioned way, you'll appreciate Yaeger. I personally like the way they "hold your hand" and explain the multiple-choice questions and possible tricks.
Live phone support
This feature is quite unique. You can often reach and talk to owner Phil Yaeger himself.
Good value for money
One of the most affordable guided review courses out there.
This positive can also be a negative. People often love it or hate it.
There are times when you would expect the team to retape the recording (e.g., when a typo appears on the whiteboard or when the guy accidentally talks to his wife). But, for some reason, Yaeger just lets these mistakes go into the finished product. While the missteps I spotted did not affect the quality of the course, you might find them to be a nuisance.
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 my budget course recommendation) or, at the very least, you could supplement with the cram course.
One of the most affordable and convenient course packages
For just $67 a month, you can get access to 8 high-quality CPA study materials, including the MCQ and SIM bank, NINJA Notes, audio reviews, the flashcard app, the CPA review book, video lectures, a cram course, and more.
Most candidate-friendly customer service
NINJA has excellent customer service, as the owner goes out of his way to ensure that you're happy with your purchase. Also, NINJA offers a Risk-Free, 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee if you don’t like their materials for any reason or for no reason at all. On top of that, NINJA will let you retain the materials you've already downloaded as a gesture of goodwill.
Customizable notes with a great reputation
The NINJA notes feature memory aids and include white space for you to add your own notes.
Not the most comprehensive
The goal of the NINJA CPA course is to produce an efficient learning platform. Therefore, if you feel like you need to study everything in the CPA Exam Blueprints, no matter the odds of seeing all that content on the exam, then NINJA CPA Review is probably not the course for you.
NINJA CPA Review is great as a full course or a supplement. It's actually one of the best-selling supplements on the market, and you can use the free trial to ensure that you like what you'll get. For just $67 a month, you really can't go wrong with NINJA.
These providers are not on my main list of recommended courses, but they are among the better ones on the market. Many people would put some of these in their list of top 10 CPA review courses.
Wiley CPAexcel is the overall brand, but for most of us, Wiley CPA Review is the “original” Wiley product. This product consists of (1) textbooks and (2) practice questions (A.K.A., the test bank). You can also purchase the books or test bank separately.
#1 selling review book and test bank
The book and test bank (test prep software) are both very popular and have proven to be very useful for many CPA candidates.
This product is a good bargain in the world of CPA Exam prep courses: the test bank costs
$150 $127 for single parts and $575 $495 for a complete set (my discount is available here).
Somewhat overwhelming books
When there is no guided review, going through the entire book can be discouraging. Consequently, it's just too much material for me.
If you need additional practice as a supplement or if you have to retake a section, you should get this test bank. That way, you'll have plenty of fresh questions.
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 prep courses since 1985. Furthermore, he is a former law update instructor and editor for the Becker course.
Good local resource
Do you prefer to search for "CPA review courses near me"? If you answered yes to that question, live in Ohio, and are looking for in-class CPA review courses, the MDS CPA Review looks like a great option.
I personally like Steve's style -- he's a down-to-earth guy who has experience teaching CPA prep courses. He also writes his own lecture notes.
I haven't received access to the product, so I won't be able to comment on the features and the specific product offering.
Potentially high cost
At $1,895, I can't say it has a very attractive price or product offering when compared to other major CPA review providers.
MDS offers both live and online courses but doesn't have a lot of brand recognition behind it. However, the online courses include videos, flashcards, and books as well as over 6,000 MCQs and 100+ TBSs. If you want to work with a smaller company to receive a more intimate review experience or if you live in Ohio and would prefer in-person CPA review courses, you could give MDS a try.
Lambers CPA Review has been around for 45 years, although it is now part of a company called ExamForce.
Hidden gem in AUD
Professor Garland is excellent, and I can feel his passion for teaching and helping the candidates. I only watched his first lecture, but what he said made so much sense.
Good but not great
I really like the AUD lecturer and one of the lecturers in FAR. But, the others remind me of very average accounting professors.
Rather aggressive salespeople
I bet the salespeople have never taken the exam or even seen the study materials before. So, stand firm and make the decision based on your own preferences.
Very little brand recognition
Very few people talk about Lambers. The Kaplan CPA Review Courses faced a similar issue in the past, and the brand is now defunct.
Get the AUD module if you don't like your existing AUD course. Otherwise, choose a more complete course so you get the most for your money.
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 review courses and supplements.
