If you’ve been wondering about Gleim EA vs Surgent EA, you’ve come to the right place. After all, passing the Special Enrollment Examination (or SEE) is a lot easier with an EA exam review course that matches your learning style. For instance, both Gleim EA Review and Surgent EA Review reviews the exam material, but with slightly different approaches.
So in this article, I’ll explain which EA course is better, depending on how you study. I’ll even share a Gleim EA discount. And I have some Surgent EA Review promo codes, too.
|EA Review Feature||Gleim Premium EA Review System||Gleim Traditional EA Review||Gleim EA Test Bank||Surgent EA Review Ultimate Pass||Surgent EA Review Premier Pass||Surgent EA Review Essentials Pass|
|Access until you pass|
|Access to accounting experts|
|Number of MCQs||3,500+||3,500+||3,500+||1,800+||1,800+||1,800+|
|MCQs have detailed answer explanations|
|Uses adaptive e-learning|
|Gives detailed performance reports|
|Printed or digital textbooks||Both||Both||Either||Both||Digital|
|Unlimited practice exams|
|Personalized study planner|
|Access to exam coach|
|Hours of free CPE included||Up to 72||0||0||2||0||0|
Since Gleim EA Review is our top-rated EA exam course, it outranks a Surgent EA course in several categories. With a Gleim online EA course, you get access to a personalized study planner, video and audio lectures, and several full-length mock exams. Plus, Gleim’s test bank of sample questions is the biggest one available. What’s more, Gleim uses an adaptive e-learning platform called SmartAdapt that guides your studies. And at the end of the day, more Enrolled Agents have passed their EA exams with Gleim compared to other review courses.
However, is Surgent EA good? Even though Surgent has a significantly smaller test bank, many EAs have used Surgent. Why? Well, Surgent uses an adaptive platform, A.S.A.P. Technology, that actually analyzes your content weaknesses in real-time. Then, it directs you away from the material you’ve mastered and toward what you haven’t. In this way, Surgent claims to be able to reduce the amount of study time by 40%. Surgent EA Review could therefore be best for EA candidates who have limited study time.
Surgent and Gleim are both education companies that have been around for a long time. Dr. Irvin Gleim, a former Professor from the University of Florida, started Gleim over 40 years ago. His goal was to teach students how to understand—not just memorize—accounting concepts. Since then, Gleim has developed exam review courses for Enrolled Agents as well as CPAs, CMAs, and even CIAs.
Similarly, Surgent has been in the accounting education business for more than 35 years. And like Gleim, Surgent also has exam reviews for EAs, CPAs, CMAs, and CIAs as well as candidates trying to pass the SIE exam. But Surgent’s main focus is to help EA candidates study less and yet still pass their exams.
Surgent and Gleim both use e-learning, but the platforms are a little different. Therefore, let’s look at how Gleim and Surgent EA reviews the SEE material.
The Gleim Premium and Gleim Traditional EA courses use SmartAdapt. This e-learning platform constantly analyzes your performance as you answer practice questions. Then, it actually learns what content you need to study more and gives you detailed feedback on topics to review.
To start, the course first helps you set up a personalized Gleim EA study guide. You’ll begin by inputting your anticipated exam date. And based on the amount of weekly study time you have, your study planner will suggest what you should study and when. This process helps you stay on track.
Next, it asks you to take some diagnostic quizzes. Although it’s tempting to breeze through them if you’re busy, take some time to answer the questions the best you can. Besides, the SmartAdapt software uses these baseline responses to guide the rest of your studies.
Finally, close to your EA exam date, you should take the full-length mock exams included with your Gleim course. These practice tests use actual questions from old EA exams, so you can get used to the difficulty level of the SEE. Plus, they closely replicate the look and feel of the EA exam, and you can practice your pacing with a timed exam.
Surgent EA courses are adaptive, too. They use an e-learning platform called A.S.A.P. Technology. However, the Surgent courses are specifically developed to help you study less. Basically, they accomplish this by not expecting you to study every single topic on the SEE. That is, most EA candidates probably already know some of the SEE topics from their education or careers. Therefore, they just need to learn certain content.
So, Surgent’s A.S.A.P. Technology uses a proprietary algorithm that analyses your content mastery as you take a series of initial quizzes. Afterward, the course directs your studies based on the content you still need to study. And in this way, you can greatly reduce your total number of study hours.
What’s more, Surgent EA exam review also has a performance tracker called the ReadySCORE. In short, this score uses your performance on practice questions to estimate your EA score if you took the exam that day. Furthermore, Surgent also claims that your ReadySCORE is accurate about 95% of the time. That is, if your ReadySCORE equals the SEE passing score, then there is a 95% likelihood that you’re ready for exam day.
