cpa review courses

Best CPA Review Courses & 31 Things To Know


Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a course through one of our links, we might make a commission (at no additional cost to you).



Introduction to the CPA Review Courses


I am uniquely qualified to write a guide on ‘choosing the Best CPA Review course' because:

1) I own a complete CPA Review course (NINJA), am an AICPA course licensee, and have the same access to the AICPA Examinations Team as the “big” courses.

2) I have affiliate relationships with my competitors and am the only major course (I define “major” as top-5 in market share) that can say that. I started the affiliate programs for both Roger CPA Review and CPAexcel wayyy back in the day and know the companies (and their staff) fairly well.

3) I've been doing this (helping people pass the CPA Exam) full-time for over a decade, and I know every major CPA Review Course and have seen them all evolve over time (and even get sold along the way).

Choosing a ‘Best CPA Review Course' among the seemingly endless list of options is the 2nd-most important decision you'll make during your CPA Exam journey.

(The most important decision is to get your butt out of bed on a daily basis and study).

There are two types of CPA Review:

  1. CPA Exam Review Courses (your “main” study materials. Scroll down to a comparison of four of the Best CPA Exam Review Courses below.)
  2. CPA Review Supplements (CPA Test Banks, Study Guides, Audios, CPA Crams, etc.)

Don't have a course yet? You're in the right place. Let's get started.


jeff-elliott-cpa-ninja-cpa-review-another-71

To Your Success,

Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)

PS – Already have a CPA prep course? Rate & Review your course in our super-quick CPA Review Survey.


“Few people are more familiar with the stresses of exam prep than Jeff Elliott, licensed CPA and the face behind Another71.com.” – Wiley CPA


1. There isn't a “Best CPA Review Course”


Let's be real from the start:

There isn't a Best Course or Best Courses.

It's a myth pushed by Best CPA Exam Review “ranking” websites looking to make commissions.

The courses that pay out commissions get highly rated. The courses that don't pay commissions (NINJA) get dumped on.

It's total nonsense (and unethical, ahem, CPAs … wink wink)

There's only the Best CPA Exam Review Course for you.

How to Ignore the Fake ‘Ranking' Sites' and make the right choice.


best cpa review courses

✅ Budget (What can you afford? Debt vs. No Debt?) Do you want to be paying for your CPA Course lonnngggg after you've passed and moved on to better things?

✅ Learning Style (Powerpoint lectures? “Dry Erase Board” lectures? No lectures? Test Bank only?)

✅ Peer Review (What is the course's reputation?)

✅ Access (Are there usage limits or restrictions? Does it expire? )

✅ Buyer's Remorse Protection (Can you return it if it's not actually the best CPA prep course for you after all? Is there a penalty?)

✅ 5 AM Test (Can you stomach studying with this course at 5 am, or will you most likely hit snooze for the next 2 hours until you really have to get up?)

✅ Free Trials (How will you know it's the best CPA course if you don't try it first?)

🚫 Ignore advertised course pass rates.

🚫 Ignore slimy fake ‘review site' rankings pushing a ‘Best CPA Review Course 2022.'

🚫 Ignore anything that triggers your BS detector, Future CPA.


2. Know Top CPA Exam Review Courses & Packages Before You Buy


The number of courses out there (and options within those options) can be quite overwhelming.

These four courses represent 80-90% of the CPA Exam Review market.

It's important to have a basic understanding of each course, the packages offered, and what to look for based on the promos being offered.


CPA Exam Review Course Features:


  • Videos
  • Book
  • Test Bank
  • Study Guide
  • Audio Review
  • Cram Course
  • Flashcards
  • Live Tutor
  • 30-Day Returns

Free Trials: Would you buy a $2,000 car without taking it for a test drive? Of course not.

What if it smells like grandma accidentally left the cat in there for a month?)

(Which makes no sense, yet makes total sense).

Take your future CPA Exam Review course for a test drive before you drop the equivalent of a nice cruise (do people still take cruises?) on a review course.

Most CPA Study Materials have Promo Codes. Like the Kansas weather (born and raised), if you don't see a CPA Review discount, wait 5 minutes.


3. Final Two: Compare CPA Review Courses Before You Buy


Pick a Final Two. Find the Course for you.

(yay, that rhymes).

For a CPA Review Courses comparison, click a course for detailed course overviews, discounts, & study plans.

Online CPA Review Courses ranked in order of retail price.

