When you’re on your journey to become a certified public accountant, one of the most important aspects of that journey is how well you do on your CPA exam. The Uniform CPA Examination is the exam taken to ensure you are qualified to become a public accountant, and put simply, it’s a requirement that cannot be dodged. Much like the SATs or the MCAT or LSAT, the exam requires careful preparation, an immense amount of study time, and a willingness to devote time and money to resources that can help you achieve this milestone.
While some study on their own and do well with the exam, most people require additional preparation materials to ensure their satisfactory scores. Much like the LSAT and MCAT, there are a number of resources available to help ensure you pass the CPA exam more easily. Some break the material down so that it is more interesting for those who have trouble focusing, others have audio files that support their material so you can learn on the go. While it’s incredibly helpful to have these resources available, it can be overwhelming to decide which preparation course is best for you.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the five most popular review courses (in random order) with a breakdown of their pros and cons so you can find the best fit for you. The details below will help you decide which course is best for your lifestyle and study habits. It’s worth noting that each course is somewhat catered to a particular learning style, so someone else’s favorite course may not be as helpful for you. Take a look below to see how you can best prepare for the highest CPA score you can achieve!
Roger CPA Review Course
In comparison to most of the top courses, Roger CPA is ranked highly with those who have trouble keeping interest, as they have engaging lectures and content that is presented in interesting ways. Roger Philipp, course instructor, is said to be the most enthusiastic in the business. With a pass rate of almost 90% and a money back guarantee, it’s easy to see why most people love this course. Like most courses, it has a handy mobile app so you can get some studying completed on the go. The app features over 3500 quizzes with accompanying explanations, so you can quickly learn if and where you went wrong. With 100 video lecture hours, it is “standard” in length and even shorter than some, but its price tag places it midway for affordability, at around $1800. With a 14-day free trial, you can still try the product before committing to its moderate pricetag.
The 24/7 Homework Help Center certainly justifies part of the price, with a team of moderators who are professional CPAs. It should be noted, however, that the course only consists of 200 simulations and 5000 sample multiple choice questions. While this may be more than plenty for some, those needing an immense amount of practice may wish to look into courses offering more simulated options. An audio course, which easily makes the program more competitive, can be added for under $500, making this quite the competitive course. Flashcards can be added for under $200, making the course perfect for those who have time to study and determine their needs as they go. It’s also worth mentioning however, that this course is usually only available for 24 months, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.
Roger uses mnemonics to help students remember content they may otherwise easily forget. His 27 years of teaching experience is evident by the way he captures his audiences. The cram courses offered in some packages are great additions for those who identify their problem areas, or those who know they missed particular questions in a previous exam.
The course is video based, and they even offer a discount for those who are “transferring” from another review course. It’s worth noting that for those planning to use this on the go, there are more options available for the iPhone than Android. While iPhone users can take full advantage, Android users may be disappointed to find flashcards and multiple choice questions aren’t compatible with their devices, yet.
Roger’s course is known for being engaging and interesting, but part of this is because the pace of the course is a bit swift. While most users found this to be an advantage, those with language barriers often reported better success with slower paced courses and thorough content. Most recent versions are designed with these particular students in mind, however, with features like closed captioning and adjustable speeds for playback. Because Roger offers the 14 day trial, it is likely best for these students to test the product with these features to make sure the style is suitable.
|24/7 Homework Center||Not as many android options as there are for iphone|
|Most engaging content of all courses||Those who prefer slower lessons may want to try the free trial before committing.|
|14 Day Free Trial||Add ons come at additional cost.|
|Pass rate of just under 90%|
|Moderately priced at around $1800|
|Offers discount when transferring from other course|
Becker CPA Review Course
Becker has been a trusted name in the industry for quite some time, putting their review course among those ranked highest. In fact, they are the number one name in the industry. They also boast a passing rate of twice that of students without their product. Their course also includes 100 video lecture hours, but has almost 7,000 multiple choice questions paired with 300 simulations. The courses, however, are only available for up to 18 months (some for only 12), so this course is not for those who wish to take a long time to prep, or attempt the exam multiple times.
The course is among the most expensive of its kind, at a whopping $3,500. Like Roger’s course, flashcards are still an additional cost at up to $180. It’s worth mentioning that this course, despite its price tag, does not offer a money back guarantee. Part of the cost is justified by the familiarity it provides with the CPA exam, with software looking almost identical. The company’s competitors, however, have almost all begun to graduate to the same format, almost eliminating this advantage.