All of Surgent’s and Gleim’s courses include standard study materials like books, sample multiple-choice questions (MCQs), and practice tests. However, they have differences, and some courses have more learning tools than others.
The test bank included with the Gleim EA prep course is the biggest collection of EA practice questions on the market. Specifically, Gleim EA has 3,500+ MCQs, which is a lot more than Surgent’s test bank.
And even better, the Gleim questions are a little challenging because they include MCQs from other Gleim prep courses, like the CPA review course. This variety helps you be prepared for the most difficult questions on the EA exam.
Gleim also uses questions released by the IRS from previous SEE exams. Just as importantly, all MCQs include detailed answer explanations for both the right and the wrong answers. After all, it’s just as useful to understand why an answer is wrong as it is to understand why an answer is right.
Each Surgent EA review course, in contrast, only has 1,800+ MCQs. But still, since Surgent’s main goal is to help you study fewer hours, you might also find that you’ll need fewer MCQs.
Keep in mind that some courses only give you access to online materials for a limited time. Others, in contrast, give you access until you pass the EA exam. Although these “access until you pass” options can cost a little more upfront, they also might save you a lot of cash in the long room.
For example, let’s say that you pick a course that only has access for 12 months. Although that might seem like long enough, what happens if you get busy and study as much as you originally planned? In that case, you’ll have to re-purchase your review course when it expires.
Consequently, I recommend using a course with unlimited access. The Gleim Premium and Surgent Ultimate Pass courses, for example, both come with this important feature.
Do you have a preference between digital or hard-copy textbooks? If so, that’s something to consider when picking a review course. Nevertheless, Gleim and Surgent have options available depending on your preference.
Also, you should note that the Gleim books are a little more like outlines or reference texts. But the Surgent books are more like the traditional textbooks you might be used to.
More and more, exam prep courses are giving users many ways to connect to accounting experts when they have a question. Or, others are providing access to so-called exam coaches. Basically, these coaches help you plan and stick to a good study plan. And for many users, this kind of support can be the difference between passing or failing the EA exam.
But thankfully, both Gleim and Surgent provide personal support, but with different approaches. For instance, when you purchase a Gleim EA course, you’ll also get a Gleim Personal Counselor. In short, your counselor will guide you through studying for, taking, and finally passing the SEE. Plus, if you have questions about the exam content, you can email or call Gleim’s team of accounting professionals.
In a similar way, Surgent also gives Ultimate Pass users access to EA exam experts. Surgent also has customer support when you have content or technical questions. And normally, users receive a reply within 1 business day.
If you’re someone who likes to learn through lectures, then keep in mind that Gleim and Surgent really differ in the number of video hours included.
For example, the Gleim Instruct series included with the Premium EA Review has over 30 hours of lectures. Nate Wadlinger (attorney, EA, and CPA) from Florida State University leads all of the videos. And although they are kind of like PowerPoint presentations, his lectures break down complicated problems in a way that helps you understand the exam topics.
In contrast, Surgent has short videos that are only 10-20 minutes long. Basically, they are deep dives into tough topics. And although they are short and concise, you only get 25+ videos in the Ultimate Pass course. So definitely, Gleim has more EA exam videos.
Both Surgent and Gleim have flashcards if you like to use them to study. They can help you remember definitions and other bits of information. However, not all courses include flashcards. For instance, Surgent’s Ultimate Pass course has printed flashcards only. And Gleim’s Premium EA Review only includes digital ones.
Do you like books on tape? If so, you might benefit from access to audio lectures. Although the Gleim test bank doesn’t come with audio lectures, both Gleim EA training courses do. These lectures can also be downloaded onto a mobile device for listening when you don’t have an internet connection. Plus, Surgent’s Ultimate Pass course has audio lectures, but not the Tradition or Essential Pass courses.
Although Gleim’s courses have all the tools to pass the EA exam, Surgent throws in an extra perk with the Ultimate Pass course. Specifically, Surgent gives Ultimate Pass users access to another on-demand Surgent course, Excel for Accounting Professionals.
Don’t forget that even after you pass the EA exam, you need to keep up your education to keep your Enrolled Agent certification valid. That is, you need to enroll in continuing professional education, also called CPE or CE. And Gleim and Surgent both have course options that include CPE access you can use after you become an EA.
For example, Surgent’s Ultimate Pass course has 2 CPE hours for an Ethics for Tax Professionals class. But Gleim includes even more CPE hours. That is, the Gleim Premium EA Review has up to 72 hours of CPE.
