Wiley CPAexcel vs Becker CPA Review

Wiley CPAexcel vs Becker CPA Review

  • Updated:February 18, 2019
  • Bryce Welker, CPA
  • Best CPA Courses
  • Comments (37)
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wiley cpaexcel versus becker cpa reviewWhich CPA review course is better, Wiley CPAexcel or Becker CPA Review? 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.

Wiley CPAexcel vs. Becker CostsCourse Access | Course Books | Practice QuestionsCourse FormatSoftware Updates

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 $3,393 for all 4 sections.  Wiley CPAexcel is more affordable and offers a variety of packages to choose from starting from $2,100 for their basic Silver Course and up to $2,800 for their Platinum Course.  I will reference their Platinum 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 ComparisonWiley CPAexcelBecker CPA Review
Full-Course Price$2,800$3,393
Single Section Price$800$1,131
Admin FeesNoneN/A
Cost to Repeat the CourseFree$565 Per Section

Winner: Wiley 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. For the price of this review course, this is a pretty big miss when compared to Wiley CPAexcel.

Wiley 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.

CPAexcel vs. Becker Books

The Becker books are overly fanciful with too much emphasis place on full of colored diagrams and images.  The content is organized and structured but very dry and difficult to get through. Their sections are way longer than CPAexcel’s, making for an overwhelming experience.

Wiley’s CPAexcel books are much more plain looking and do not have all the fancy colors and images.  There is more empty space to write on in the margins and between the paragraphs which is useful for taking notes, overall providing a much more useful experience when using them.

Becker CPA vs CPAexcel Practice Questions

Beckers CPA Review includes 7,200 multiple choice questions and 400 task based simulations, many of which are no longer relevant.

Wiley CPAexcel’s course comes with 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 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.

Becker CPA vs Wiley CPAexcel  Flashcards

For a price of $179 extra you can purchase 1,000 Becker CPA flashcards for both mobile and 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.

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 and frankly, aren’t worth your time.

CPAexcel is offered in an online, self-study, and virtual classroom format. Each course comes with a USB flash drive which allows you 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!

CPA Excel vs Becker Software 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. If you study primarily off-line, the updated CD-rom software only costs $8 as well.

Wiley CPA vs Becker Video Lessons 

This isn’t going to be much of a shock to anyone reading this review, but we have a similar winner in this category. Thanks to a more robust video format, the lectures from Wiley are superior to those offered by Becker.

While neither of the courses is super exciting with regard to video content, there’s definitely more value in the Wiley lectures. The tone is less harsh (Becker’s guy kind of yells at you) and the presentation is more measured and organized. I found that the real difference between the two is the manner in which the presenter speaks to the viewer. I really wouldn’t recommend the Becker video lectures to anyone, but Wiley’s do provide some value.




Winner: Wiley CPAexcel

Pass Rates – Can You Trust The Stats Wiley & Becker Publish?

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 have just gone with 142% and hope nobody notices.

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

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

CPA C0urse Recommendation

So which course is better? I’d have to say that generally really depends on how you define “better.” For me, the value of Wiley CPAexcel far outweighs Becker in terms of what you get for your money.

I’d highly suggest checking out a free demo of each course by clicking the buttons below before making your final decision.



Wiley CPAexcel vs Becker CPA Review
5 / 5 stars

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  • Jess C.
    Posted at 3 February, 2019 14:25 PM Reply

    I disagree on a few of the categories: books, course formats, and video lessons,I've used both Becker and Wiley and preferred Becker. Wiley is obviously the most cost conscious choice if you don't think you'll take all 4 parts (and pass) within 18mth of accessing the course materials, but overall, I feel there's value in the Becker price.I caveat my views below with face that I last used Becker about 7yrs ago and Wiley's "Gold" package 4yrs ago, recently picking it up again (yes, they really do mean access until you pass, even if 4yrs later). Wiley looks / feels the same, I'm imaging Becker hasn't changed much either.BOOKS: Becker books were really great, and the video lessons went hand in hand with instructors showing what to highlight/underline/notate on sides. It was efficient, and effective. The Wiley books are definitely good and chock full of quality material but it's seems a bit more dense in content and sometimes, pictures or boxed recap/reminder tips really do help break things up (i.e. Becker format).COURSE FORMATS: I'm honestly really not sure why you selected Wiley as the winner for this category. Wiley only offers online self-study. Becker on the other hand offers live in person classes, online led by instructor, online self-study, or the fast track condensed live in person classes. On top of that they also offered Final Review live in person courses.VIDEO LESSONS: I very much preferred Becker's video lesson formats / style over Wiley's. Peter Olinto and Tim Gearty were funny and helped pass the time and as I mentioned above, the videos and text go hand in hand. Wiley on the other hand, seemed like double effort. The videos were +/- a power point presentation, separate from the text and left me felt like I had to pay 100% attention to the video and then go back and read / highlight / notate in text. I also feel like Wiley's "bite size" lessons gave a false sense of confidence due to it's ~30min lesson then followed 5-10 questions format: a) of course you should score well when / while it's still that fresh in your head and b) 5-10 questions on same topic all at once isn't entirely helpful because that's now how the exam is setup. Becker's lessons were longer, and yes, some seemed like they were an eternity long, but you had to really commit the material to memory and be able to recall it among other categories / topics when taking the review questions which more closely mimics exam.I will confirm agreement that the updates with Wiley are really great: seemingly constant with online content and 2x/year for printed materials. I think the debate of who's better based on # of practice questions is moot as both offer an overkill quantity of questions; you'll be fine with either. Regarding the flashcards and final review / focus notes, I can't really comment because I've only used Becker's (which did seem useful)..Bottom line, both are good courses, and not everyone's learning style is the same, but if you can afford Becker, and can commit to studying / passing within 18months first time around, I think it's the better value.

