Finding the best CPA review course is probably the most important step you’ll make in passing the CPA exam and becoming a certified public accountant. With so many top-rated CPA study guides out there to choose from, how are you supposed to know which one will actually work for you? The key is to look at each one and see how it fits your learning style.
Trust me. The entire process of becoming a CPA is challenging, but the exam is the biggest hurdle. This is where choosing the best CPA exam study materials is crucial. Quite honestly, the difference between successfully passing the exam or failing it depends largely on how well your study guide prepared you for the exam material.
Using the wrong CPA prep course could cause you to fail a section or two and cost you months of CPA study time along with the feeling that you can’t do it. Unfortunately, most people who fail a section get discouraged because they think they aren’t smart enough to pass. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most people who fail a section do so because their study materials didn’t prepare them well enough.
Think smart and pick the CPA review materials that will work for your study habits and lifestyle. I know you can pass the exam with the right course just like I did. That’s why I’ve personally used and tested all of the major CPA exam review courses out there and summarized their pros and cons to help you pick the best one for you no matter what section you start with: FAR, BEC, AUD, or REG.
I hope this comparison table and my reviews will help you decide on the right one, so you can start your career as a CPA. Still unsure? Shoot me an email. I’d love to help you find the right course to pass the exam!
|Roger||Gleim||Fast Forward Academy||Yaeger|
|$1,945 Premium Course with
|Multiple Choice Questions||5,500||4,000+||10,000+||6,327||3,800|
|Task Based Simulations||450||200||1,000+||230+||90+|
|Video Lectures||80||100 – Online & Offline||100+ hours||Update – New videos Added!||120|
|Time Limit||Unlimited!||18 Months,
6 month ext. available
|Unlimited! Guarantee Applies||Unlimited!||18 months|
|Final Cram Course||Final Review inlcuded with all courses||Extra $225+ per section||Extra $225+ per section|
|Mobile App or IPad Compatible|
|Customer Service||Forum/Message Boards with Coaches||Homework Help Center open 24/7||Phone – limited times, Email Support||Live Chat, Email, Forum Support||Live Chat, Phone hotline|
|What makes it unique?||Bite-sized Lessons, Unlimited Access Forever!||Most interactive course with online & offline materials||Largest Bank of Test & MC Questions||Completely customizable course, Unlimited Access Forever!||Redesigned Student Portal with Exam Planner|
|My Opinion||My Review||My Review||My Review||My Review||My Review|
|Want to test it out for yourself?||Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial||Free Trial|
Here’s a list of the Top-Rated Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Study Materials and CPA Review Prep Courses in 2018:
Here’s a list of the best CPA review courses that will help you pass the CPA exam and become a certified public accountant. Check out my reviews to see which on is the right study guide for you.
Roger CPA Review
Roger Philipp founded the company in 2001 and has helped more than 80,000 candidates achieve their dreams of becoming a CPA. This is a great course brought to you through a modern 24/7 access online platform.
Awesome Lectures – You can tell by the way Roger carries himself that he loves accounting and is passionate about you passing the exam. He is over the top with energy and really makes you feel like you are being entertained more than you are sitting in a boring college accounting classes. Let’s just say he’s not your average professor.
Innovative and Modern Course – The new 2014 version of the review course’s platform is an interactive online experience. You can custom study schedules and quizzes. There are also areas for notes and extra explanations. The entire software interface is design around speeding up your learning process. You can even watch the video lectures or listen to an audio version on your iPad or iPhone.
No Live Classes – Personally, I think live classrooms are outdated and inconvenient, but many people still prefer going to a live lecture instead of watching one on a computer screen. Roger doesn’t offer a live classroom option.
– Read my full analysis of Roger CPA Review and decide for yourself! –
Wiley CPAExcel Review
Wiley CPAexcel refers to itself as the Efficient Learning System for a reason. The entire program is designed around the idea that you can learn and study faster and still retain the same amount of information.
Smaller Lessons – The CPA Excel learning experience starts with “bite-sized” lessons. These short lessons help you focus and retain more information. They are great for people who are busy and can’t sit down for an hour-long lecture or for those of us with short attention spans. : )
Unlimited Access – One of the main advantages of CPAExcel is that they are there for you until you pass. Yes, that means you could take 2 years to pass the exam and you will never have to pay an update or renewal fee. Free unlimited updates are a huge relief! You aren’t pressured to pass in 12 months.
