Universal CPA Review 2023: Free trial and exclusive Universal discount!

Universal CPA Review differs from other CPA courses because it focuses on visual learning. So if you’re bored with traditional approaches to studying for the CPA Exam, you might want to try Universal.

Number of MCQs: 4,000+ | Number of TBSs: 150+ | Access: Unlimited | Cost: Options range from $119 (monthly subscription) to $1,299 before our exclusive discount.

Intro to Universal CPA Review

  • The visual approach to learning could help you retain more information while studying for the CPA Exam.
  • Universal has created short videos that explain every answer to each multiple-choice question and practice simulation included in the course.
  • Plus, you can take advantage of a free 7-day trial to see if Universal is right for you.

Background of Universal CPA Review

Universal’s founders and team

Two CPAs founded Universal CPA Review after realizing that traditional review courses don’t work for everyone. Joey Reeve, CPA, was teaching CPA review in New York City. At the same time, his friend Matt Reinhold, CPA, worked at PwC. Although they both passed the CPA Exam, they didn’t enjoy the study process. So, they decided to build a better CPA exam prep method and started their own company.

At first, they only tutored CPA candidates in the NYC area. Based on their own experiences, they created a course that focused on visual learning. After their NYC-based customers started giving them positive feedback, they expanded. Universal CPA Review is now entirely online, so anyone across the globe can study with them. What’s more, Universal added content experts like additional CPAs and a visual learning specialist to round out their team.

Universal CPA Review courses

Universal CPA Review has separated itself from the rest of the competition through visual learning. That is, most CPA prep courses follow what I’d call traditional learning. To start, they send you big textbooks to pour through. And then, you’re supposed to follow up by watching videos, and some companies have reputations for very dull deliveries. It’s no wonder that CPA candidates can get bored with this type of instruction, especially people who are visual learners.

According to Universal’s experts, you process visual information up to 60,000 times faster than textual information. Why? Well, visual content stimulates a different part of the brain. And basically, visual learning helps you understand information much faster than just reading or hearing the content. What’s more, Universal CPA Review also claims that visual learning leads to retention rates that are 42% higher than traditional learning. The theory is that visual content creates emotions that stimulate lasting memories and increase your motivation to learn. Interesting!

Overview of Universal CPA Review

Studying for the CPA Exam is no easy task. After all, about 50% of CPA candidates fail at least one section of the 4-part exam on their first try. The reasons for these low CPA pass rates vary, including studying with the wrong materials. In other words, we all learn differently. I really thrive on reading textbooks and taking notes in the margins. But other people would rather learn from live classes, webinars, or video lectures. And still, others need tutoring or highly personalized support.

Therefore, Universal CPA Review was specially crafted for visual learners. Universal has copywritten what it calls a “mental map methodology.” This systematic approach to reviewing CPA content combines video lectures, an image-driven study guide, and practice questions in an online format. Furthermore, Universal explains accounting concepts in easily digestible ways. And the focus on visual learning helps users better comprehend difficult information.

Features of Universal CPA Review Courses

Universal CPA Review primarily relies on three methods to prepare you for the CPA Exam.

1. Visually-enhanced video lectures

Do you get bored with accounting videos of instructors sitting in front of a camera, talking on and on without pause? If so, you should look at Universal CPA Review. The videos are similar to animated PowerPoint presentations. Basically, visual images and text on the screen are reinforced by an instructor in the background who gives you additional information about the topic at hand. The videos use charts, graphs, and upbeat visual aids to break down the CPA Exam’s hardest topics. Plus, the videos are short and sweet.

2. Study guide

The Universal CPA Review study guides are a series of eBooks you can read from your online course dashboard. They systematically review the CPA Exam content and are mapped to the AICPA blueprints. You can take notes in an attached notepad right from the dashboard as you read through the study guide.

The study guides are much easier to read than traditional textbooks. Firstly, they use fun colors and graphics to organize information and highlight important formulas. And although that might not sound like a big deal, the light-hearted feel is refreshing. After all, if you’re going to spend hundreds of hours studying for the CPA Exam, why not have a little fun? Plus, the study guides are concise and brief.