On mobile? This table is best viewed sideways in landscape.


CPA Prep Course Comparison

CPA Review CoursesBecker CPARoger CPAWiley CPANINJA CPA
Course PackageProElite + NINJAPlatinumMonthly
AccessUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedMonth-To-Month
Cost$3,799$3,399$2,499$67
AICPA-Licensed
Video Lectures
CPA Book
CPA Test Bank
Study Guide🚫
Audio Review🚫🚫
Cram Course
Flashcards
Live Tutoring🚫🚫
CMA Included🚫🚫🚫
CPE Included🚫🚫
NINJA Included🚫🚫
EWS Award Winners
30-Day Guarantee🚫🚫🚫

Becker CPA Review


Why We Chose It: Historically, Becker has been the most popular and trusted CPA exam prep course on the market. Becker provides students with peace of mind knowing that the largest CPA firms in the world trust Becker to prepare their employees for the CPA Exam.– Investopedia, rating Becker CPA Review as “Best Overall”


Becker CPA Review is the biggest name in CPA Exam prep. They've been around forever, and they're the most expensive course, typically.

The three main Becker CPA Review courses: Pro ($3,799 retail), Premium ($3,099 retail), and Advantage ($2,499 retail).

If you're buying Becker, go with Pro or Premium, as I don't really see the point in the Advantage Package when it has significantly fewer options without much of a price difference when discounts are factored in (and Becker runs a lot of promotions).


Becker CPA Review Pro vs. Becker CPA Premium


Becker CPA Review Premium is their “middle” package and has most of the features included with Becker CPA Pro (the “top” package), including Unlimited Access, except:

  • Printed Flashcards
  • Becker Final Review
  • Academic Tutoring
  • 1 Year of CPE
  • “MCQ Bonus Bank”

The Pro package has a one-year CPE subscription. If the CPE subscription can be activated at any time, then this is a good value.

If not, it's kind of a pointless bonus because new CPAs won't be needing CPE right away. The Becker website is unclear on this point.

Either way: go with Becker Pro if it's on sale (which it often is and, ironically, is sometimes cheaper than the Premium package) or is close in price to the Premium Course.


Becker CPA Review Discounts


The Becker CPA Promos are sometimes advertised on the Becker site, and sometimes not.

If you're shopping for Becker, reading this, and it's currently the latter scenario, I just saved you $1,000+.

No need to thank me – other than applying that money towards adding NINJA as well. 😀


Becker CPA Promo CodeBecker CPA DiscountDate
PROPLUS1100Save $1,100 on Becker ProAugust 2022
CPAPREMSave $500 on Becker PremiumAugust 2022
CPAADVSave $100 on Becker AdvantageAugust 2022
SINGLE50Save $50 on Single Becker CoursesAugust 2022

Becker CPA Review tl;dr


Summary: The grandfather of CPA study materials, Becker CPA Review is trusted by the Big 4 firms. The quality comes at a significant cost, as Becker is the most expensive CPA Review course.

Packages: Becker CPA comes in three CPA prep packages: Becker Pro, Becker Premium, and Becker Advantage.

Test Bank: Becker CPA Review does not sell a standalone CPA Test Bank

Becker Cost: Without discounts, Becker CPA Review costs range from $2,499 (Advantage) to $3,799 (Pro).

Discounts: Becker CPA discounts most of its course packages typically – especially Becker Pro.

Free Trial: The Becker CPA trial lasts 14 days and includes 30+ hours of lecture videos, 100 simulations, and nearly 1,500 multiple choice questions.


See Becker CPA discounts


Wiley CPAexcel


Wiley CPA Review is a CPA review course that has been on the market for a long time and has lots of practice questions and plenty of video lectures. It’s also a good value.” – iPass The CPA Exam


Wiley CPAexcel, like Becker, is an old school CPA Prep course. They've been around forever and have a good reputation.

I've known many Wiley employees through the years, and they even hosted me for an evening in Hoboken, where their offices are located, and I took my first NYC subway ride. 😀

And my first oyster.

(I saw Phantom of the Opera and never left Time's Square. I was a total tourist).

In November 2012, Wiley acquired CPAexcel, and you now have today what is known as Wiley CPAexcel.

Fun Fact: I helped start CPAexcel's affiliate program back in the day. You don't care about that, however.