Mnemonics Strategies – Wiley CPAexcel focuses on its course on creating smaller, bite-sized lectures and lessons. They don’t use as many mnemonics as other courses do for their memorization strategies. Instead, they rely on the focus and organization of their course to help you remember.
– Read my full analysis of Wiley CPAexcel Review and decide for yourself! –
Surgent CPA Review
Surgent CPA is one of the newer review courses on the market today, but their aren’t new to the professional test prep industry. Surgent has been offering professional education for CPAs for decades and they’ve put all of their experience into their new CPA study guide.
Adaptive Technology – Today adaptive learning seems to be a catch phrase that everyone is grabbing at trying to say they are the next hot thing. Unfortunately, most of these other companies aren’t actually developing truly adaptive courses. Surgent is the exception. They have developed an approach that truly recognized your strengths and helps you work on your weaknesses to help you learn and retain information faster.
– Read my full analysis of Surgent CPA Review and decide for yourself! –
Gleim CPA Review
Dr. Irvin Gleim wrote his first study guide in 1974 and has been responsible for one of the most popular study guides every since. Since its inception, Gleim has helped more than a million candidates successfully pass accounting exams. Not a lot of courses can boast these numbers.
Largest Test Bank – It’s no secret that you have to be good a multiple choice questions in order to pass the exam. This is why Gleim offers the largest MC question test bank in the industry. With over 10,000 questions to test yourself with, you will be prepared on test day.
Pass Guarantee – The Gleim course offers a money back guarantee for all candidates who didn’t pass the exam on their first try. If you used their course and can show that they have applied it appropriately and you still didn’t pass, you can either get a refund or continue using the course until you pass.
Huge Amounts of Info – Gleim is not a condensed study guide by any means. They give you tons of information about everything. It’s up to you to figure out is important enough to memorize and what is simply excessive detailed information.
– Read my full analysis of Gleim CPA Review and decide for yourself! –
Fast Forward Academy CPA Review
Fast Forward Academy is a newer company that has exploded in the professional exam industry. They are the fastest growing company today and there’s no wonder why. Their innovative and unique look at course materials and overall study process intuitively shows you weak areas and opportunities to improve.
Completely Customizable Course – The main advantage to FFA is that they didn’t create a one-size fits all course. They created a course that adapts to you and your learning style. Based on correct and incorrect answers, the program will automatically redesign a custom study, so you can work on your weaknesses. No other system uses their patented technology.
Extremely Affordable – I think this is one of the most underrated courses available today. Fast Forward base price is less than half of some of the other courses. To get this kind of innovation and study effectiveness at this price is actually kind of unbelievable.
Video Lectures – Fast Forward Academy does not currently offer video lectures as part of their course, but they are working on creating a completely new interactive video lecture environment. It’s just not available yet, but since FFA never expires they may roll this feature out while you are studying with the course.
– Read my full analysis of Fast Forward Academy Review and decide for yourself! –
Yaeger CPA Review
Phil Yaeger started this course in 1977 with only a small class of students in Washington, D.C. Almost 40 years later, its one of the biggest name in CPA review courses. I think that speaks volumes about the integrity of the company and quality of the course in general.
New Redesigned myYaeger Student Portal – The completed redesigned student portal gives you everything you could think of in a modern course. There are time saving features that integrate the video lectures, book content, and multiple-choice questions, so you can just sit back and learn.
Family Company and Support – Yaeger is a family owned and run company and it shows. They have one of the most friendly and easy to reach support staff out of any course. Plus, you can actually contact the instructors personally. Yes, personally. Email an instructor and they will respond to your question!
Longer Lessons – Yaeger CPA lessons are packed with information and go extremely in-depth into all the topics explaining everything with examples and problems. Each lecture usually last for about an hour, so busy people might now be able sit through an entire lecture at once. You can also pause it and come back, however.
– Read my full analysis of Yaeger CPA Review and decide for yourself! –
Best CPA Review Course Study Supplements
Best CPA Exam Cram Courses and Final Reviews
Cram courses are typically used to refresh your memory on important topics or remind you lists that you should memorize. These courses are great tools during the last 10 days leading up to your exam day. They help you focus on things you need to remember without dragging you through in-depth discussions of topics.
