09 Jul Top 7 Best CPA Review Courses & Study Materials
Bryce Welker, CPA
Buying the best online CPA review course is the most important decision you will make to pass the CPA exam. It’s crucial to find CPA exam study materials that are the best for your learning style. But, how do you figure out which CPA review course is right for you? Every CPA prep course company claims to have the best product, yet picking the wrong review materials could waste you hundreds of valuable study hours.
I have personally tested and used all of the best CPA exam review courses, study materials, and books on the market so you don’t have to! The chart below is aimed at helping you figure out which CPA prep course is best for you. If you can’t decide on a course, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll personally help you find the right one.
Some of the links on this chart are affiliate links, meaning I get small commission (used to fund this website). Don’t worry though, by using my CPA promo codes and my Certified Public Accountant review course discounts, you’ll get the best possible deal.
Compare 2017’s Best CPA Exam Prep Courses & Discounts Below:
|BEST CPA REVIEW COURSES|
|WHAT’S THE X FACTOR?||Most Experienced Instructors||Bite-Sized
and Engaging Lectures
|Best Customer Support||Most
|Endorsed by Big 4|
|PRICE||$2,299 $1,799||$2,450 $1,950||$2,095 $1,886||$1199 $1,079||$1,599 $1,439||$1,749||$3,393|
|DISCOUNT|| Save $500
| Save $500
| Save $209.50
| Save $120
|No Discounts||No Discounts|
|350 Video Lessons||110||120||104||100||470+ Video Lessons||100|
|Dedicated Coaching, Live Chat, Email & Phone Support||Message Board
Phone & Email
Phone & Email
Phone & Email
|Get 0% APR Financing||✗||Get Financing||✓||✗||✓||✓|
|AUDIO COURSE||✗||✗||$449 Extra||✓||✓||✗||✗|
|✓||✓||24 Months||24 Months||✓||✓||18 Months|
|✓||✓||✗||$165 per Section|
|Access Offline via Mobile App||$199 Extra||$400 Extra||$199 Extra||✗||✗||✗|
|READ MY FULL
|Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review||Read Full Review|
|Start Now||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now||Start Now||Learn More||Learn More|
#1: Surgent CPA Review
Surgent is the only non-linear CPA test prep course on the market. This means instead of studying through a structured format, like other companies, Surgent’s course will adapt to your unique level of knowledge. With this efficient way to study, you will be able to cut down about 50 hours of study time.
Since Surgent’s software utilizes true adaptive study algorithms throughout your entire study process, you will eliminate unnecessary study time. And you don’t have to worry about getting updated material that prepares you for the new 2017 CPA exam! Surgent incorporates new adjustments whenever the AICPA introduces a change or based on student feedback, ensuring you have the most up-to-date course that is easy to use, for no extra cost.
(note: Most other courses, such as Becker, will charge you for these updates that happen annually. So with other courses, you will have 18 months of access, but will have to pay for the new version of the course after 12 months if you want the most current material.)
Most Asked Questions About Surgent CPA Review:
Q: Is Surgent compatible with smartphones and tablets?
A: Yes, all of Surgent’s course features are compatible with most smartphones and tablets. The only devices that don’t support Surgent’s software are Kindle Fire, Nook Tablets, and E-Readers.
Q: What is adaptive learning?
A: Adaptive learning is a learning technology that Surgent incorporated into their software so it can quickly reveal your areas of need and automatically create a customized study plan that focuses on where you need the most help. The goal is to reduce study time and increase efficiency.
The Bottom Line: Surgent and its impressive adaptive software will help you pass the CPA exam as quickly as possible.
#2: Wiley CPAexcel Review
Wiley is a perfect course for you if you have a busy schedule with work or family obligations. I used Wiley to pass my CPA exam while also working 50 hours a week. I would not have been able to do so without the small sized lectures that made fitting in small study sessions easy—these also helped to increase my retention.
If you identify as a self studier, this is the course for you! Some may want more human interaction, but if you prefer to study on your own Wiley is the way to go.
Most Asked Questions About Wiley CPAexcel Review:
Q: When will the 2017 CPA Exam content be available?
A: The 2017 CPA Exam began testing in April 2017, so Wiley released updated course content in early 2017.
Q: When will the 2017 CPA Exam content be available?
A: The 2017 CPA Exam began testing in April 2017, so Wiley released updated course content in early 2017. The new exam should be reflected in the content, so the user shouldn’t be concerned about taking the test because of fears of new topics that aren’t included in the course.
The Bottom Line: Wiley is the course for you if you need small sized lessons to squeeze into your busy schedule.
If you are struggling with the dry and boring content of accounting topics, you need Roger Philipp as your CPA test prep instructor. His energetic “Roger Method” has kept students motivated to stay focused for more than 25 years.
