The best CPA review course for reducing study hours and preparing you to pass the CPA Exam.
Number of MCQs: 7,700+ | Number of TBSs: 390+ | Access Length: Unlimited/Until you Pass | Cost: Options range from $1,599 to $2,899 before our exclusive discounts.
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Thanks to the experience of its founders, Surgent CPA Review and, consequently, Surgent’s candidates are in good hands.
Jack Surgent, CPA, is the founder of Surgent CPE, the largest provider of tax and financial-planning seminars to CPAs in the U.S. He also manages a CPA firm specializing in taxation and financial planning for high-net-worth individuals and closely-held businesses. Furthermore, Jack has experience in the tax department of a Big 4 firm and as an assistant professor at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
Liz Kolar is a college professor of 30 years. She’s also been teaching CPA review in the U.S. for that long as well. She has experience in public accounting at Coopers & Lybrand and has taught full-time at several universities. Before co-founding Surgent Kolar CPA Review, she founded Pinnacle CPA Review. Moreover, she has been the recipient of many awards, including the ASWA Business Woman of the Year Northeast Region, Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year, and PICPA Outstanding Educator of the Year.
Recently, more and more candidates have let me know that they passed using Surgent. Furthermore, several leading business and accounting publications have commended Surgent for their innovative approach to CPA review. But despite the good name that Surgent has already built for itself in a short period of time, they’re still not slowing down on the course enhancements.
In fact, one of Surgent’s main and most consistent goals with each revision to their courses is helping candidates cut down on their study time. And not just by an hour here and there, but by dozens of hours over the course of a candidate’s studies. Personally, I’ve never met a CPA candidate who wanted to spend more time studying for the CPA Exam. So, Surgent’s steps to reduce your review time are universally attractive.
As my goal is to help you find the best CPA review course for you, I present a comprehensive and unbiased evaluation of the Surgent CPA Review courses as well as my personal perspective based in firsthand experience. I believe Surgent certainly has its merits, but it may still not be the best course for everyone. So, if you need additional assistance finding the right review course for you, feel free to contact me.
Each Surgent CPA Review study option is an integrated and guided review course that presents video lectures, proprietary textbooks, study notes, practice questions, study plans, flashcards, and customer support in one online platform.
You can take the self-study course anywhere, at any time of the year, and at your own pace. Each Surgent CPA Review course option comes with unlimited access, and a free trial is available.
The online course contains 350 video lectures that you can watch on your computer or on mobile devices such as iPads, tablets, and Android devices. Each video lecture lasts for about 10-20 minutes and features one of Surgent’s expert instructors. The lectures also focus on specific topics so you don’t need to watch a lecture about information you already know.
If you’ve read my book, you know I am a big fan of active learning. Therefore, I don’t prefer the long lectures that drag on for 3-4 hours that you’ll find in some CPA review courses. Such extensive lectures encourage passive learning, which isn’t the most efficient.
For this reason, I am glad to hear that Surgent CPA’s lectures are abbreviated, as the length of each lecture is shorter than most courses. By offering such concise and digestible video lectures, Surgent’s course enables you to spend more time on learning actively by answering practice questions.
Every Surgent CPA Review course comes with e-books and lecture study notes for all 4 CPA Exam sections. Also, your daily lessons include links to the section of the e-book that covers the appropriate topic. Surgent writes their textbooks in-house and aligns them fully with the CPA Exam Blueprints.
Surgent also offers printed textbooks with their Premier Pass and Ultimate Pass courses. Unlike digital textbooks, the printed textbooks include multiple-choice questions, task-based simulations, and answer explanations at the end of each chapter. Another notable quality about Surgent’s textbooks is that Surgent prints them on demand and updates them on a quarterly basis. In contrast, other review providers usually update their printed textbooks annually. Therefore, you’ll always receive the most updated content in your textbooks whenever you order your Surgent course.
All of Surgent’s course offerings come with over 7,250 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and almost 400 task-based simulations (TBSs). Surgent has organized its course into 3 different phases (Assessment, Study, and Review) and distributes the MCQs along with the course content throughout each of these phases. As you answer the MCQs in each of these phases, the course will adapt to your performance and give you more questions about the topics you struggle with. In doing so, the course uses MCQs to help you strengthen your weak areas rather than forcing you to focus too much on what you already know.
Answering plenty of practice questions is a great way to gauge and deepen your understanding. And Surgent’s MCQs truly enable you to take these strides by including high-quality reference materials within the practice questions. For each question you answer, you’ll have super convenient access to important resources such as explanations, video links, relevant terms, references, and authoritative texts. Therefore, you don’t have to move on from a practice question until you really understand the concepts behind it.