The CPA Exam Blueprints reveal that the exam contains hundreds of questions about hundreds of topics. Additionally, the exam questions could be about anything relating to the 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 greatly among CPA review courses. That being said, a few review providers have compiled the biggest and best test banks available. These providers are Gleim, Wiley, and NINJA.
The Wiley Online Test Bank has 6,000 practice questions with detailed answer rationales and 200 TBS. Although, the Wiley Platinum Course test bank is bigger with 12,000 questions and 500+ TBSs. You can purchase the Wiley Online CPA Exam Test Bank separately, but you’ll get more questions and a complete review when you purchase the Wiley CPA Platinum Course.
The Gleim CPA Mega Test Bank contains over 10,000 unique questions and simulations as well as detailed answer explanations for every question. Once again though, the Gleim Premium Course features more questions: over 13,000, which includes 1,300+ TBSs. Without this Gleim CPA discount, the Gleim test bank costs almost twice as much as Wiley’s, but it supplies almost twice as many questions. The Gleim Premium Course costs less than the Wiley Platinum Course, especially with this Gleim CPA discount.
NINJA CPA Review is a popular CPA subscription service that allows you to access a variety of learning tools, one of which is a test bank. 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 great supplement to any CPA review course.
I recommend using one of these test banks if you prefer to drill questions and build your confidence by completing lots of practice exams and quizzes.
For study sessions that feel a little less like studying, watch video lectures. They’re video 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.
CPA Review Course
# of Video Lecture Hours
Becker CPA Review
Roger CPA Review
Surgent CPA Review
350+ short videos
Gleim CPA Review
Yaeger CPA Review
Fast Forward Academy
MDS CPA Review
With review courses providing comparable video lecture hour totals across the board, base your CPA course decision on the quality rather than the quantity of the video lectures. While some video lecture series are confusing or dull, they’re the sweet spot for other courses. The Becker CPA Review video lectures are the most comprehensive, the Roger CPA Review video lectures are the most entertaining, and the Wiley video lectures are the most condensed.
Becker has the highest number of video lecture hours in the industry. Therefore, Becker covers more CPA Exam content in their video lectures than anyone else, making them the ideal course for audio and visual learners. What's more, Becker has created their exclusive SkillMaster videos that serve as private tutoring sessions for all 400+ of Becker's TBSs. Finally, a team of CPAs, Ph.Ds, and accounting, law, or business professionals with real-world experience lead the Becker lectures, so the instruction is accurate, insightful, and helpful.
These videos feature 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 aid the achievement of that goal. In reality, Roger is a professional, energetic, and competent teacher, so his video lectures are among the best on the market.
The Wiley video lectures rise above the rest for mastering the bite-sized format. Wiley has created plenty of short, manageable video lectures that help you absorb the information quickly and avoid snoozing. The Wiley lecturers are also experienced professionals who know their stuff, so you can take your learning to the next level.
If you plan to integrate video lectures into your exam studies, you should hold out for video lectures that you love. I believe you’ll find them in one of these 2 courses.
The majority of the CPA Exam is multiple-choice questions (MCQs), and these aren’t your typical MCQs. Rather, these questions test you for refined skills like application and analysis, as defined by the CPA Exam Blueprints.
You must do more than just memorize formulas to answer exam MCQs successfully. Instead, to achieve the levels of knowledge needed to perform well on the MCQs, you must consistently answer with exam-caliber practice questions. Realistically difficult MCQs are an important CPA review component, so you need a course that delivers them.
CPA Review Course
# of MCQs
Gleim CPA Review
Becker CPA Review
MDS CPA Review
Roger CPA Review
Fast Forward Academy
Yaeger CPA Review
Two courses are known for having the most and the best MCQs.
Wiley probably gives you more practice questions than you need, but that’s a good thing. In fact, Wiley provides so many MCQs that you might never see the same one twice, which will keep you from memorizing them. Furthermore, Wiley has been in the business long enough to know how to write an MCQ that sounds like what you’ll see on the CPA Exam. So, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get your knowledge where the exam expects it to be.
Gleim CPA Review is another course that has built its reputation on quality questions. Gleim also 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.
The 2 MCQ testlets on each exam section contribute 50% of your score, so I suggest you weight MCQs about as heavily in your review course decision.
The CPA Exam intends to ensure you're ready for the real-word responsibilities of a CPA. Therefore, the exam features questions simulating the tasks of a CPA called task-based simulations (TBSs). TBSs require you to use 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 review course. Some providers craft TBSs reflecting actual exam sims better than others, so you'll want to prioritize courses excelling in simulations.