Readers are always curious about pass rates for a course. That is, the percentage of course users who actually pass their EA exams. But consider that a course’s pass rates don’t necessarily mean that you will or won’t pass the SEE. Rather, it’s most important to find the EA course that matches your learning style, and then creating—and sticking to—a good study plan.
That being said, Surgent publishes that 96% of their users pass the SEE. Gleim, however, doesn’t publish its pass rates. Still, Gleim claims that about 99% of their users were happy with their experience.
When picking an EA review course, it’s important to first consider how you best learn. Do you like to take notes in hardcopy textbooks? Or listen to audio lectures in the car? Likewise, maybe you already anticipate that you’ll need to be able to ask an accounting expert questions as you go along. These factors all contribute to determining which EA prep will work for you.
For instance, Gleim is our #1 EA course, in part, because so many types of learners can use it. Therefore, Gleim is good for anyone who likes video lectures. Plus, the Gleim test bank has more MCQs than Surgent, and that’s great for people who learn from practice. What’s more, the SmartAdapt platform will make sure you stay on track with your studies.
Surgent, in contrast, could work for EA candidates who are low on study time. After all, Surgent’s A.S.A.P. Technology could save you study time by focusing on your content weaknesses. Plus, the ReadySCORE and detailed feedback can help you be confident that you’re ready to pass the SEE.
We also have coupons for both Surgent and Gleim on our sister site, IPassEAExam.com.
Gleim EA courses (before our Gleim EA discount)
Surgent EA courses (before discounts)
Plus, Gleim and Surgent both have financing through Affirm.
To start, remember that you don’t need to worry about renewal fees if you pick a course with access until you pass. But if you pick a course that expires, then you’ll need to repurchase your course to keep studying.
Yes, both Gleim and Surgent have refund policies. Specifically, Surgent accepts refund requests within 10 days of purchase. But note that you can’t use the coaching sessions or practice questions if you might anticipate a refund. Plus, if you want to refund the Ultimate Pass course, Surgent charges a $150 cancellation fee.
Gleim also offers refunds. But to start, Gleim gives you a much bigger window. In fact, you have 30 days to refund your Gleim purchase. However, you can’t return opened hard-copy materials like textbooks. And you can only return an online course if you’ve only accessed a single study unit.
Surgent doesn’t have an app, and neither does Gleim. However, don’t let that deter you. After all, both classes are accessible online. So whenever you have an internet connection, you can study on the go.
In order to pass the EA exam, Gleim suggests 10-20 hours of study time per week. What’s more, Gleim recommends about 260 study hours to pass all sections of the SEE.
According to Surgent, their users only need 47 hours to study for and pass one section of the 3-part SEE exam. But depending on your level of experience, you might need more than this average.
Neither Gleim nor Surgent has an EA boot camp. However, Fast Forward Academy does. So if you’re wondering about the most popular choice between Gleim or Fast Forward for the EA exam, read my Fast Forward Academy review.
Even though the Surgent EA Exam A.S.A.P. Technology is known to save users lots of study hours, Gleim EA is still our #1 course. After all, Gleim has the most MCQs and more video hours than Surgent. Plus, Gleim uses the SmartAdapt e-learning system and gives you access to accounting professionals, expert-authored textbooks, and audio and video lectures, too. Therefore, the Gleim Premium EA Review System could be the course you need to pass the EA exam.
|Course Features||Gleim EA Courses||Surgent EA Courses|
|Access until you pass||1||1|
|Help from experts||1||1|
|Size of test bank||1||.5|
|Overall course quality||1||1|
|CPE hours included||1||.5|
Although Surgent and Gleim share a lot of features, Gleim still edges out over Surgent. Gleim has a much larger test bank and more hours of video lectures. What’s more, Gleim’s Premium course gives you up to 72 hours of CPE to use later. And although Gleim’s price point is higher, you can use our Gleim promo code for EA courses to save money.
Still, Surgent has plenty of strengths, too. For example, Surgent’s A.S.A.P. Technology could help you save study time. Up to 40%, in fact. And the ReadySCORE is a good tool for making sure you’re prepared for exam day.
If you’re curious about Gleim EA, definitely take advantage of the Gleim free trial. Believe it or not, the Gleim trial gives you access to an entire study unit for 18 months. And if you decide that Gleim is right for you, don’t forget to use our Gleim EA Review coupon.
Susan L. is one of the biggest cheerleaders on the I Pass the CPA Exam team. She loves seeing our readers succeed. You'll often find her writing about all things accounting.