The best CPA review courses you choose could mean the difference between passing and failing your exams. There’s no one-size-fits-all course, so it’s extremely important that you choose the one that best fits your personal learning style and preferences. These study materials will be your best friend and constant companion for the next 6 – 18 months, so your decision had better be on point.
Lucky for you, I’ve gotten full access to and have personally tested each of the top Certified Public Accountant review courses below to save you the effort! The chart below shows what each of the top 7 courses provides (or doesn’t provide) and explains what I found most important in making this critical decision.
Click Below To Compare 2018’s Top 7 Best Certified Public Accountant Exam Review Courses & Self-Study Materials:
Experienced Instructors: Surgent CPA Review instructors each have at least 15-20 years of experience teaching accounting and CPA Exam preparatory courses. This gives them more insight and useful strategies than less experienced instructors. Video lessons are very concise and generally average 10 minutes in length making lessons easier to absorb.
Revamped Dashboard: Surgent has released an updated version of its course and this 2.0 overhaul is designed in a manner that is both intuitive and aesthetically pleasing. This is one of the cleanest-looking courses on the market and it’s something that differentiates the Surgent review from other products.
Unlimited Course Access: With Surgent, you have complete access to course materials until you pass. This really differentiates Surgent from other CPA Exam course reviews as it eliminates the stress of worrying about additional fees should you fail to pass.
Value: In terms of getting the most bang for your buck, it’s hard to beat the Surgent CPA Review. With a new design and more streamlined access to content, you’d expect a price tag that’s a little higher.
Free Flashcards: Surgent created a Free CPA Exam flashcard app that is available for both iOS and Android devices with a 5-star rating in both app stores. The app features 2,200 terms and definitions and is free, regardless if you choose to purchase the full course or not.
Why Surgent? If you want to pass the CPA Exam quickly, Surgent and its impressive adaptive software makes it the best course for passing the CPA Exam as fast as possible.
Bite-Sized Lessons: Wiley CPAexcel has created a model based on “bite-sized lessons” in which each lecture is broken down into shorter lessons that take as little as 30 minutes to complete. Shorter segments are more effective if you can’t commit to multiple-hour lectures in one sitting. These smaller lessons allow you to cover more material at a faster pace.
Most Technologically Advanced: CPAexcel is the most efficient system I’ve reviewed to date. The course uses analytics from your study progress to give you specific performance metrics and diagnostic exams to help determine your areas of improvement. Their course focuses on your personal “Study Strategy” to assess your progress and optimize your study plan for success.
Study On The Go: The course is available for download on multiple devices, which gives you the option to study on any mobile device when you’re on the go. The course also has a mobile app that gives you access to 12,000+ multiple choice questions and 4,000+ flashcards when you’re not near a computer but have a window of time to study.
Free Continuing Access: With Wiley you’ll enjoy unlimited access and free updates! The Wiley CPAexcel course has no expiration date and all updates and upgrades are free until you have passed the CPA exam. Another unique feature is that you’ll continue to have access to the course for up to one year after you pass.
Exam-Identical Software: The practice multiple choice questions and simulations are presented in the exact same format that you will see on the actual exam. When exam time comes, you’ll be familiar with exactly those functions and capabilities that are available at the testing center. This way you won’t be overwhelmed or confused by the exam software.
Why Wiley? Wiley is the perfect course for you if you are looking for small sized lessons to squeeze into your busy schedule.
Engaging Video Lectures: The biggest selling point of this CPA exam review course is Roger himself. He’s a truly dynamic and engaging teacher who makes you want to pay attention. His positive energy pulls you in and makes the material so much more interesting and it’s obvious he has a passion for helping students pass the CPA exam.
High Quality Material: Roger writes his own book, creates the multiple choice questions in-house based on released AICPA questions, and teaches every lecture in the program himself. You know you’re getting high quality study material based on Roger’s experience and expertise.
Memorization Techniques: “The Roger Method” uses memory aids and mnemonics to help you retain the information. This makes it easier to remember the overwhelming amount of information come test day.
Flexibility to Study Your Way: Roger CPA Review offers great flexibility in how you study with convenient 24/7 online access, availability on mobile devices, offline access with USB, and audio lectures. With the various study options, you can study anywhere, at any time.
Why Roger? If you struggle to stay focused with boring accounting lectures, you need the easy-to-read and engaging style of Roger CPA Review.
Excellent Customer Support: Some students may have reservations about the lack of live lectures or fear that their questions won’t be answered. However, Yaeger provides direct access to instructors via their live Instructor Hotline, a feature most other courses do not offer. Live help comes from the instructors who teach the video lectures, including Phil Yaeger himself!
Flexible and Customized Format: Yaeger caters to all types of students and offers flexibility by offering different types of study formats. The new AdaptaPASS course reflects students’ own preferences in how they like to study and takes into account the upcoming changes to the CPA exam in 2017 whether you prefer video lectures or textbook format.
Teaching Approach: Yaeger’s instructors will walk you through each topic in their video lectures step-by-step, while they reinforce your understanding of each concept by working through hundreds of multiple choice questions and simulations right alongside you. Their goal is to make sure students understand concepts, as opposed to rote memorization.
Affordable and Flexible Pricing: The complete Yeager online course includes the 100+ hours of video lectures, interactive textbooks, test bank software, instructor handouts, and access to the Instructor Hotline. Yaeger allows you to buy different packages, individual section materials, or various time subscription plans depending on how quickly you expect to pass each part.
Additional Study Help: Yeager provides the option of audio lectures, the CPA review quiz generator, CRAM courses, and mobile flashcards. I recommend Yaeger for those students who need a comprehensive course that provides in-depth explanations and multiple study options. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a student who couldn’t benefit from all the choices Yaeger has to offer!
Why Yaeger? Yaeger is a good fit for you if you want a comprehensive course that gives you more than enough information to successfully pass the CPA Exam.
Comprehensive Material: The Gleim material covers every topic that could appear on the exam and goes into great detail. By studying every possible area, you can be certain that there will be no surprises when you take the actual exam.
Number of Questions: Gleim provides students with over 9,000+ multiple choice questions. Using Gleim as a supplement for FAR, I found that the questions were a lot more difficult than those on the actual exam. By mastering the difficult practice questions, I was more than prepared for the questions on my exam.
Affordable: At $1,399 Gleim is the best bang-for-your-buck course on the market. Thousands of practice questions and sims, a customizable study planner, audio lectures, and a personal counselor all make this course stand out. If you just want to use this program as a supplement, you can even purchase individual test prep for a single section of the exam for under $200.
Audio Review: An audio review is provided with the purchase of the Gleim Review System package. It can be downloaded to multiple devices to facilitate studying on the go. I used an audio review while I studied and it helped me tremendously. The information is relevant and set up logically in 20 audio lectures (per section) that last approximately 30 minutes each.
Access Until You Pass: Gleim Online will remain current for 18 months from your purchase date, but if you do not pass within that time frame by using Gleim materials, they offer extended “Access Until You Pass.” If you do not pass the CPA exam sections for which you have purchased Gleim Online, you will receive unlimited continued access to Gleim Online until you pass.
Why Gleim? If you’ve been out of school for a number of years and want access to a personal counselor throughout your studies, Gleim is the right fit for you.
Affordable: Fast Forward Academy CPA review is relatively affordable at $1,349 for the Online Bundle package, or $1,749 for the Smart Bundle package, which comes with physical textbooks. The course is designed for students who prefer not to use physical textbooks, but let’s be honest—there’s better options out there!
Responsive Study Planner:The study planner is customizable and responsive. Once you select your study period and exclusion days, your daily study tasks are set up for you. Students can opt to receive notifications by text message to remind them of daily tasks. Some people have noted that this system isn’t too great, as it’s annoying and not really anything that can’t be done via another app or calendar.
30 Day Refund: Fast Forward has a guarantee that grants you access to the course until you pass. But what if you don’t fit well with the course structure and want to use a different course. Well, you’ll only have 30 days to figure it out in order to receive a refund. This isn’t much time, especially if you find out the course didn’t work for you when you don’t pass. Other courses don’t have a time limit on their refund and instead abide by a pass or refund guarantee. You’ll have to make sure you meet all of Fast Forwards 30 day refund qualifications too in order to get your money back.
No Mobile App: Although Fast Forward Academy’s learning platform can be accessed from most mobile devices, including iPads, iPhones, and most Android phones, there is no dedicated app to make studying on your phone or tablet more streamlined and convenient. Other courses have awesome mobile apps that makes quick study sessions easy and simple. It helps to have an app that you can use to quickly fit in a topic or two on-the-go.
Why FFA? Fast Forward Academy is still a new course, so I would recommend this for you if you are on a strict budget.
Challenging Practice Questions: Becker CPA Review has more than 7,200 challenging multiple choice questions that link directly to eBook pages and lectures.
Study Anywhere: Use your laptop, Iphone or Android phone to study anytime and anywhere. Best of all, your progress is always saved across all devices making it convenient when you’re on the go or just want to pick up where you left off. Still, other courses have better mobile offerings.
Cost: The Becker CPA Review is the most expensive option available. Even though Becker has a decent course and unlimited support, Becker cannot compete with other courses that include much more for a cheaper cost.
No Audio Courses: Becker CPA Review doesn’t offer audio courses. Other review courses have audio courses since many students like to have the freedom of studying on the go. Becker does not even offer audio courses for an additional cost, so check out other courses that have this option, especially if you are an auditory learner.
Inconsistent Live Classes: Students report that Becker’s live classes are inconsistent and can be hit or miss, depending on the instructor and location. I’ve talked with many Becker students and most agree that the live classes are below par and the online course option is much better.
Why Becker? Honestly, you should use Becker only if someone else is going to pay for it. Otherwise check out other review courses if you want better chances at passing the CPA Exam.
While all of the prep tools listed above are awesome, sometimes the course that is right for you is missing a couple helpful features that can enhance your studies. Don’t stress. There are a variety of different supplemental study materials you can use to add on to your CPA exam prep course to make sure it has everything you need to pass. Some popular CPA exam supplementals are mobile apps, test banks, flashcards, and cram courses.
Let’s walk through all of these and look at why you may consider buying them. Remember that buying supplemental products from a different company besides your main CPA exam review course can be beneficial. It gives you a different study method and a variety of study materials.
Which CPA Test Banks Are Best?
Studying for the CPA exam is made easier thanks to numerous practice questions. The best source for these helpful study tools is supplemental CPA test banks. Below are some of the best options available to those who are getting ready to sit for the exam.
One of the most popular supplemental products in the CPA exam industry, the Wiley Test Bank includes 4,500+ CPA Exam practice questions with detailed answer rationales and 160 task-based simulations, including new Document Review Simulations (DRS).
With more than 10,000 exam-emulating multiple-choice questions and simulations of the largest test bank on the market, Gleim tests your knowledge and skills at the levels of the CPA Exam to ensure that you’re completely prepared.
The most affordable and effective CPA test bank on the market offers 4,639 multiple choice questions and detailed answers, along with 73 task based simulations. All of this for less than 1/3 the cost of Wiley’s CPA Test Bank.
Which CPA Exam Cram Courses Are Best?
Whether you need to improve your CPA Exam score by 10 points or you simply want to solidify difficult concepts for final review, a solid Cram Course is the best study supplement to get you there. A CPA exam Cram Course is the best way to reinforce your understanding of the most heavily tested test topics in a short amount of time.
Roger’s Cram Course is offered in two convenient formats. The Online Cram gives you two months of access from start of activation, while the portable Flash Drive Cram provides a full eight months of access time and offers the convenience to study without an internet connection.
All practice questions covered during the lectures come with full, in-depth explanations. The course also includes Cram Textbooks that were written by expert CPAs alongside the infamous Roger Philip.
The Gryfin CPA Cram Course is both affordable and comprehensive, so now you can boost your scores without breaking the bank. Its adaptive learning technology helps you hone in on your weak areas and eliminate repetitive studying of concepts you already know.
The software creates a custom study plan catered to your specific needs and is backed by a 100% pass or refund guarantee.
Which CPA Exam Flashcards Are Best?
There’s a reason that a lot of the older study methods still exist: the way that humans learn hasn’t changed that much! CPA exam flashcards are a popular study tool because these help to reinforce key topics and are perfect for rote memorization. Check out these great CPA flashcards below:
Wiley CPAexcel includes more than 250 printed flashcards for each section of the CPA exam with their Platinum course. You can also buy them a la carte to supplement your primary review course studies with which is a great way to boost your memorization skills.
Which CPA Exam Mobile Apps Are Best?