Surgent’s course also comes with over 400 simulations spanning each different type of TBS the CPA Exam presents. Surgent has also augmented their TBSs with extensive explanations, and they use your progress in the Review phase to determine the best time to introduce you to the TBSs.
Finally, Surgent’s practice questions allow you to become comfortable with the exam environment before you test by imitating the format and functionality of the CPA Exam software. As you answer the practice questions in your Surgent course from the beginning to the end of your review, you’ll see how the actual exam questions will look and learn how they will operate on the real Prometric testing center computers.
When you begin your Surgent course, you must enter your exam date and the dates on which you can study. The course will then use this information to calculate how many hours you will need to study on each of your available days in order to finish your review by your exam date. You can change this information whenever you want by adding or removing available study days, and the course will automatically adjust your study schedule.
Then, when you access your course every day, you’ll see your daily surge telling you exactly what you need to study. If you miss a day, the course will adjust your study plans and account for what you missed in the daily surges.
Most of Surgent’s courses come with a complete set of spiral-bound printed flashcards for all 4 exam sections. With 250 flashcards for AUD, 250 for BEC, 300 for FAR, and 250 for REG, these flashcards feature over 1,000 terms and definitions. Furthermore, Surgent updates them quarterly so that you get the most current set no matter what time of year you order.
Surgent also has a free flashcard app for IOS and Android that contains a total of 2,200 digital flashcards. By accessing these flashcards from any mobile device, you have a great way to study for the CPA Exam on the go.
Every Surgent course comes with access until you pass and free content updates. However, the amount of customer service you receive from Surgent improves with each successive course level. So, when you purchase the Premier Pass course, you receive 12 30-minute sessions with a CPA Exam success coach. This number breaks down to 3 sessions per exam section. These coaches help candidates with exam scheduling, study plans, study tips, testing techniques, review accountability, and more. Furthermore, your coach will tailor each session to your personal needs.
If you purchase the Ultimate Pass course, you’ll get the ultimate amount of customer support from Surgent. This support will include unlimited content and technical assistance from Surgent’s concierge team. You can contact this team by phone or email, and Surgent promises a response within 1 business day.
Surgent has 3 review course options.
The most basic course option essentially consists of the online course, the test bank, the e-books, lecture notes, study planner, flashcard app, and course guarantees. In contrast, the most expensive option comes with all that as well as printed textbooks, printed flashcards, access to a CPA Exam success coach, access to Excel, additional practice questions, more customer support, and the audio course. You can see the specific course features and prices in this chart.
|Full Access Until You Pass|
|Free Content Updates|
|7,250+ Multiple-Choice Questions|
|Nearly 400 Task-Based Simulations|
|350+ Video Lectures|
|E-Books for All 4 Exam Sections|
|Personalized Study Plans|
|Lecture Study Notes|
|Flashcards App (IOS & Android)|
|Printed Textbooks for All 4 Exam Sections|
|Flashcards for All 4 Exam Sections|
|12 30-Minute Sessions with a CPA Exam Success Coach|
|Excel Certificate Course|
|Integrated Test Bank|
|Ultimate Customer Support|
So, how much does Surgent CPA cost? The prices of Surgent’s 3 courses are:
Individual parts of Surgent CPA Review cost $599.
Therefore, to get all the study materials that Surgent offers, you’ll have to pay almost $3,000. However, financing through Affirm is available for all 3 courses. And, when you use my exclusive Surgent CPA Review discount, you can save even more on your course.
As her bio proves, Liz Kolar is not only a very experienced teacher but a great one as well. Again, she has won several awards and taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Pace University and Seton Hall University before taking her current position as a professor at Delaware Valley University.
Additionally, in the past 25 years, Jack has personally presented over 1,800 live seminars. Various professional organizations have also named him an Outstanding Discussion Leader.
But the list of quality Surgent lecturers doesn’t stop there. The team of knowledgeable individuals who lead the 350+ video lectures in every Surgent course also includes:
These instructors not only teach the materials but also go over 100 multiple-choice questions and simulations in the lessons, which I find very helpful.
As mentioned, Surgent was early to the adaptive technology game. And as they’re committed to constantly improving their software, it remains one of their best and most distinguishing features. The point of Surgent’s state of the art, proprietary A.S.A.P technology is to save candidates tons of study time by targeting their weak areas and presenting them with custom daily study plans. These “daily surges” continue to adjust to candidate performance and tell them how ready they are to pass the CPA Exam.
