cpa review courses

Free Study Planner & 7 Things You MUST Know

7 Things You MUST Know about the Best CPA Review Courses before You Check Prices, Spend a Dime, or Even Do a Free Trial. Scroll down for CPA Review Discounts, Free FAR Downloads, and the most Accounting-Related Snark and Humor Allowed By Law without 175 Credit Hours of College Credit.

“The best decision I ever made regarding my career was using your product. I am currently the controller of a small liberal arts school (my alma mater). I have recently started teaching on the side. I really love your product and that is the only one I recommend to anyone.” – Jeremy W.

“Thank you for all your work in providing quality study materials at a fair price. There's zero chance I'd have performed as well as I have so far without your system, and I know I'm not alone on that.” – Pat O. 

Brian Wright - Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner (Becker + NINJA)*

Brian Wright – Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner (Becker + NINJA)*

* Not a typical result. Only 1 in 1,000 CPA candidates win the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

“The questions and practice tests were extremely useful, they helped me find some weak spots I didn’t even know I had and gave me the extra practice I needed to get my best score of any of the exams.”

1. The Best CPA Review Course is a Myth

“The MCQ, your Ninja notes, and Ninja book are so well designed and that I passed all the CPA exams within a short period of time. ” – Steve C.

“Hey Jeff, I want to let you know that I passed my recent BEC exam and am now finished with exams thanks to your team's help! I started with (expensive course) and after failing FAR, I took a break for nearly a year before retaking it. I used your course to supplement (expensive course) and the MCQs prepared me much more than I anticipated. I was able to pass FAR during my next attempt thanks to that. I also used the audio notes which were great on the go. The PDFs for summary notes of each section were really convenient for me. Overall, I'm not sure if I would have finished this journey without Ninja. Thank you for having such a helpful product and community.” – John R.

Which CPA Review courses are the best? Easy. 

There is no “best CPA Review course.” 

Period. It's a myth.

Any “rankings” website that says otherwise – read their advertiser's disclosure (if you can find it).

Different courses work for different people with different learning styles, lifestyles, and budgets.

There is only the best CPA Review course for you.

It really comes down to:

  • Budget (will you still be paying for this course 15 years from now?)
  • Learning Style (talking head? powerpoint? self-study?)
  • The 5 a.m. Test (will you want to study with this course at 5 a.m. or does the instructor annoy you so bad, you want to stay in bed?)
  • Refund Policy (if you don't like it – can you return it?)

2. The Smartest Buy in CPA Review is NINJA

“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: The Best CPA Prep Courses of 2022

The smartest buy in CPA Review is easily NINJA CPA Review at $67 monthly.

Bias Alert! Don't just take our word for it, though. Scroll down to #6 for objective opinions on the CPA Exam Assassins.

You get a complete CPA Review course for $67 a month, with no commitment, and if you don't like it, you get your money back.

(mic drop?)

Not yet? Keep rappin', then B-Rabbit…still time on the clock.

The materials (Book, Notes, Audio, CRAM course, flashcards, test bank) and services (live tutoring) that you get would cost thousands with any other CPA Exam review course.

Such a low price point brings immediate skepticism for some, and rightfully so.

In a world of $3,000 CPA Review courses, how can a legit course cost $67 a month (with no restrictions)?

We are able to stay lean and mean and charge a lower price than anyone for 3 important reasons:

  1. We don't have a big expensive office in a big expensive city. Our office is actually in a “city” most people drive through on their way to someplace nicer – like the mountains of Colorado, or Kansas City.
  2. We don't have an army of marketing reps running around all over the country.
  3. We don't wine and dine your firm partners and university professors to get our product in the door.

Who pays for all of that?


NINJA has a reputation for being a “supplement” – and rightfully so, as most CPA candidates already have a CPA prep course by the time they hear about us.

We embrace the supplement role. We play well with others (although we have swords, which makes things interesting).

NINJA is also a complete CPA Review course that literally gives you everything you need to pass the CPA Exam:

  • Textbook to learn the CPA Exam concepts
  • Review videos to reinforce the concepts and hit trouble spots
  • Adaptive Learning Testbank that knows what you know (and what you don't)
  • Study Notes for review
  • Audio Course so you can study on the go
  • Live Tutoring 4x a week
  • CRAM course for each exam.
  • AICPA-Licensed content

Check out Claire's story. She passed the CPA Exam using only NINJA – and battled some significant health problems along the way.

NINJA has the firepower of a complete CPA Exam Review with the flexibility to be added to any course as a supplement.

“Um, Jeff, everyone has a payment plan.”

Nope. NINJA Monthly is not financing and there's no commitment.

Try getting out of that “payment plan” if you decide you're done with the materials. 😀

It's a subscription – like Netflix. Pay monthly and cancel whenever you want.