The number of practice TBSs is also crucial, and it varies greatly.
CPA Review Course
# of TBSs
Gleim CPA Review
Becker CPA Review
Roger CPA Review
Surgent CPA Review
Fast Forward Academy
Yaeger CPA Review
MDS CPA Review
I’ve found the TBSs of 3 CPA review courses to be the best in class.
Not only does Gleim CPA Review offer the most TBSs, but they also present the highest quality TBSs. Most every Gleim TBS meets the CPA Exam’s standards. As a result, your knowledge can meet the exam’s standards as well. TBSs are too important to not position Gleim near the top of your list based on simulations alone.
Wiley has the second most TBSs, and theirs also represent the real thing in both appearance and difficulty level. Wiley updates their test bank regularly to maintain the accuracy of their TBSs. Furthermore, they also offer performance tracking so you can assess your progress.
Like Wiley, Becker CPA Review also offers 500+ TBSs. What's more, Becker has created an exclusive video series designed to help candidates master TBSs, the most challenging type of CPA Exam question. This series, called SkillMaster videos, contains a step-by-step tutorial for overcoming every single one of Becker's 500+ TBSs.
Due to their elevated difficulty and different types, the more practice TBSs you get, the better. You’ll get plenty in these 3 courses.
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.
The point of audio lectures is to 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 (do they skimp on the details or thoroughly address explanations and examples?) and the lecturer’s teaching style (do they hold you at rapt attention or threaten to put you to sleep?).
The course with audio lectures that meets both criteria is NINJA CPA Review. The Gleim CPA Review lectures are also a good option.
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. While they are not as entertaining as Roger’s, they still provide good information. On top of that, you can stream or download them according to your preference.
If audio lectures are an important review component for you, then you’ll find these audio lectures to be the most comprehensive and effective available.
Passing the CPA Exam involves making plans about the exam requirements, applications, dates, etc. Thankfully, when it comes to making a study plan, your course can help you out with a CPA Exam study planner.
Not every course contains 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, which means it’s simple and intuitive. It should also be customizable in that it 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, Wiley 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 Wiley CPAexcel study planner is very impressive. After you order your exams, add testing appointment dates, and input your availability, the planner produces a tailored schedule of sessions and assessments that’s easy to follow and modify. And, if you don’t know your exam dates, the planner suggests a schedule to get you started.
The Gleim CPA Review study planner is just as good, as it also lets you insert all 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.
To ensure you pick the best test date and are totally prepared in time, you must determine how fast you want to pass, find time in your schedule for regular study sessions, average 1-2 study hours a day, and figure out when you can finish studying. The interactive study planners in these courses makes this entire process much easier.
A good CPA review course covers the exam content, 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 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. To that end, the 2 that I find have the best customer support are Gleim CPA Review and Wiley CPAexcel.
Gleim CPA Review has an outstanding reputation for customer support for 3 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.
Wiley CPAexcel offers its own trio of candidate services. First, the Partner Until You Pass Guarantee gives you free online content and courseware updates until you pass. Second, their professor mentoring lets you receive online support from subject-expert professors. Finally, the Virtual Classroom series includes live, online instruction and support.
Study aid like this can make a world of difference in the speed and success of your CPA Exam studies. With this in mind, you really should regard review providers who offer such extraordinary customer service and personalized coaching above those that don't.
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: you take them only after you've completed a more comprehensive CPA review course. 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 Roger CPA Review and Yaeger CPA Review.
Roger’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. 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.
The Yaeger cram course also serves as a final wrap up that can increase your points. The course uses video lectures to solidify must-know concepts in your mind. What's more, it also comes with digital textbooks.
If you are very nervous about the CPA Exam and don't feel confident in your preparations as exam day closes in, you might want to invest in one of these quality cram courses.
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 3 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. These section-specific collections keep things simple by including an assortment of over 200 terms, mnemonics, and summaries of foundational CPA Exam concepts.
Wiley’s flashcards only come in printed packs, but there are 250 cards for each section. Authored by an award-winning CPA candidate, these flashcards promise to reinforce your understanding of content areas in the CPA Exam Blueprints, pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, and give you even more chances to challenge yourself.
Surgent CPA has created a complete set of spiral-bound printed flashcards for all 4 exam sections. The set includes 250 AUD, 250 BEC, 300 FAR, and 250 REG flashcards 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 their 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.
