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Whether you're just about to graduate from college or you've been wanting to build on your education and become a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) for a few years, there's no time like the present to prepare for the exam to further your career. To become an accountant, it just takes graduating with a bachelor's degree and getting hired by a company.
However, CPA designation is more prestigious because it shows an extensive knowledge of accounting and it takes effort to pass the rigorous exam administered by the state. Taking the CPA exam is not something that can be done on a whim. It's considered one of the most challenging exams for obtaining standardized professional credentials out there, which means you need to be well-prepared.
Sunday, March 3rd
Wiley CPA Exam Review's goal is to help students "pass fast and as pain-free as possible" . They have a list of products that cater to finance and accounting students who want to boost their education and professional careers. The company has existed since 1998 and has helped over half a million learners pass high-stakes finance and accounting exams quickly. In addition to prep courses, Wiley offers 1:1 mentoring support, interactive community message boards, and study groups to help you get the most out of your experience.
3 course choices
There are 3 CPA review course options offered by Wiley. All of them come with access until you pass, 24/7 customer support, and access on their mobile app. Other details include:
Best course is also the cheapest
Based on Wiley's outline of what's included in their courses, it seems odd that the least expensive option also seems to have the most features. But we won't complain. For what you're getting, the price of Wiley's Ultimate CPA Review Course holds a lot of value. You can also get free standard shipping on all your materials if you're willing to wait a couple of weeks for them to arrive.
Try Wiley free for 14 days
We're big fans of free trials, so we are happy to see that Wiley lets customers test out their platform for 14 days before paying. You'll get the online study text, 60+ hours of video lectures, 5,000 MCQs, 200+ task-based simulations, 10+ written communications, and over 2,400 knowledge checks. To start your free trial, you'll just need to provide your name, email, state and country, and create a password for your account.
Wiley stands behind their courses
Another safety net that Wiley provides to customers purchasing their course is their 10-day return policy. If for any reason you're unsatisfied with your purchase, a full refund (minus shipping fees and e-book charges) will be issued. You'll need to pay to return the physical materials, but otherwise you'll be able to get all your money back.
Earned our highest rating
In addition to excellent customer testimonials on their website, Wiley Efficient Learning receives high praises from students who have posted about their experience online. People say it seems like the platform is continually being updated, it's a great combination of live instruction with self-study materials, and overall it is definitely worth the money. Unfortunately, they aren't rated by the Better Business Bureau, but we aren't concerned that they aren't legit or reliable in any way. Since you get a free trial, have a 10-day return policy, and courses are reasonably priced here, Wiley has earned our highest rating for CPA test prep courses.
Varsity Tutors is a resource for live tutoring, test prep, group tutoring, and virtual learning from industry experts with extensive CPA experience. They have tutors from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. Students studying specific topics for high school or college as well as for other difficult tests like the LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, SAT, and more can also get tutoring help here. Varsity Tutors has been featured by Fox, CBS, US News, Time, USA Today, and other prominent news outlets.
Get contacted by phone
To get started with Varsity Tutors, you'll first select whether or not you've taken the CPA exam before. To get an idea of how the company can best help you, you'll select why you're seeking help, what your learning preferences are (conversation, writing, studying), how soon you need help, and then provide your contact information and when it would be best for Varsity Tutors to reach out to you by phone.
Rigorous hiring process
They say that only 6% of tutors who apply to work for Varsity Tutors actually pass their rigorous vetting process. You can see pictures and read profiles of all the CPA tutors. Their profile descriptions include their education and certifications, test scores, hobbies, and tutoring subjects.
The CPA test prep tutoring is guaranteed through Varsity Tutors. This means that if you take the CPA exam within 14 days of your last tutoring session, complete all homework and/or assignments, attend all sessions, and still don't pass the exam, you'll qualify to repeat all your tutoring sessions again at no cost or potentially get a full refund.
No pricing on the website
The one thing that isn't outlined on Varsity Tutors' website is their pricing. To get information on how much it will cost to get the specific help you need, you'll have to fill out a form online and have someone from the company give you a call. Depending on if you're getting group tutoring or one-on-one tutoring, the cost will vary. We've seen that private tutoring can be anywhere from $70 - $95/hour, but to get the exact cost to meet your needs, you'll need to discuss it with a representative.
Sky high customer reviews
Varsity Tutors receives impressively high praises from students who have used their platform. They have an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau and thousands of reviews from people saying that the tutors are only of the highest caliber, tutoring is flexible and caters to specific learning styles, and they instill confidence and clarity for students across multiple subjects. Varsity Tutors has some of the highest ratings of any company we've reviewed, so we've given them one of our highest recommendations for CPA test prep as well.