Roger CPA Review is known for its engaging video and audio lectures, but this course also has material that clearly breaks down difficult CPA exam topics into simplified concepts. The course technology is cutting-edge compared to the other dated courses out there, so if you want a great video lecture course supported by an awesome software, Roger is the one for you.
Most Asked Questions About Roger CPA Review:
Q: How do I watch the course on my mobile devices?
A: If you get the course, you’ll have access to the lectures on your cellular phone, tablet, or mobile device. Many times, the videos are too large for 3G or 4G, so you’ll need to be connected to a wireless network.
Q: What happens if I have a question about my course—either the concepts or homework?
A: Roger has a Homework Help Center to answer questions regarding the CPA exam. Moderators are available to help, as they can provide assistance on conceptual issues or topical questions. This service is meant to be a supplemental support to the content that’s covered in the lectures.
The Bottom Line: If you have difficulty staying focused with boring accounting topics, you will love the easy-to-read and engaging style of Roger CPA Review.
#4: Yaeger CPA Review
Phil Yaeger has been teaching CPA candidates since 1977. His focus back then was customer service, and that tradition continues to this day. So if you are nervous about starting this solo CPA prep process and want a course that will have all sorts of student support, Yaeger would be a solid fit for your learning style.
When Yaeger updated its course for the new 2017 CPA exam, it added several new features to make the course more up to date in terms of technology. The content is also quite comprehensive and closely tied to the CPA blueprints, making this course ideal for those who have been out of college for a while and want more information and easy access to instructor support.
Most Asked Questions About Yaeger CPA Review:
Q: Does Yaeger CPA Review work on mobile devices?
A: With Yaeger, you can access the materials via a browser that adapts well to mobile devices. The student portal can be easily entered via any mobile phone or tablet. The flashcards can be accessed via mobile devices, so you can take studying on the go!
Q: Does Yaeger offer personal support for its course?
A: Yaeger offers a unique combination of support services: there’s an instructor hotline and phone and email support. The instructors who field questions have years of experience in the industry.
The Bottom Line: Yaeger is a good fit for you if you want a comprehensive course that gives you more than enough information to pass the CPA Exam.
#5: Gleim CPA Review
Gleim is another comprehensive course that prides itself on covering all possible subjects that may be encountered on the CPA exam—this is another great option for those who have been out of school for awhile.
Gleim’s course comes with a variety of resources like audio lessons, practice exams, a Simulation Wizard, and access to a personal counselor for all 4 sections of the CPA Exam. The unlimited access and free course content updates make this option pretty great too!
Most Asked Questions About Gleim CPA Review:
Q: Is there a guarantee for this course?
A: With Gleim, you get an Access Until You Pass guarantee. This means that you’ll have full access to the entire course, without needing to buy an extension, until you pass the CPA exam.
Q: What’s the difference between the Traditional and Premium courses?
A: The Gleim Traditional CPA Review offers less student support and doesn’t come with the pass guarantee. The Premium review comes complete with the Gleim Instruct Video Series and a more built out support infrastructure.
The Bottom Line: If you haven’t been in a classroom for a number of years and want a personal counselor to help you throughout your studies, Gleim is the course for you.
#6: Fast Forward Academy CPA Review
Fast Forward Academy is relatively new to the CPA Review arena and the course is still proving itself. The feedback is mixed, but it’s certainly a fine course for passing the CPA exam.
If you are on a tight budget, Fast Forward Academy is one of the least expensive courses on the market and will give you what you need to pass the CPA Exam.
The Bottom Line: Since Fast Forward Academy is such a new course, I would recommend this course for only someone who is on a strict budget.
#7: Becker CPA Review
Becker is one of the most known companies for CPA candidates since it is sponsored by most accounting firms (including the Big 4) and universities. While this is great for name recognition, it’s a problem because Becker has no incentive to change or update its software and content since it is guaranteed to get customers from accounting firms and newly graduated accounting majors.
With this secure customer base, Becker has no problem being the most expensive course out there. This option is two to three times more expensive than other courses out there, but its a trusted name in the industry0. So if you have been told by a boss, professor, or fellow CPA that Becker is “the only way to go,” I strongly suggest you check out your other affordable options before paying the price for Becker.
The Bottom Line: You should use Becker only if someone else is going to pay for it, otherwise check out other review courses.
Other CPA Prep Courses
These CPA review courses didn’t make my Top 7 List in 2017, but I still wanted to give you a thorough overview of their pros and cons. Click on each one to learn more:
- Ninja CPA Review – Not comprehensive enough to use as a primary study source, ok as supplementary study material on weaker sections.
- ExamMatrix CPA Review – Lacks explanation videos, more of a study bank than a full review course.
- Lambers CPA Review – Has a comprehensive Audio Review Course, that’s pretty much it, though.
