Which CPA review course is better, Wiley CPAexcel or Gleim CPA Review? In this head-to-head review, I’ll compare the software, practice tests, textbooks, and the other important components of these courses to help you decide which is the best fit for your CPA exam studying.
I have used both of these courses extensively and found some significant differences that every CPA candidate should know about before making a purchasing decision.
Wiley vs Gleim CPA Cost
Wiley CPAexcel is slightly more expensive than Gleim, but both are affordable and offer quite a bit of value to CPA exam candidates. The former has a variety of packages to choose from, starting with the Wiley Silver Course at $1,590 and up to $2,450 for its Platinum Course. For the sake of transparency, I will reference the Platinum Course in the pricing chart below since this is the one most similar to Gleim’s offering.
Course Expiration and Access
Wiley CPAexcel never expires and you never have to pay to renew your access. Never is a great word to see when you’re looking through CPA exam review courses and the associated access policies. With Wiley, you can take unlimited course repeats and will have access to its online material for an entire year AFTER you pass the CPA exam.
For this category, Gleim is in line with Wiley, as it offers an “Access Until You Pass” guarantee. Both courses are great in this regard, so it’s ultimately a tie.
Wiley vs Gleim Textbooks
CPAexcel books are somewhat plain looking and do not have all the fancy colors and images that other courses may provide. However, some students might view this as a good thing—it tends to get right to the point and doesn’t waste your time and energy. There’s also more empty space to write on in the margins and between the paragraphs which is useful for taking notes. But if you need to write extra notes in your textbook to pad out the sparse info it already provides, is it really a good textbook at all?
Gleim utilizes smaller, bite-sized sections in its books— which is definitely a plus for CPA exam candidates. The material is outlined extensively, and definitely offers a more valuable resource than what’s on offer from Wiley.
CPA Video Lectures
Wiley and Gleim both take the same approach with regard to their video lectures: there’s not a lot of frills and excitement, but in terms of content, you’re going to cover all of the necessary topics. While there’s not much to distinguish either company’s offerings, a few differences may influence your purchasing decision.
With Gleim, they have a host of experts who come through and teach— so you’re going to get quite a varied crowd. Some of the instructors are great and engaging, while others may lack a flair for presentation. Either way, you’re going to get people who know what they are talking about. Wiley tends to have a more boring style of video, but once again it’s all good in terms of the actual meat of the videos. Gleim is a little more varied and exciting, so that really gives them the edge for CPA review video lectures.
CPA Exam Practice Questions
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 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. This is the largest bank of questions on the market, so it’s hard to measure up the Wiley course in this category.
Gleim does have an advantage over most courses, however, as it offers the largest bank of task based simulations—1,300 to be exact. So, it does beat Wiley in that specific measure, but the total number of practice questions that Gleim offers (10,000+) doesn’t measure up in this category.
Winner: Wiley CPAexcel
CPAexcel comes with 4,100 digital flashcards, available at no extra cost. Each section in its software includes flashcards relevant to the most important definitions and terms covered. Unfortunately, trying to access these flashcards can be difficult if you’re using their official mobile app.
Gleim didn’t provide students with flashcards until recently, but now they do! As of 2020, all students will receive complimentary access to digital flashcards to help them study for their exams. And since you can access them without crashing your phone’s app, they’re the winner in this category.
(Quick study tip: don’t BUY flashcards, MAKE them! You will retain much more information by physically creating them by yourself.)
CPAexcel is offered in an online, self-study, and virtual classroom format. The virtual classes are a blend of pre-recorded lectures and live instruction, making it a great combination and something that other courses may not offer.
That being said, Gleim is an amazing course too. Their online course has SmartAdapt technology, which really helps to narrow down the questions once the studying process begins. It’s pretty close, but I think the addition of that extra tech gives Gleim the edge.
Software and Content Updates
CPAexcel comes with free software and content updates. You can access its updated video lectures online for free, or if you prefer to watch them via DVD, it 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. But, let’s be real, in this day and age, the online format should be enough for anyone.
Gleim provides constant updates for its content, as dictated in its “Access Until You Pass” guarantee. The “materials will stay current,” according to the company, so you won’t have to worry about a lack of course updates.
This one is a tie, because both companies are devoted to keeping you updated!
So which course is better? I’d have to say that generally really depends on how you define “better.” For me, your best bet between these two courses is Gleim. They’ve got a fully-featured course with a lot of appealing options, whereas Wiley really only has a large practice question bank to offer students.
Check out a free demo of each course before making your final decision.