    • Al
      Posted at 12 December, 2018 15:03 PM Reply

      Your information is out dated or just plain wrong for Becker. Flashcards a re $179 for paper and include mobile and $99 for mobile. There's no $95 admin fee either

      • Bryce Welker, CPA
        Posted at 15 January, 2019 08:56 AM Reply

        Thanks for the new pricing info, the page has been updated!Cheers, Bryce

      • AB
        Posted at 20 May, 2017 04:27 AM Reply

        I thought Becker will keep your access longer than 18 months as long as you do 90% of the material?

        • BWelk
          Posted at 22 May, 2017 17:30 PM Reply

          Becker has been known to give you an extension if you have taken all 4 parts and completed at least 90% of all the required homework. Other than that, you will have to pay for extended access if you need more time with the course.

        • Michael Loesevitz
          Posted at 13 March, 2017 20:13 PM Reply

          Hi highly recommend Wiley CPAexcel. Using Wiley CPAexcel, I was able to pass all 4 sections on the first try over a 3 months period, while working full-time. The bite size lessons were amazing (With lessons only being a few minutes long, it was easy to squeeze in lessons throughout the week). I also want to note that I had never taken an auditing course and never participated in an audit, so everything I learned about audit came from Wiley CPAexcel. To my surprise, I ended up scoring a 98 in Audit! On the other sections, I received the following scores: (FAR: 81), (BEC: 79), (REG: 90). Thanks, Wiley CPAexcel!

          • BWelk
            Posted at 21 March, 2017 18:53 PM Reply

            Awesome job Michael! I love to hear others' success stories, especially when they're with my favorite course, Wiley. Congrats on crushing the exam and proving that you have what it takes to be a CPA!

          • Bev
            Posted at 24 November, 2016 13:12 PM Reply

            I highly recommend Wiley CPAexcel. I successfully passed all four sections of the exam using the Wiley program.

            • BWelk
              Posted at 29 November, 2016 00:42 AM Reply

              Thanks for your input Bev!

            • Erik Tousseau
              Posted at 26 October, 2016 22:58 PM Reply

              A coworker just gave me her 2008 Becker review course materials. Do you think these would be too outdated to use for the 2017 exam? Would any part of the materials be usable?

              • BWelk
                Posted at 28 October, 2016 21:08 PM Reply

                I would definitely use updated study materials as there have been many changes to the exam over the past 8 years. It's not worth wasting your time studying info that may no longer be on the test as well as not learning the new content they've added.Cheers,Bryce

                • Erik Tousseau
                  Posted at 30 October, 2016 18:05 PM Reply

                  Thanks for the reply, Bryce! I will get new materials. I'm doing the Wiley free trial now.

              • C2C
                Posted at 9 September, 2016 12:38 PM Reply

                Becker has helped me pass 2 and I have 2 more to study for!

                • Bethany
                  Posted at 21 July, 2016 19:27 PM Reply

                  I used Becker in the past. I am one who likes the lecture styles of Becker but not the overwhelming information. I am on who is a visual learner and likes to practice questions. Which would you prefer Wiley or Roger. I like Wiley because there is no expiration on the material. Are both similar to Becker in the set up of creating a study plan, having lectures and doing ,multiple choice and simulations. Are both going to have the updates that are needed for 2017 test change?

                  • BWelk
                    Posted at 15 August, 2016 23:32 PM Reply

                    Yes both courses come with free updates.

                  • Mark Miller
                    Posted at 28 April, 2016 15:43 PM Reply

                    Hi, I have sat the audit paper and got 72 (that was like a punch in the gut). I want to start again but want to be sure the method I use will get me to 75 and beyond (I don't think I have the stamina to do it a third time). Do you offer (or CPAexcel) group support for the online studies?