Surgent focuses their test prep courses on helping students create a balanced and customized study plan so they can focus on what they need to learn to pass while taking care of the rest of their life. Since not all students learn the same, Surgent offers adaptive (customized to you) and linear (uniform) learning options. They cater to parents and people with busy lifestyles who don't have time to read every chapter of a textbook, watch hundreds of videos, or answer every practice question.
Adaptive technology to save you time
The CPA study platform provided by Surgent uses AI-powered software to identify what you don't know and tell you what you need to study in order to pass the exam. By completing a cross-section of multiple choice questions, Surgent's technology gauges your knowledge across a content area and creates a hyper-personalized study plan for you. Further multiple choice questions are then adapted to your level and go up in difficulty as your knowledge increases so you can shorten your time studying. The idea is that you can be ready up to 4x faster than you would be if you used other review courses.
Get an estimated CPA exam score
The features in Surgent's CPA test prep course include 7,700 multiple choice questions, over 350 bite-sized videos (10-20 minutes long), and 400 task-based simulations. Every time you log in, you'll have new reading material, quiz questions, and videos that are good "next steps" based on your progress. Through ReadyScore, you can complete a 350-question assessment to get an accurate estimate of what you'd score on the actual CPA exam if you were to take it today. You'll get a diagnostic report with details on your stronger and weaker areas.
Surgent definitely takes a different approach to CPA test prep than some other programs do. Their goal is efficiency, but they want to make sure that their students are confident in trying out the program. The company offers a pass guarantee that applies to students taking the entire course program. If you fail every section of the exam after achieving a ReadySCORE of at least 75 in each course section, you'll qualify for a full refund. You'll also need to have taken the actual CPA exam within 4 months of beginning study with Surgent's program.
Test the platform for free
Another great thing offered by Surgent CPA test prep is their 5-day free trial. By providing your name, email, and phone number, you'll get a link with access to test out the platform. If you finish the trial and decide this is the right study tool for you, you can choose between 3 plans offered by Surgent:
If you're wanting to start studying right away without committing to the full price of Surgent's course, you can make monthly payments with Affirm with rates between 0% and 30% APR on 3, 6, or 12-month loan terms.
A non-overwhelming approach
We like that Surgent doesn't blast students with information and time-consuming study tools, but tries to give them all the knowledge they need in a manageable, non-overwhelming way. The company posts customer testimonials on their website, but we wish there was more unfiltered customer feedback elsewhere. Surgent has failed to respond to 4 complaints against their company, dropping their Better Business Bureau rating to a "D-" , which is disappointing. However, since they offer a free trial, we feel that this should be a reliable way for prospective customers to decide if they like what is offered here. The approach to studying for the CPA exam through this platform could prove extremely useful for many people, so we have still given them one of our highest ratings.
Becker aims to empower people to advance their careers through professional education. They have partnerships in over 55 countries to help people obtain their CPA licenses. Their focus is on delivering the most current content available and providing software functionality that reflects the exam in every way. In addition to CPA review, you can also receive help with practicing for the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) and CPE (Continuing Professional Education) tests as well.
High success rate
Based on stats from 2020, Becker CPA Review helped students pass 94% of the CPA exam sections they attempted. The students who used this resource passed over 33,000 sections of the CPA exam, which represents 1/3 of all exams passed in 2020. The content in their platform that contributes to this success includes practice multiple choice questions, video lectures, printed and digital annotated textbooks, digital flashcards, practice tests, simulated exams, task-based simulation questions, 4-part review courses, and more.
Hefty costs, but worth it
The cost for Becker CPA Review depends on what features you want to access. They have 3 different packages that include:
The cost for this program is hefty. However, if you end up having to take the CPA exam a couple of times in order to pass, then Becker would have paid for itself by saving you the time and money spent on the test itself. If you're a serious student who is willing to commit the time and take advantage of all this test prep service has to offer, you will definitely get a lot of value from Becker CPA Review.
Test it out for free
Since it's a big commitment to pay for and put your time into a CPA test prep course, Becker offers a 14-day free trial of their platform. You'll be able to review the structure of the course and have access to approximately 60 review sessions, 31 hours of lectures, two full units per content section, about 1,490 multiple choice questions, 100 task-based simulations and SkillMaster video tutorials, unlimited practice tests, digital flashcards, and more. This should be more than enough material to give you an idea of whether or not Becker CPA Review is the right test prep course for you.
