Becker CPA vs Surgent Review: Which Course is For You?

Updated: May 23, 2023 You’re our #1 priority.
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If you’re looking for a top-rated CPA review course, then you’ve probably already narrowed down your choices and are wondering what’s better, Becker or Surgent?

Becker packs a ton of clout behind its name, being the chosen CPA Review that top-level accounting firms use for their employees. In addition, it is vouched for by all four of the major accounting firms, the “Big 4,” as they’re commonly called.

In contrast, Surgent CPA Review has developed a reputation for impressive technology. And they boast one of the biggest banks of practice questions on the market.

So, which one got my vote?

As a CPA expert who combs through reviews day in and day out, this was a tough one. Let’s compare these CPA exam prep offerings and see why these are my number one choice for CPA prep and, the other, my number two.

BeckerEndorsed by the Big 4

Save $1,140billed annually
  • 7,400 MCQ’s + Bonus Bank
  • 400+ Simulations
  • 900+ Video Lectures
  • Five Academic Tutoring Sessions

Get Started

SurgentShortest Study Time

Save $1,200billed annually
  • 8,800 MCQ’s + Bonus Bank
  • 450+ Simulations
  • 700+ Video Lectures
  • 50% less study time

Get Started

Becker CPA vs Surgent Review: Format and Features

With more than six decades of experience, Becker CPA Review is one of the oldest and most trusted CPA exam programs in test prep.

Their 94% CPA Exam pass rate is astonishing, especially when compared to the exam day numbers (the national average is between 44 and 55%.)

But how is Becker CPA so successful?

Personally, I think it’s hard-pressed to find another course provider that offers so many different packages and formats while not losing value.

Becker Review Course Offerings

Becker has four different CPA review course packages. The Advantage coursePremium course, and Pro course have been around for a long time.

Becker also has a newer course offering called Concierge. With Becker Concierge, not only will you have access to a dedicated team of experts and a personal success coach, but they’ll also create a tailored study plan that meets your specific needs.

It’s important to note that due to its exclusivity, only 300 candidates can enroll in Concierge, so don’t hesitate to sign up if you’re interested.

For this article, though, we will focus on Becker’s CPA Pro offering since it is the most popular.

Surgent CPA Review Course Offerings

Surgent CPA Review has established itself as a leader in CPA exam preparation with a range of programs tailored to meet the diverse needs of candidates. Among its offerings are the Ultimate Pass, Premier Pass, Essentials Pass, and Single Course options, each designed to cater to different learning styles and preparation needs.

Ultimate Pass Program:

The Ultimate Pass Program stands out as Surgent’s most comprehensive offering. It’s an ideal choice for those seeking a thorough and tailored approach to CPA exam preparation.

In addition to the Ultimate Pass, Surgent provides:

  1. Premier Pass: A well-rounded program offering a balance of resources and support, suitable for those who seek a structured yet flexible study plan.
  2. Essentials Pass: Perfect for self-motivated learners, this option provides essential study materials and resources for those who prefer a more independent study approach.
  3. Single Course: For candidates needing to focus on just one section of the CPA exam, the Single Course option allows for targeted study in a specific area.

In this article, we delve into the specifics of the Ultimate Pass Program, highlighting why it stands out as a top choice for CPA candidates.

Features in Focus

Surgent CPA Review FeaturesBecker CPA Review Features
Study Materials Formatting4-part comprehensive review course covering hundreds of topics4-part comprehensive review course covering hundreds of topics
Video Lectures700+ video lectures, 400 TBS videos900+ video lectures, audio lectures, plus lecture slides
Adaptive Study
Question Bank7,400 practice questions, + 400 task-based simulations8,800 practice questions + 500 task-based simulations
FlashcardsDigital flashcards for course contentSpiral-bound flashcards for all sections
Full-length Practice ExamsUnlimited practice exams12 simulated exams, unlimited practice exams
CPA Review App & Game
Unique Study Planner
Updated around CPA Exam Blueprints
Final Review
1-on-1 TutoringVirtual sessions availableFive sessions included
Pass Guarantee
1-Year CPE Subscription
Customer SupportUltimate support within one business dayUnlimited CPA prep support

An important aspect to consider when choosing between Becker and Surgent CPA Review courses is how each caters to different learning styles. For instance, Becker’s LiveOnline classes are particularly beneficial for visual and auditory learners. These classes offer interactive sessions where complex concepts are broken down through visual aids and explained in detail, making it easier for students who learn best through seeing and hearing. The live aspect also allows for real-time questions and answers, providing an immersive learning experience.