                    • BWelk
                      Posted at 19 May, 2016 21:05 PM Reply

                      Hi Mark,I don't offer any form of group support for online studies but there are some study groups on Twitter that work together. Check out CPA exam club as well they might offer some online group study.Cheers,Bryce

                      • Mark Miller
                        Posted at 20 May, 2016 14:20 PM Reply

                        Thanks, I had a look on the internet and found a CPA club, I will go over what it offers this weekend

                    • Nat
                      Posted at 23 October, 2014 17:22 PM Reply

                      I had a chance to go through CPA Excel AUD part and BEC and that is GREAT ! Books and on-line- questions-bank was very productive. They update all materials for free, so you don't have to be worry about being behind with official changes..... I am a PhD in Economics and now, after 29 years of Finance/Accounting experience, I decided to become a CPA. I should have done this a long time ago. So, Kelly, good luck to you for PhD degree combined with a CPA examination & certification in your state !! I think that a lot of people who was shooting multiple times the same section out of 4 sections of the CPA exam had failed it because they didn't take it seriously, I mean not enough study and practicing. Another reason could be if a person had a bachelor degree in Chemistry, Biology,etc... and suddenly decided to change his profession. Considering incredible volume of info you need to "digest", especially for FAR section, I am not surprised why average U.S. passing score percentage is always under 50% of candidates/applicants. The recipe is simple - study hard, stick with a study-schedule strongly and manage your time on an actual CPA exam.

                      • BWelk
                        Posted at 3 November, 2014 09:33 AM Reply

                        Thanks for your input Nat!Cheers,Bryce

                        • Susie
                          Posted at 6 January, 2015 07:18 AM Reply

                          Nat,Thank you for your input. I received my MBA in accounting about 8 years ago. I have no work experience in Accounting yet, but hoping to pass the CPA exams. A few years ago, I bought the Becker courses. I worked extremely long hours (min 10hrs/day, 5X's a week), so needless to say, it took a lot of discipline to study and stay focused. To read and absorb every single page just didn't fit my time limit, so I focused on all the key points that the books and lecturers pointed out, which was still a lot. So you can imagine my dismay when I took the exam and found that hardly any of the questions were covered in what I studied. I studied FAR intensely, but lost motivation to study as hard in the other topics so I didn't pass any of them. For example, I studied all the depreciation methods covered in Becker, confident that I had all of them down pack. But the exam only had one depreciation question, and it was a method that was not even covered in Becker.My hours at work are not as insane anymore, so I'm ready to give this another go. I have the discipline to study hard and to stay focused, but I need the confidence that what's on the exam is actually covered in the courses. Who knows, if I had studied every single page in Becker, maybe I would have passed. But I'm afraid to take the chance of spending so much money again and to put even more commitment then I did before and risk that what I study won't be on the exam again. With your experience with CPA Excel, did you find that the majority, if not all, the topics in the exam were covered in their courses? Or did you have to rely on your 29 years of personal experience? Since I have no Accounting work experience, and it was so long ago that I earned my degree, I'm hoping to be able to count on a reliable course.Thanks.

                        • Kelly
                          Posted at 26 February, 2014 19:03 PM Reply

                          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
                            Posted at 26 February, 2014 19:06 PM Reply

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

                            • Van
                              Posted at 10 June, 2014 18:15 PM Reply

                              Thanks, I was thinking of Becker, you have just saved me!!!!

                            • Jess
                              Posted at 1 October, 2013 15:44 PM Reply

                              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.

                              • Bryce
                                Posted at 1 October, 2013 17:30 PM Reply

                                Hi Jess,To see exactly how I used CPAexcel to study with check out these 2 pages: These pages will definitely help you optimize studying with their course!Cheers,Bryce

                              • trish
                                Posted at 1 October, 2013 14:19 PM Reply

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

                                • Bryce
                                  Posted at 1 October, 2013 17:28 PM Reply

                                  No problem Trish! Cheers,Bryce

                                • Jaeman Minard
                                  Posted at 23 July, 2013 20:23 PM Reply

                                  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
                                    Posted at 24 July, 2013 13:17 PM Reply

                                    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

                                    • TMEK
                                      Posted at 30 November, 2014 08:32 AM Reply

                                      Look you have just saved me money and time and making me to choose CPA Excel. This is not joke, I still have Becker 2013 materials and I don't want to even look at it. I used it for my exams never passed after spending over $3k. Now Becker need me to purchase the materials for (2014) again at almost same price. I think I will try CPA Excel this time around. I will make the final judgment after using CPA Excel.

                                      • BWelk
                                        Posted at 1 December, 2014 06:10 AM Reply

                                        Great choice! Ya Becker is ridiculous. At least you won't ever have to worry about buying new materials with Wiley CPAexcel.Cheers,Bryce

                                  • Patricia
                                    Posted at 10 June, 2013 12:34 PM Reply

                                    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
                                      Posted at 10 June, 2013 12:57 PM Reply

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

                                    • Jaryn
                                      Posted at 29 May, 2013 09:44 AM Reply

                                      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
                                        Posted at 29 May, 2013 13:09 PM Reply

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

                                      • Tyson
                                        Posted at 27 May, 2013 10:32 AM Reply

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