CPAexcel vs Becker

CPAexcel vs Becker CPA ReviewWhich CPA review course is better, CPAexcel or Becker? In this head-to-head review I compare their textbooks, software, practice tests, and other important features to help you decide which course is a better fit for you.

I have used both of these courses extensively and found some very significant differences that every CPA candidate should know about when considering both of these options.

CPAexcel vs Becker CPA Review Cost

Becker is the most expensive course on the market and will cost you $3,360 for all 4 sections.  CPAexcel’s course is much more in line with the market average and the cost for all 4 sections is $1,800.

Please note that CPAexcel offers a variety of packages to choose from, starting from $915 for the basic self-study course, up to $1,800 for the Video Gold Medal Course.  I will reference their Video Gold Medal Course in the pricing chart below since this is the one most similar to Becker and is also endorsed by the Big 4 accounting firms.

CPA Review Cost ComparisonCPAexcelBecker CPA Review
Full-Course Price$1,800$3,360
Single Section Price$600$1,120
Admin FeesNone$95
Cost to Repeat the CourseFree$553 Per Section

Winner: CPAexcel

 

Course Expiration and Access

The Becker software expires after 18 months which can end up costing you a lot of money if you fail an exam or need a little more time.  If you need to renew your access it will cost you 50% of the original cost.

CPAexcel never expires and you never have to pay to renew your access. You can take unlimited course repeats and will have access to their online material for an entire year AFTER you pass the CPA exam.

Winner: CPAexcel

 

CPAexcel vs Becker Books

The Becker books are very professional looking and are full of colored diagrams and images.  The content is well organized and structured in a way that is easy to read. Their sections are longer than CPAexcel’s, but not so long that you feel overwhelmed by them.

CPAexcel books are much more plain looking and do not have all the fancy colors and images. I like how their sections are smaller because it makes the information easier to digest and soak in.  There is much more empty space to write on in the margins and between the paragraphs which is very useful for taking notes and working problems.

Winner: Tie

 

CPA Exam Practice Questions

Beckers CPA Review includes 6,000 multiple choice questions and 200 task based simulations.

CPAexcel comes with 5,500 multiple choice questions, 450 task based simulations, and 6,200 true/false questions.  The true/false questions are referred to as “proficiency questions” and serve as a useful gauge to see if you really understand a particular section or if you need to spend some more time on it.

Winner: CPAexcel

 

CPAexcel vs Becker Flashcards

For $299 extra you can purchase 1,000 Becker flash cards in either a mobile or printed format.  The mobile flashcards are accessible on iOS (Apple), Kindle, and Android mobile devices.

CPAexcel comes equipped with 4,100 digital flashcards at no additional cost.  Each section in their software includes flashcards relevant to the most important definitions and terms covered.  If you prefer printed flashcards, you can buy 1,000 of them for $150.

*Study Tip: Don’t BUY flashcards, MAKE them! You will retain much more information by physically creating them by yourself.

Winner: CPAexcel

 

Course Formats

Becker offers 3 different course formats; online, self-study, and live classes.  They are one of the only CPA review companies who provide a live classroom course, however, many students say that the quality of their instructors is inconsistent.

CPAexcel is offered in an online, self-study, and virtual classroom format. Each course comes with a USB flash drive which allows students to access all of their materials offline as well as DVD’s of the video lectures. The virtual classes are a blend of pre-recorded lectures and live instruction, however, this is a fairly new feature, so if you have any feedback about the quality of these classes please let everyone know in the comment box below!

Winner: Tie

 

Software and Content Updates

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 money for these updates or else be stuck studying with outdated materials (Example: all the new IFRS regulations recently added to the Audit Exam).

CPAexcel comes with Free software and content updates. You can access their updated video lectures online for free, or if you prefer to watch them via DVD, they will ship you the new one for only $8. For students who study primarily off-line, the updated CD-rom software only costs $8 as well.

Winner: CPAexcel

 

CPAexcel vs Becker CPA Pass Rate

I often get questions about different CPA review courses and their passing rates.  Since none of them use the same method or rules when calculating these numbers, I think it’s fair to say that these figures many people assume to be fact, are nothing but a bunch of BS! That’s just my opinion though, I’ll let you be the judge.