Studying on the go is incredibly important for students and those who are working full time. Studying on your phone during your subway commute or lunch hour is invaluable, as it can turn downtime into productive breaks. CPA exam mobile applications are the best way to squeeze in twenty or thirty minutes of studying, especially when the app is fully optimized!
Surgent is offering a completely free Flashcard app for iPhone and Android giving you the chance to study 2,200+ CPA exam terms and definitions on your smartphone. Every candidate should be taking advantage of this offer while it lasts!
Roger offers two iPhone apps to students. The first one is a multiple choice app with over 3,400+ questions and the second is a flashcard app.
Which CPA Review Course Has the Best Video Lectures?
CPA video lectures are ideal for those that prefer to learn by watching a teacher go over the important accounting concepts. Since many students prefer this style of learning, video lectures are one of the most important parts of any CPA review course. Roger CPA Review has some of the best video materials in the industry with his engaging lectures. Another great course for video lectures would be Surgent CPA Review and its knowledgeable instructors.
CPA Review Course
Video Lecture Hours
Surgent CPA Review
Roger CPA Review
Yaeger CPA Review
Gleim CPA Review
Fast Forward Academy
Bottom Line: Since Roger is the most engaging instructor in the industry, Roger CPA Review is the best review course for video lectures.
Which CPA Prep Course has the most Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s)?
Multiple choice questions are the core of any CPA review course, as these mirror the exam content and are the best way to practice for the test. The number of MCQs isn’t always the most important metric for these questions. You must also note that some questions are harder and more like the actual exam than others.Wiley has plenty of great questions, but Surgent has multiple choice questions specific to your level of knowledge that will help you prepare for the test.
CPA Review Course
Multiple Choice Questions
Surgent CPA Review
Roger CPA Review
Yaeger CPA Review
Gleim CPA Review
Fast Forward Academy
Bottom Line: Wiley CPAexcel provides more multiple choice questions than any course, so you’re not going to run out of practice questions.
Which CPA Course has the Best Task-Based Simulations (TBS)?
Task-based simulations are increasingly important because of the changes made to the CPA Exam in 2017. Because of this new test that places more importance of simulations, CPA review courses now place more emphasis on these questions, ensuring you can pass after practicing the TBS section. Surgent and Wiley are the best courses for TBSs that have included up to date TBS materials and have optimized these sections for the new CPA exam blueprints.
CPA Review Course
Number of Task-Based Simulations
Surgent CPA Review
Roger CPA Review
Yaeger CPA Review
Gleim CPA Review
Fast Forward Academy
Bottom Line: While Surgent has extremely up-to-date materials, Gleim CPA Review has the most task based simulations for you to practice.
CPA Prep Course Discounts & Financing Compared – What CPA Course is the Best Deal?
Why pay full price for a CPA review course when there are plenty of great CPA discount codes that are available! Take hundreds of dollars off of the Surgent CPA Review or Wiley CPAexcel with my great CPA promo codes. If you can’t pay for a pricey CPA review course, check out the financing options from Surgent and Roger CPA Review.
CPA Review Course
Price with Discount
Surgent CPA Review
Roger CPA Review
Yaeger CPA Review
Gleim CPA Review
Fast Forward Academy
Bottom Line: Surgent offers the best financing options, with 0% and a low monthly rate thanks to an affordable price point.
Dedicated self-studier who needs flexibility in schedules
Additional Resources to Get You On the Right Track
Not sure which review course is right for you? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back! Check out my side by side comparison of Wiley CPAexcel vs. Becker. You can also learn more about other accounting certifications including EA Review Courses and CIA Study Materials. If you have any specific CPA questions, just drop a comment below and I’ll personally help find the right course for you!
Welcome to my CPA Exam Guide! My name is Jess, and if you are brand new to the CPA exam process or struggling through it after recent setbacks, this is the guide for you! I am confident that you will appreciate the information in this guide and that it will help you in your mission to PASS the CPA exam.
If you want a six-month plan that lays out how you can go from no CPA knowledge whatsoever to becoming certified, look no further.
“The Uniform CPA Examination protects the public interest by helping to ensure that only qualified individuals become licensed as U.S. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Individuals seeking to qualify as CPAs – the only licensed qualification in accounting – are required to pass the CPA Examination.”
What this boils down to is that having CPA certification means that you are qualified above all other candidates to handle a career in finance and accounting. In order to enforce this lofty claim, the AICPA has strict education, age, and residency requirements that must be met prior to sitting for the exam. (Refer to Step #3 for specific requirements)
CPA Exam Format
To test the knowledge of every candidate and ensure that they are fully ready to handle the obligations of an accountant, the CPA exam is split into four different sections, covering the following:
Financial Accounting and Reporting is the largest section of the CPA exam. It is centered around general accounting knowledge, such as how to file different costs and account transfers. In addition, this section touches on general concepts relating to finance, resulting in a test that will gauge your specific and theoretical knowledge in the field.
FAR is made up of the following primary topics:
Conceptual Framework and Financial Reporting (25-35%)
Select Financial Statements Accounts (30-40%)
Select Transactions (20%-30%)
State and Local Governments (5%-15%)
You knowledge of the following information will be tested in each section:
Conceptual Framework and Financial Reporting (25-35%)
1) Conceptual framework and standard-setting
2) General-purpose financial statements: for-profit business entities
Format and content of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)
Deriving government-wide financial statements and reconciliation requirements
Typical items and specific types of transactions and events in governmental entity financial statements
What Is The FAR Exam’s Structure?
When taking the FAR portion of your CPA exam, 2 testlets of 33 multiple choice questions each will be given, resulting in a total of 66 multiple choice questions that you need to answer. Additionally, 3 more Testlets contain a total of 8 Task Based Simulation questions, structured more closely as word problems. These questions are split among the 3 testlets in 2 groups of 3 and 1 group of 2.
How Much Time Do You Have To Complete the FAR Exam?
In total, 4 hours are given for you to complete this portion. You are not required to use the entire length of time to complete the exam, and you will have the opportunity to take a 15 minute break that doesn’t count against this time limit.
How Is the FAR Exam Graded?
When being graded, some of the questions you answer on the FAR exam are pretested. This means they won’t affect your grade and are merely to gauge the effectiveness of the exam. Out of the entire exam, 12 multiple choice questions and one task-based simulation question will not count toward your final grade.
There is an even amount of weight given to both styles of question on the FAR exam, meaning your success in answering the simulation questions has equal bearing on your grade to the multiple choice questions.
Section #2: Regulation (REG)
The Regulation or REG section of the CPA exam is the second largest. It covers many different aspects of taxes and business law in comprehensive detail.
The REG exam portion is comprised of the following:
1) (10-20%) Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and Federal Tax Procedures
2) (10-20%) Business law,
3) (60-80%) Federal Taxation
Within each of these subtopics, you will be tested on your knowledge of the following:
(10-20%) Ethics, Professional Responsibilities, and Federal Tax Procedures
Ethics and responsibilities in tax practice
Licensing and disciplinary systems
Federal tax procedures
Legal duties and responsibilities
(10-20%) Business law
Government regulation of business
(60-80%) Federal Taxation
Federal taxation of individuals
Federal taxation of entities
Federal taxation of property transactions
What Is The REG Exam’s Structure?
The REG portion of the CPA exam contains 2 testlets of 38 multiple choice questions each, adding up to 76 multiple choice questions total. In addition, 3 testlets are also included with 8 task based simulation questions, divided among each testlet into 1 group of 2 and 2 groups of 3.
How Much Time Do You Have To Complete the REG Exam?
Much like the FAR portion of the CPA exam, you are given 4 hours to complete this portion as well. Also similar is the optional 15 minute break you are allotted that doesn’t count against this time limit.
How Is The REG Exam Graded and Weighted?
When being graded, 12 of the multiple choices questions and 1 of the task-based simulation questions aren’t counted. This is because they are pretested and are only used to verify how effective the test it. The REG Exam is weighted similarly to the FAR exam, with half of your grade being determined by the multiple choice section and the other half being determined by the simulation section.
Section #3: Auditing & Attestation (AUD)
AUD Auditing and Attestation is not the largest section of the CPA exam, but it is considered by the majority of test takers to be the most difficult. It covers many different aspects of auditing and attestation in a comprehensive manner.
The AUD exam is comprised of the following:
1) (15-25%) Ethics, Professional Responsibilities and General Principles
2) (20-30%) Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response
3) (30-40%) Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence
4) (15-25%) Forming Conclusions and Reporting
Out of these four primary topics, you will be expected to understand these subtopics within each main section:
(15-25%) Ethics, Professional Responsibilities and General Principles
Nature and Scope of Audit and Non-Audit Engagements
Ethics, Independence and Professional Conduct
Terms of Engagement for Audit and Non-Audit Engagements
Requirements for Engagements Documentation
Communication with Management and Those Charged with Governance
Communication with Component Auditors and Parties Other Than Management and Those Charge with Governance
A Firm’s System of Quality Control, Including Quality Control at the Engagement Level
(20-30%) Assessing Risk and Developing a Planned Response
Planning an Engagement
Understanding an Entity and Its Environment
Understanding an Entity’s Internal Control
Assessing Risks Due to Fraud
Identifying and Assessing the Risk of Material Misstatement and Planning Further Procedures Responsive to Identified Risks
Planning for and using the Work of Others, Including Group Audits, the Internal Audit Function and the Work of a Specialist
Specific Areas of Audit Risk
(30-40%) Performing Further Procedures and Obtaining Evidence
Specific Matters that Require Individual Attention
Misstatements and Internal Control Deficiencies
Subsequent Events and Subsequently Discovered Facts
(15-25%) Forming Conclusions and Reporting
Reports On Auditing Engagements
Reports On Attestation Engagements
Accounting and Review Service Engagements
Reporting On Compliance
Other Reporting Considerations
What Is The AUD Exam’s structure?
The actual exam divided up in a similar manner to the REG and FAR portions of the CPA exam, with 2 testlets comprised of a total 72 multiple choice questions and 3 testlets containing 8 task based simulations. One thing that is different about this portion when compared to the FAR and REG portions is the addition of document review simulations, but they are still split in the same manner of 2 testlets with 3 questions and 1 testlet of 2 questions.
How Much Time Do You Have To Complete AUD?
You are given 4 hours to complete the AUD exam, with an optional 15 minute break in the middle that doesn’t count towards this time limit.
How is the AUD Exam Graded and Weighted?
When being graded, there are 12 multiple choice questions and 1 task-based simulation question that will not count toward your final grade due to pretesting purposes. Once the remaining questions are calculated, your final exam grade will be weighted equally between both forms of questions; 50% multiple choice and 50% task-based simulations.
Section #4: Business Environment and Concepts (BEC)
Business Environment and Concepts is the shortest of the CPA exam sections, but you should still be prepared for a difficult testing session. It comprehensively covers general business concepts outside of the sphere of general accounting.
The BEC Exam is comprised of the following:
1) 17-27% Corporate Governance
2) 17-27% Economic Concepts and Analysis
3) 11-21% Financial Management
4) 15-25% Information Systems and Communications
5) 15-25% Operations Management
These four primary topics are made up of questions concerning the following subtopics:
17-27% Corporate Governance
Internal control and enterprise risk management frameworks
The actual exam is organized into 2 testlets containing 31 multiple choice questions each with a combined total of 62. There are also 3 testlets that contain 4 total task-based simulations and 3 written communications, which are essentially essay questions. These are split into 2 groups of 2 task-based questions and 1 group of 3 written communications.
How Much Time Do You Have To Complete the BEC Exam?
You are given 4 hours to complete the BEC exam, with an optional 15 minute break in between.
How is the BEC Exam Graded and Weighted?
When being graded, 12 multiple choice questions, 1 task-based simulation question, and 1 written communication question is pretested and not counted in your final grade. In a departure from the way the other 3 portions of the CPA exam is weighted, this BEC exam is weighted as follows:
50% Multiple Choice
15% Written Communications
Additional Testing: Ethics
Depending on what state you live in, you may be required to complete additional ethics-based training in order to receive a CPA license. These states include Minnesota, California, New Jersey, and Texas, while some states such as Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Georgia, and Arkansas do not require ethics certification. The most popular ethics course used for this purpose is the AICPA’s Professional Ethics: The AICPA’s Comprehensive Course. As an open-book CPE program that emphasizes self-study, it can be completed at any time during the CPA licensing process. You are usually required to pass an ethics exam within two years before applying for certification.
The Good News: CPA Certification and Your Career
It can be overwhelming and stressful to consider all of the information you’ll need to know before becoming a licensed CPA. Don’t be discouraged, you can do it! In order to help motivate you to succeed, let’s discuss what passing the CPA exam can do for your future career.