- MDS CPA Review – Has recently overhauled entire course to get a much-needed upgrade in technology, overall it looks very promising.
CPA Course Video Lecture Comparison
CPA video lectures are great for people who miss the classroom setting and prefer to learn by watching a teacher go over the important accounting concepts. Video lectures are one of the most important parts of any CPA review course, as many students prefer this style of learning. Roger CPA Review has some of the best video materials in the industry with his engaging talks, while Surgent CPA Review has the most knowledgeable instructors.
|CPA Review Course||Video Lecture Hours|
|Roger CPA Review||120|
|Surgent CPA Review||350 Short Videos|
|Yaeger CPA Review||104|
|Gleim CPA Review||100|
|Fast Forward Academy||470 Short Videos|
Bottom Line: Roger CPA Review will likely occupy this spot until the namesake retires—he’s the most engaging instructor in the industry.
Most Multiple Choice Questions – CPA Review Course Comparison
Multiple choice questions are the bread and butter of the best CPA review books, as these mirror the exam content and are an amazing way to practice for the test. The number of MCQs isn’t always the most important metric for these questions, as some are harder and more like the actual exam than others. Wiley has a ton of great questions, but Surgent has very targeted multiple choice questions that will help you prepare for the test.
|CPA Review Course||Multiple Choice Questions|
|Gleim CPA Review||9,200|
|Surgent CPA Review||6,840|
|Roger CPA Review||5,800|
|Fast Forward Academy||5,000|
|Yaeger CPA Review||4,300|
Bottom Line: Wiley CPAexcel has more multiple choice questions than any course, so you’re not going to run out of practice material.
Comparison of CPA Course Task-Based Simulations
Task-based simulations are increasingly important because of the 2017 CPA exam structure. Because of this new test, CPA review courses now place more emphasis on these questions, ensuring you can pass after practicing the TBS section. Surgent and Wiley are the top two courses 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|
|Gleim CPA Review||1,000|
|Roger CPA Review||400|
|Surgent CPA Review||390|
|Fast Forward Academy||230|
|Yaeger CPA Review||164|
Bottom Line: While Surgent has extremely up-to-date materials, Gleim CPA Review has the most task based simulations with which to practice.
CPA Course Discount Prices & Financing Compared
Why pass full price for a CPA review course? There are plenty of great CPA discount codes that are available to students and candidates. Take hundreds of dollars off of the Surgent CPA Review or Wiley CPAexcel with our great CPA promo codes. If you can’t put a bunch of money down upfront, check out the financing options from Surgent and Roger CPA Review.
|CPA Review Course||Price with Discount||Financing Available?|
|Surgent CPA Review||$1,799||Yes, 0%|
|Yaeger CPA Review||$1,079||Yes|
|Gleim CPA Review||$1,439||No|
|Roger CPA Review||$1,886||Yes, 10-30%|
|Fast Forward Academy||$1,749||Yes|
Bottom Line: Surgent CPA Review offers great financing options, with 0% and a low monthly rate thanks to an affordable price point.
After using the top 5 courses thoroughly, I found that certain CPA Review courses deliver on their student support promises better than others.
Which course answers questions the fastest?
How easy is it to use the student support software?
Which course gives the most personal response?
Here are my rankings for the Top CPA Review Courses for Student Support:
- Surgent – Dedicated coaching and onboarding, live chat, student support, email & phone
- Gleim – Personal Counselors, assistance from accounting experts, email & live chat
- Roger – Homework Help Center, expert instructors
- Wiley – Live chat, student discussion board, team of accredited university professors
- Yaeger – Email, phone, student-only message board, direct access to instructors and CPAs
Best CPA Supplemental Study Materials
Best CPA Test Banks
One of the most popular supplements in the CPA exam industry 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.
Best CPA Exam Cram Courses
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 Cram Course is the best way to reinforce your understanding of the most heavily tested CPA Exam 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.
Best CPA ExamPrinted Flashcards
Roger offers hundreds of print flashcards that come in one convenient spindle. Each card has two definitions on the front and detailed explanations on the backside.
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.
Best CPA Exam Mobile Apps
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.
Best Audio CPA Review Course (MP3)
If you have a commute or want to make time in the gym more efficient you can download the Roger CPA Audio Course for listening on the go. This is by far the most engaging audio course that almost makes accounting fun.. almost 😉
Best CPA Course for Visual and Auditory Learners
This is the absolute best option for visual & auditory learners. Roger Philip, the instructor, is extremely animated and his genuine passion is obvious in his interesting lectures. The Elite course also includes an audio version of the CPA course.
Best CPA Review Course on a Budget (Less than $1200)
Get all 4 sections for less than $1200 with our exclusive CRUSH coupon code. Yaeger launched their new software platform and the organized, user friendly interface is truly impressive. This great all around course is the best bang for your buck!