Final reviews are great for last minute cramming and multiple-choice question practice. They could mean the difference between passing with a 75 and failing with a 74. Trust me. They are worth it. There are a number of different cram courses that you can use including: Roger CPA, Wiley CPAexcel, and Yaeger. Truthfully, these are the best CPA test cram courses on the market today.
Roger CPA Exam Cram Courses
Roger has developed a unique final review that touches on all of the important topics on the exam. Keep in mind, that this isn’t a full review course. It’s simply a final review meant to help you refresh on important topics. This includes CPA textbooks, video lectures, and practice exercises. You can purchase this separately from your regular study guide or you can get it for free with the Roger Elite package.
Yaeger CPA Review Cram Course
Yaeger CPA’s final review is supposed to act like a wrap up to your full CPA study guide. The best thing about this review is that it is designed to work with any other prep course. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you used Roger or Yaeger to study, you can still use this final review. Yaeger is so confident in their materials that they advertise it will raise your score 5 to 15 points. This also comes with their full course.
Wiley CPAexcel Final Review
Wiley CPA offers a slightly different type of final review. It’s not as much of a full course as it is another study tool. Wiley’s CPA focus notes are made up of flash cards that include textbook chapter summaries, unique memorization strategies, and additional exercises to help remind you of topics you should brush up on. If you want a detailed final review, this probably isn’t it. You might want to check out Roger or Yaeger’s.
Becker CPA Review Final Course
Becker is an industry leader when it comes to final reviews. Their study materials are probably the best, but they better be for how much they cost. Their final review is almost twice as much as some of the others on this list. I think it’s a great product, but it’s not worth the money if you have to pay for it yourself.
Fast Forward Academy CPA Review
Fast Forward has introduced a new type of final review that allows you to design your own. FastFocus allows you to separate all the topics that you need to work on, so you can review them quickly and easily. This is a great review tool, but it’s not really a final review since there could be a ton of stuff you feel comfortable with, but don’t have memorized. It’s also not available outside their study guide package.
Gleim CPA Cram Study Materials
Unfortunately, Gleim doesn’t offer a final review at all. It’s disappointing because their study materials are so in-depth that I feel like their cram course would be really good. Oh well, there are better ones out there for you.
Best CPA Review Test Banks
Every CPA review course comes with a test bank of questions that you can use to practice your test taking abilities and your knowledge of the exam topics. In my opinion, this is probably the most important part of any CPA prep course because it helps you practice multiple disciplines at the same time. It also helps you understand the topics better because you are actively engaging with the information rather than passively watching a lecture or reading a textbook. You are actually thinking about the information and trying to problem solve.
Since each prep course company offers slightly different options, I think it’s important to take a look at each one. Otherwise, how are you going to know which one is right for you? Luckily, here are the best CPA review test banks from the courses on the market today.
Wiley CPAexcel Test Bank
The Wiley test bank is one of the best for a variety of reasons. First, the CPAexcel testing software is modeled directly after the AICPA exam software. It looks exactly like the exam. Some other companies have their special, stylized versions of the AICPA software, but none are quite right. Wiley nails this.
Wiley also has the largest CPA exam test bank out of any company. The Wiley CPAexcel test bank offers more than 12,000 past exam and practice questions. This is particularly important because the last thing that you want to do during your study process is memorize questions because you keep seeing the same ones over and over again. You won’t have that problem with Wiley.
Surgent CPA Review Test Bank
The Surgent test bank includes more than 6,800 multiple choice questions that you can use to practice your test taking skills and understanding of the exam topics. Since the entire Surgent platform is based around adaptive learning, it only makes sense the their test bank would be too. Their test bank actively suggests questions and topics for you to go over and refresh your knowledge on. This is a pretty powerful feature as it lets you practice the topics that you need to rather than simply taking more quizzes. It also provides advanced analytics of your results after you take each quiz.
Gleim CPA Review Test Bank
The Gleim test bank has long been the industry standard because of its size and in-depth explanations. It currently offers more than 9,200 multiple-choice questions. This is technically the largest test bank of past exam questions in the industry. Wiley has more overall questions, but many of them are practice questions in different formats like true/false. Gleim has more actual exam questions.