Just by passing the CPA exam, you will automatically set yourself from the vast majority of accountants and finance professionals working today. Based on the most recent census data from 2006, there are about 646,000 active CPA in the United States. That’s over half a million, which may not sound so exclusive and prestigious at first. However, when you consider that almost 2 million people work in accounting today, that number seems a lot more impressive.
By passing the CPA exam, you instantly join an elite group of finance professionals. This boost in prestige will give you a leg up on the competition when it comes to looking for work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a little less than 1.5 million accounting jobs available in the United States. Being CPA certified will help you to be first in line when employers consider applicants to fill one of these job positions.
In addition to helping you find a career in finance and accounting, a CPA exam certificate is recognized in many other fields as well. Many positions in the government and academics look favorably on CPA certified applicants, which will make transitioning to one of these careers or industries much easier for you.
The benefits listed above are nice to have, but the greatest benefit of CPA by far is the monetary advantage you will have over your non-certified peers. There is a very real tangible benefit that becoming a CPA can have on your income, as you can see from the following infographic:
If you want to be the best and most successful accountant you can be, then passing the CPA exam is the best course of action you can take.
With Step 2, we will go over what kind sacrifices you should expect to make in order to become CPA certified. Don’t be scared and remember what they say: if you’re going through hell, keep going!
Step 2: Prepare Yourself Mentally For The CPA Exam
If you are serious about passing the CPA exam on your first try, then it is of the utmost importance that you devote all of your time and effort into planning and studying for it. This is an extremely tough test, and you will need it to be your full focus with no distractions in order to succeed.
If you are not 100% mentally prepared to devote long hours every day for the next few months towards studying for the CPA exam, you will inevitably procrastinate, lose focus and fail the test. Now, it isn’t the end of the world if you try and fail and have to retake the exam. However, if you plan it right the first time, you will save yourself the time, grief, and money that comes with the retesting process.
How Long Should I Study for the CPA Exam?
The majority of popular and reputable CPA review courses recommend that you study for a total amount of somewhere between 300-400 hours. This is a large time commitment for sure, and it can be incredibly difficult to devote that much time to studying if you’re preoccupied with a job or other classes.
You may be considering spreading those hours out over a longer period of time: something like 3-4 months per section, resulting in a total study time of around 1 year. This way, you wouldn’t have to make drastic lifestyle changes and could study for the CPA exam in your free time.
Unfortunately, this is the wrong attitude to have.
The best way to pass the CPA exam is to take the most advantage of your short term memory. You want to cram for the exam in a shorter period of time so the knowledge is fresh in your head the day of the test.
This may sound counterintuitive at first. After all, it flies in the face of most traditional academic logic that encourages you to cement information in your long-term memory over long years of study.
You have to think about CPA test prep differently from college or high school or any other educational program. The less time you give yourself to study, the more pressure you are going to feel to make progress, and the fresher the material will be on exam day.
If you give yourself 16 weeks to study, you may find it difficult to stay motivated. With your deadline so far away, it can be difficult to stay in ‘all out study mode’ because you feel like your study time is limitless.
If you spend too much time studying, once you finally reach the end of your long journey it is highly likely that you will forget most of the information you learned at the beginning. That’s why it’s so important to strike a balance between enough time to learn all of the material and a short enough period to keep you in crunch mode.
Based on the research I have conducted, this is what I recommend:
Keep a hard deadline of 7-9 weeks. If you do this, you are going to feel immediate pressure to get things done. Additionally, having a shorter period of time like this makes it easier to cut all of the distractions out of your life, since you can then return to your regular obligations sooner. In that 7-9 week period, however, you need to eat, breathe, and sleep the CPA exam.
The CPA exam is supposed to test your ability to perform under pressure and in high-stakes situations, so giving yourself a taste of that pressure will help you perform when it counts. Plus, you won’t have to waste a year of your life studying!
Step 3: Learn About CPA Exam Requirements In Your State
It can be confusing to figure out exactly what is required of you before taking the CPA exam, as it varies from state to state. A great way to eliminate some of the anxiety from the exam is to know without a shadow of a doubt exactly what is required from you in order to take it.
5 Step Process – Signing Up for the CPA Exam:
Signing up for the CPA exam shouldn’t be the scariest part. However, if you find yourself experiencing pre-exam anxiety, following these 5 steps will help you stay oriented towards your goal.
Review the exam requirements for your state (see link at the end of this step)
Submit your exam application and find a CPA review course that works best for you
Request copies of your transcripts and forward them to your state’s accountancy board
Pay your exam fees and receive a notice to schedule (NTS)
Schedule your exam at a local Prometric center
What Are The CPA Exam Educational Requirements?
Here’s some general information about the different education requirements to start you off. Keep in mind that this is just a summary; a full list of each state’s requirements can be found at the end of this chapter.
These are the four major educations requirements you will need to meet before taking the CPA exam:
Requirement #1 – Degree
All states will require you to have a Bachelor’s degree in accounting at the very least. The majority of states will require a masters in accounting or an equivalent level of higher education.
Requirement #2 – Semester Hours
In addition to the required degree, states have now started requiring a cumulative total of semester hours spent studying accounting. Depending on the state, you may require 150 semester hours or 120 semester hours in order to sit for the exam.
Requirement #3 – Course Credits
You are required to verify that you have completed the appropriate amount of course credits in accounting, business law, and other required classes that will vary depending on your state.
Requirement #4 – Forms
Regardless of what state you plan on taking the CPA exam in, you will be required to send your college transcripts and CPA exam application to your State Board Of Accountancy. First time applicants will need to allow 4-6 weeks for the completion of the form submission process.
What Are the CPA Exam Residency Requirements?
Out of all the states and provinces you can apply for the CPA exam in, which is the best one for you? Surprisingly, it may not be the one you are living in right now! Most states don’t require proof of residency in order to take the exam there, so you may be able to find a state near you with lighter requirements.
Understanding the different CPA exam residency requirements by state is crucial, especially if you plan to work in a different state than the one you currently live in. It’s possible for you to take the exam in one state and then transfer your CPA credits to another state entirely, once you have established residency and wish to become licensed there.
This is a strategy I’ve heard from many licensed CPA professionals who now work very satisfying careers. With a bit of forethought and research, you can find yourself saving time and money by starting your career earlier than you may have initially expected.
What are the CPA Exam Age Requirements?
Did you know some states don’t have any age requirement at all to take the CPA exam? Great news for all you teenage accounting enthusiasts – in some states, you can become a licensed CPA before you’re even old enough to vote!
Some states do require you to be a certain age, usually around 21 years old, before taking the exam. Don’t worry, though; the majority of states don’t have this age requirement at all. Just ask Belicia Cespedes, the woman who received her CPA licensing at the ripe old age of 17!
For all of you aspiring international CPA candidates, I have some good news for you!
Certain states will allow you to take the CPA exam as a non-US citizen. However, some states will still require you to provide proof of citizenship, so non-residential immigrants will need to be mindful of these particular areas when planning their CPA path.
If you would like to know the exact CPA exam requirements for each state, you can find out by clicking this link.
Step 4: Plan For Your Trip To The Prometric Testing Center
If you’ve ever been to the Pentagon, you probably have a good idea of what it’s like to enter a Prometric test center.
You may think I’m kidding, but I’m really not. The security at these testing centers is insane, and they are constantly on the lookout for anyone trying to cheat on their exam.
If you don’t know, Prometric is a national standardized testing center. They work with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to proctor CPA exams. Here are some important rules you need to know before entering a Prometric testing center:
No calculators allowed
No writing materials (paper, pen, pencils) allowed
No electronic devices (phones, watches, portable game consoles) allowed
All visitors will undergo a thorough security scan (TSA-style)
Here are some additional rules you may need to follow in special circumstances, according to the NASBA:
You must bring two forms of ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.) that match your NTS
You must arrive at least 30 minutes early to make sure you have enough time to sign in and go through security
You must place all personal belongings in a locker that will be provided to you
Once you’ve signed in and gotten through all the security checkpoints, you’re finally ready to take the CPA exam. While taking it, you will have a countdown timer present that tracks the amount of time you have remaining to finish the exam.
After each testlet you will also be given the opportunity to take an optional break. You are granted one 15-minute break that will not count against your time. However, any additional breaks that you take, even to go to the bathroom, will be counted against your remaining time!
Step 5: Understand How The CPA Exam Is Graded
It can be difficult to fully grasp how the CPA exam is graded. Fortunately, the AICPA has a helpful resource that can assist you in understanding the entire process.
The CPA exam is extremely complex exam, containing many different variables that can affect your final score. For instance, receiving a grade of 75 does not mean you got 75% of the questions correct. Instead of an exact grade, your score functions more as a percentile, showing you how well you did on the exam compared to everyone else who has taken it. To my best understanding, these are the factors that go into your final exam score:
As I mentioned in Step 1, some of the exam questions for each section are pretested questions. These are questions that aren’t graded in your final score because they are used to evaluate how effective the exam is overall. It does not matter to your grade if you answer these questions correctly or incorrectly.
Something else worth noting is that the CPA exam is an adaptive test. This means that it changes based on what questions you correctly answer. Depending on how you answer one multiple choice section, subsequent multiple choice questions can be easier or harder as a result.
Multiple choice questions are weighted based on their difficulty. This means that answering the right multiple choice questions correctly can matter as much as, if not more than, answering the most multiple choice questions correctly. An individual who answers more low-weighted questions correctly may end up with a lower score than an individual who answered a few high-weighted questions correctly.
The Key Takeaway
The reason why I’m sharing this information with you is to illustrate that there really isn’t a way for you to know how you did on the CPA exam immediately after finishing it. Whether you think you nailed it or you blew it, you simply won’t be able to know until you receive the results.
There are just too many variables to account for. Don’t try to calculate them in your head, because it will just make you will lose motivation and stress you out. Just stay motivated, take your exam sections as they come, and move on to the next one once you’re finished. There’s no use looking back; just keep moving forward!
Step 6: Learn the Right Way and the Wrong Way to Sign Up for the CPA Exam
Are you interested in saving hundred of hours of your free time and potentially thousands of dollars of your disposable income while taking the CPA exam? If so, this section will contain information you will want to know.
This step covers:
How many CPA exam sections to enroll in at a time
What order you should take each section
How much you should budget for CPA exam fees
The Single Biggest Exam Scheduling Mistake You Can Make
When signing up for the CPA exam for the first time, this is the biggest mistake you can make.
Under no circumstances should you ever sign up for all 4 sections in a row.
You may be unbelievably confident in your abilities. You may have observed all your peers passing the exam on their first try and think to yourself “I had better grades than them, this exam must be a piece of cake!” You may be 100% convinced that you can and will pass all 4 sections the 1st time through.
Have you stopped to consider what happens if you fail even one portion of the CPA exam? This foolhardy confidence can completely undermine months of hard work and hundreds of dollars of your own money!
Let’s unpack this trainwreck of a scenario. Why is this the biggest mistake you can possibly make when signing up for the exam?
Notice to Schedule (NTS)
Before we identify the mistake, let me explain some important information about the application process. Once your transcripts and application have been approved and you’re cleared to take the exam, your state’s board of accountancy will send you a notice to schedule. Here’s a sample NTS for reference purposes:
Depending on which state you are taking the CPA exam in, you will be given a period of around 6-9 months to take each section. If you schedule all 4 parts at once, you will have a deadline of roughly 6 months to schedule and attend each section of the exam or you will lose your fees.
Are you beginning to see how this could cause problems if you fail one section? Having to retake one section without properly budgeting out time to prepare can prove disastrous. It’s true that some time constraints can inspire you to study harder, but you don’t want that same kind of stress come exam day, believe me.
Getting back to the subject at hand: depending on how many sections you sign up for, they will be listed on your NTS form with the earliest and latest dates you can take the exam on. You will also need to have your section ID and Launch Code password ready for when you’re at the Prometric center, so you don’t want to forget your NTS when you head in for your first exam.
Very important: make sure all of your personal information matches the information on your different forms of ID that you plan to bring to the testing center.
The Right Way to Schedule Your CPA Exam
Now that you have a better understanding of what happens after your CPA exam application gets approved, here is my tip for the best way to schedule your exam:
Sign up for 2 sections at a time.
If you plan your testing period out this way, you can take your first section, start studying for your second section afterward, and then find out the scores for your first exam after a month. This way, you can devote all of your focus and energy on these 2 exams as they occur. Then, once you’ve received the results from your first exam, you have the option to either retake it if you failed or sign up for your third exam.
I am begging you, please don’t make the mistake of signing up for all 4 sections at once! You can easily trigger a domino effect that will cost you dearly. Just sign up for two exams at a time, retake them if you have to, and take it from there. You will make the most of your exam fees and ensure you have enough time and focus to pass at least one or two of the exam sessions.