Wiley’s Platinum course comes fully loaded with over 12,000 multiple choice practice questions, more than any other CPA Test Prep company. This course is ideal for those who don’t need to have their hand held while studying.
Self-studiers tend to learn very well from drilling thousands of multiple choice questions, analyzing the answers they got wrong, and then doing more practice questions. Combined with Wiley’s Platinum course, Gleim’s CPA Test Bank is ultimate combo for self-studiers.
CPA Exam Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I become a CPA?
The benefits of being a CPA are both tangible and intangible. With that designation next to your name, you get a better career trajectory, a higher salary, respect from similarly accredited peers, and the potential to secure corner office positions. Over the course of their careers, CPAs make $1 million more than their non-certified counterparts. The C-Suite is more likely to be made up of people who are CPAs than those who lack the title—executive search firm Spencer Stuart noted roughly 45 percent of CFOs have a CPA.
What are the CPA exam requirements by state?
The requirements to sit for the CPA exam aren’t especially varied from state to state, but there are certainly some outliers. Understanding these CPA exam requirements is necessary, however, as the first step to becoming a CPA is being able to sit for the exam. For the most part, you’re going to need 150 credit hours of accounting education, along with some work experience. There’s definitely more to the requirements than just 150 credit hours, but you’re going to have that as a basic educational foundation to sit for the exam.
How do I apply for the CPA exam?
Applying for the CPA exam is a complicated process, especially given the date restrictions and many requirements. Understanding how to apply will help with scheduling and time management, so make sure you cover all of the bases. The basic application process involves school transcripts, submitting the fee and application, receiving the ATT from your state board, getting your NTS from NASBA, going to the Prometric website to schedule the exam dates, and then finally studying and taking the test. The CPA exam application process is very specific and can be confusing, so make sure you follow every detail exactly to a T.
How do people stay motivated after failing a CPA exam section?
Finding the motivation to carry on with studying after a failed test is heartbreaking for many people. However, if you can make the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel a tangible goal or event, it will ease the process of starting over. Many people fail at least one section, so it’s certainly possible to keep studying if you know WHY you’re taking the test. Failing a section also doesn’t mean you’re not cut out to become a CPA—many people who occupy corner offices of Fortune 500 companies have failed one section of their exams. The important thing with regard to failing is to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.
How do I recognize my “learning style”?
Recognizing your learning style is the key to cutting hours and hours off of your studying time. Once you know what works with regard to specific types of prep tools—videos, audio content, or practicing by doing via test banks or books—the whole process becomes easier and each minute of studying becomes more valuable. If you’re wondering what your learning style is, I suggest you check out the above post and determine exactly how you process and consume information. Not knowing how you learn best before you invest in a CPA review course is basically burning money!
What are the different testing windows for the CPA exam?
The test is broken down into the quarterly fiscal schedule on which all businesses rely. So, for the first quarter, you get to take the test within the first two months and an additional ten days into the second month. Once this testing window is over, the schedule simply repeats that pattern. Basically, there’s a 20-ish day period per quarter in which you cannot take the test. If you’re able to plan your studying and schedule your exams correctly, you’ll be able to knock out the CPA in roughly a year!
How do I create a study schedule?
Creating a CPA exam study schedule is reliant on you making an honest assessment of how many hours you can devote per week. If you’re working full-time, you’re going to want to study a certain amount per day, with somewhat longer sessions on the weekend. If you’re not working, you can devote larger chunks of time per day—the key is to keep a consistent level of studying, as you don’t want to do too much on one day and none on another. Knowing how to study for the CPA exam will be the difference between passing and failing each individual section.
Which section of the CPA exam should I take first?
Your first CPA exam section should be the one that you feel most confident about passing. Check out the video below to find out why!
What is the Best CPA Review Course?
Top 12 Best CPA Prep Courses of 2017 – Comparison Guide
|CPA Review Courses||Best For||Price with Discount|
|Surgent CPA Review||Most Experienced Instructors||$1799|
|Wiley CPAexcel||Bite-Sized Lessons||$2050|
|Roger CPA Review||Most Engaging Lessons||$1886|
|Yaeger CPA Review||Best Customer Support||$1079|
|Gleim CPA Review||Most Task-Based Simulations||$1439|
|Fast Forward Academy||Personalized Learning System||$1749|
|Becker CPA Review||Most Popular - Endorsed by the Big 4||$3143|
|Ninja CPA Review||Uses ExamMatrix Engine||$67|
|ExamMatrix CPA Review||Best Pass Guarantee||$899|
|Lambers CPA Review||One of the Oldest Around||$2500|
|MDS CPA Review||Live Classroom Course||$1799|
|CPA Review For Free||It's Free||$0|