Wiley is known for the Wiley CPA Test Bank, which is integrated into the Wiley CPAexcel Platinum Course.


Wiley CPA Review Platinum vs. Wiley CPA Pro


Wiley CPAexcel has two course main offerings: Wiley Platinum ($2,499 retail) and Wiley Pro ($2,199 retail).

Everyone seems to have a Pro Course now. Am I dropping the ball here by not offering NINJA Pro? 😀

Wiley Platinum has the 11th Hour Final Review course, which is their version of a “cram.”

As is the case with Becker and Roger's packages, the top Wiley package is often cheaper than their lesser package.

I see no reason to go with the Wiley Pro package unless it just happens to be significantly cheaper than Wiley Platinum.


Wiley CPAexcel Discounts


The Wiley CPA discounts are fairly unpredictable. One day, the Platinum Course is full price. The next day, it's discounted $1,000. I'm listing the current Wiley discounts, but it may change before the table gets updated.


Wiley CPA Promo CodeWiley CPA DiscountDate
None NeededSave $1,000 on Wiley PlatinumAugust 10, 2022

Wiley CPAexcel tl;dr


Summary: Wiley CPA is as established and reputable of a CPA Exam Review course as Becker (rumor has it that Moses had to choose between Wiley CPA vs. Becker when pursuing his CPA license) but comes with a significantly lower price tag.

Packages: Wiley CPA has two main CPA prep course packages: Wiley Platinum and Wiley Pro.

Test Bank: Wiley sells a standalone test bank called the Wiley CPA Test Bank

Wiley Cost: Without a Wiley discount code, the Wiley CPAexcel courses range in price from $2,199 (Wiley Pro) to $2,499 (Wiley Platinum).

Discounts: The Wiley CPA discounts, when available, are usually embedded into the Wiley website, so promo codes are often unnecessary for a discount.

Free Trial: The Wiley CPA trial includes 14-day access to video lectures and 5,000 multiple choice questions.


See Wiley CPA discounts


UWorld Roger CPA Review


“Why We Chose It: Even though Roger CPA Review doesn't have as large of a question bank as some of the other courses on this list, the engaging lectures will give you fun ways to remember challenging topics. Roger CPA Review is great for students who typically have trouble focusing during lectures and are also looking for a more affordable option.” – Investopedia, rating UWorld Roger CPA Review as “Runner-Up, Best Overall”


UWorld Roger CPA Review isn't as long in the tooth as Becker and Wiley, but the course has an interesting distinction: the best lectures (in my opinion).

He is my favorite instructor among the “competitor” courses, and I like that he teaches all 4 CPA Exam sections.

Like CPAexcel, I also helped start Roger CPA Review's affiliate program and have known the Roger CPA Team for 10+ years.


Roger CPA Review Elite vs. Roger CPA Premier


UWorld Roger CPA Review has two main course packages: Roger Elite ($3,399 retail) and Roger Premier ($1,899 retail)

The Elite Course comes with Unlimited Access until you Pass (vs. 18 months) and the 4-Part Cram course.

The Roger CPA + NINJA discount on the Elite Course brings the cost of the Elite Course to below the Premier Course (and you get 4 Months of NINJA).

If you purchase Roger CPA Review, there are no better promos out there than the exclusive Roger + NINJA deal.


Roger CPA Review Discounts


Roger CPA Promotional CodeRoger CPA DiscountsDiscount Date
EliteNINJA*Save $1,700 + 4 Months of NINJAAugust 2022

Roger CPA Review tl;dr


Summary: Roger CPA Review is known for Roger Philipp's high-energy lectures, unique dry erase board style teaching, and the UWorld technology platform.

Packages: Roger CPA has two CPA prep packages: Roger Elite-Unlimited and Roger Premier.

Test Bank: Roger CPA Review does not sell a standalone CPA Test Bank

Roger Cost: Without a Roger discount or promotional code, the Roger courses range in price from $1,599 (Roger Premier) to $3,399 (Roger Elite). The $1,700 discount on the Roger Elite course really makes it the only way to go if you're investing in Roger.

Discounts: The best Roger CPA discount is a promotional code that saves you $1,700 on Roger CPA Elite and gives you four months of NINJA. No other discount can top it.

Free Trial: The Roger CPA trial includes 7-day access to the UWorld Roger CPA Review Course.