Its user friendly layout is luring, however. The notes are comprehensive and thorough, and even the fonts are appreciated by many students simply because it draws the eye to important areas rather than plain, encyclopedia style fonts. Students love that the courses are presented in concise manners that don’t overload a brain that is likely already nearing burnout.
For those who learn best in physical lecture environments, this is one of the only courses on the market to offer the opportunity. It’s worth noting that some of these courses, which are taught around the world, are simply moderated classrooms with virtual instruction. If this is a main reason for your selection of this course, you can find out ahead of time if you will have access to live lectures and tutors in your particular area. If this doesn’t work for you, the self-study option may be best.
|Number one name in the industry.||Lecturers may not be as “present” in some areas as others.|
|Students are twice as likely to pass the exam with this course as without one.||Most expensive, priced at $3500, with flashcards adding cost.|
|User friendly layout with software that mimics the exam.||No money back guarantee.|
|Offers a physical lecturing environment when preferred.|
Wiley CPAexcel Gold Review Course
While Wiley offers a very basic course of practice questions at an affordable rate, it doesn’t have a published success rate like their popular Gold product. Wiley CPAexcel Gold has only 80 lecture hours but boasts a 90% pass rate. With up to 12,000 multiple choice practice questions and 460 simulations, this package deal offers features most courses provide at additional costs. Flashcards, a final review, free trial and even a money back guarantee make this a trusted course for those who know in advance they’ll need a large amount of study material.
Wiley makes the course available until you pass the exam, so it’s perfect for those who are nervous about how well they’ll do on a test they have yet to see. Priced at only $1800, it is also among the most affordable and comprehensive courses available today. While the price tag and its contents are attractive, those who need 24 hour support or homework assistance may be disappointed to learn that this course only offers a message board for questions and help.
The small, information packed lessons called “bite sized” by many students, are ideal for those who need shorter study lessons because they are still in school, working full time or are preoccupied with families. Some of the lessons are as quick as half an hour, so it’s the perfect course for those who have to study during lunch breaks or on the go. The format of the exam questions likely contributes highly to the pass rate for students using this course, as it is in the same computer format as the actual exam. Not only does this allow you to become more familiar with the testing format, but it also times you and shows exactly what you missed so you can know how to dedicate your study time.
In another effort to cater to those with busy lifestyles, Wiley can also be installed on an unlimited number of computers and devices, so no matter where you are, you can have access to study materials.
|Boasts 90% pass rate.||Only offers a message board for questions and help.|
|Priced at only $1800.|
|Course is available until you pass the exam.|
|Free trial and money back guarantee.|
|Short informative lessons are great for busy students.|
|Same format as the actual exam.|
|Can be installed on unlimited computers.|
Gleim CPA Review Course
This course is ideal for those who want audio courses without the extra fees added. The course is a standard 100 lecture hours, with over 9,000 multiple choice questions and 1,000 simulations. Their personal counselor services are available via phone and email, so those needing homework assistance will be happy to know it’s readily available. This course also has a mobile app for learning on the go.
While this course can seem overwhelming with its large amount of content, it’s worth noting the books are very detailed. Many appreciate this detail and the jargon that helps them begin integrating in the accounting realm. Others may find the technical terms and amount of information overwhelming, so this is certainly a course that should be examined before determining if it’s a good fit. Its audio review is very detailed, however, and the lectures are perfect for downloading to a smart phone for a listen during your morning commute. Priced competitively at around $1200, this course offers a lot of bang for the buck.
Because with some packages you can have full access to the course until you pass, if you properly pace yourself with the content, a vast amount of information can be absorbed for the price. In fact, because of the content and personal counselor, this is one of the best courses for those who have a long time to prep and study, or those who foresee trying the exam a few times for the best possible score. It also has a built in study planner so you can remember when to study and stay on track.