While Surgent’s adaptive learning system makes it easy for candidates to study efficiently, Surgent gives candidates the option of taking a more linear approach through the course if they want. And candidates can even switch between the systems as they study.
The linear approach involves candidates going through each chapter one by one at the same pace no matter how well they know the material. In contrast, the adaptive journey through the exam content starts with completing a series of quizzes. Answering all of the questions in these quizzes allows the course to take the critical step of detecting your strengths and weaknesses. The course can then use this information to direct your daily studies to the content areas where you need to spend the most time reviewing in order to achieve the levels of knowledge the CPA Exam expects.
To address different learning styles and ensure that you don’t get stuck on a tricky concept due to a lack of variety among your study materials, the course always gives you access to the textbooks, video lectures, references, authoritative texts, relevant terms, and applicable practice questions in each lesson. The video lessons last about 10-20 minutes, the textbooks arrange information by topic, and the practice questions include answer explanations.
And Surgent has proof that thanks to the adaptive technology of their course, their students have sliced hundreds of hours off their CPA Exam study schedules. They also state that candidates can reduce their study time by up to 50%. Therefore, this technology makes Surgent’s course extremely efficient!
As you move through each lesson and your knowledge improves, the course keeps you up to date on the status of your CPA Exam readiness with real-time performance analytics, progress data, and study time reports. The course calls its specific measurement of your CPA Exam readiness your ReadySCORE.
Your ReadySCORE is a number representing your current strength of knowledge per question type, content area, and topic. And after the course has started to serve you both multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and task-based simulations (TBSs), you will receive a cumulative ReadySCORE for these question types. This ReadySCORE indicates what you would score on the CPA Exam if you took the exam at that time.
Surgent explains that their students have an average ReadySCORE of 82 when they reach the Review phase of the course. Surgent has also determined that students who have a ReadySCORE of 75 pass the CPA Exam 88% of the time. Therefore, ReadySCORE is another effective way to help candidates gauge the success of their CPA Exam studies and save time.
If a student fails the CPA Exam after studying with Surgent, Surgent will provide a refund for the tuition of the course. Or, they will continue to supply access to the course until the student passes. You can learn more about this guarantee by referring to the terms and conditions.
Surgent has also made a free 5-day trial of their course available. This free trial demonstrates that Surgent believes in their product, and I think it gives you enough time to make an informed decision.
Surgent has published a pass rate of 88% on their site. This pass rate is exceptional, but Surgent feels confident in it because they use their course to request pass rate information from their students. However, we are not able to confirm this pass rate. And, we advise against expecting to receive a pass rate as high as this because everyone’s scores and pass rates will vary.
I have taken a good look at Surgent’s powerful adaptive learning technology, bite-sized videos, and the many other course features. And I’ve been impressed by everything I’ve seen so far. However, my CPA review course evaluations rely heavily on the experience of my readers. Therefore, because Surgent CPA is relatively new, I am still collecting feedback from readers about their experience with the course.
So far, I have received a few rave reviews on Surgent’s products. For this reason, I’ve decided to list them among my top 5 CPA review courses. However, only time will tell if Surgent can continue to carve out a good name for itself in the CPA review course industry.
Surgent course doesn’t include some of the best features of the Wiley CPAexcel course, such as the huge test bank and the wealth of features. Furthermore, while Surgent’s professors are very professional, they are not as exciting or engaging as Roger is in the Roger CPA Review lectures. Therefore, in my opinion, Surgent’s course has some room for improvement. However, if the adaptive technology is a must-have for you, then you should be perfectly happy with this course!
My overall impression of Surgent CPA Review is very positive. Surgent is a relatively new brand compared to some other, more established CPA course providers, but the company still has a lot to offer. Specifically, Surgent’s team is super dedicated to helping candidates pass the CPA Exam as fast as they can, so all of the course resources serve that purpose. And, even the smallest course comes with a decent amount of materials all in one nice package.
The adaptive technology, in particular, can really save candidates time, especially freshly-graduated candidates. Surgent continuously improves their course platform with the candidate in mind. Therefore, you can count on receiving an intuitive, easy-to-use, and personalized experience from your Surgent course. And due to Surgent’s strict focus on improving your weaknesses, I also think Surgent is the course to turn to if you’ve tried some of the bigger brand names and failed an exam section.
Because your feedback is important, I’d love to know what you think. So, feel free to contact me about your studies with Surgent CPA Review so I can share with future CPA candidates!
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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