The Wiley, Roger, and Surgent flashcards are inexpensive study tools targeting the tricky exam topics that most candidates struggle with, so they’re worth the money. Try one of these flashcard options to enjoy the benefits of flashcards fast.
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 2 best mobile apps come from Roger CPA Review and Wiley CPAexcel.
The Wiley CPA mobile app is a must for Wiley users. This fantastic app includes 140+ hours of the Wiley video lectures, 10,000+ practice questions with explanations, and 4,000+ digital flashcards. 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 2 great mobile apps. The first is the flashcards app, which I recommended above. The second is a multiple-choice questions 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.
Mobile apps are so popular and easy to use that studying for the CPA Exam with one just feels natural. If you agree, choose one of these mobile apps to expand your opportunities to review.
If you're on the fence about purchasing a CPA review course, allow me to provide some more explanation 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, most courses include everything you need to pass, such as:
Some must-have CPA study materials from this list include books, practice questions and simulations, and a study planner. Helpful but less essential elements would be video lectures, flashcards, audio lectures, and adaptive technology. 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!
In short, yes. Almost every CPA candidate does 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 4 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 material benefits candidates in 3 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 you 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.
The best CPA review courses ensure that you reach the levels of knowledge and skill that you need to pass in time for exam day.
A good CPA course not only delivers the exam content, but it also measures your study progress. For this purpose, tools such as performance tracking software and study planners ensure that you efficiently review all of the exam material. A review course also monitors your understanding because the CPA Exam expects you to reach certain levels of skill with the exam content:
The CPA Exam uses multiple-choice questions, simulations, and written communications to determine if you have reached these skill levels. To this same end, CPA review courses include test banks of practice questions. These questions let you apply what you’re learning so your skill levels increase. An exam-emulating test bank also allows you to get comfortable with the exam format and functionality in advance. As a result, this familiarity builds your confidence and minimizes any surprises you may encounter.
The best CPA review courses 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 review courses 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.
The cost of a CPA course varies by review provider, but the average is a little under $2,000. As you can see from the chart, 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. You'll also pay even more if you start with CPA study materials that you eventually realize don't meet your needs. To avoid these financial setbacks, be sure to choose a course with a generous access policy. Also, do your homework before you buy so you can be sure you’ve purchased the course that’s best for you.
As you can see from the chart, almost every full CPA review course costs 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, I do know that you may have limited funds, and in that case, I think the best budget CPA review course is Yaeger CPA Review.
With this Yaeger CPA Review discount, the Yaeger course costs about $1,000 and still includes everything you need to succeed. The complete Yaeger course comes with digital and physical textbooks, a quiz-generating and exam-simulating test bank, over 100 hours of video lectures, audio lectures, 1-on-1 instructor support, a cram course, flashcards, and more. With Yaeger CPA Review, you can pass the CPA Exam even when money’s tight.
As you probably know, everyone learns differently. We all require a unique combination of tools and experiences in order to understand information. Thus, to study effectively for the CPA Exam, you need a review course that accommodates your learning style. So, you must determine what type of learner you are.
Once you know your learning style, you should evaluate how well each review course promises to meet your learning needs. To do so, access any available course demos. Most providers offer limited-time access to a free course demo. The demo lets you see how a course looks, operates, and addresses your learning style before you make a monetary commitment.
Social learners love to make mental discoveries in the company of others. For this reason, if you’re a social learner, you would be the most likely to benefit from live CPA review courses. Live courses give you the teacher-student experience in a classroom setting, so you can ask questions of the instructor and benefit from the inquiries and input of others as well.
Becker CPA Review offers their CPA review course live in over 100 classrooms around the world. They also have live webinar courses that let you access the guidance of a Becker instructor from your preferred study environment. Thus, with these 2 review options, Becker is the best course for social learners.
If you like to study on your own, you’re not alone. Thousands of candidates prefer self-study, so every major CPA review provider offers self-study courses. In effect, these courses let you learn at your own pace while picking and choosing the best materials for you.
The self-study course I think gives you the most for your money is Surgent CPA Review. Surgent supplies candidates with bite-sized lessons in a sophisticated course platform. Furthermore, Surgent's A.S.A.P. technology adapts to your learning progress so that the course can tailor each study session to you every day. And the ReadySCORE tells you how close you are to CPA Exam success so you can ensure that you're preparing efficiently and effectively. With Surgent, you can get course access until you pass all 4 sections, professor support, and more. Because the Surgent Ultimate course is stocked to the brim with valuable features, I believe this is one of the best self-study courses on the market.