In What Order Should I Take The CPA Exam?
Your friends and peers may swear that a specific arrangement of exam sections will ensure the highest probability of success, but there’s no real basis for one order being better than any other.
At the end of the day, it’s a grueling and stressful experience to take the CPA exam no matter how you slice it. The question you should be trying to answer instead is…
What Exam Order Works Best For YOU?
During my research into CPA test prep, I have heard three different theories on what order you should take the CPA exam. You can see them below, as well as some reasons why I think they’re flawed.
Tip 1: Start with the easiest/hardest section first.
People will suggest that you either schedule your hardest section first so you can get it out of the way, or that you schedule the easiest section first so you can ease into the rest of the exam. The problem with this strategy is that you won’t know what sections are the easiest or hardest for you when you’re scheduling them, only when you start studying.
Tip 2: Start with the FAR exam and end with BEC exam.
This is a popular choice, since the FAR is commonly considered the hardest and the BEC is considered the easiest. In a hypothetical situation, you should have no problem handling the BEC if you’ve already completed the much more intimidating FAR, but the problem with this strategy is the same as the last; you simply won’t know which section will be easy or hard to you.
Tip 3: Start with the BEC to build up confidence
This is an idea which is based on the premise that the BEC exam is the easiest one. Ensuring you take the easiest exam while you’re fresh and energized can increase your likelihood of passing that section at the very least, but this strategy could come at the expense of your other section’s scores. You definitely don’t want to feel fatigued when it’s time for the FAR exam!
Here’s my recommendation for you: start with the topic you are most familiar with.
If your educational background is primarily in taxes and business law, then you may want to take REG first. If you have some experience with or knowledge of auditing, take AUD. If you’re majoring in business, you’ll want to try BEC, and finance majors will want to take FAR.
This strategy is most effective if you are taking the CPA exam right out of college. The section that is most applicable to your college background will seem easier for you than the others if you are able to take that university knowledge and apply it to the exam.
Another effective piece of general advice is to approach all exam sections equally, not drastically changing your study strategies because you assume certain sections will be easier/harder than others.
While it may never hurt to over-study, it will almost definitely hurt if you understudy.
What is the Average Cost To Take The CPA Exam?
CPA Exam Fees
CPA Exam Cost
CPA Review Course
Exam Fees (All 4 Sections)
Ethics Exam Fee
Total CPA Exam Cost
CPA Exam Fees Breakdown
I know, I know: $3,000 dollars is a lot of money. You might be wondering why becoming CPA certified costs this much and what each of the aforementioned fees are actually for. Here’s a handy breakdown of what you’re paying for when you sign up for the CPA exam.
Quick Tip: You can save a bit of money on CPA exam fees if you are a veteran. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, you can receive exam fee reimbursements of up to $2,000!
CPA Review Course
This may seem like an optional fee since it isn’t really a requirement to be enrolled in a study course before taking the exam. However, considering how a good CPA course can mean the difference between passing the exam on your first try and failing, wasting your money, and being forced to schedule a retake, this really shouldn’t be considered optional. (More on this in the next step)
My personal recommendation for you is to sign up for a CPA review course once you’ve scheduled your exam date. The reason as to why you should sign up in that specific time frame is because some of the more popular CPA review courses will only grant licenses for a certain period of time. You can ensure that you get the most use out of your review course this way.
Your first real expense when signing up for the exam, besides the review course, is the application fee. This fee can vary depending on what state you are applying to take the exam in, with a typical range of $50-$200. This fee covers the cost of having your application and college transcripts processed. In order to avoid additional fees, make sure that you have all the information you need the first time to prevent the need to reapply later.
Examination fees are, as you may have expected, the fees for taking each section of the CPA exam. The total cost of these fees can vary from state to state, but an average range is around $175 to $200. This cost can increase if you fail a section of the exam, since you will unfortunately be required to pay the fee for that section again for any retakes.
For each section of the CPA exam you take an additional registration fee is charged. From what I can tell, there is little to no justification for this fee; it’s just something tacked on to take more money from you. Sorry, that’s just how it is!
The registration fees vary depending on what state you are in when scheduling the exam. In many cases, discounts on these fees are available if you register for multiple exams at the same time. For example, registering for just one exam costs around $60, but registering for two at once can cost around $80. This deal increases the more sections you register for, with deals of around $99 for three sections at once and $180 for all four.
This may make it very tempting for you to sign up for all 4 sections at once and save some money on these fees. However, remember what I told you earlier; it’s a bad idea to sign up for all 4 sections at the same time. You may recall that your NTS only lasts 6 months. What that means is that you would have to complete all 4 exams in that short period of time, giving you no time left over to retake any sections you messed up on.
Trust me, you do not want to sign up for all four sections at once. If you fail even one section, you can end up wasting your registration fees and your other exam fees. You can take slight advantage of the registration fee discount by scheduling two exams at once, but any more than that is a bad idea.
Ethics Exam Fee
For the states that require you to complete their Ethics exam, you will have to pay a fee in order to take their test. This fee can cost anywhere from $125 to $200, depending on the state. My advice for you is to hold off on this one until you have the four CPA exam sections under your belt first; this exam is usually not covered by your NTS, meaning you have more time to complete it.
This is going to be your favorite fee of all, because it means you’ve finally made it!
Once you have passed all four CPA exam sections, completed any additional ethics requirements, and clocked in enough hours of work experience, you are officially ready to become a licensed CPA.
This is usually an annual fee that ensures your active status as a licensed CPA. It will vary from state to state, costing anywhere from $50 to $500 a year. You will have to continue paying this fee if you are working as a public accountant and want to maintain your licensed status in that state.
Additional CPA Exam Fees
Don’t put away your wallet yet; there’s just a few more fees you’ll need to pay! Some of these fees are optional, while others will only apply to special situations. However, it doesn’t hurt to be informed of these extra charges so you can budget accordingly.
Continuing Education (CPE)
In order to maintain your license, you will need to complete 120 hours of continuing professional education or CPE per year. There are a plethora of CPE providers that come in a variety of different forms. Depending on your lifestyle and availability, you can take self-study courses, online webinars, and even live physical classes.
Most of these services will offer a year’s worth of CPE credits for a price of around $150 to $600, depending on what specific area you wish to pursue education.
Supplemental CPA Review Materials
Sometimes, one CPA review course just isn’t enough to prepare you for the exam. It’s okay, there’s no shame in needing a little extra help!
If you fail one section of the CPA exam despite taking a study course, you will probably want to invest in some fresh study questions to help you brush up on your sticking points. It’s also a good idea to use some premade flashcards or take an additional cram course to get you a few extra points on your final grade.
CPA Review Course Renewal Fees
If it takes you a bit longer to complete your CPA review course than you initially expected, you may have to pay some additional renewal fees.
Typically a CPA review course will charge in the range of $500 to $1,500 for renewals. However, if you want to cut these costs, you can do what I did and invest in some entirely new study material. Buying practice tests from other sources can cost you around $100 to $600, which can save you a lot of money!
Step 7: Find a CPA Review Course That’s Best For You
Without a doubt, the best course of action that you can take to maximize your chances of passing the CPA exam is picking a review course that will work best with your particular learning style. If the course you choose isn’t designed to play into your learning strengths, it will result in a painful experience of pointless busywork.
In order to help you avoid this fate, I’ve mapped out a 7 step guide to help you pick the right CPA review course for you:
Step 1: How Do You Learn?
Think back to your experiences in college. See if you can pinpoint and write down three of your study strengths and three study weaknesses.
Based on your favored study style, do you think you learn better on your own or in a group setting? On the multiple intelligence page linked above, try to determine if you are an interpersonal learner or an intrapersonal learner.
Step 3a: Intrapersonal Learners
If you have decided that you are more of an independent studier, you should focus on finding a CPA review course that has a solid textbook, pre-made flashcards, and/or tons of multiple choice practice tests. Video lectures may be helpful as well if you respond well to visual input.
If you fall into this category, I recommend you check out some of these study courses:
If you have determined that your best learning is done in a classroom environment with other students, then you will want to focus on finding a study course that emphasizes video lectures directly linked to practice tests, live classes, virtual classes, and/or an in-depth study planner to help you maintain structure.
If this description applies to you, you may want to try some of these CPA review courses:
Once you’ve pinned down your ideal learning style and researched the options that are available to you, it’s time to narrow down your top three or four choices. You may want to look for reviews from people who have taken these courses and passed their CPA exam.
Step 5: Try The CPA Review Courses You Have Identified
After identifying 2-3 CPA review courses that match how you learn best, sign up for a free trial for each of them. Many of the most popular courses, including many of the ones listed here, will offer some sort of trial experience to help you come to a decision. Here are some trial links that I’ve found:
Wiley CPAexcel Free Trial
Roger CPA Review Free Trial
Gleim CPA Review Free Trial
Yaeger CPA Review Free Trial
Step 6: Find a Discount
Once you’ve decided on the CPA review course of your dreams, look around for a discount code. Many of the popular review courses will have discount offers you can use if you’re willing to do some searching!
Step 7: Start Studying
All that’s left for you to do now is to purchase your CPA review course and start studying! As I previously mentioned, the best time to begin is close to your exam signup date. This is so that you can complete any review courses with a time constraint at around the same time you take the exam, so all the information is fresh in your mind. Good luck!
Step 8: Craft the Perfect CPA Exam Study Plan
If you treat the CPA exam like some regular college test, you’re going to have a bad time. This isn’t like a GE class from your first year of university and you aren’t going to get very far if your study plan is just highlighting and memorizing raw data like a robot.
GE tests are mostly specialized and don’t cover a broad amount of concepts. The CPA exam is not like this at all. It is unlike any other test you have done before, even your toughest college final. It is so all-encompassing that it will most likely require study tactics that are completely different from anything you’ve ever had to do in university.
Here are some tips and strategies I’ve found in my research that will help you study effectively and efficiently for this Mother Of All Exams:
Cut the Fat Out
If you’ve successfully determined how you learn best, then you should focus your study plan around those things and cut out anything else. As a personal example, I’m not very receptive to auditory teaching; I prefer visuals-based learning and study best by reading independently. If you’re like me, you may want to skip the video lectures in your study plan.
Obviously you should do what works for you, not just what works for me. If you like video lectures and need a group setting to learn, then maybe you should cut out something else. It’s all about maximizing the effectiveness of your studying while minimizing the amount of time.
This tip can easily save you 15-20 hours of study time per section. That’s 70 hours total saved out of the entire review course!
Don’t Make Your Own Flashcards
When you’re studying for the CPA exam, time is your most valuable resource. Although a common go-to study strategy is to make your own flashcards based off of the material you are studying, You don’t really have the time to do that with this exam.
There are certainly benefits to making your own flash cards, but in this specific situation these benefits did not outweigh the time cost. Because of that, you would probably be better off using premade flashcards to study with instead.
The companies that make the most popular CPA review courses are aware of the most important concepts on the exam; it’s their job to know! If you’re interested in pre-made flashcards, Wiley CPAexcel and Roger CPA have some of the best ones I’ve seen. You can try them for yourself by clicking the links below.
This strategy can save you around 1 hour per week from your study time for each section. Considering the average length of a study session is around 24 weeks, that’s an entire day of study time you can save with this one tip!
Don’t Take Too Much Time on Practice Questions
When tackling the multiple choice sections of the CPA exam, it’s recommended that you don’t spend more than 3-5 minutes on each question in order to make the most of the time given to finish the test. This same logic applies to practice tests as well.
Many CPA review courses with practice questions will also provide analytics to measure how much time you are spending on each question. If you’re struggling to hit this goal for some questions, make it your new goal to reduce that time.
In addition to cutting down on your study time, this tip will also prepare you to take the real CPA exam. This exam is so broad and vast that if you spend too much time on one question, you’re not going to stand a chance of completing the exam on time. In the absolute worst case scenario, skip the question and save it for the end so you can focus on answering the questions you know while you still have time.
This study tip can shave an average of 30 seconds off your time answering each practice question. Assuming that you answer around 1,200 practice questions during your entire CPA review, you can save around 40 hours in total. In addition to saving study time, this strategy has the additional benefit of helping you to identify any trouble areas of the exam and improve your overall exam time.
Breakdown of Total Time Saved
Skipping making flashcards:
Reduced average answering time:
Total time saved:
Please understand that just because these tips worked for a lot of people, it doesn’t guarantee that they will work for you. You are the person who knows the most about your effective study habits, so feel free to take inspiration from these study tips and put your own twist on them.
Step 9: Lock Down Your Final Review Itinerary
Without a doubt, the most important time during your CPA exam study period is the last 2 weeks before your test date.