3. Practice MCQs and TBSs

Universal CPA Review’s Complete Package includes 4,000+ MCQs (multiple-choice questions) and 150+ TBSs (task-based simulations). Furthermore, they have appeared in previous CPA Exams that the AICPA has retired.

Moreover, every Universal CPA Review MCQ and TBS includes a detailed video explanation of the answer. So when you answer a question, you receive a link to a video explanation in case you need more instruction.

Universal CPA Review Course Options

You can use Universal CPA Review as a stand-alone course. Or, you can purchase the Individual Test Bank as a supplement to another CPA review guide. Plus, you should note that all of Universal’s materials have unlimited access that never expires.

Monthly Subscription

  • MCQs with detailed answer explanations via videos
  • Task-based simulations with video explanations
  • Unlimited self-created practice tests

Individual Exam Section

  • For CPA candidates who only need to study for one of the CPA exam sections
  • Video lectures
  • Visual study guide
  • MCQs with detailed answer explanations via videos
  • Task-based simulations with video explanations
  • Unlimited self-created practice tests

Complete Package

  • Unlimited access to study materials for all 4 CPA Exam sections
  • Access to “Ask Joey,” a feature that allows you to contact a virtual tutor
  • Video lectures
  • Visual study guide
  • MCQs with detailed answer explanations via videos
  • Task-based simulations with video explanations
  • Unlimited self-created practice tests

Breakdown per exam part

Here’s more specific information about what you can expect in every exam section from Universal CPA Review.

Video Lectures Study Guides MCQs + Hours of Detailed Answer Explanation Videos Task-Based Simulations
AUD 190 mini-lectures (11+ hours) 450 pages 715 MCQs (24+ hours) 23 with video explanations (but no authoritative research simulations)
BEC 100 mini-lectures (10+ hours) 300 pages 740 MCQs (31+ hours) 30 with video explanations
FAR 340+ mini-lectures (24+ hours) 675+ pages 1,000+ MCQs (36+ hours) 42 with video explanations (but no authoritative research simulations)
REG 225+ mini-lectures (14+ hours) 485+ pages 700+ MCQs (23+ hours) 22 with video explanations (but no authoritative research simulations)
Totals 855+ mini-lectures (59+ hours) 1,910+ pages 3,155+ MCQs (73+ hours) 117 with video explanations

Universal CPA Review Cost

Universal CPA Review tries to keep your costs low by only giving you the essentials to pass the CPA Exam. That is, it doesn’t come with many extras offered by other companies, like adaptive learning platforms, physical textbooks, flashcards, or live classes. Plus, you can save even more with our exclusive Universal promo code at the end of this article.

  • Monthly subscription with access to all 4 sections: $119/month
  • Lifetime access to one CPA Exam section (AUD, BEC, FAR, or REG): $299
  • Lifetime access to all CPA Exam sections: $1,299

Best Parts of Universal CPA Review

Easy to use

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a tech-savvy person. Therefore, when I try out a new CPA Exam review course, especially one that’s entirely online, I’m looking for ease of use. And that’s exactly what I found with Universal CPA Review. Plus, the content is logically organized into chapters. I could find the videos, study guides, and practice questions without a problem.

Bite-sized lessons

Universal CPA Review uses short lessons to guide you through the material. These bite-sized lessons are great for two reasons. First, our brains are more likely to remember smaller chunks of information than larger chunks, so you can retain what you just studied better. And second, if you have a busy schedule, you can squeeze in these short lessons whenever you have a break in your day.

Free trial

If you think Universal CPA Review might be right for you, I suggest taking advantage of the company’s free 7-day trial. With this promotion, you get complete access to the course for a full week. And what’s more, you don’t need to give your credit card information to get started.

Focuses on visual learning

Did you fail the CPA Exam after using another course? Some of Universal CPA Review’s users started their CPA journey with a different prep course. After failing an exam section and becoming frustrated with their studies, they switched to Universal. And some users say that Universal’s instructors were finally able to explain the CPA Exam’s most complicated content in an easy-to-understand way. This enhanced comprehension of tough topics gave them the extra few points they needed to finally pass the CPA Exam.