Demo video of the platform
Becker's platform layout is no secret. They have a demo video that's nearly 20 minutes long that anyone can watch on the website that goes over how to use all the comprehensive features, update your information, access materials, and more through their platform. We highly recommend viewing this in addition to using the free trial before signing up. You'll see how easy their site is to use and feel confident in knowing that nothing is left out here. Becker definitely has covered all the details and is a reliable place to go for test preparation.
Students praise Becker
Becker CPA review has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. We were pleased to see that student reviews of the service were exceptional, with many people saying that they not only passed the CPA exam, but they got really high scores. Comments about how the format and content from Becker matched the actual test as well as helpful customer service representatives are good reasons to give this platform serious consideration. If you're able to commit to the cost of the program, this is a fantastic option.
Gleim develops study and reference materials for both accounting and aviation students. Their CPA review program is over 45 years old and has a 91% pass rate for students who take the exam. They are an eco-friendly company that uses solar electricity, has a recycling program, and donates a part of their proceeds to planting trees.
Gleim's online platform is called SmartAdapt. It's like a personal exam tutor that evaluates performance, directs you to resources you need, and continues to adjust as you improve your quiz scores. SmartAdapt will even let you know when it thinks you are ready to take your final test. The platform includes mock exams that are just like the real thing in both look, length, and weight of topics.
Understand all the concepts
Other materials included with Gleim include over 100 hours of professor-led video lectures, digital and printed books, over 10,000 multiple choice questions, unlimited practice exams, digital flashcards, and audio lectures. Every question in Gleim's courses includes an explanation for the right and wrong answers. The company is committed to helping students understand the concepts behind questions to help accelerate faster and deeper learning.
Access materials until you pass
You'll have access to Gleim's premium test prep materials until you pass the CPA exam. Electronic material will update automatically and in the event that content revisions are made to physical books, they'll provide you with new ones for just the cost of shipping. We wish they were clearer about how long you have access to all their other courses since they don't mention it on their site.
Demo Gleim for free
You'll be able to demo Gleim for free by signing up for an account on their website. With the trial version of the study program, you'll be able to try a complete study unit for each section. You can also view an 8-minute walkthrough on their website that gives a brief overview of how the platform works and gives you a visual idea of how it's all laid out.
Study in full or by section
There are quite a few choices when it comes to signing up for Gleim's CPA study program. There are 2 main review system packages and then the option to sign up for just one section of the CPA exam to study within each package. The full list of course options includes:
Safe and reliable choice
Gleim seems like a solid choice for CPA test prep. They aren't lacking in study materials, professionalism, or flexible study plan options. We like that you have the choice to study by section if you're struggling in one particular area rather than having to spend thousands on a full course that you might not need. The company does not have a rating from the Better Business Bureau, but they have high ratings from students and other institutions. If you like what you see after using their free demo, this is definitely a safe and reliable choice to help you pass the CPA exam.
UWorld Roger CPA Review began in 2001 when their founder, Roger Philipp, set out to make CPA exam preparation more effective through an enjoyable learning experience. Today the method used in the course is referred to as the "Roger Method" that's designed to help students retain key information, make important connections, and apply their knowledge to real-life scenarios. In addition to CPA test prep, UWorld has a series of prep courses for AP, ACT, SAT, PSAT, MBE, MCAT, USMLE, NCLEX, and other important exams across a variety of fields.
Study and pass in 3 months
UWorld boasts that through the Roger CPA Review program, students can be ready to take the test in as little as 3 months with their SmartPath predictive technology, and that they have a proven 94% pass rate on the CPA exam. Students can choose to just pay for and study for a single section of the CPA exam or select two of Rogers' 4-part review packages.
Buy single sections or a 4-part course
The package you choose for your CPA studies will determine how long you have access to the material and what features are included. The options are:
Study now, pay later
Since CPA review programs are expensive, UWorld offers a payment plan through Affirm to help you spread out the cost over time. Their "study now pay later" option lets you get learning right away without worrying about the financial burden of paying for the full course all at once. However, you will have to pay between 10% and 30% APR on the loan, so this option might not be best for everyone in the long run.
Try free for 7 days
Before deciding if you want to commit to UWorld Roger CPA Review, you can do a 7-day free trial through their site. You'll register with your name, email, and a password you create. You'll be able to see the full platform and have a walkthrough of how all the features work. This is a great way to gauge whether or not this is the right CPA test prep course for you.
Start new with UWorld
If you've already paid for a CPA review course from another company and aren't happy with the results, you can qualify for Rogers' Fresh Start discount. This is a program where you will get a discount on either the Elite-Unlimited or Premier course for $1,199 instead of the initial full price.