This is commonly known as “Cram Weeks” or “Crunch Time.”
You need to have a solid plan for this 2-week period that ensures you cover everything you need to know before the big day.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t sweat it, I’ve got your back!
An MVP Review Itinerary
I want to share with you the best last-minute cram strategy I’ve seen. This plan of attack can help you pass the exam for sure!
I found this strategy from another CPA review resource. They called it the Final Review Study Funnel.
The concept behind the Final Review Study Funnel is to funnel all the information you’ve learned over the last few months of study time into a few weeks. It can help you recall information you learned towards the beginning of your study period, locate and work on your sticking points, and refresh your memory of important mnemonics and other memorization tools.
Phase 1: Comprehensive Review
Crunch time starts when you are 14 days out from exam day. If you’ve been studying effectively up to this point, you should have a solid grasp on all of the material you need to know for the CPA exam. The goal in Phase 1 is not to learn any new information but to begin reviewing all the information you’ve already learned. This phase is made up of four smaller steps:
Step 1: 14 Days Out to 13 Days Out
Take some practice exams that cover everything you’ve gone over during these first two days of your 2-week countdown. I recommend answering about 100-120 multiple choice questions for this stage. Task-based simulations and similar essay questions just aren’t an efficient use of your time at this point in your study plan.
A terrific resource that I recommend for this step is the Gleim Megabank.
Step 2: 12 Days Out to 4 Days Out
Once you’ve finished the practice exams, take a look at the analytics and try to identify any trends in your lower-scoring areas. Set aside an hour or two out of each day to focus on one of these problem areas until you feel more confident about it.
Step 3: 12 Days Out to 4 Days Out (Continued)
Here’s where you get into the real deep dive. Find those topics you’re having trouble with in your study material, be it flashcards, lectures, or the textbook, and use these resources to really drive the point home. The goal here is to ensure that you understand this information, not merely remember it.
Once you’ve ensured that you understand this difficult material, you will be more equipped to answer the questions asked of you than if you simply memorized it. A great way to reinforce this understanding is to create or find another practice test based entirely on these troublesome topics.
Continue this process of identifying weak points, diving into the material, and crafting practice exams until your 4th day out from the CPA exam.
Phase 2: Exam Simulation
By this point in your cram session you should have taken around a dozen or so multiple choice-based practice exams, with a focus on fixing your problem areas and improving your confidence.
Now it’s time for you to put the pressure on and simulate the real experience of taking the CPA exam at the Prometric center. You want to convince your brain that this is the real thing!
Here’s how to do it:
Isolate yourself in one room for the entire length of time that you will be taking the exam: around 4 hours. Turn off and put away your phone, sign off your computer, put away any other electronic devices. Follow the rules outlined by the Prometric testing center as if you were really there.
Quick Tip: If you’re using Gleim’s CPA review products, many of them have an Exam Simulation feature. This can be very useful for you during this stage of your study process.
Using the study materials you have access to, create a 1:1 representation of the CPA exam to the best of your ability. Organize practice tests into sections based on each section of the real exam, divided into testlets of the same length and with the same amount of questions. When you’re ready, start the timer and get to work!
Mentally acclimate yourself to this kind of test environment. The goal at this point is for you to prepare your mind to handle the demands of this exam. This process is almost as important as actually knowing the material on the exam.
Even if you know all the material, you won’t be able to succeed if you can’t handle the test-taking environment. Take this practice exam seriously and treat it like the real thing.
When calculating your score after the exam, try not to be discouraged if you don’t get a passing score. Remember, it’s nearly impossible to predict exactly what kind of results you will receive; some questions are weighted differently, while others are pretested and don’t count toward your score at all.
If you are comfortable in your ability to handle the pressures of the real test environment, then you’ve accomplished everything you need to at this stage of your cram session. This phase should take you right up to the day before the exam.
Phase 3: Relax
This is it. The calm before the storm.
If you’re wondering what is the best way to use this small amount of time left for you, here’s my advice:
You should do nothing.
Focus on relaxing as much as possible. Maybe watch your favorite inspirational movie and make a playlist that you can listen to on the car ride to the testing center the next day.
At this point, the best thing for you to do is to give your brain a chance to recover. You’re going to need it at full strength for the exam, so this is an excellent time to take a break. Have you ever tried mindful meditation? Many have found this simple practice useful when preparing for major life events and it could help you too.
There’s a quote that I love, from an unknown source: “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you are too busy — then you should sit for an hour.”
If you’ve followed your CPA review course and implemented this 14 day study plan, you should be ready to take the test once the big day arrives. Get in there and kick the CPA exam’s butt!
Step 10: Prepare For Post-Exam Life
At this point, you’ve finished the CPA exam. Maybe you’re still waiting for your results, or maybe you’ve already received them.
If You Failed…
If you received your results and found out you didn’t pass, then I’m sorry. It’s a terrible feeling for sure, but the important thing is to not be discouraged. My advice to you in this situation is to go back to Step 7 and find a new study plan. The best way to ensure that your time wasn’t wasted is to keep going until you make it. I know you can do it if you just keep trying.
NEVER GIVE UP!
If You Passed
Congratulations! I knew you could do it if you tried. It’s time for you to adjust to what your life is going to be like after receiving CPA certification.
If you plan out your CPA career correctly, you can easily make well over $1,000,000 more during your entire career than you would if you never passed the exam. One million dollars!
That’s a lot of money, but we’re talking long term. Right now, let’s take a look at some more realistic, immediate numbers.
I found this information from an individual who catalogued their career path since passing the exam. Any revealing information about their identity has been obscured.
Upon first passing the CPA exam in 2010, This person made about $40K per year.
Within just a few months after passing, this person was then offered an associate position at PricewaterhouseCoopers where they made $54K a year.
After spending 2 years working at PwC, This person quit and received an offer as an assistant VP in CitiGroup’s financial reporting department handling mortgages. That position pulled in $65K per year.
Over the length of 2 years, one person who shall remain nameless increased their annual salary by $25K, or roughly 60%! If that trend continues for the next 30 years, a $25K boost can easily turn into a $750K boost. That doesn’t even account for any potential raises or promotions along the way.
Who knows where this person would have been if they had never passed the CPA exam? From how they say it, passing was the single most significant move they made in advancing their career!
This isn’t to say that your experience will be the same; everyone has their own path in life. However, it’s possible that you will experience prosperity in your career similar to that of this individual now that you’ve passed the CPA exam!
Let’s come back to the present, to the time you’re in now, looking at this guide and planning out your future CPA career. Even if you follow all the advice I’ve laid out for you here to the letter, I can’t guarantee you a passing grade.
However, if you do pass the CPA exam, I can guarantee that you will find a way to achieve the results you’re looking for, both in your career and in your life. If you had the strength and ability to get through the exam, you’ll go incredibly far, guaranteed!
Passing this exam and becoming a licensed CPA will open doors for you that you didn’t know even existed. The best part of this is that these doors aren’t all in the realm of finance and accounting.
I know people who passed the CPA exam and now work as school teachers, consultants, and FBI agents. Nearly every industry recognizes the drive and determination that is expected of licensed CPAs, and this trait will help you to get your foot in the door for many of them.
Pretty cool, right?
Final Piece of Advice
By this point, you’re probably pretty jazzed up about the life you can live as a certified CPA. In the meantime, however, you still need to pass!
How do you do that? I already told you! Just go back to Step 1 and get started. Before you do that, though, I have one more piece of advice to impart on you.
Be prepared to invest in your success.
Unfortunately, achieving success as a CPA will require a significant initial investment on your part. There are no effective or cheap shortcuts to passing the CPA exam that will prevent you from having to give up a great deal of your time and money.
The biggest mistake I see CPA students doing is trying to skimp on a CPA review course. I totally get it: they’re young, probably just recently graduated from college, and are struggling to make ends meet as is. Some of them may already be in debt from getting through university and are balking at the cost to continue their education into certification.
The good news is that if you plan it out well, you won’t have to spend nearly as much on CPA studying than you did to get through college. A good estimate for the average cost is around $1,200-$2,000 for a fully fleshed-out review course that gives you comprehensive tools to help you pass the exam.
You can also check around to see if you can find any discounts. It isn’t hard; you can save a lot of money if you just do a bit of research!
For the most part, I don’t recommend going into debt. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to take out a loan in order to take a review course, it’s important to look at it as an investment instead of an expense.
Think of it this way: Is it worth spending $2000 now to earn $25,000 later? This seems like a no-brainer to me. Investing in yourself is the best and most profitable decision anyone can make, accountant or otherwise.
Hopefully this guide helps you achieve success. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us in the comments below. I’d love to hear your own stories about how you prepare for the CPA exam. Thanks for reading, and good luck!
Course Rating:★★★★★ Surgent CPA Review promises to deliver excellent test results in less study time. This efficient program targets the most important topics on the CPA exam and uses adaptive learning technology to pinpoint students’ weak areas so they can focus on their knowledge gaps. Founder Jack Surgent and expert instructor Liz Kolar lead an experienced and effective team of teachers. Their comprehensive study materials cover all essential topics on the CPA exam without getting bogged down in the details.
Comparison of Surgent CPA Review Course Offerings
Premier Pass 4-Part Course
Essentials Pass 4-Part Course
Online Mobile Friendly Course for All 4 Sections
Full Access Until You Pass
Free, Automatic Content Updates
Personalized Adaptive Study Plans
Ongoing 1 on 1 Coaching
350+ Targeted Video Lectures
Customized Study Notes for Each Lecture
6000+ Multiple Choice Questions
Nearly 400 Task Based Simulations
Document Review Sims
Flashcard App for iOS and Android
Printed Textbooks for All 4 Exam Sections ($500 Value)
Printed Flashcards for All 4 Exam Sections ($150 Value)
Premier Support from a 1 on 1 Dedicated Coach ($400 Value)
Surgent takes advantage of the latest technology to help students cut down on study time. The company reports that most clients spend less than 100 hours studying for each part of the exam. Surgent’s proprietary software determines which areas need more practice and which topics have already been mastered. The program tracks your results as you answer questions and builds custom study sessions for you based on that information. After you’ve answered about a third of the questions in a section, the software selects those questions you should study next and directs you to specific readings and videos. You’ll receive a customized reading list based on questions you have gotten wrong. Instead of slogging through hundreds of pages of reading, Surgent takes you right to those readings that will help you ace the questions you previously got incorrect. The course also selects those video lectures that are most closely related to your current area of focus so you’ll know when you should move from one study phase to the next.
Convenient and Effective Course
Nothing beats studying from the comfort of your own home. Short video lectures by expert instructors, a tailor-made study plan, and progress tracking are just a few of Surgent’s convenient and effective features for students who want to go at their own pace. More than 350 guided video lectures, 6,700 AICPA licensed multiple choice questions and answers, and 260 task-based simulations can be accessed from your computer, tablet or cell phone. (Please note that Kindle Fire, Nook Tablets and E-Readers are not supported.) Physical textbooks are available but optional, as the course was designed to be used with electronic texts. Lectures are short (around 15 minutes each), making it more likely that you will stay focused and complete your study session goals.
Type in the date of your exam, select the days of the week you prefer to study and the software will create a study plan just for you. The online Study Planner calculates the number of hours you will need to study each day in order to complete the entire course before your exam date. The study notes are a great review tool, especially once you get close to the end of the course and your exam date. Add this to the custom readings and relevant videos that are chosen for you based on your performance (as explained above), and you’ll see how Surgent truly personalizes its course for each client.
Experienced and Engaging Instructors
Course founder Jack Surgent, CPA, and award-winning professor Liz Kolar, MBA, CPA, CGMA lead a team of experienced CPA instructors, who do a great job of breaking down the more complex material into bite-sized chunks in their short videos. The engaging presentations help you grasp the concepts so that you can apply your knowledge effectively when you get to the practice questions. Former students praise Surgent’s instructors for their high level of energy, clear explanations and helpful study hints. Surgent’s staff is also helpful and prompt. You can contact them by phone and email and the turn-around time for a response is typically less than 24 hours.
Free Flashcard App
Get access to 2,200+ flashcards by downloading the Surgent CPA FREE flashcard app from the Google Play or Apple stores. You can easily flip through the cards on your phone or mobile device any time you have a few extra minutes to study. The cards cover the material on all four sections of the CPA exam and include terms with definitions and multiple-choice questions with answers.
Pass Guarantee and Access Until You Pass
Surgent boasts an impressive pass rate: 89.7% overall for students who follow Surgent’s suggested course instructions, and a 100% pass rate for students who finish the whole course with a score of 80% or higher. If you fail the CPA exam after studying with Surgent, they will refund the tuition or provide continued access to the program until you pass, so course materials do not expire. Please see their website for details of the pass guarantee.