See Roger CPA discounts


NINJA CPA Review


“Why We Chose It (Best Price): NINJA CPA Review works nicely as an inexpensive supplement to an online course. This is an efficient studying tool that can be used as your main course but serves best as an auxiliary study aid with an excellent online support community.” – Investopedia, rating NINJA CPA Review as “Best Price”


Since the home team bats last, I'll finally cover my company, NINJA CPA Review.

Since I know the details a bit better than the others, forgive me for expanding a little. 😀

In 2011, we saw a need in the CPA Review industry for a legit set of study supplements that could boost anyone's score and wouldn't break the bank.

NINJA CPA was born.

NINJA is an acronym for Smashing Any CPA Exam section:

(N)ail the Concepts

(I)ntense Notes

(N)on-Stop MCQ

(J)ust Re-Write Your Notes

(A)ll Comes Together (Final Review)


ninja only recommended study order

Read more: How to Study with NINJA CPA Review (only)


NINJA Monthly: The $1,300 CPA Exam Review course that costs $67


Like everyone else, we used to have 3 packages: small/medium/large, bronze/silver/gold, whatever you want to call it.

(except we used NINJA-esque names like “Assassin”).

We ditched all that in 2018 and make everything super-convenient and super-affordable via NINJA Monthly.

With NINJA Monthly, you get everything that was included in our $1,300 package … for $67 a month.

Except, (and this is key) … it's not financing. It's not a big payment broken down into little payments.

You can start and stop and come back (or not come back) whenever and however you want.

You can use the Notes, Book, Audio, Test Bank, SIMS, Flashcards, Tutoring, CRAM … all of it, some of it … one of it … it's up to you ...

Full Course? Supplement? You decide.

We'll take care of the rest.


NINJA CPA Review tl;dr


Summary: Packing the firepower of a full CPA Review course and the flexibility of a supplement, NINJA CPA Review is the most affordable complete CPA Review option in the marketplace. NINJA is also the most widely-used and popular CPA study supplement.

Packages: Formerly $1,300, NINJA has combined all of its materials into a $67 NINJA Monthly package. NINJA customers can switch sections every 30 days or earlier if needed due to score release.

Test Bank: The NINJA CPA Test Bank is included in NINJA Monthly.

NINJA Cost: NINJA CPA costs $67 monthly and can be canceled at any time.

Discounts: There are three certainties: Death, Taxes, and NINJA Monthly costing $67. To be fair to current subscribers, our price never changes.

Free Trial: The NINJA CPA Free Trial includes 7-day access to a limited version of the NINJA CPA Test Bank (NINJA MCQ) and trial versions of the NINJA Book, Notes, and Audio Course.


See more NINJA CPA


Best CPA Course Review & Recap: Which CPA Review Course is the Best?


The course that you can 1. afford 2. will study with at 5 am 3. matches your lifestyle (has audio, doesn't have audio, etc.)


4. All CPA Review Companies Have Unlimited Access Packages


When comparing CPA Exam Review courses, it's important to keep it apples to apples. If your course is going to expire at some point, it's important to know that.

Thankfully, the courses now make it easy. They basically don't expire until you pass the CPA Exam (with the exception of the “lower-tiered” packages).

When a course advertises “unlimited access,” that's like a hotel advertising that they have “Free Cable.”

When comparing CPA Exam Review courses, it's important to keep it apples to apples. If your course is going to expire at some point, it's important to know that.

Thankfully, the courses now make it easy. They basically don't expire until you pass the CPA Exam (with the exception of the “lower-tiered” packages.


Becker CPA Access is Unlimited until you pass the CPA Exam. “Take advantage of our CPA Exam Review materials until you pass the exam.”

Wiley CPA Access is ‘Access Until You Pass.' “Unlimited Access Until You Pass – Pay Once for Free Course Updates and Repeats until You Pass.”

Roger CPA Access is Unlimited. “Unlimited” means you get access for as long as you're taking the CPA Exam. “Get unlimited course access until you Pass the CPA Exam!”

NINJA Monthly Access is month-to-month. You can use it for as long as you want and cancel at anytime. For a one-time fee of $197, you can upgrade and get access to all 4 CPA Exam sections at once.


5. You Need a Second CPA Test Bank


Regardless of your current CPA Review course, you need a second CPA Test Bank. Consider it a “hedge” against an exam day disaster.