Gleim is also notorious for having extremely detailed explanations about the questions and answers. This makes it great resource because it will help you understand the topics without having to go back and look everything up in your textbook. Gleim also offers their test bank as a stand alone product, so you can use it as a supplement for other review courses.
Roger CPA Review Test Bank
The Roger test bank includes more than 5,800 past exam and practice questions. This isn’t the biggest set of practice questions on the market, but it comes with Roger’s signature flair. Each of the questions have a detailed explanation of the correct and incorrect answers as well as the topic in general. These explanations are written in the way Roger’s textbook are written: an easy to understand format that isn’t overly complicated. The Roger testbank also includes custom quiz options that allow you to create any length quiz including any number of topics from their review materials.
Yaeger CPA Review Test Bank
The Yaeger test bank includes more than 5,000 multiple-choice and past exam questions. The Yaeger exam simulator is just about as good as Wiley’s. It looks very similar to the AICPA testing environment. Yaeger, like most of the testbanks, allows you to create custom quizzes from exam topics or sections in their study course. This is helpful because it gives you flexibility with the length of quizzes and let’s you focus on the topics you feel you need to work on. Yaeger also does an awesome job in the analytics department. Their after quiz reports are very detailed and allow you to zero in on your weak topics.
Fast Forward Academy CPA Test Bank
The Fast Forward Academy test bank includes over 5,000 review questions and task-based simulations. This is one of the smaller test banks out there, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in features. Fast Forward has done an awesome job integrating their question bank into their overall study guide. Their main philosophy of making things easy to use is readily apparent in this product. Each question and explanation is linked to that section in your study text book, so you don’t have to search for additional info. The questions are also linked to your notes and the CPA community. This way you never have to leave your quiz study session in order to find more information about the topic. It’s all right there.
Commonly Asked CPA Exam Questions
How Do I Study For the CPA Exam?
There is no right way to study for the exam. Some people learn best by reading text, while other learn from watching lectures or attending live lectures. You should develop a study strategy that matches the way you learn best. After you have that covered, you should set a study schedule. The key to studying for the exam and actually passing is being consistent. Set a schedule and stick to it!
How Do I Create a CPA Study Schedule?
It’s difficult to find time to study for the exam. Most candidates studying for the exam have full-time jobs, spouses, kids, families, or simply a social life that they want to keep. Trust me when I say, you don’t have to completely lose your entire life in order to pass the exam. You just have to set a study schedule. The key is being consistent. Slow and steady wins the race every time. Look at your work schedule and your family commitments to see when you can study. Set a time each day to study for about 2-3 hours. Remember, study breaks are a good thing. Take a day off each week and live life. You will come back refreshed and study better. Just keep your schedule consistent and don’t skip days and you will be prepared come your exam day.
How Long Should I Study For Each CPA Exam Section?
It’s commonly suggested that you study for at least 100 hours for each CPA exam section, but that isn’t always the case. You obviously know some topics and subjects better than others, so some sections will naturally require more study time than others. I would recommend studying for about 6-8 weeks for each exam section. If you study about 15 hours per week, you should be able to pass each section.
Keep in mind that this is just an estimate. Work through your review course until you are passing all of the practice quizzes and simulations with at least an 85. After you can do this confidently, you should do fine on the exam.
Which CPA Exam Section Should I Take First?
There are a lot of competing theories on which exam section you should take first, but you can trust me. My theory is better than the other ones. I recommend taking the section that you feel most confident with first. This could be the topic area that you like the most or have the most experience with. Or, it could just be the last topic that you studied in college. Regardless of why you know the information and feel confident about the topic, you should take that one first.
There are two main reasons why. First, passing any exam right off the bat will give you confidence and get you motivated to sign up for the next section. Second, if you do run into the dreaded 18-month window, you will lose your easiest section in the worst case scenario. Now although that sucks, it’s better than having to retake your hardest section again. Know what mean?
How Hard is the CPA Exam?
The CPA exam is one of the most difficult tests I have ever taken. That being said, it’s not that bad. I know that sounds like two contradictory statements, but it’s not. The exam is really difficult and that’s why you need to prepare for it properly. Anyone can pass the exam if they put the time into studying for it the right way. Find a review course that fits your learning style, make a study schedule, and stick to it. If you do these few things, you will have no problem passing the exam on your first try.