Free Trial, Payment Plan, and Discounts
You can sign up for a free 5-day trial or register to attend a live online 30-45 minute demonstration webinar to find out more about Surgent CPA Review. The webinars are typically offered Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings. You can also sign up for the “Video of the Month” to get a video review of a CPA exam topic including related multiple choice questions and simulations. Surgent CPA Review offers a 0% interest, no-fee monthly tuition plan option for CPA Exam candidates who enroll in the full 4-part CPA Review program. Right now you can save $500 OFF all Surgent study materials using this exclusive Surgent CPA Discount Code!
Things To Improve
The free flashcard app is useful, and the course is accessible from most mobile devices, but it would be great if the app included additional practice questions or was better integrated into the course. Surgent CPA Review’s price is high compared to the lower tier CPA review courses, but after applying this $500 OFF Coupon Code, the price is a bargain and lower than courses with similar offerings—the Surgent CPA promo codes are great for saving money on your course!
Surgent CPA Review is a solid choice for students with busy schedules, who have little time to waste and want an efficient and flexible review program. The adaptive technology saves students hours of study time by identifying problem areas and directing students to relevant video lectures and reading materials. Surgent’s creators don’t think students have to read every single page or watch every lecture in order to pass if they work on their weak areas and follow the study suggestions. Their priority is happy customers who pass each section of the CPA exam on the first try. I highly recommend this course for its time-saving efficiency and the unlimited access until you pass. Why not check out the 3-day free trial today? Or sign up for their webinar to see if Surgent CPA Review is right for you!
6,700+ Multiple-choice Questions and 260+ Task-based Simulations
350+ Short, Engaging Videos
Payment Plan Available
Access Until You Pass
No Live Seminars or Interaction with Instructors
Surgent CPA Review Premier Pass 4-Part Course Price: $2,299 ($1,799 with our discount!) Includes: 6,700+ multiple-choice questions and 260 task-based simulations, including previously released AICPA CPA Exam questions with detailed explanations, 350+ short video lectures, customized study notes for each lecture, free flashcard app, and unlimited course access until you pass. Individual Section Review (AUD, BEC, FAR, REG) Price: $499 for each section Includes: Relevant multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations, videos, and study notes relevant to each section of the exam.
Wiley CPAexcel is one of the best CPA review courses on the market. Their CPA study materials are a great choice if you need to cram short study sessions into your already packed schedule.
If you’re working many hours on the job and studying for the CPA exam at the same time, you will really appreciate the efficient “bite-sized” lessons Wiley created specifically for busy employees and students.
Within the past year, Wiley has made some significant upgrades and improvements that make their course even better. You’ll save time without sacrificing competence because the lectures and materials get right to the point, cutting out extra information so that you can focus on those items that matter most.
Comparison of Wiley CPAexcel Course Offerings
Platinum CPA Review Course
Gold CPA Review Course
Silver CPA Review Course
$2,450 ($825 per part)
$1,850 ($625 per part)
$1,700 ($575 per part)
Partner Until You Pass Guarantee with free online content & courseware updates until you pass
Online Course Study Materials with text, 7,500 exam questions, 110+ hours video instruction, 450 task-based simulations, 4,000+ digital flashcards and more
Efficient Learning System with bite-sized lessons, exam planner, discussions, unlimited practice exams and more
Study Guides map perfectly to the lessons in the courseware (print and ebook included)
Companion Mobile App with 7,500+ exam questions, available in iOS and Android
Professor Mentoring with online support from subject-expert professors
Virtual Classroom Series with live, online instruction and support
Online Test Bank with additional 4,400 exam questions and 160 task-based simulations
Focus Notes with acronyms and mnemonics (print and ebook included)
Flashcards to reinforce and improve retention (print)
Wiley CPAexcel prides itself in being super efficient. Each section of the review course is broken down into smaller sections, which makes studying for the CPA exam seem a lot less overwhelming. This is great for anyone who has a full-time job and other obligations that prevent long, uninterrupted study sessions.
One of the best features of the course is the way that the material is divided up into smaller, more manageable topics.
Each main topic is broken into smaller subsections that will only take about 30-45 minutes of your time. This gives you the flexibility to squeeze in a study session even when you have less than an hour to spare. Chunking the information also makes it easier to process and memorize.
Huge Practice Question Test Bank
Wiley CPAexcel gives you access to 12,000 practice questions and 600 task-based simulations, more than any other CPA review course on the market!
The practice questions in the Study Mode take the form of a short multiple choice quiz. This is a great way to check your understanding of the material right away without taking a full-length practice exam. You can speed through a large number of questions quickly to give you a ton of practice and immediate feedback.
Practice questions in the Launch the Exam mode look exactly like the official CPA exam. In this mode, you don’t find out if you got the question right immediately; the questions are graded after you have taken the entire simulated exam.
You can also customize your practice exams and choose to retake one using only those questions you got wrong and select how many questions you want on each practice test.
The task-based simulations include questions that have tables and other areas that must be filled in (i.e. not just multiple choice). Note that many of the task-based questions are very similar, with different numbers substituted for what is basically the same question. Still, Wiley offers more than twice as many as the competition, making these a very useful practice tool.
Simulated Practice Exams
Wiley CPAexcel identifies which questions you missed and then provides an explanation of how to get to the correct answer. This is very helpful because it helps you identify your weaknesses as you review each question you got wrong before taking the Simulated CPA Exam again.
The large test bank makes sure that new questions appear each time you retake the test, giving you the repetition and practice you will need to pass the actual CPA exam. You may want to keep taking the Simulated CPA Exam until you consistently score above 85-90%.
The practice exams and simulations are presented in the same computerized format you will see on test day, including the specific time limits, break policies, and rules for moving through the exam content. This will familiarize you with the CPA exam format and the functionality of the built-in calculator and flagging system so you won’t waste any time on the big day.
Although most Wiley lectures are not particularly entertaining, they are gratifyingly short. Most are under 30 minutes, and many are significantly shorter (as short as 5-10 minutes!). Although they may not be as engaging or fast-paced as some of their competitors’ videos, you will get a clear and concise presentation by a very qualified instructor.
Important information is displayed alongside the lecturer to help you identify the key points, and essential terms may be emphasized in bold. Slides can also be printed out as study aids or if you like to take additional notes.
Audio-visual learners will benefit from this format because they can listen to the lecture while reading the most important points and taking notes. Although I wouldn’t recommend skipping the assigned readings, the information that comes up on the slides and is explained by the lecturers will help you retain the most important information necessary to pass the exam.
Deep Dive Lectures
Another useful feature to help you improve your scores comes in the form of Wiley’s “deep dive lectures.” In these, experienced accounting professors lay out how to solve the most challenging problems on the CPA Exam step by step.
Online and Offline Accessibility
There is no limit on the number of computers and devices that can download the software. The course is also accessible from smartphones and tablets via Wiley’s Android or iOS apps.
If you want to study even when you are offline, no problem! Just slide in the 32 GB flash drive for offline access and get back to work.
You’ll also get unlimited use of their videos, quizzes, and course material that never expires. That’s right, you get lifetime access to updates once you buy the course! Wiley’s Partner Until You Pass Guarantee ensures that your course will always be up to date, no matter how long it takes you to pass, thanks to the free content and software updates.
Beat The CPA Discount
Wiley is offering an BIG limited-time discount to all Beat The CPA readers! For great Wiley CPA discounts, find out the details and Show Coupon .
20% Off Student Discount
If you are currently enrolled as a full-time or part-time college student, or have graduated within the last 90 days, then you are eligible for the Student Discount.
Weekly Special Offers
Every week or two, there are new Wiley CPA promo codes on their website. To find out what promotion they are offering this week, click here.
Additional Mentoring Available
If you need additional one-on-one instruction or want to discuss more complex questions, mentoring is included with the platinum and gold courses. You can post your questions on a discussion board and get answers from experienced professors or other CPAexcel users in under 24 hours.
You can also search the archived discussions to see if the answer is already there, or get personal help on topics covered in the lectures and demonstrations of how to solve specific problems. If you enroll in the virtual classroom series, you will be able to get answers to your questions in real time.
Virtual Classroom Series
Wiley CPAexcel offers a Virtual Classroom which includes a combination of pre-recorded lectures and live online classes. Here instructors focus on the most challenging questions that students frequently get wrong on the exam.
You can ask questions during the live presentation and interact with your peers, making it a much more interactive experience. There are also lecture archives, so you can look to see if a topic that you need extra help on has already been covered.
If you are looking for an efficient way to study for the CPA exam, look no further. This course is the way to go if you have a busy schedule and need a creative way to cover all the material you’ll need to know for the CPA exam as quickly and conveniently as possible.
Recent upgrades and updates have made this course even better and more efficient. The Mentoring option, Virtual Classroom Series and large number of Proficiency Questions, authentic Practice Questions, and task-based simulations make this course a winner.
Wiley’s course offers more practice questions than any other course on the market, giving them a huge advantage over their competitors. Check out their free trial today to see this efficient course in action or try your hand at the free weekly CPA quiz!
Roger CPA Review earns the top spot on our list as the most engaging and comprehensive course on the market. Features include high-energy lectures that keep you interested, diagnostics to track your progress, and mnemonics and memorization aids to help you retain the most essential information.
If you are looking for an effective and engaging course, you’ve found it. Here are the most important elements that set Roger CPA Review apart from the competition:
Comparison of Roger CPA Review Course Offerings
100 + hours of video lecture
Electronic and physical course textbooks
6,200+ multiple choice questions and task-based simulations
CPA Exam Simulator with an unlimited amount of full length practice exams
Integrated study tools for enhanced learning & retention
The streamlined dashboard design is a definite plus of this course. When you log in, you can choose a course outline (BEC, FAR, AUD or REG) and get started right away with a video, or try your hand at practice questions.
At the top of the dashboard, a countdown clock tells you how many days you have left before the exam, and the top right reminds you exactly where you left off during your most recent study session. It also shows you how much of the course you’ve already completed to gauge your progress.
You can navigate easily among different sections on the site, watch videos or listen to audio lectures, or take notes and solve practice questions. The dash keeps a current overview of all of your studying in a kind of table of contents, so you can see how much of a video you’ve viewed, and whether you’ve bookmarked certain topics.
The video lectures in this course stand out for their high energy and fast pace. One thing is for sure: you will not be bored while you study if you choose Roger CPA Review! The course founder, Roger Philipp, keeps you interested and focused with his upbeat and unique “Roger Method” and fast-paced lectures.
His passion for helping students pass the CPA exam is evident, and he brings almost 25 years of teaching experience to the table. You can speed up or slow down the lectures if you want to hear something again or need more time for the information to sink in.
You can take notes in the video module and highlight or search text that pops up in the window immediately to the right of the video you are watching. The program saves and archives your notes, which can be accessed and downloaded at any time from the “My Notes Summary” section in either PDF or HTML format. The Video Bookmark feature allows you to tag a specific time in the lectures to make it easier for you to go back and review it later.
Roger CPA Review makes superb use of mnemonics and other memorization tactics to help students retain all essential information and recall details when it matters most. These tools provide a better, less painful way for you to remember many of the tedious details that are tested on the exam. Being able to recall this information on exam day will definitely give you a leg up on the competition and help boost your test scores.
The course textbook is fully integrated with the software, allowing students to take notes, create custom practice tests and quizzes, and check on their scores while they are online. Textbooks are available in both physical and online editions.
The course itself is available online and can be accessed from computers, tablets, and smartphones. Roger offers great flexibility with convenient 24/7 online access, availability on both iOS and Android devices, offline access with USB, in addition to audio lectures.
Revamped Practice Questions
Roger CPA recently updated their practice question bank, giving you access to more than 5,000 practice questions, simulations, and AICPA-released questions. Also included are detailed explanations so that you will know exactly why a specific answer choice is the correct one.
The diagnostic software tracks and analyzes your performance so you can identify which sections you’ll need to review again before you take the exam.
You can also get around-the-clock help from actual CPAs through the Homework Help Center if you need clarification of a trickier concept or two. Simply go to the Homework Help Center screen, select “Ask a Question” and fill out the form, and you’ll get a professional response in less than 24 hours.
Fast Pace of Lectures
Roger teaches his lectures at a faster pace than other review courses. His energetic teaching style helps to keep you engaged and focused at all times, and it’s very effective, however some students may have a harder time keeping up.
To address this issue, Roger’s development team added the feature that gives you the ability to slow down the playback speed of each video in addition to closed captions or subtitles for English. This is extremely helpful for international students, students with learning disabilities, and any other CPA candidates who prefer to learn at a slower pace.
