Lambers CPA Review: AUD Course by Granger is Hidden Gem

lambers cpa review

Lambers CPA Review has been teaching the CPA Exam review course since 1966 (that’s 50 years!) and has grown to become the largest review course in the competitive New England area.

They pride themselves in developing the teaching method based on years of classroom experience, and that they are able to pick only the topics that matter to the exam — so candidates spend their valuable time on “possible, but not probable” subjects.

Lambers CPA Review Product Range

1. Video LecturesLambers CPA

Lambers’ complete video lecture series is a great choice for those to prefer to study at the comfort of their home:

  • 134 hours of studio-quality video filmed on location in the classroom.
  • Video of their best instructors using the Lambers instructional technique of lecture, case examples, and illustrations.
  • Lectures can be replayed over and over, or stopped so that the candidate may work a problem or refer to the textbooks.

Here is a YouTube video clip from Lambers CPA Review via YouTube on FAR:

2. Books

The Lambers textbook for CPA exams are comprehensive and at the same time written for the sole purpose of passing the exam. The questions for each section are also well selected and useful for candidates to reinforce key concepts and principles.  The package also includes an introduction to the CPA Exam Introduction, Simulation DVD and accompanying workbook.

3. Software

Lambers’ software runs on all Windows operating systems and is a powerful software with the following capabilities:

  • Over 4,300 questions taken from prior exams
  • Simulations based upon the new CBT exam
  • Lambers CPA Text Books included (electronic format) for instant reference to difficult areas
  • Diagnostic exams – we run pre-tests to establish baseline knowledge. Future practice helps hone in on problem areas so study time is taken where it is needed the most
  • Lambers Test Prep –  available in Online version
  • Free Updates Forever

4. Audio

You can get a feel of what it is like below. Please note that this is an AUDIO course so it is normal that no graphics or video is shown.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Lambers CPA Review

Pros

1. The Textbooks are “Born in the Classroom”

This means that the textbooks are written by actual Lambers CPA Review Instructors.  This is important because they see in the classroom what the students have trouble with, and adjust the book content accordingly.  Many of the other CPA books out there are written by very bright people, but they may not have taught in the CPA Review classroom.

2. AUD Course is a Hidden Gem

Lamber’s AUD module is taught by Garland Granger, and he is an awesome teacher with real passion both in his expertise (auditing) and in teaching.

I got a complimentary DVD from Lambers and I was very impressed by Professor Granger’s video lectures. Instead of diving straight to the theory or practice question like most lecturers do, he leads us to see the overall picture of auditing — why it is required, what’s the importance. It makes so much sense and I keep saying to myself, “wow, this is REAL teaching!”

Here is a youtube video clip featuring Professor Granger in the CIA exam, just to give you a feel on his teaching style (international candidates may find his southern account a little bit strong, but he does speak very clearly):

3. Lambers Free Repeat Guarantee is good for one year (with free updates) and there is no software purchase requirement or homework requirements. It isn’t the best deal out there, but better than Becker for sure.

Cons

1. Who is running Lambers now?

Given the 50 years of history, I would have thought that Mr. Lambers are likely in retirement. Other providers are either institutionalized (e.g. Becker and Wiley) or they have young successors (e.g. Gleim). Not sure about the situation at Lambers.

2. Aggressive Marketing

Instead of showing how good their product is through free trials, they choose to use the traditional sales channel by aggressively calling and emailing potential customers. If this is not your cup of tea, have a second thought before giving out your personal information.

3. REG and BEC Courses are Good, Not Great. And I Don’t Like Their FAR Course.

Lambers seem to give a lot of freedom to their lecturers so their styles are drastically different. In other words, if you like a particular course it doesn’t mean the quality or style is the same in the others. Garland Granger is awesome, Arthur Reed is good, but there is one FAR lecturer whom I really don’t like — he tends to jump right into the practice questions without any basic explanation, and repeats himself a lot. I’ve got similar feedback from a few readers.

4. Test Prep Not Up to Standard (Lacking Basic Features)

Tracy left a comment below which I think sums up my thoughts on their test prep pretty well:

Lambers called me for several months, rather aggressively. I decided to give them a shot, specifically the test prep software. I’m not impressed.