When Should I take the CPA Exam?
The is no best time of the year to take the exam. Some candidates want to look at passing rates to suggest the exam is easier in different windows, but that’s not the case. The exam is equally difficult all year. You should schedule your exam dates when you have time to study for them. For example, if you are working in public accounting as a tax accountant, the first testing window might not be the best time to take a section. You might want to schedule your exams in the third and fourth windows before the busy season starts.
What are the Different CPA Exam Testing Windows?
The CPA exam is administered by the AICPA every calendar quarter. Each quarter contains one 7-9 week testing window where you can schedule and sit for the exam. The remaining 3-5 weeks in the quarter are not open for testing and give the AICPA a chance to grade and score all of the exams taken in that testing window. Thus, you can sit for the exam in January, February, April, May, July, August, October, and November.
How Do I Apply for the CPA Exam?
Applying for the CPA exam is easy if you know what you are doing. The CPA exam application process has several steps. First, you will need to complete your educational requirements. Second, you’ll need to submit your transcripts to your state board along with the application itself and the corresponding fees. After you are approved to sit for the exam, you’ll need to get your NTS and schedule your exam day.
What is the Cheapest CPA Review Course?
The least expensive and most affordable CPA review course is tied between Yaeger CPA, Gleim CPA, and Fast Forward Academy. All three of these companies make full courses for right around $1,000.
Should I buy CPA study materials?
The obvious answer to this is, Yes. You should. There is no way you could navigate the CPA exam without having a prep course. The exam is too big. Trust me. It’s worth the investment. Think about it this way. If you try to save some money and you end up failing one or two sections, you will be out hundreds in exam fees and months of your time. It’s just not worth risking it. There’s no reason to spend longer taking the exam than you need to. The easiest and fastest way to pass the exam is to simply get a real prep course that will properly prepare you for your exam day.
What is the Easiest CPA Exam Section?
Every candidate has a slightly different opinion on which CPA exam section is the easiest. This makes sense because everyone has a different skill set and different experiences. Most candidates, however, tend to do well on BEC because it is a shorter exam and relies heavily on the written simulations. These sims might not be easy for people who aren’t that great at writing, but I found them to be a piece of cake. That being said, BEC is not easy by any means. Don’t under estimate it because it will crush you if you aren’t prepared.
What is the Hardest CPA Section?
All of the CPA exams vary in difficulty. Many candidates have trouble with both AUD and FAR. Although AUD can be difficult especially for candidates who don’t have any experience or interest in auditing, FAR is generally recognized as the most difficult CPA exam section. This is because of its length and the sheer amount of information covered on it. FAR study books and test banks are easily twice the size of the other sections. There’s just a ton of information you need to understand and memorize for FAR. It’s definitely no walk in the park even if you are good at financial accounting.
Why Should I Become a CPA?
Becoming a CPA will open career doors for you that you never had access to before. You will be able to achieve promotions and executive positions that are only open to professions. You will also get paid a ton more. And realistically, that’s what it’s all about. CPAs make $1M more over the course of their careers than their non-certified counterparts. That’s a lot of cheese. It’s totally worth the few months studying for that type of payday.
How Do I Become a CPA in My State?
Every state has different exam and licensing requirements, but most require you to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting to sit for the exam. After completing the CPA examination, you will need to fulfill the additional 150 credit hour educational requirements and any work experience requirements mandated by your states.
It’s important to understand what you need to do before you even apply for the exam. The best way to do this is to contact your state board or your state CPA society. Both of these organizations will have the info you need. I also have a summary of each state’s CPA requirements for you to use.
What is the Best CPA Review Course in 2018?
Top 5 Best CPA Review Courses – 2018 Comparison Guide
|2018 CPA Review Courses||Best For:|
|Roger CPA Review||Lively lectures keep you engaged.|
|Wiley CPAexcel||Bited-sized lessons to help you stay focused.|
|Gleim CPA Review||Biggest test bank with the most practice questions.|
|Fast Forward Academy||Advanced adaptive technology to shorten study time.|
|Yaeger CPA Review||Detailed lectures and materials help you brush up.|
|Becker||Most well-known and longest track record.|
|Surgent CPA Review||Newest course with fresh look.|
Other CPA Exam Resources