Even though flashcards are not available, the materials provided cover every possible thing that is on the CPA exam. While the content can seem overwhelming, it can also be a great help if you need to focus really specifically on a problem area that you know needs time. Gleim is also a surprisingly respected name in the industry. In fact, Dr. Gleim himself was a coauthor for many of the former Wiley CPA exam materials.
|Audio courses at no additional cost.||Personal counselors via phone and email to help with questions.|
|Priced at only $1200||Technical terminology is preferred by some and overwhelming for others.|
|Packages offer access until you pass the exam.||Flashcards are not available.|
|Vast amount of content with over 10,000 questions and detailed books.|
|Perfect for those wishing to stretch out study time for large amounts of content.|
|Built in study planner helps you stay on track with lessons.|
|Gleim was a coauthor for former Wiley products.|
Yaeger CPA Review Course
Another exceptional course with an 88% pass rate, Yaeger also has a live instructor hotline so you can get answers right away. The course is priced somewhat competitively at around $1600, with options to expand the package at a higher cost. It contains a whopping 132 lecture hours, which is the most available among the top CPA Review courses. It has over 4000 multiple choice questions paired with 164 simulations. Much like the Roger CPA course, the audio package is sold separately at around $450 and charges an additional fee, up to $300 per section, for a final review.
Its offline course is especially helpful, as the online courses are only available for 18 months. This added option, which is available as part of the standard package, allows one to take more time studying or come back to try to improve a previously low score. Also, another standard feature is the mobile app, which makes studying on the go less of a hassle.
Most importantly, however, is the flexibility available with the Yaeger packages. Students are given choices for learning formats such as USB, online, mobile app, or even DVD, so you can choose the best format for your study habits and lifestyle. An added option of flexibility is also the ability to put the program on an unlimited number of devices. For those who wish to study on the go or on break while at work, this program allows you to do all of that while having a copy installed at your parent’s home for the holidays as well. With this many options for where and how to study, you’ll likely run out of excuses to cram.
Most impressive is Yaeger’s personal participation in the app’s success. When students reach out to the hotline, he and his team personally respond to calls and emails. The pace of the course is also a bit slower, which can be a con for those who have trouble focusing with traditional teaching methods. For those who have been out of school for a while or speak English as a second language, however, the material is a perfect fit.
|88% pass rate.||Audio package sold separately.|
|Live instructor hotline||Final review can cost up to $300 per section.|
|132 lecture hours – 32 extra hours above the average course.|
|Flexibility with learning formats and unlimited number of devices.|
|Yaeger is personally involved with answering student questions.|
|Slow paced material, perfect for traditional students or those with language barriers.|
Fast Forward Academy Review Course
Priced at under $1000, this course is ideal for those on a budget looking for an immense amount of content. It sacrifices the video lecturers, but offers over 6,000 multiple choice questions and over 200 simulations, which is comparable to those in the higher price brackets. They also have email support in addition to support via email, so the course doesn’t sacrifice personal interaction when it comes to customer service. Unique in the industry, this course also includes a final review even at its affordable price point, and it provides unlimited access so you can study at your own pace, and take the test multiple times without losing study materials. Its mobile app helps you study on the go, just as the higher priced programs do.
Fast Forward, though fairly new to the market, is quite known for tossing in freebies for its customers. For example, signing up on their website could land a student a free study planner or other helpful products that complement their courses. In addition, they also offer free updates, so as long as you have access, you can make sure it’s up to date without breaking the bank.
Because it’s fairly new in comparison to most courses on the market, there is limited data available for pass rates or student feedback. Even though it sacrifices audio content, it still seems to pack quite the punch for its price tag, and we expect this to lead to positive reviews and passing rates.
Fast Forward is unique in that they guarantee you won’t see questions repeated. This is especially helpful for those who plan on studying for quite some time, as repetitive questions can lead to distraction. Also unique to this program, the program detects your weaknesses and strengths as you go along, so after just studying for a short time, you essentially have a course catered specifically to your needs.
|Competitively priced under $1000||No video lectures.|
|Offers 6,000 questions and 200 simulations without the expensive price tag.||Customer support is provided via email.|
|Final review included in price, a rare find among courses.||New in comparison to others on the market, so limited data is available in terms of passing rates or student feedback.|
|Guarantee no questions are repeated based on their unique software that detects weaknesses and strengths.|
|Mobile app like many of the more expensive courses.|
|Unlimited access and freebies such as study planners, etc. are often given as promotions.|
Overall, the type of course you choose should be specific to your study needs and your lifestyle. A course that may be perfect for the on-the-go career mom may not work as well for an international student. Similarly, those designed with traditional classroom methods in mind may not work well for busy minds who are easily distracted. Ideally, you should identify how much time you have to study before the exam, and how much you can dedicate each day. Then, with your best learning methods in mind, find a course that meets your needs and budget, and pass your CPA exam!