Ask Joey

If you get stuck with a problem, you can submit your question to an online forum via the Ask Joey button on your dashboard. And then, co-founder Joey Reeves or another Universal expert will answer your question and post the answer so all users can read it.

Unlimited access and free content updates

All Universal CPA Review packages have unlimited access and free updates. Therefore, you don’t have to feel rushed to study because your access to the online materials won’t expire. Plus, you won’t have to pay for updates if any of the Universal materials are updated.

Worst Parts of Universal CPA Review

Online-only course

This course is entirely online. Therefore, you can’t access your materials if you’re offline. In fact, you can’t even download or print notes that you took in the platform’s notepad while reading through the study guide. In contrast, many other CPA Exam review providers (like Becker and Surgent) can purchase print materials in addition to online access and proprietary apps to study on the go.

Typos can be distracting

While testing the Universal study materials, I noticed several typos, grammar issues, and minor formatting mistakes in the videos and study guides. Although these aren’t a deal-breaker for me, they can distract from your studies. However, the IPass team talked to the Universal staff, and they plan to fix these issues as they continue to add content to their course.

I wish some videos were more engaging

Many Universal CPA’s users like the course because of the engaging video lectures that present the content via a multi-media presentation. And I’ll admit—some of them are even quite funny, which is refreshing in a CPA course. However, other videos are not as engaging as I was expecting. For example, in some of the videos I tried, several minutes would pass while an instructor talked in the background without the screen changing. And others had screens that were very text-heavy, meaning that you needed to read the screen while also trying to listen to the lecture.

I thought a course focused on visual learning would have more engaging videos. For instance, I find Becker’s videos more interesting than some of Universal’s videos, even though Becker’s reputation isn’t necessarily built on engaging videos.

No timed mock exams

Although you can create quizzes and chapter tests, none of the Universal CPA Review packages include timed mock exams replicating the exam-day experience. This is unfortunate since taking timed practice tests can be a good way to prep for the CPA Exam. After all, one of the biggest exam hurdles is learning to pace yourself so that you have enough time and don’t have to skip any questions. Plus, it’s good to practice the mental stamina you need to keep your focus for the length of the entire exam.

Instead, I suggest checking out courses that include several full-length, timed mock exams. Surgent CPA Review, Gleim, and Becker are good courses to consider.

No additional learning tools or performance tracking

To keep costs low, Universal CPA Review doesn’t include any supplemental learning tools that other review providers have developed. For example, it doesn’t have a mobile app, audio lectures, flashcards, live classes or webinars, physical textbooks, flashcards, or a study planner.

However, many candidates enjoy learning from various materials to keep up their interest while studying for the CPA Exam for weeks at a time. I think that’s why other companies include a wider variety of learning tools than just a small test bank, an online textbook, and some videos. For instance, Becker’s courses also have flashcards, a fun accounting learning game called Accounting for Empires, live online and in-person classes, a Final Review course, and even personal tutoring.

Likewise, Universal CPA Review doesn’t have performance tracking tools. By comparison, Surgent is known for its analytic tools that give you valuable insight into your study progress. Surgent uses adaptive e-learning to tailor your studies to your content weaknesses. Moreover, Surgent also has a ReadySCORE indicator that predicts (within 4 points, on average) your actual CPA Exam score.

Smaller test bank

Universal CPA Review gives you a smaller test bank of practice MCQs and TBSs than many competitors. For example, Universal’s Complete Package has 3,300+ MCQs and 120+ TBSs. By comparison, Becker’s Pro package has 8,100 MCQs and 500+ TBSs. Even better, Gleim’s Premium Review System has 10,000+ MCQs and 1,300+ TBSs.

Does not include all types of simulations

Currently, the Universal CPA Review course does not include authoritative research simulations. However, we learned that Universal does have the technology to integrate these simulations into their course. What’s more, the company plans to add several authoritative research TBSs once they receive the applicable literature from each governing body.