CPA Test BankNINJA MCQWiley CPA Test Bank
Test Bank Cost$67$600
AccessMonth-To-Month2 Years
CPA Exam Practice Questions7,000+6,000+
Task-Based Simulations335+200+
AICPA-Licensed
Adaptive Test Bank🚫
CPA Book🚫
Video Lectures🚫
Study Guide🚫
Audio Review🚫
Cram Course🚫
Flashcards🚫
Live Tutoring🚫

Read more @ CPA Test Banks & 7 Things You Must Know


6. Your Learning Style Matters


best cpa review course for visual learners

According to the VARK model, there are four types of learning styles: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Reading/Writing. Most people are likely a combo of a few, and maybe all of these. I like Kinesthetic, but I also learn well via audio while I'm driving. I can knock out an audiobook on 1.4x speed with a quickness. If you're a combo learner, then go with the course you like, as all of these courses have features that cater to most of these learning styles (not all courses have audio lectures, for instance).

If you know you're specifically one of these, then consider checking these out first:

  • Visual Learners like to “see” the information in order to process it.
  • Auditory Learners process information through “hearing” it.
  • Kinesthetic Learners learn by “doing.”
  • Reading/Writing Learners like to read and write stuff down.

Best CPA Review Course for Visual Learners

Roger, Becker, or NINJA – If you are a visual learner, check out Roger CPA Review (dry erase board style teaching), Becker CPA Review (book annotated on-screen during lectures) or NINJA CPA Review (videos explain concepts visually via NINJA MCQ software and Excel)

Best CPA Review Course for Auditory Learners

NINJA – The NINJA Audio, while not perfect (people say I smack my lips when I talk :D), is the best audio course in all of CPA Review land. Roger has an audio, but it's the audio file from a video lecture, which is a nice bonus, but it's not made strictly for auditory learning (recorded with the mindset that you can't see the material in front of you)

Best CPA Review Course for Kinesthetic Learners

Wiley or NINJA – I'm a kinesthetic/visual combo learner. I get bored easily. I have to “do.” If you're a fellow kinesthetic, then you want a course with a CPA Test Bank approach like Wiley or NINJA MCQ.

Best CPA Review Course for Reading/Writing Learners

NINJA – The NINJA Framework is built around this model. Reading/Watching & Taking Notes. Then, re-writing those notes.


7. The NINJA Study Framework is the Best Way to Study



50% of CPA Candidates who walk into any exam will walk out failing that exam. Why?


  1. Wrong Study Materials
  2. Wrong Study Method
  3. All of the Above

The NINJA Study Framework isn't the only way to Study, but it's the Best Way to Study.


(And It's Free.)

Even if you never become a NINJA, you can at least use the NINJA Study Framework.

It comes with two CPA study planners (4-week and 7-week versions) that you can use with any CPA Review course.

(Scroll down to the bottom to enter your email and download them).


CPA Review Course FAQs (8-31)


8. Is NINJA CPA Review good? Why don't the “Ranking” Websites like NINJA?


“We’re happy to once again partner with Jeff Elliott and NINJA CPA Review to help you pass the CPA Exam even faster.” – Roger CPA Review

NINJA is the only major CPA Review course (top-7 in market share) that doesn't have an affiliate/commission payment program.

You won't find NINJA ranked because of this. We're ‘only a supplement' (and a mediocre one at that, apparently 😀 ).

NINJA simply can't be acknowledged as a legitimate CPA Review course.

If a $67 monthly course is allowed to become a viable study option, the whole CPA Review affiliate link network matrix would implode.

No more commission checks. No more sports cars.

This is “that which we do not speak of” in the CPA Review industry. There's nothing to see here … move along.

Thankfully, there are a few intellectually honest CPAs writing course reviews out there like Investopedia and iPass.


9. Can I Pass with Only NINJA CPA Review?


Yes – A lot of people use NINJA CPA as a standalone course (“NINJA Only”). NINJA CPA has everything that the big courses have, except the price: CPA Review textbook, CPA Test Bank with 7,000+ questions, Study Guide, Audio Review, Live CPA Tutor, and CPA Exam Cram course.

How Claire Passed the CPA Exam with NINJA Only

(and battled some serious health obstacles along the way)


10. Why do people mostly use NINJA CPA as a Supplement?


Most CPA candidates never hear of NINJA until long after they're purchased a CPA Review course. If you already have a course, we recommend that people marry the best parts of each course and find the killer combo that works for them. We play well with others and get along with the other courses in the industry. Well, most of them. 😀


11. Which CPA Exam review course is the best?


The one that clicks best with you and the one you'll actually study with.