The Better Business Bureau gives UWorld Roger CPA Review an "A+" rating. They have high ratings from students and customers, so this is definitely a solid option. The only thing lacking here is a guarantee of some kind that their course will work. However, using the 7-day free trial should give you an idea of whether or not you feel this program includes enough material that will fit your learning style. The pricing is competitive with other sites and they have a good reputation, so we have given UWorld Roger CPA Review a high rating for test prep.
Lambers is a training program that not only provides a review course for people wanting to take the CPA exam, but also for prospective EAs (Enrolled Agents) and AFSPs (Annual Filing Season Program). The company was started in 1966 out of Boston, Massachusetts and has helped over 250,000 students pass the CPA exam since that time.
The CPA test prep programs through Lambers provide flexibility for people with busy schedules who want to learn at their own pace. They offer a full 4-part course or you can purchase the sections to study individually if there's an area of focus you need to emphasize more than another. All of them use a 3-mode testing methodology that starts with a pre-test mode to establish a baseline assessment of your knowledge, then adaptive mode to drill yourself in each category, and then simulated mode that mimics the real exam on test day.
Would like to see a free trial
The product description of the individual test sections through Lambers includes a total number of questions, number of explanation videos, and a course outline of all the topics that are covered. The full 4-part course is a combination of all the individual sections. We like that all the topics are listed, but we would rather have access to some sort of free trial of the program to see how material is presented. How old are the explanation videos? Are there any sort of textbooks, flash cards, or full practice tests available? These are things that we couldn't find answers to that are very important when studying for a test as big as the CPA exam. However, they do include some screenshots of the features you'll get with the course and a brief explanation of them to give you at least a basic idea of what the course looks like.
Guaranteed to pass or your money back
The cost of the 4-section CPA test prep course is $999.95 and each individual section alone is $249.95. This is one of the least expensive options we've found, which is great for people trying to keep costs down. Lambers offers a generous guarantee to students who enroll in their course. If you fail the CPA exam twice after using their material, you can contact their customer service department via email within 30 days of receiving the second failed notice and claim a refund. You (usually) can't qualify for a refund under any other circumstances since all sales through Lambers are final. However, if in the rare event they do offer you a refund, it will carry a 25% administrative fee.
There's not a lot to the Lambers CPA prep course. Their website is very basic and includes only the bare details to explain what they have to offer. The company has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, but not a lot of customer reviews elsewhere. From the little feedback we've seen, some people feel like their video content is lacking and they don't have as diverse of a learning platform as some other courses offer.
More value can be found elsewhere
We also wish they gave some information about whether or not they offer expert help if needed or have any group channels for students studying for the CPA exam to discuss questions and reach out to each other. Lambers seems like a safe option since they offer a generous guarantee, but you might get more bang for your buck if you use a CPA test prep course from a higher-rated service.
NINJA CPA Review refers to themselves as a "too good to be true" CPA review course. Their name is an acronym that means: Nail the concepts, Intense notes, Non-stop MCQ, (J?)rewrite your notes, and it All comes together. They are a pay-as-you-pass course that started out in 2010 as a supplement offering a study guide and planner. Over the years, their materials (or "study weapons" as they call them) became a full-fledged CPA review course. They boast that over 7,377 students in the past year alone used the program to pass the CPA exam.
NINJA CPA Review claims to be the fastest growing course with three core components: Study method, Study planner, and Study scheduler. The study method is a "comprehensive methodology that aids candidates in recognizing essential facts and remembering information" . This sounds a little vague to us, but we're trying to give them the benefit of the doubt here. The study planner tells you what to study, how to study, and in what order to use the materials. The scheduler is also referred to as ELL: early, lunch, late, and helps you find time in your current schedule to study.
Use as a primary or supplement course
There are two routes to take with NINJA's program. You can either choose to use it as your primary review course or use it as a supplement with other courses we've highlighted in this review. It's aimed at people who don't feel like they're getting enough help from their primary course, have recently failed a section, or just want an extra boost of study help to avoid failing.
Vague feature explanation
It turns out that whether you choose to use NINJA as your primary study tool or a supplement, the features and cost are all the same. You'll get 3+ hours of audio material, a study book, over 300 flashcards, over 7,000 multiple choice practice questions, notes, access to a cram session, and live teleconferences. This is great and all, but we feel like we aren't being given specific enough details as to how much material you're getting through this course and what it looks like. Saying we get audio material doesn't mean a lot when other companies also tell you what topics are covered and how often their videos are updated. NINJA has an 8-minute video that is supposed to explain the framework in detail, but it's all a cutesy cartoon and doesn't show what their actual platform looks like at all.