Check out this Free Demo to see if his teaching style is a good fit for you.
Fresh Start Discount: If you recently purchased a CPA review course that didn’t help, cost over $400, and would like to purchase Roger CPA Review- you are eligible for the 20% Off Fresh Start Discount.
Student Discount: College students who are enrolled in 12 units or have graduated within the last 60 days are eligible for a 10% Off Student Discount. The Roger CPA discount is good for a one time purchase of all Roger CPA Review Courses and Products.
Crush Discount: Roger CPA Review is offering a GIANT limited-time Roger CPA discount for Beat The CPA readers! Check out the details of this exclusive offer Show Coupon .
Financing Plans Available
Roger CPA Review now also offers financing plans to help cash-strapped students afford their courses and materials on a fixed monthly payment schedule.
Good CPA review courses are not cheap, and Roger CPA Review has partnered with another company to offer financing as low as $149 a month for qualified clients.
Here’s how it works: you’ll be asked to supply basic information during checkout if you select the “Affirm Monthly Payment” option. You will find out right away if you are approved. You can pay over 3, 6, or 12 months with interest rates from 10-30% APR, depending on your credit rating.
You can pay your monthly bill with a bank transfer, check, or debit card. To learn more about these financing options please click here to read the details on the Roger CPA Review website.
Audio Review Course
Roger Philipp writes his own textbooks and teaches every lecture in the program himself, so you can be confident in the high quality of material. The Roger CPA Audio course features the same dynamic and high-spirited lectures for which Roger has become known.
If I had to pick one audio course, this would definitely be my first choice. It’s available in an MP3 format and focuses on the most heavily-tested CPA exam topics. You can listen on-the-go in your car or during your commute to maximize your study time.
The best reason to choose Roger CPA Review is to watch the man himself in action. His motivational lectures, catchy mnemonics, and high quality materials make reviewing for this challenging exam more interesting and efficient than other CPA prep courses. I appreciate that Roger can take any accounting topic and make it interesting, while cutting out any extraneous information to shorten study time.
The mnemonics help you remember detailed information, the student discounts make the course price reasonable, and the online options make it a breeze to study from different locations whenever you have the time.
I highly recommend Roger CPA review if you are looking for a quick, engaging, and efficient way to study for and pass the CPA exam.
5,000+ Updated Multiple Choice Questions with Explanations
24/7 Support from Qualified CPAs
High Quality Materials and Flexibility
No Unlimited Course Access – Offers 18-24 Months of Access
Select Course Package Price: $1,695 or starting at $148.99/month Includes: 100+ hours of lectures, electronic/physical textbooks, 5,000+ practice questions and simulations, unlimited practice exams, course diagnostics, Homework Help Center support, study planner, 18 months of course access, and free updates.
Premier Course Package Price: starts at $2,095 or as low as $184.15/month Includes: Everything in Select Package plus 6 month extension for a total of 24 months access, and offline lectures on USB drive.
Elite Course Package Price: starts at $2,895 or $254.47/month Includes: Everything in Premier Package plus CPA Exam Flashcards, Audio Lectures and Cram Course.
CramCourse Price: Full Online Cram Course $970/ Flash Drive Cram Course $995 Includes: Choice of online (2-month access) or portable flash drive (8-month access), 10-25 minute lectures, practice questions related to purchased lectures plus explanations, and electronic and physical textbooks.
Yaeger CPA Review has completely redesigned its course to reflect the upcoming changes to the CPA exam in 2017, and offers a highly customized learning experience to clients.
Founded by Phil Yaeger in 1977, Yaeger CPA Review has recently rolled out its new AdaptaPASS course. By asking you a few questions about how you prefer to learn, the software can generate a tailor-made course that meets your specific needs.
AdaptaPASS Study Experience
Yaeger’s new AdaptaPASS program was developed to provide you with a truly personalized learning experience. Get a completely customized learning platform based on your answers to a few short questions about your learning style and the way you prefer to study (i.e. do you want more readings, or do you want a lot of practice questions? Would you prefer detailed explanations or a short summary? What does your schedule look like?).
Once generated, your dashboard will look completely different from other students’ dashboards, even if you are enrolled in the same course.
Yaeger takes advantage of computer adaptive learning to design your course and shape your learning experience. Study modules change based on your performance in previous modules. Each time you use the system it gets “smarter” by using predictive technology to zero in on your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll receive recommendations of what to focus on according to your study history.
Review content is personalized and optimized so that you are presented with video lectures, audio lectures, textbooks, and customized quizzes and exams that will help you the most.
AdaptaPASS includes unlimited videos, CRAMs, audio and an updated test bank that reflects the new format of the 2017 exam. This course is still in the testing phase, making now a great opportunity to check out the beta version at a discounted price.
The well-organized dashboard allows you to see your progress at a glance and makes it easy to navigate among the various modules. Yaeger has kept those features students have found useful in the past and has added several interesting innovations.
One useful feature is the “Book Learning Focus” module. As you are reading information in the online textbook, the content in the windows that surround the primary textbook window changes as the information in the textbook changes.
For example, a series of videos that have content that is related to the textbook section you are reading will pop up in an adjacent window, and multiple choice questions that are directly related to content on the textbook page will come up in another window. As you move to another page or topic, the content in the adjacent windows will change to match the textbook content.
Yaeger’s video lectures are comprehensive (although somewhat long). The instructors work hundreds of multiple choice questions step by step to help you learn how to tackle even the hardest problems and reinforce your understanding of each concept.
Yaeger’s straightforward teaching approach will help you understand each concept and know how to apply it. You can preview a few lectures by clicking on the “view demos” tab on the Yaeger CPA Review website.
Within the course, the videos are completely integrated with the interactive textbook, so you will see the relevant textbook pages appear as the professor discusses them in the lecture. An optional comprehension check follows the videos, so you can answer a question about information presented in the video to see if you understood the content.
If you have a shorter attention span, you may get bored by Yaeger’s traditional video lectures. They are structured like typical, college-level accounting classes and may appear slow. If you are easily distracted by the surrounding information (textbook sections, videos, relevant multiple choice questions that pop up in adjacent windows), then this might not be the best fit for you.
Along with your customized learning platform, you can ask the system to create quizzes based on your weakest performance areas for you, or you can create your own quizzes with a specific number of questions from select topics, include only multiple choice questions, only simulations, or a combination of both. Simply set the parameters, and design short or long quizzes based on your needs and time constraints.
There’s nothing like last-minute nerves, and Yaeger’s CRAM courses are designed as a final review that will help candidates refresh their knowledge and prepare themselves a few weeks before they walk into the test center.
This option is ideal if you want to brush up during their final review and raise their score by a few points. Choose between the online-only CRAM and the online + offline USB CRAM course, depending on whether you will have internet access.
One-on-One Live Support
The Live Instructor Hotline provides support from actual CPA exam instructors, so you’re guaranteed to get reliable information straight from the source. This includes live help from Phil Yaeger himself! Access to instructors whenever you need it is especially important for a course that has no live study options. Thanks to the hotline, you can contact your instructors directly for help.
This comprehensive, in-depth review course will appeal to students who are looking for a self-study option that takes advantage of new technology for a customized educational experience. The live instructor hotline is a huge plus because it provides high-quality, live student support from actual instructors over the telephone. This course is available at a discounted rate thanks to some great Yaeger CPA coupon codes. Show Coupon
Although we recommend buying the entire course, the option of buying each component separately is convenient if you have already taken and passed one or more sections of the CPA exam, or are looking to supplement your studies with additional materials, such as the test bank, CRAM course, or flashcards.
Gleim CPA Review is one of the most well-regarded prep courses on the market, and its competitive price makes it an attractive option for many students and young professionals. The completely online review system offers all the information you’ll need to pass the CPA exam.
If you are a self-disciplined individual who will log in and study on a regular basis, Gleim is best suited for you.. Gleim’s good reputation, quality materials, and pass-or-refund guarantees make this a solid choice for those looking to save a little money while they study for the CPA exam. If you want a great deal, check out our discounts page for Gleim CPA discounts!
Comparison of Gleim CPA Review Course Offerings
Premium CPA Review
Traditional CPA Review
CPA Mega Test Bank
Interactive Study Planner
9,200 Multiple Choice Questions
Physical Copies of Books
1,000 Task Based Simulations
Customized Support From Personal Counselors & Accounting Experts
The course dashboard offers no distractions and lets you get right down to business. A list of study topics appears on the left, and your scores from the various practice questions, quizzes, and simulations appear next to each topic on the right as you complete them.
Individual units within the study topics are just as streamlined: you’ll see a short list of topics and links to multiple choice practice tests. Everything is very intuitive and organized. All you have to do is motivate yourself to log in and do the work.
Final Review and Exam Rehearsal
Gleim recommends that you complete a Final Review one week before your exam. A link to the Final Review appears underneath the entire list of study topics and contains an Exam Rehearsal module and a Test Prep module.
The Exam Rehearsal feature simulates the actual test you will take in the Prometric testing center so you will be prepared for the format and time restrictions.
In Test Prep mode, you can create a practice exam, a study session, or analyze your performance. You can also design a review session based on your history.
Video and Audio Lectures
The instructor video lectures come bundled with Gleim’s Premium review course and include over 100 videos, ranging from under 10 minutes to 30 minutes. Gleim CPA professors are experienced U.S. professors who lecture on key topics and demonstrate how to solve multiple-choice questions and simulations one step at a time, making it easy to follow.
Audio lectures are also available and can be purchased separately. These lectures include one overview for each Gleim Review study unit. Lectures are clear, of good sound quality, and short (mostly 5-10 minutes). You can download or stream the lectures, making it easy to review while commuting or traveling.
For each study unit, if you purchased the Premium Review System, you can choose your preferred type of lecture: Gleim Instruct (video of professor lecturing), Audiovisual Presentation (Powerpoint slides with narration) and Audio Lectures. (Or listen to and watch all three versions to let the information really sink in!)
Diagnostic Quizzes and Adaptive Learning
A short multiple choice quiz at the beginning of the study unit is another nice feature of Gleim’s Review System. The quiz identifies what you already know before you start your review so you can focus on those areas that need the most attention.
Adaptive learning is the name of the game in the industry, and Gleim has made good use of this technology in its Review System (although you can opt out of this choice and select your own practice questions from those areas you want to study as well).
Large Number of Practice Questions
Gleim users get a lot of practice, thanks to the large test question bank. Having access to 10,000+ questions means that you are unlikely to see repeats during your practice sessions and will feel more confident in your skills when you go into the exam.
You can choose from the Test Prep or Simulation Wizard options in the Mega Test Bank. Questions include true/false, multiple choice and Task Based Simulations. You are allowed unlimited attempts on all practice tests.
Check your progress with the Performance Analysis feature, which tells you how are you are doing and identifies areas that require further study.
The Gleim CPA Test Prep module can also be used as a supplement to other CPA review courses. For a low cost, you’ll get access to several thousand additional practice questions.
Free Demo and Pass/Refund Guarantees
If you create an account by providing your email and some information about yourself, you can try out Gleim’s products for free. You’ll get complete access to the first study unit, can check out the Test Prep module, listen to audio lectures, and download and view relevant study materials.
Gleim also offers an impressive set of guarantees for its products. If you do not pass the CPA exam (or individual sections) on your first attempt after using their course, you can request either a refund or unlimited continued access to all online study materials until you pass. Please see Gleim’s website for additional rules and requirements.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
The one drawback of Gleim’s course is that their materials may be too comprehensive. The extensive readings and impressive number of practice questions and simulations are not for the faint of heart and will take some time to work your way through.
Gleim CPA Review is a great choice for self-motivated learners looking for a less expensive review course that is still effective. The videos may not be as engaging as some of their competitors, but they are clear and taught by friendly and knowledgeable professors who all appear to have the same goal: to get students to pass the CPA exam on their first try.
The program is very flexible because you can buy one of the Review Systems, or you can purchase just the audio lectures or the test bank. The best value for your money, however, is to get the Premium Revew System, which includes everything you could possibly need to know for the CPA exam. The Test Bank alone is probably worth purchasing, even if you are already working with a competitor’s review course.
Try out their extensive free demo today to see if the tried-and-true Gleim materials are right for you!
Course Rating:★★★★★ Fast Forward Academy CPA Review comes equipped with unlimited practice exams and an affordable price that makes this self-study course attractive to self-motivated students on a budget. However, given that passing the exam is more important than saving money, it’s not enough to woo many long-term thinkers away from the more robust courses.