12. Are CPA prep courses worth it?


Is traveling cross-country with a phone that has Google Maps worth it?

You could just whip out your grandparents' Rand McNally map collection.

If money is an issue, NINJA is dirt-cheap. No excuses.


13. Do I really need a CPA Exam review course?


This is CPA Exam prep. This ain't your college accounting class (note: don't use “ain't” in your BEC Written Communications).

You need study materials that are specifically designed for one thing: passing the CPA Exam.

Not college accounting books – those for understanding accounting.

Not IRS regs or FASBs – that's an incredibly poor use of your valuable time.

Not Enrolled Agent (REG) or CMA (BEC) materials – those are beyond the scope of the CPA Exam.

Not free CPA review materials that you found online – they are free because they aren't updated (aside from CPA Review free trials).


14. Which CPA review course has the best pass rate?


This question comes in various forms:

“Which CPA study material has the highest pass rate?”

or

Which CPA review course has the highest pass rate?”

A few things to know about CPA Exam pass rates:

  1. The first-time CPA Exam pass rate, according to the AICPA, is approx. 25-30%.
  2. 1 out of every 2 people (i.e. 50%) who walk into any given CPA Exam section will fail it (also according to the AICPA).
  3. Some CPA courses advertise 80-90% pass rates.

Ok, future auditor, what stands out to you? 😀

I don't know what mathmagic CPA Exam Review courses use to arrive at their pass rate numbers, and I don't really care.

That's between them and the AICPA.

What I do know is that you shouldn't factor them into your buying decision at all.

If you want the CPA Review course with the highest pass rate, go with NINJA (my company), as we have an industry-leading 803% pass rate. 😀

Note: If you don't like dry humor or sarcasm, you won't like me (or NINJA).

cpa review courses

The real question to ask: “When a CPA Review course was able to isolate a representative sample size of customers who used no other materials or supplements, including free online help, what was the pass rate from that representative sample when accounting for the response bias due to people being less likely to report their results after failing due to shame or otherwise apathy?”

Then, rank the courses according to that question.

Which review course has the highest pass rate?

If you find the answer, let me know 🙂


15. What is the best CPA course for working professionals?


One that has an audio course to maximize study time while commuting. This leaves Roger or NINJA.


16. How do I choose the right CPA course for me?


Budget, Learning Style, and Peer Review. What can you afford? What clicks best for your learning style? What do others say about the course?


17. What is the Best CPA Review course for international students?


Each person is different, but if English is your Second Language (ESL), be forewarned that Roger speaks really fast.


18. Are Live CPA Review classes still offered?


No more Live CPA Review classes. Not among the “big box” review courses, anyway. NINJA Monthly is the only mainstream CPA Review course offering “live online” classes right now on a regular basis. We run 5 live sessions a week: FAR (Monday), AUD (Tuesday), REG (Wednesday), BEC (Thursday), and an open Q&A on Saturday morning. If you're looking for CPA review courses in person, this is your best bet.


19. Which CPA Test Banks Have Adaptive Learning?


A few years ago, Adaptive Learning in a CPA test bank was a major feature. Today, most courses have some form of adaptive technology. You can certainly still pass the CPA Exam without it (as people have done for decades), but you could make a case that you're at a disadvantage vs. other CPA candidates who are using it. It's like buying a new car without cruise control. It will still get you from point A to B, but it's annoying that it's not there (first-world problems, I get it).

Essentially, Adaptive Learning allows the test bank to ‘feed' you more questions based on your weak areas. Your strong areas are still tested but less frequently. Different courses have different names for it – and each company uses its own adaptive algorithm, so they aren't the same.

Becker CPA Review: Adapt2U™

NINJA CPA Review: RECON™

Roger CPA Review: SmartPath™

Gleim CPA Review: SmartAdapt™


20. Do CPA Review Courses have Military Discounts?


There are two types of Military Discounts for CPA Review: Direct Bill and your regular “discount” code used at checkout.

Direct Bill

The CPA Review course has a direct billing relationship with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Becker has this and is the only one that I'm aware of that has this sort of direct billing.

Flat Military Discount

Other courses have a flat military discount, but with the competitive nature of the CPA Review course industry right now and courses discounting the packages $1,000+ OFF, the military discount isn't likely going to be any better than the regular discount and depending on the timing, it might be a lower discount.