On the other hand, Surgent’s adaptive technology is a boon for self-paced learners. This technology customizes the learning experience based on the individual’s performance and progress. It allows students to learn at their own pace, focusing more on areas where they need improvement. This personalized approach is particularly effective for those who prefer a more autonomous study method, as it adapts to their unique learning speed and style, ensuring that they spend time efficiently on the most crucial topics.

My Thoughts on Both

As someone who has delved deep into the world of CPA exam preparation, I’ve closely examined both Surgent CPA Review and Becker CPA. While it’s clear that both courses offer robust preparation content, excellent video lectures, and an extensive bank of practice questions, I find that Becker slightly edges ahead in the race. This is primarily due to two standout features: LiveOnline classes and Deep Dive Workshops.

Becker’s LiveOnline classes are a game-changer for me. They offer more live, virtual classes than any other exam review provider, and the quality is top-notch. These classes are taught by some of the industry’s best instructors, providing a unique opportunity to gain different perspectives on the material I’ve already studied. What’s more, the ability to get my questions answered in real-time by CPA experts adds an invaluable dimension to my study process. The fact that every class is also available on demand ensures that I never miss out on these insightful sessions.

Introducing BEC Deep Dive Workshops

Then there are the Deep Dive Workshops. This new support product from Becker is designed to help learners like me master the most challenging exam concepts. The live, virtual classes with a CPA instructor offer an interactive learning experience that’s hard to replicate.

Being able to ask questions and get answers in real time has significantly enhanced my understanding of complex topics. And, just like the LiveOnline classes, these workshops are available on demand, making them a flexible resource that fits into my busy schedule.

Becker CPA Review Course Lectures and Videos

Becker CPA Review stands out for its structured and predictable approach to CPA exam preparation, a feature that many students find highly beneficial. The program is meticulously organized into a consistent pattern for each section, making it easier for learners to follow and absorb the material effectively. This pattern includes:

  1. Lecture: Each section begins with a detailed lecture, laying a solid foundation for the topic at hand.
  2. Skills Development: Following the lecture, there are segments focused on developing essential skills.
  3. Practice Questions: Students then engage with practice questions to apply and reinforce their learning.
  4. Simulation Practice: Finally, simulation practice rounds off each section, providing a real-exam feel.

New Features Enhancing the Becker Experience

  • Three Brand New Discipline Sections: Understanding the challenge of selecting a Discipline for the exam, Becker now allows students to demo the new sections for 30 days within their course before making a commitment.
  • Lecture Slides: A new addition to the Becker arsenal, these slides support both the lecture videos and textbook content. They are designed for easy reading, note-taking, and unit review.
  • Dynamic Lecture Videos: Over 900 new, visually engaging lecture videos, each lasting between 10-20 minutes, have been introduced. These concise and focused videos are designed to keep students engaged and make study time more efficient. Real-life examples included in these videos aid in comprehension, and a sample of these upgraded lecture videos is available for preview.

Surgent CPA Review Course Lectures, Videos, and Technology

Surgent CPA Review distinguishes itself with a focus on efficient and engaging learning methods, particularly through its video and audio content. This approach is designed to make learning not just effective but also enjoyable for students.

Surgent’s adaptive technology is a key feature, focusing your study on areas where you need the most improvement. This personalized approach ensures that you are well-prepared for the CPA exam, concentrating on your specific learning needs.

Each Surgent review course comes packed with a wealth of study materials, including:

  • E-books for in-depth study
  • Hundreds of video lessons to cover all exam topics comprehensively

Comprehensive Video and Audio Content: While both Surgent and Becker offer video lessons for each exam section, Surgent sets itself apart by including audio lessons in its top packages. These audio lessons, combined with Surgent’s concise video lectures, facilitate effortless learning. The video lectures, led by CPA expert Liza Kolar, are known for being clear, engaging, and far from dull. Well, for the most part.

As someone who has extensively reviewed Surgent for the CPA exam, I’ve had a firsthand experience of its strengths and weaknesses. One aspect I’ve noticed is that sometimes the explanations provided for certain questions can be lacking in depth. They often offer minimal insight, leaving me wanting a bit more clarity on the concepts being tested.