The CPA review course is touted as a pay-as-you-pass program. Each section can be purchased for $67/month ($268 for all 4 sections or $3,216/year). Initially this seems inexpensive, but depending on the way you choose to study, it could end up costing a lot more than most other courses in our review. Luckily there is no long-term contract and you can cancel at any time. NINJA offers a 30-day guarantee that allows you to use all their materials and get your money back if you aren't satisfied.
Not fooled by the hype
NINJA CPA Review spends a lot of time on their site talking about how other companies fall short. They're really convinced that they are the best of the best regardless of what anyone else says. We wish they'd cut to the chase a bit and give us more information about themselves instead of trying to compare with other companies and give reasons not to use anyone else. We need to see more from NINJA besides a lot of hype explanations on their website in order to want to move forward with them.
Better choices elsewhere
We can tell that other courses offer more than NINJA, so it's tempting to skip over this company because of that. They do have an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, but their customer testimonial videos on their website are hand-selected and speak nothing but praises of their program. Because of this, we aren't convinced that you won't be wasting some time with NINJA CPA Review, so we recommend putting more consideration into a higher-rated CPA test prep tool.
HR Training Center began in 1994 and offers training for a range of topics like HR, safety, payroll, banking, accounting, insurance, finance, real estate, mortgage, and sales professionals. Their website is designed to help people find information on licensing, certification, professional development, and training courses to help further their careers and improve their skill level. Their website is less than exciting and could use an update to stay competitive with other CPA training courses.
Not their specialty
Since HR Training Center offers so many courses, seminars, and certifications on a range of topics, CPA exam test prep is not necessarily their specialty. This isn't always a bad thing, but here we felt like it was just another class they provide in order to bring in a profit rather than staying up-to-date and pouring a lot of effort into their course. The CPA exam is constantly changing and it's important to find a company that stays up-to-date with materials.
87% pass rate on average
The CPA course from HR Training Center is an online video self-study course that covers all 4 sections of the exam. The company says that since 2004, the average pass rate of students who take their class is 87%. This is fantastic, but we've still seen higher. Also, just because a course was effective doesn't mean it was enjoyable or simple to navigate, and judging by their presentation, HR Training Center doesn't seem like a place that presents their test prep materials in diverse ways to cater to different learning styles.
Included in the CPA Video Self-Study Course is an exam and course planner to help you spread out your assignments and study hours to make sure you're prepared when the test rolls around. They also provide 2,800 pages of exam-targeted study text, over 4,000 past exam questions, over 2,900 flashcards, 46 simulations of the CPA test, private study groups, and a final review. If you choose to go the "classic" route and use their Classic CPA Self-Study Course, you'll also get 6,200 proficiency questions to practice with as well as physical textbooks to study from. Besides that, the two types of courses are essentially the same.
No demo or free trial
The cost for HR Training Center's video CPA test prep course is $1,455 and the classic option is $1,050. You can also choose to purchase just one section of unit prep at a time for $485/section with the video course or $350 for the classic course. This is all slightly less expensive than what we've seen through some other companies, but it may not be as high-quality of a course. Unfortunately, it's hard to know that for sure since they don't offer a demo, free trial, or screenshots of their platform. This is a big disappointment and we'd be hesitant to spend that much money if we weren't sure exactly what we'd be getting.
10-day returns with restocking fees
If you do decide to move forward with the CPA online video self-study course, you have 10 days to request a refund if you're unhappy with it. However, purchases are subject to a 15% processing and restocking fee, which ends up being nearly $200 you'll lose. This is not ideal, especially since they don't let you test out their platform beforehand.
HR Training Center has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau but they are lacking customer reviews, which often means this isn't a very popular platform. Compared with other CPA review programs that offer free trials and a long list of features, plus rave reviews from customers, HR Training Center just doesn't hold up. They've earned one of our lowest ratings among CPA test prep courses.
There is nearly a 50% fail rate, so having the resources to give you the knowledge you need before going in will not only save you money (nearly $1,000), but also a lot of time. The exam is 16 hours long and broken into four sections, so it's not a test you want to keep repeating.
There are quite a few test prep courses available online to help students learn what they need to know before heading into the CPA exam. They're crafted by experts who are very familiar with the ever-changing nature of the exam, so you'll get a range of information to help you succeed on all the sections.
Most of these courses are available on your mobile device, so you can study and practice from anywhere at any time. Having a go-to resource for your CPA test prep is essential for even the most knowledgeable accountants in order to get the most out of your time and money.
There are many companies that offer CPA test prep courses. Consider the following factors when deciding which prep class to use:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best places to turn for CPA test prep. We hope this information helps you find the study materials you need to be confident and prepared going into your CPA exam!
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