Furthermore, the course has very few simulations in the BEC section, including 2 written communication samples. And since simulations make up 35% of your BEC score and written communications are another 15%, it’s unfortunate that you can’t practice these critical BEC questions.

Therefore, I suggest checking out another one of the best CPA review courses (like Becker, Gleim, or Surgent) that includes all types of simulations.

Universal CPA Review FAQs

How does the Universal CPA Review course work?

For each exam section like AUD, BEC, FAR, or REG, the Universal course is divided into 6-9 chapters. Then, each chapter is further divided into 5-10 modules to give you small lessons with a manageable amount of information. During your study sessions, you can pick the duration (number of questions) and question type (like the ones you previously answered and flagged as difficult). From the course dashboard, you’ll see the results of your sessions, including your study time and the percentage of questions you answered correctly.

Which Universal CPA course is best?

If you pick Universal CPA Review, I would go with the Universal Complete Package. After all, it’s the only package that includes study material for each section of the 4-part CPA Exam.

How much is Universal CPA Review?

Right now, Universal CPA has three different offerings:

  • Monthly subscription with access to all 4 sections: $119/month
  • Lifetime access to one CPA Exam section (AUD, BEC, FAR, or REG): $299
  • Lifetime access to all CPA Exam sections: $1,299

Are there Universal CPA Review discounts?

Yes! In fact, I have an exclusive Universal CPA Review promo code. Use the code IPASS25%OFF at checkout to save a bundle on your CPA study materials!

Does Universal CPA Review expire?

No. All Universal CPA Review materials come with unlimited access and free content updates. In the case of the monthly subscription package, you will receive access as long as you continue to pay the monthly fee.

What is the Universal CPA Review guarantee?

All of Universal’s products have a 7-day money-back guarantee. (In comparison, other companies refund you if you study with them and don’t pass the CPA Exam. For example, Becker and Surgent have better guarantees than Universal CPA.)

How do I study for the CPA Exam using Universal CPA Review?

Start with your CPA Exam Strategy Session if you get the Complete Package. This 1-on-1 talk with a member of the Universal CPA staff will help get you started on the right track. Then, work through the modules in each chapter of your course. Read the study guides and watch the videos, taking notes as you go. Follow-up by working through the test bank; flag difficult questions and return to them later. Watch the video explanations of the questions, especially the ones you miss.

Is Universal CPA Review enough to pass the CPA Exam?

Depending on your learning style, Universal CPA Review could help you pass the CPA Exam. However, since the course does not include timed mock exams, I suggest taking the practice tests provided by the AICPA and time yourself.

What is the Universal CPA Review pass rate?

Unlike many of the other top CPA Exam courses, Universal CPA Review has not published the pass rates of its users. Basically, the company is too new to have an average pass rate. Therefore, it’s hard to truly gauge how many people are finding success with Universal. However, before the company expanded to offer online courses, they used these same visually-enhanced materials to tutor 200+ students at their home base in New York. Among these early students, they had a CPA Exam pass rate of over 95%.

My Universal CPA Review Recommendation

Every CPA Exam review course has its pros and cons. And I hope that this article highlights some of Universal CPA Review’s strengths if you’re considering purchasing it. Universal might have the CPA Exam study materials for you if:

  • You’re a visual learner.
  • You enjoy watching videos or PowerPoint presentations and can learn from them.
  • You used another review course to study for the CPA Exam and failed, and you’re looking for a fresh approach to the exam content.
  • You’ll always have internet access while you’re studying.
  • You’re a disciplined learner who doesn’t need the guidance and structure of a study planner.
  • Physical textbooks or flashcards don’t help you learn.
  • Tutoring, live classes, or access to webinars doesn’t interest you.
  • You’ve already purchased another course (like Becker or Surgent) with a bigger test bank of sample questions.
  • You’re self-guided enough not to need analytic tools that let you know when you’re ready to take the CPA Exam.

If you decide to go with Universal CPA Review, drop me a line – I’d love to know how it’s working for you!

Universal CPA Review Discount

If you think Universal CPA Review could be the right study course for you, then use my promo code to save 25%!

Universal CPA Code

About the Author S ML

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.

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