Becker’s website: “Students who prepare with Becker pass at double the rate of non-Becker candidates.”  Keep in mind that on the same webpage they also state, “coming up with a specific pass rate for all students of a particular review provider is impossible”.  Hmmm… they should of just gone with 142% and hope nobody notices.

CPAexcel’s website: “CPAexcel student pass rate: 87%” Well, at least they are specific.. but perhaps tooo specific?

Winner: Anyone who doesn’t buy into made up statistics!

 

Conclusion

So which course is better? I’d have to say that really depends on how you define “better”. However, this should give you an idea of what each review course’s strengths and weaknesses are.

CPAexcel never expires, is much less expensive, and is better for people who have busy schedules or prefer to self-study.  On the other hand, Becker CPA Review has prettier textbooks and… ya, pretty textbooks ;)

 

Read my full review on Becker CPA Review

Be sure to check out my Top 5 CPA review courses list , or if you would like to see more head-to-head comparisons like this one click here

  • Tyson

    Thanks for all the info, excited to get started with CPAexcel and happy that I saved myself almost $2k!

  • Jaryn

    Wish I would have read this article last year before I bought Becker.. The course was decent, but it expired before my last section and they wanted to charge me a crazy amount of money to use the materials I had already purchased :(

    Decided to go with CPA excel for my last exam instead, wish me luck!

    • Bryce

      Sorry to hear that Jaryn, good luck with CPAexcell you’re almost there!!

  • Patricia

    Thank you so much Bryce. Your tips are very encouraging. I will be taking the BEC section of the exam on July 6th and I need more of your tips to crush the exam. Though I am very apprehensive about it owing to a huge information I need to retain and recall, I am even more motivated to study and give it my best.

    Thank you so much for you remarkable review on CPA excel. My original intent was to buy Becker but I after your review, I opted for CPA excel and it has not been dissappointing.

    • Bryce

      Thanks for your support, glad CPAexcel is working out well for you!

  • Jaeman Minard

    Thanks a lot! I will go with CPA Excel. My friend let me borrow Becker AUD part including the online access. I really thought the instructor just pretty much gave a quick review of the book itself. I don’t need someone to do that when I can do that for myself. In other words, why am I going to waste my money on that when I can teach the material myself? The guy just pretty much went off and it was very boring to me.

    I will go with CPA Excel due to the fact that it’s cheaper and there are no expiration dates. So even if I fail it, I can still re-use the material.

    But your information really persuaded me to really choose CPA Excel for good. I guess you were just my confirmation.

    So thank you very much!

    • Bryce

      That’s exactly how I felt Jaeman! It’s such a waste of time to listen to some monotonous voice repeat what you just read. You made a solid choice choosing CPAexcel, good luck in your studies!
      Bryce

  • trish

    Thank you for this. To a newcomer like myself your information is succinct and very helpful.

    • Bryce

      No problem Trish!
      Cheers,
      Bryce

  • Jess

    I have my CMA and after reading your blog I decided to go for the CPA. I purchased the CPAexcel study system. My question is how did you use the system? This might seem like a silly question, but there are a lot of different facets to this course and I don’t know the best and most effective way to use it. Should I watch the videos first then read then do the practice questions? I appreciate you writing this blog, it is really informative and a great help.

  • Kelly

    I made the mistake of purchasing Becker, thinking that I was getting the top course for CPA prep! My time expired, and I paid 50% to renew! Then, I wised up and purchased CPAExcel! Boy, what a difference! Sometimes, the Becker videos were too overwhelming! Too long, too much information at one time, and too confusing! CPAExcel is much easier with the shorter lessons and time to digest. I’m not a procrastinator mind you. I’m a Ph.D. student working on my dissertation while also trying to study for the CPA exam. I’ve been an accountant for over 30 years, and yes, I should have done this a LONG time ago, but better late than never right? My point… save yourself a lot of money and a lot of headaches, and go with CPAExcel. More bang for your buck!

    • Bryce

      Thanks for sharing Kelly! Your advice will save people a TON of time and money :)
      Cheers,
      Bryce

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