Visual learners need a review course containing lots to read and watch. Generally speaking, courses with lengthy books, informative videos, and solid answer explanations should do the trick. An efficient and effective study plan for a visual learner is to start by reading the books. Then, switch to the video lectures if you have trouble grasping the content. After you take practice quizzes, learn from your mistakes and give yourself more content to picture in your mind by reading the answer explanations.
The best two courses for visual learners are Wiley CPAexcel and Roger CPA Review. Wiley’s course includes more video lecture hours, but Roger’s lectures are more entertaining. Consequently, if you’re looking for quantity over quality, go with Wiley CPAexcel. Conversely, if you need the best video lectures available, choose Roger CPA Review.
Audio learners must have video and audio lectures, and not every course offers both. Thankfully, the ones that do have high standards for quality, so you won’t have to settle. Once you’ve found a course featuring video and audio lectures, give yourself enough time to get through the audio lectures by listening to them while you travel, clean, exercise, etc. Then, turn to the video lectures for additional instruction and comprehension.
The ideal course for auditory learning is Roger CPA Review, as Roger supplies both video and audio lectures that are in-depth and delightful. Because Roger leads you through critical exam content in a way that captivates your ears and activates your mind, it’s the best choice for audio learners.
If you're a kinesthetic learner, you'll benefit from an online course that includes flashcards and involves a lot of computer interaction. Flipping through flashcards further empowers you to connect the exam content to feeling and moving. Additionally, using a computer enables you to reinforce what you're learning with the sense of touch. It also allows you to experience a better imitation of the exam environment. Similarly, physical books may appeal to kinesthetic learners. In that case, you should select a course that supplies all 3 for best results.
That course would be Wiley CPAexcel. Wiley’s course has it all: tons of flashcards, a heavily PC-dependent system, and physical books. As kinesthetic learners can really get an edge over the CPA Exam with the Wiley course, I believe it’s the best option for them.
Words are where it’s at for linguistic learners. Hence, they should do a lot of reading to effectively prepare for the CPA Exam. A course that exhaustively covers the exam content in thick books and extensive answer explanations will spell everything out for linguistic learners. And when you need thorough content coverage in written form, Gleim CPA Review is there for you.
Gleim doesn’t leave any stone of the CPA Exam Blueprints unturned. On top of that, they put all the exam topics down in their expertly authored books. They divide their books into concise outlined sections that you can digest in one sitting, and they supply both physical and digital copies. If you’re a linguistic learner, I know you’ll love Gleim.
Logical learners like to see the reasoning behind every statement. That is to say, they look for clear and sensible paths to every deduction, and having the backstory behind a fact helps them understand it better. If you need the CPA Exam content arranged in the most methodical way, you need a review course that utilizes content outlines as much as possible.
Content outlines are actually a specialty for Gleim CPA Review, so there’s nothing to worry about. You’ll find the most rational commentary for the exam information in Gleim’s books and answer explanations, and as a result, every conclusion can be accounted for. Gleim always aims to make their courses as practical as possible. Hence, I know Gleim CPA Review will work for logical learners.
If you fail a section of the CPA Exam, you may suspect that your CPA review course is to blame. Before you come to this conclusion, you need to evaluate your own study habits first. But, if you put your heart and soul into your studies, used your course exactly as instructed, and still failed, you probably have a good case against your course. 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. Surgent’s technology adapts to you, pinpoints your weak areas, and saves you time as you progress through your studies. Additionally, their 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.
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 Roger CPA Review is the course for students. Roger creates the most engrossing and inspiring video and audio lecture content. In addition, the Roger course doesn’t bog you down with details: it just gives you vital exam information. The SmartPath™ predictive technology ensures that you’re capable of a passing performance. And, with the Elite course offering unlimited course access, you can take as long as you need to pass as you finish your degree.
If you’re working full-time as an accountant, you need the CPA certification so you can tap into all of your 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.
When you’re ready to pick the best CPA prep course for you, evaluate your options based on the following traits:
This list is long and not in order of importance. Therefore, you must prioritize these qualities according to your personal needs. Then, weigh each review course against your standards and preferences. Remember, different courses suit different candidates, but I believe you can find the best CPA review course for you and use it to achieve CPA Exam success.
Thanks for going through this long post with me! If you need a specific recommendation, just drop me a note.
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites
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