I’ve also found that while it’s recommended to watch their video lectures, not all of them hit the mark. Some professors seem to merely read off slides without delving into the meat of the subject. This approach can be a bit disappointing, especially when you’re seeking a deeper understanding of complex topics.

How Do Becker’s Review Questions and Exams Compare with Surgent?

In this regard, both Becker and Surgent offer awesome practice resources.

Surgent provides an impressive array of 7,400 practice questions and over 400 task-based simulations. Becker, on the other hand, has recently increased their offering to 8,800 practice questions and 500 task-based simulations.

It’s important to note that the sheer number of questions is not the only factor; the quality and relevance of these questions are what truly matter. Becker’s CPA questions, along with their simulated exams, are renowned for closely mirroring the actual CPA exam.

Surgent also offers realistic practice questions, but they differ in that they don’t provide simulated exams akin to Becker CPA Review. While Surgent’s unlimited practice exams are extremely beneficial, they don’t simulate the actual time constraints of the real test as Becker’s simulated exams do. Becker not only offers unlimited practice exams but also includes 8 simulated exams, a feature that significantly contributes to its edge over Surgent.

How do Surgent’s Other Resources Compare to Beckers?

Surgent CPA Review enhances its offerings with a strong emphasis on Data Analytics, equipping students with vital skills in Excel, Power BI, and ETL through specialized courses. These courses are designed to prepare accounting and finance professionals for the evolving demands of the industry. Additionally, Surgent supports ongoing professional development with a 1-year CPE subscription, ensuring that learners stay current with the latest trends and practices in their field.

Becker CPA Review stands out for its comprehensive approach to CPA exam preparation. It offers a range of resources, including LiveOnline classes, access to CPA exam coaches, and exclusive in-person classes in select locations. The program also features a capstone Final Review course, complete with additional simulated exams, and personalized one-on-one tutoring sessions. As an added bonus, Becker provides a 1-year CPE subscription, further supporting candidates’ continuous learning and professional growth.

Flashcards and Gaming

Flashcards have long been a staple in the toolkit of students preparing for exams, from elementary school multiplication facts to CPA exam definitions. Their effectiveness in aiding memorization is well-established, and this is why the best CPA review providers, including Becker and Surgent, incorporate them into their offerings.

Becker provides digital flashcards for all course sections, having phased out their printed cards. Surgent, on the other hand, offers a combination of 2,000 digital flashcards and over 1,000 printed flashcards. This provides flexibility for students who prefer different methods of studying.

But what truly sets Becker apart is their innovative game-based learning tool, “Accounting for Empires™.” This interactive mobile game is included in the CPA Exam review course at no additional cost and offers a unique way to prepare for the exam.

“Accounting for Empires™” allows students to answer real CPA Exam questions to build an in-game empire, either individually or as a group. This game-based approach not only makes study time more enjoyable but also helps in completing the multiple-choice question (MCQ) homework in the course. It’s a strategic and engaging way to reinforce accounting concepts and skills necessary for the CPA Exam.

Is Becker’s Mobile App and Technology Superior to Surgent’s?

With tech, both of these CPA exam prep providers really shine! In fact, this is what Surgent is known for. Their courses are built using ASAP Technology. They also include a feature called ReadySCORE, which helps you prepare to crush the CPA.

Surgent CPA review vs others is centered around its ASAP Technology. Surgent claims that its course is the only one that can do the following.

  • Turn your weak areas into strengths by focusing on your lack
  • Reduce your study time by two-thirds
  • Let you know when you’re ready to pass

Surgent’s course begins with a comprehensive 400+ question assessment test, which plays a crucial role in identifying your knowledge gaps. The results are then used to customize your study plan and future quizzes or simulations, making your study time incredibly efficient.

Becker’s Technological Edge: Adapt2U Technology and Mobile App

On the other side, Becker has made notable enhancements to its curriculum with the introduction of Adapt2U Technology, powered by Sana Labs. This technology tailors your study program to focus intensively on areas where you need the most help. Regular progress checks ensure that you’re on track and retaining the necessary information.

But what truly sets Becker apart is its highly advanced CPA mobile app. This app offers unparalleled flexibility and convenience, allowing you to study on-the-go and access resources anytime, anywhere. The mobile app is intuitively designed, ensuring a seamless user experience that complements your study routine.

Surgent CPA Review vs Becker: Who Offers Better Support?