21. Do CPA Review Courses offer Financing?


Yes – most courses offer financing. Double-check the fine print. Some of those payment plans have crazy interest rates. You're better off using a credit card to buy your course or going with something more affordable like NINJA, which at $67 monthly is conveniently priced like financing, but without the 3-year hangover after you pass but are still paying it off.

As NINJA Monthly has become super-popular, we've seen CPA prep course marketing shift to highlight a “monthly” charge.

What they don't highlight is that you need to take that monthly charge times 6, 12, or 24 months.

It's a way to make a course seem as affordable as NINJA, but the difference is this: You can walk away from NINJA at any time for any reason and not pay another dime.

With these payment plans – you're on the hook for the rest of that bill.

That “$70 a month” or “$90 a month” course starts looking a lot more like $2,000 or $3,000 when a spotlight is shown on it. Know what you're signing up for.


22. Should I hire a CPA tutor?


CPA Exam tutoring is more popular (and profitable) than ever. ‘CPA tutors' are popping out of the woodwork now.

CPA Tutoring is an easy way to enter the CPA Review market without actually developing a course.

It's also an easy way to get scammed.

Anyone with a pulse, a Zoom account, and an internet connection can be a “CPA Tutor.”

The 2020 shutdowns, while long and terrible, they also brought some innovation to the CPA Review space: Live Online CPA Tutoring.

NINJA CPA Review hosts 5 CPA Exam tutoring sessions per week (9 pm Central Monday-Thursday and 8 am Saturday).

Some courses allow you to submit a question and get a reply, but that's not really “tutoring” in this context.

Becker CPA Review also offers live tutoring services with “Up to five 1-hour, 1-on-1 academic tutoring sessions $745 value”.


There are three other CPA Prep courses worth mentioning that didn't make the above comparison simply due to spacing constraints.

I went with the four most widely-used courses (Becker, Wiley, Roger, and NINJA) per our own internal customer data (we ask all NINJAs what course they are currently using).

Seven courses all at once is too much to digest, so now that you've read about Becker, Wiley, Roger, and NINJA, it will be easier to process three more courses and weigh their pros and cons vs. what you've already seen above.

The other three are Gleim CPA Review, Surgent CPA Review, and Yaeger CPA Review.


23. Is Gleim CPA Review good?


“Why We Chose It: Gleim wins for best value because it offers over 3,000 more test questions for the same price compared to the next most affordable option ($1,599).” – Investopedia, rating Gleim CPA Review as “Best Value”

Like Becker, Wiley, and Bisk CPA Review (the company NINJA purchased in 2017), Gleim CPA Review is one of the original CPA Exam prep courses from back in the day. Founded in 1974 by Dr. Gleim, Gleim CPA Review is a highly respected name in CPA Review, as well as CMA, EA, CIA, and piloting certifications. As an anecdote, I once sat next to the late Dr. Gleim at a meeting with the AICPA Examinations Team in New York City. He was very cordial and welcoming toward me.

Gleim is known for its CPA Test Bank (called the CPA Mega Test Bank) and has a highly-regarded CPA Exam simulation platform. The Gleim CPA Test Bank also has adaptive learning.

Gleim has two CPA prep course packages: The Premium CPA Review System ($1,999 retail) and the Traditional CPA Review System ($1,599 retail).

The notable differences between the Premium and Traditional courses are the “Gleim Instruct” video lecture series, Digital Flashcards, and the ability to submit technical questions.

At a $400 (retail) cost difference ($100 per section, essentially), the Premium course seems to be well worth the upgrade.

Gleim CPA discounts of 10% or more are available to another71 readers.


24. Is Surgent CPA Review good?


“Why We Chose It: Surgent CPA Review provides students with AI software to determine exactly what topics need to be covered. This ensures the shortest study time. Their advanced online technological tools set them apart from the others.” – Investopedia, rating Surgent CPA Review as “Best Artificial Intelligence”

While Surgent CPA Review as a company is relatively new to the CPA Exam space, it's actually run by CPA Review industry veterans (Liz Kolar, Sean Mullen, etc.) with decades of experience. Most companies have a book/lecture + test bank approach, whereas Surgent's foundation was their test bank and adaptive learning first, and then added videos and other features later. Primarily known for their Continuing Professional Education (CPE), Surgent has also become an emerging force in the CMA, CIA, CISA, and Enrolled Agent space.