An “intelligent” electronic textbook (the FastBook) and custom study sessions focus on areas that are giving you difficulty, so you won’t waste time on material you already understand. But once again, this isn’t too different than what other courses offer, and many come with plenty of other features that Fast .
Fast Forward Academy capitalizes on the knowledge that one of the best ways to pass the exam is to stay on track. The study planner is fully customizable and responsive, but it’s not laid out in a manner that is as organized as other courses are.
If life gets in the way and you need to reschedule a task or skip a study day, you can drag and drop tasks and the calendar will automatically rearrange itself to keep your end goal intact.
The software analyzes your performance data to determine which areas need more practice as you work through the course. However, other courses have better and more data-driven adaptive learning platforms, so it’s not the best option in that regard.
Unlimited Practice Exams and Updates
If you choose the Online or Smart Bundle course, you’ll have unlimited access to all study materials until you pass the exam. The materials never expire and the most current updates are provided until you pass all exams. The unlimited number of exams are timed and weighted exactly like the actual exam and include complete scoring and analysis.
Support from Instructors and Other Students
If you get stuck or discouraged, you can reach out to an instructor or other students in the course. With the purchase of the Online or Smart Bundle, you’ll get full access to the Fast Forward community, a way of connecting to other students who are taking the course. You can post or read questions and track your progress compared to other students who are taking or have passed the CPA exam.
You can study anywhere you go with Fast Forward’s course; just access to the website, test bank, ebook, and study planner from most devices, including Mac or Windows computers, iPads, iPhones and most Android phones.
The lack of the mobile app make it challenging if you are someone who struggles with self-guidance. Other courses offer a mobile app with the course that make it easy to fit in a quick study session.
Fast Forward Book Bundle Price: $600 Includes: Printed Textbooks and 733 Study Questions.
Fast Forward Online Bundle Price: $1,349 Includes: FastBook (electronic textbook), 6,407 Study Questions, Unlimited Practice Exams, and Video Explanations.
Fast Forward Smart Bundle Price: $1,749 Includes: Everything in Online Bundle plus Printed Textbooks.
Fast Forward Academy’s most attractive features are the relatively low price and flexibility. There are a decent amount of practice questions in the study bank and the way the course is set up will help you focus your studies. All of this being said, it’s not really worth it to go for the cheapest option.
Unlike some competitors whose founders have a vested interest in the CPA exam because they were looking for a better way to pass it themselves, Fast Forward Academy’s materials have a more distance approach and don’t have that personal touch.
Fast Forward Academy’s option to buy individual sections and affordable pricing make it an okay supplement to other CPA review programs for students who are interested in extra practice questions or exams. Just make sure you decide if you like the course or not by the 30 day refund mark—this is quite the negative feature for the course.
This course is best suited for independent and self-disciplined students who are looking to read the material at their own pace and focus on drilling lots of practice questions.
Becker CPA Review is a review course that aims to help well-funded students pass the exam—well-funded is the key phrase there. Becker’s course is decent, but for the money that you’re paying, you can get a better product elsewhere.
It is one of the only companies that offers live classes, but these are often less than helpful and leave students with only one learning style option. Becker lacks some of the components of cheaper CPA review courses, but they still charge a premium.
CPA Course Materials
1. Excellent Material
Becker’s notes are decent. Though they kept the concepts concise and cut down the information to what is actually tested on the exams, they could improve on this offering.
Becker provides two full practice exams for each section, more than 7,200 multiple choice questions and nearly 400 task-based simulations with answer descriptions that link directly to the applicable eBook pages and lectures. There’s 100 hours of instruction from CPAs, attorneys, and exam experts that focus on helping you understand accounting concepts most likely to be tested, but there’s not a great presentation for this knowledge.
2. Builds on Basic Knowledge
Becker expects that you have some basic knowledge of most of the material and builds on that, but it doesn’t do so in a friendly learning manner.
If you need a lot of in depth explanations and don’t have that foundational knowledge, then you may need to utilize Becker’s unlimited academic support tool. As a newly graduated student or a candidate who already has a job, Becker’s focused material is an okay choice, but once again not worth the steep price.
3. Supplemental FAR Material
Becker’s FAR study material by itself wasn’t enough to make me feel confident that I would pass my upcoming exam. Becker offers additional study materials for purchase—including flashcards, supplemental multiple choice questions and the Final Review, but you shouldn’t have to pay more!
The flashcards are available in print and online versions and include 1,400 cards. There’s 50 supplemental multiple choice questions for each section available for individual purchase or you can get them together in a bundle.
4. Online is the Way
Becker’s multimedia online format gives you some freedom to study at your own pace without deadlines. This is a decent option if you are still in school or already have a job. Its Study Roadmap and Study Planner are tools that can help you along the way. The Study Roadmap is a course guide that shows you exactly what to study and how much time to spend on each topic and the Study Planner helps you to create a customized study plan based on your schedule and study habits.
You’ll be lucky to get a few good live instructors. It’s a HUGE hit-or-miss to get a teacher that actually teaches the lecture rather than reads straight from the book for a solid four hours. In my personal experience, and from what we’ve heard, it’s not a good choice.
Becker’s live courses aren’t worth it, so I wouldn’t consider this option.
Becker’s complete course costs $3,393, making it the most expensive CPA review course on the market. This is a big downside, especially since studying for your CPA exam is already a time consuming process. You may want to check out some other courses if you are not in the position to drop the big bucks on Becker. If you’re set on Becker, check out their financing options and discounts.
No Audio Courses
Becker offers you the option to learn in three different ways: Self-Study, Online, and Live Classes. Since the Live Classes are not the most helpful, that leaves you with one option of online self study. This is a problem if you are a auditory learner. Audio courses can give you more flexibility in your study plan and let you quickly study during down time like commuting, doing laundry, or even at the gym. Check out some other courses that offer audio courses to get the most out of limited study time.
I wouldn’t suggest Becker’s online course, even though it’s the better option when compared to the live classes. If you are willingly to pay for this expensive course, you probably won’t be a good CPA—the value isn’t there! If you are an auditory learner, I suggest checking out some other courses that are more flexible to different types of learners.
Lambers CPA Review has been helping students pass the CPA exams for over 45 years and they guarantee that you’ll pass too!
The review course has been tailored by actual Lambers instructors to only teach the information needed to pass the exams. It’s a straightforward, no nonsense, traditional kind of course.
1. “Born in the Classroom”
All Lambers materials are prepared by highly qualified instructors. They tailor and adjust the information to what they see you having trouble with and teach only the information that you will need for the exam. It cuts it down to only the information that you will need to pass the exams. “No hype – no fluff”. Just that old-school, straightforward teaching style.
2. Intuitive Software
The Lambers software is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. The highlight of the software is the Pre-Test and Adaptive Drill Mode. Once you’ve established your baseline skill set in the Pre-Test mode, you move onto the Adaptive Drill mode which focuses on the specific areas that you’ve already noted as weaknesses. The software tracks these needed improvement areas and really helps you focus in on and practice them. This is such a valuable tool since it helps cut out the time you waste on the areas you already know.
3. Audio Course
Lambers provides an option for the Audio Course which turns all your idle time into study time. The Audio Course is compatible with any MP3 player and comes with CD’s. The audio covers the Lambers textbooks and then goes through hundreds of questions and problems worked out by the professors. It’s perfect for you if you are an auditory learner who learn best from listening and is also really good if you are always on the go. It maximizes study time during really unproductive times (gym, driving, laundry, doctor’s appointments, etc.).
4. No Pass No Pay Guarantee
Lambers is so confident that you will pass that they offer a full refund if you fail your exam. The only conditions to qualify for this refund are that 1) it was purchased directly from Lambers, 2) the corresponding exam was failed twice, and 3) the returned materials must be received or postmarked no later than 30 days after receiving the second failed notice.
Also, their Video Courseware is updated for free for one year after purchase.
1. Lectures aren’t Entertaining
If you’re looking to be entertained and just can’t study without being completely engaged by an instructor, then this course is not for you! Lambers is very traditional in the sense that instructors are meant strictly to teach the material, not to entertain you.
2. Lack of User Feedback
Although Lambers has been around for years, it’s not one of the review courses pushed by big firms. There isn’t a ton of user feedback for CPA candidates to refer to when choosing this review course. I think that with such little feedback, it’s hard for most people to feel comfortable choosing a course that is not widely known.
3. Low Quality Videos
The information presented in the lectures is good quality but that is anything but true for the resolution of the actual videos. The videos are of really low quality which feels like you’ve gone back in time. I swear, it’s reminiscent of those old school 80’s VHS training videos. Total time warp!
If you’re a great self-studier and you’re into the “no hype, no fluff” teaching style, then this course can work for you. However, I wouldn’t recommend using Lambers as your primary review course. I would suggest using the audio for on-the-go studying and only the full Audit Review section from Lambers (it has highly reviewed instructor from actual students). It’s a quality review course but I think that there are other courses that are more comprehensive as a whole over Lambers.
Wiley CPAexcel and Becker CPA Review are some of the most popular CPA review courses used by test takers. You are probably wondering what the differences are between the two and which one is ultimately better.
In this review I will compare and contrast Wiley and Becker’s textbooks, software, practice tests, and other important features to help you pick a course that fits your learning style.
Wiley vs. Becker Formats
Becker has 3 different course formats for you to choose from: online, self-study, and live classes. Even though Becker is the only CPA review company that provides a live classroom course, many students say that the quality of their instructors is lacking and honestly not worth your time.
Wiley CPAexcel is offered in an online, self-study, and virtual classroom format. You are given a USB flashdrive with each course so you can have access to all its materials offline as well as DVD’s of the video lectures. Wiley’s virtual classes are a blend of pre-recorded lectures and live instruction. This is a relatively new feature, so if you have any feedback about the quality of these classes please let everyone know in the comment box below!
Becker is the most expensive course on the market at $3,393 for all 4 sections. Wiley CPAexcel is a whole thousand dollars cheaper for its Platinum Course, costing you $2,295. An even more affordable option is Wiley’s Silver Course for $1,590. I will reference the Platinum Course in the pricing chart below since it is the one most similar to Becker and is also endorsed by the Big 4 accounting firms; not to mention the Platinum course is the most popular. You can also find amazing deals on the various Wiley CPAexcel course levels on our discounts page.
The Becker books are overly fanciful with too much focus on colored diagrams and images. The content is organized and structured but you’ll find it difficult to get through the dry material. The sections in Becker are way longer than Wiley’s, making it harder to fit quick study sessions into your busy schedule.
Wiley has plain looking books that don’t distract you with fancy formatting and images. There is also more space to take notes in the margins and in between paragraphs. Wiley’s books were a much more useful experience.
Wiley CPAexcel’s course includes 12,000 multiple choice questions, 600 task based simulations, and 6,200 true/false questions. The true/false questions are referred to as “proficiency questions” and are used to gauge your understanding of a certain section.
Becker, on the other hand, has only 7,200 multiple choice questions and 400 task based simulations, many of which are no longer relevant. Clearly, Wiley crushes Becker when it comes to practice questions, which are arguably the most important part of your CPA preparations.
Becker’s flashcards are overpriced, in my opinion. For $299 you receive 1,000 Becker flashcards in either a mobile or printed format. The mobile flashcards are accessible on iOS (Apple), Kindle, and Android mobile devices.
Wiley CPAexcel already comes with 4,100 digital flashcards, so you don’t have to pay extra for a substantial amount of flashcards. Each section in their software comes equipped with flashcards relevant to the most important definitions and terms covered. You can buy 1,000 printed flashcards for $150 if you prefer them to be tangible.
*Study Tip: Don’t BUY flashcards, MAKE them! You will retain much more information by physically creating them by yourself.
The Becker software expires after 18 months. This can end up costing you a lot of money if you need more study time or end up failing a section of the exam. You will have to pay 50% of the original course cost to renew your access. And that’s a pretty decent amount since this course is so expensive to begin with.
Your access to Wiley CPAexcel never expires and you never have to pay to renew your access or update your materials. Plus, you can take unlimited course repeats and have access to their online material for an entire year AFTER you pass the CPA exam.
To no surprise, Becker does not update their practice exams, simulations, or video lectures for free. Each time the material covered on the CPA exam changes, you will have to pay extra for the most relevant course.
Wiley CPAexcel comes with free software and content updates. You will always have access to the up-to-date video lectures online for free, or if you prefer to watch them via DVD, they will ship you the new one for only $8. If you like to study off-line, the updated CD-rom software only costs $8 as well.
It’s pretty obvious which course wins when comparing the two’s features. Wiley is far superior in my opinion, but it’s your study process! It’s much more important to pick a course that compliments your learning style. So go check out the free demos for Wiley and Becker to find out for yourself which course fits better with how you prefer to learn.