When comparing the support offered by Surgent CPA Review and Becker, it’s clear that both have their strengths, but they cater to different needs. Becker is renowned for its comprehensive support system, which includes easily accessible U.S.-based instructors, prompt responses to queries, and a range of additional support features like CPA Exam coaches and personalized tutoring sessions. This level of support is particularly beneficial for students who prefer a more hands-on, guided approach to their CPA exam preparation.

Surgent, meanwhile, offers robust support with a focus on efficiency and technology. Their support is readily available through their online platform, with quick response times and detailed, tailored answers. Surgent’s standout feature is its adaptive learning technology, which acts as a continuous support mechanism, guiding students through their study plan based on performance.

So, who’s boss?

While both Becker and Surgent offer commendable support systems, my personal experience has led me to favor Becker’s support services. I’ve found that Becker not only provides timely and thoughtful responses to inquiries but also offers a level of personalized attention that has significantly enhanced my learning experience.

Surgent CPA Review vs Becker: Who Offers Better Value?

What is affordable pricing for one may seem super cheap or overpriced for other CPA candidates. So, when you’re preparing to make your initial purchase, you’ll want to consider two things: your budget and the price tag of each CPA review.

While Surgent CPA Review was once known for its affordability, priced under $2,000, its current pricing structure has aligned more closely with other leading providers like Becker, especially before any discounts are applied. Therefore, making a decision based solely on price might not be the most effective approach. It’s important to remember that the pricing of CPA review courses is dynamic, often influenced by new discounts and promotional codes.

Presently, both Becker and Surgent CPA Review’s most popular courses are priced around $3,800, positioning them among the higher-priced options in the market. However, they do offer financing options, which can be a relief if you’re managing a tight budget but still want access to top-tier review materials.

Surgent vs Becker CPA Review: Who Has Better Access?

Unlimited access is one of the must-haves for a lot of CPA candidates. Becker offers this for their course content for the highest tiers but not the lowest package.

Surgent has an “Access Until You Pass” promise that allows you to keep studying with the materials until you ace the exam. Becker doesn’t offer the same thing but does include a free year of continuing professional education (CPE) with some prep packages.

If we’re looking at numbers alone, Becker is the best bet. The “Becker Promise” gives you extra protection if you’re scared you might fail on your first try.

Becker and Surgent First Hand Accounts

Exploring the real-world experiences of CPA candidates offers invaluable insights into the effectiveness of different review courses. In this section, I delve into first-hand accounts from users of Becker and Surgent CPA Review, shedding light on how these courses fare in actual study scenarios and exam preparation.

Becker Reviews

“I used surgent at first and had buyer’s remorse. Did not work for me. Becker was much better. I love the skill master videos in the SIMS. Explanations in surgent for mcq were so-so. Becker explanations were better. I also like how when you take mini exams and simulated exams (and even sims) on how it looks EXACTLY like the exam. Helps you not be as nervous on exam day when you finally start. Both programs suck at teaching the material, but the videos to the Sims did a decent job showing off particular subjects.” – Reddit Reviewer, TheGoldenTuba

“Becker is the BEST!! I passed each of the four parts on the first attempt! The instructors help explain complex topics in easy-to-understand chunks and then build upon that information to really help you remember it. The instructors are so energetic and use funny real-world examples to keep us engaged. My college used Gleim as a review tool, and it was not nearly as organized or user-friendly as the Becker site is. I know it is a little pricier, but it is definitely worth it in the long run to be able to finish faster and not waste money on additional attempts!” – Christian, Trust Pilot Review

“Genuinely great! Instructors have been great, and content matter has been relevant. I have one exam left (REG) and should be done relatively soon. Unfortunately, I just got a 73 on REG, but after a few more weeks of studying, I should be good to take it again. Thank you for everything!” – Maximilian, Trust Pilot Review

“I watched all the lectures, did all the questions, read every page and passed every section on the first try. It takes time but it’s effective and it’s worth it!” – Christopher, Trust Pilot Review

“I am only putting three stars to draw attention to the most recent update they have made. Simply put, the previous video format that went through the textbook was incredibly helpful. The new videos have a nice presentation, and Michelle (studying AUD now) is very knowledgeable, but the format feels like I am sitting back in a lecture class, and it is much harder to track all of the content for note-taking purposes. I know everyone’s learning style is unique, but I wish there were an option to revert to previous videos. I know some of the content is outdated, but not all of it is. Becker BEC was five stars, but this format is closer to two to three stars. Happy to adjust the rating once older versions become available once again.” – Matthew, Trust Pilot Review