The Surgent CPA Prep Course has three course options: Ultimate Pass ($2,999 retail), Premier Pass ($2,399 retail), and Essentials Pass ($1,599 retail).

I'm just going to say this out of the gate: The Essentials Pass looks pretty darn good for the price.

Yes, you're missing out on the audio (NINJA has the best audio – you don't need it anyway) 😀 and printed books of the Ultimate Pass, but for the price, it's hard to beat.

Normally, the “bottom” package of a course is just “meh” and there to make the other two look more attractive, but Surgent did a good job of making their “basic” Essentials offering legit.

Surgent CPA discounts their courses frequently.


25. Is Yaeger CPA Review good?


“With Yaeger CPA Review, Phil and his team of professional instructors go through each AICPA Blueprint and hundreds of multiple-choice questions. Additionally, the instructors are careful to explain why the questions are tricky and what you can do to avoid the tricks. The instructors focus on becoming proficient in the core concepts and every representative task addressed in the AICPA Blueprints.” – iPass The CPA Exam

Yaeger CPA Review is another old-school CPA prep course like Becker, Wiley, & Gleim.

I don't know much about their course anymore, but I know this: Phil Yaeger is perhaps the only person in the CPA Review industry that you can call, and he'll help you.

He's also one of the best tax instructors you'll find, so if you're struggling with REG, check out some of their demos.

The Yaeger CPA test bank includes adaptive learning.

One note about Yaeger CPA Review is that they don't allow returns or refunds.

Yaeger CPA discounts their courses frequently as well.


26. Should I Buy a Used CPA Review Course?


No. In this day and age, many things are digital, and reselling a course – especially a digital version of a course with logins and such violates the terms of use for a course. Not only is it unethical (to violate the terms of use) as an aspiring CPA (oh, the irony), but you also run a significant risk of buying someone else's course access, only to have it shut off by the course.

If the “customer” lives in California and logged in 435 times from LA, and you live in New York and start logging in, good luck explaining that. Don't start cutting ethical corners to save a buck. Not a good start to your CPA career.


27. Can I get College Credit for my CPA Review Course?


Possibly. Some MAcc programs have the CPA Review course integrated into their program. If you're looking into a Master of Accounting program, it might not hurt to email the CPA Review course you're looking at (I'd start with Becker CPA Review or Wiley CPAexcel) and ask them if they have any partnerships with colleges or universities where you can accomplish this very thing. Then, see if that school has an online program.


28. Where do I find the Coupon Codes for the Best Deal?


To counter the affiliate farms advertising that they have the “best CPA Review coupon codes [you don't BELIEVE how much money you'll save!!! MUST SEE!!! Click our Link!!!!], CPA Review companies are now putting the coupon code directly on their sites to avoid paying unwarranted affiliate commissions. Go directly to the course website for the best deal.


29. Do Accounting Firm employees get discounted CPA Prep courses?


The bigger firms have relationships with the various CPA courses. The courses set up bulk pricing with the firms (usually far below retail), and then new hires pick from the list of “approved” courses and the course gets paid whatever the contracted amount is. If the employee leaves within X amount of time, they have to pay the firm back for the course. If the firm employee needs a second course or an add-on like NINJA, it's on the employee's dime. If you work for a CPA firm – best sure to ask about special pricing from your HR department. Then, take the savings and become a NINJA. 😀


30. Should I be concerned about CPA Review Course Return & Refund Policies?


Most CPA Review Return Policies Suck Are Not Friendly. Why are CPA Free Trials so important? Because it's hard to return a course that you don't like.

Some even have a stiff monetary penalty for returning their courses.

You can go to each course's website and dig into the legalese if you want, but here's the long and short of it:

NINJA is the only course on this page with a 30-Day refund policy that doesn't impose usage limits for a valid return.

That's a fancy way of saying: if you don't like NINJA after using it (how dare you!!!) 🙂 , you can have your money back.


31. How long does it take to prepare for CPA?


You should plan on studying 20 hours a week and 7 weeks per exam. If you fail twice (the average, according to NASBA), the CPA Exam will take you around one year to complete.

Some take a lot less time to pass. Some take a lot more.

Everyone is different (which, again, is why there is no “Best CPA Review Course” 😀 )


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To Your Success,

Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)

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PS – Have a CPA Study Question? Ask Me.