The adaptive drill (where you spend most of your time) lacks a way to do calculations without having a separate spreadsheet or calculator running. It wasn’t a huge deal on audit, but for BEC, its exclusion sticks out like a sore thumb.

The software doesn’t allow you to practice sims (or the written portion of BEC) unless you take the whole mock exam.

The software doesn’t allow you to review prior sessions except for right after taking them.

The references aren’t comprehensive enough. They have just a few pages on corporate governance, which composes 16-20% of BEC, for example.

The references aren’t put consistently put together properly. On the AUD section, I already knew where my weaknesses were, so I was seeking out some additional material to reference. The first chapter I found that mentioned OMB 133 referenced the old version with the lower threshold, not the 750k threshold currently. When I emailed them about it, I was told it was left there for comparative purposes. Problem is, that section didn’t mention anything about an update to the standard, it was in another chapter.

Keep in mind my experience isn’t with the full program, it’s only the test prep software. Not the videos or full course or anything.”

5. Low Resolution and Technical Issues with DVDs

I hope this is no longer an issue, but when I reviewed their products a couple years back, and as you can see from the above videos, the resolution is quite low and that’s exactly what you’ll see in the DVD. Lambers told me you will work on improving this in the next version.

I personally had some issues with my own complimentary DVDs and heard the same from a few readers: all the practice questions came out blurred and I couldn’t follow what the lecturer was saying. Lambers did send us another copy as replacement, but this could be a hassle and a waste of valuable study time.

Summary of What Lambers Offers

Strengths Limitations
  • 49 years of history
  • Textbook based on classroom teaching
  • Excellent AUD instructor
  • REG, BEC and FAR not good
  • Sub-standard test prep
  • Sub-standard video quality

My Recommendation

If you are a retaker of AUD, or that you have no experience in auditing and need hand-holding on the audit process, Lamber’s AUD could be a good choice.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t take the chance on Lambers.

Confused? Here is a pros and cons comparison of major review course providers here.

review-course-click-to-enter-big

About the Author Stephanie Ng

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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  • Ganesh Vaideeswaran says:

    Hi Guys,

    Lambers is easily the best CPA Review Course you can find. The Text Books are so lucid and explanations are so easy to understand that one can be sure of passing if one follows the schedule recommended. Their DVD course is also great to say the least. Would strongly recommend Lambers to anyone who is aspiring to become a CPA.

  • Stephanie says:

    Ganesh,
    Thanks — glad to know of a happy customer!
    Stephanie

    Note to other readers: I have just installed a new comment system powered by Facebook. Please drop any note you may have at the comment box above (just below the end of the article). Thanks, Stephanie

  • Tracy Ayers says:

    Lambers called me for several months, rather aggressively. I decided to give them a shot, specifically the test prep software. I’m not impressed.

    The adaptive drill (where you spend most of your time) lacks a way to do calculations without having a separate spreadsheet or calculator running. It wasn’t a huge deal on audit, but for BEC, its exclusion sticks out like a sore thumb.

    The software doesn’t allow you to practice sims (or the written portion of BEC) unless you take the whole mock exam.

    The software doesn’t allow you to review prior sessions except for right after taking them.

    The references aren’t comprehensive enough. They have just a few pages on corporate governance, which composes 16-20% of BEC, for example.

    The references aren’t put consistently put together properly. On the aud section, I already knew where my weaknesses were, so I was seeking out some additional material to reference. The first chapter I found that mentioned OMB 133 referenced the old version with the lower threshold, not the 750k threshold currently. When I emailed them about it, I was told it was left there for comparative purposes. Problem is, that section didn’t mention anything about an update to the standard, it was in another chapter.

    Keep in mind my experience isn’t with the full program, it’s only the test prep software. Not the videos or full course or anything.

    • Stephanie Ng says:

      Hi Tracy, thanks so much for sharing. It’s really hard to find comments on Lambers these days, so your experience definitely helps. I will include this as a quote in the above.

      Hope your studying goes well anyway! Stephanie

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