“I passed 3/4 first try using only Becker. Failed audit but I took it last and i blame it more on being burnt out than Becker not being an adequate study tool. It’s definitely possible, Becker’s got its flaws, but for the most part, it prepares you pretty well on its own.” – Reddit Review Thread

Surgent Reviews

“…Long story short, I’d highly recommend Surgent, and I’d definitely recommend practicing sims so you can get a feel for them and not get overwhelmed during the actual exam. My readyscore for AUD and BEC were fairly accurate to what I got, REG was wonky though cause I didn’t do the sims. I think my ready score was like 40% the day before the test.” – Reddit Thread Review

“I have used Surgent, Ninja, and Roger. In terms of questions Surgent is by far the best. Roger was the best lecturer and textbooks, and ninja was the cheapest.” – Reddit Review by User Flora_628

I passed all the tests I took after using Surgent CPA. I used the ‘Essential Pass’ which is the lowest tier that does not include textbooks (worked for me so i guess i didn’t need them). I already used Becker for FAR and AUD, so I can see if having a different review helps me understand the material more. I could have honestly gone back to Becker for BEC (since I already had it for free), but I was so impressed with Surgent that I just bought the BEC package, too. Then, I studied AUD and BEC together and passed them both. Overall, I liked Surgent better bc the material was leaner and less time consuming, which gave me more time to do overall review for the sections, which I think helped me a lot.” – Reddit Review

Becker vs Surgent CPA Review: Which Course Wins?

As a CPA expert who has closely examined both Becker and Surgent CPA Review courses, I’ve come to a well-considered conclusion in the Becker vs Surgent debate. While both courses offer robust and comprehensive materials for CPA exam preparation, I lean towards Becker as the overall winner in this comparison. However, it’s important to acknowledge that Surgent still stands as a strong contender in the field.

You can check out my full reviews to get all the details for both Surgent and Becker. I can also give you access to the best discounts to make buying a CPA prep course even easier. Good luck!

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Learn More About Becker CPA Review

Surgent vs Becker CPA review FAQs

Is Surgent CPA review good? Surgent offers two great options for CPA exam study. If you want a program with advanced technology that caters to your learning style and personalized needs, Surgent CPA Review is a great fit. This is especially true if you’re looking for an affordable program.

How Does Becker’s Adapt2U Technology Enhance CPA Exam Prep? Adapt2U Technology by Becker is an adaptive learning platform that tailors your study plan based on your performance. It assesses your strengths and weaknesses, focusing your study time on areas that need the most improvement, thereby making your preparation more efficient.

Can Surgent’s ASAP Technology Really Reduce Study Time? Yes, Surgent’s ASAP (Adaptive Study and Accelerated Performance) Technology is designed to reduce study time. By adapting to your learning style and focusing on areas where you need the most help, it streamlines your study process, potentially cutting down your overall study time.

What Makes Becker’s LiveOnline Classes Stand Out? Becker’s LiveOnline classes are interactive and led by experienced instructors. These classes not only cover the course material but also provide real-time answers to student questions, making them a dynamic and engaging way to learn.

Does Surgent Offer Any Unique Features in Their CPA Review Course? Surgent’s unique feature is its ReadySCORE, which gives you an estimate of your CPA exam score based on your current performance in the course. This tool helps you understand when you are truly ready to take the exam.

Are There Any Financing Options Available for These CPA Review Courses? Both Becker and Surgent offer financing options to help students manage the cost of the courses. These options can include payment plans or partnerships with financial institutions to offer loans.

How Do Becker’s Practice Questions Compare to the Actual CPA Exam? Becker’s practice questions are designed to closely mimic the format and difficulty level of the actual CPA exam. This helps ensure that students are well-prepared for the types of questions they will encounter on exam day.

What Support Does Surgent Provide to CPA Exam Candidates? Surgent provides extensive support to its students, including access to knowledgeable instructors, a responsive customer service team, and an adaptive learning platform that guides students through their study plan based on performance and progress.

Bryce Welker, CPA

Bryce Welker is a regular contributor to Forbes,, YEC and Business Insider. After graduating from San Diego State University he went on to earn his Certified Public Accountant license and created to share his knowledge and experience to help other accountants become CPAs too. Bryce was named one of Accounting Today’s “Accountants To Watch” among other accolades.   As Seen On Forbes