It's as simple as:

  1. Start whenever you want.

2. Stop whenever you want.

3. Come back whenever you want.

“FAR – 81 and AUD – 97 passed on the first attempt using only Ninja products btw!” – Amy C.

Olga Timirgalieva - Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner (Roger + NINJA)*

Olga Timirgalieva – Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner (Roger + NINJA)*

* Not a typical result. Only 1 in 1,000 CPA candidates win the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

“NINJA MCQ – A must! Solving through all of the MCQ, understanding solutions, and adding new information nuggets to your notes — absolutely critical. With the NINJA Notes, I printed out the notes and used them as a knowledge check closer to the exam. Information is high-level, so you can quickly run through and get a comfort level on what you should go back to review in detail. NINJA Audio is nice to use during the commute or if you are an auditory learner. The Audio MCQ is nice to keep you engaged.”

Get Your NINJA Study Framework

3. Everyone Supplements their CPA Review Course

“I personally used NINJA when I studied for the CPA Exam (in addition to Becker). Back then, NINJA was only a supplement, whereas now, it’s a full course. However, the NINJA notes are still as concise and helpful now as they were when I sat for the CPA Exam. In my opinion, there’s no better way to quickly solidly all the topics covered in the AICPA’s CSOs than NINJA notes. And if you’re unhappy with your NINJA products, you’ll receive a no-questions-asked refund. NINJA CPA Review is great as a full course or a supplement. It's actually one of the best-selling supplements on the market, and you can use the free trial to ensure that you like what you'll get. For just $67 a month, you really can't go wrong with NINJA.” – Stephanie Ng, CPA, iPass The CPA Exam

Everyone supplements their “main” CPA Review course to one degree or another.

NINJA works great as a standalone course, or as a supplement: you decide.

The most popular types of CPA Review course supplements are Study Notes, Audio Courses, CRAM Courses, and Test Banks.

Let's take a look at how each of these types of study materials can make your life easier while balancing work, family & friends, and the CPA Exam.

CPA Exam Notes

“Thank you Jeff.  I got an 88 in FAR because of NINJA notes & book.  I was only hoping for a 75 and I was given more.” – Melody

The most popular CPA Exam Notes of all time (for the last decade, anyway) are the NINJA Notes. No other review supplement comes remotely close.

The NINJA Notes have been used by 100,000+ CPA candidates to pass their exams since 2011. What makes the NINJA Notes popular is their straight-to-the-point, all facts/no fluff, attitude.

Weighing in at around 100 pages per section, they are short, sweet, and pack a punch.

There have been people who say they have passed using just the NINJA Notes (although I don't recommend this approach).

You should read the NINJA Notes multiple times heading into your exam week and once on Exam Day.

Here's a downloadable demo of the NINJA Notes (FAR):

Shulem Rosenbaum – Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner (Wiley + NINJA)*

Shulem Rosenbaum – Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner (Wiley + NINJA)*

* Not a typical result. Only 1 in 1,000 CPA candidates win the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

“I used the NINJA Notes to summarize my notes and eliminate topics that aren’t tested heavily. I owe it to the NINJA Community. You have been my rock, and I hope to contribute the way you contributed to my success.”

CPA Exam Audio

“Last year I purchased the Ninja Notes and Ninja Audio from you to help me with one section. I love that I can load the audio files on my phone and listen on my commute to work. That is “found” study time.” – Daren M.

“I never found it boring. Your lectures were easy to digest. Just recommended them to another CPA candidate. My wife, on the other hand, was a little bored on our 4-hour car ride to northern Michigan back in July haha.” – Anthony C.

She fell asleep while listening to the NINJA Audio. In fairness, it was BEC Corporate Governance and there are only so many ERM jokes one can make.

Want to study on the go? Smart Move.

A CPA Exam Audio allows you to study when you otherwise couldn't.

It's the ultimate study hack.

At the Gym? Study.

Driving? Study.

Doing Laundry? Study.

Watching your Kid's Game? Study.

Staring at a Spreadsheet and pretending to Work? Study.

Like the NINJA Notes, the NINJA Audio is the top CPA Exam Audio in the land.

In the decade+ that I've been doing this, I've rarely seen other audio courses mentioned.

You will get annoyed when I repeat things over and over.

You will also silently thank me as you sit there in Prometric on Exam Day.

I get emails all the time from people thanking me for the NINJA Audio, but also rejoicing that they never have to listen to it again. 😀

Here's a downloadable sample chapter from the NINJA Audio (FAR):

CPA Exam Books

“For my FAR rematch, I decided to switch exclusively to NINJA. I have been reading the NINJA book and NINJA Notes and enjoy how much more straightforward they are compared to the other CPA courses textbooks. ” – Rafael

“Thanks for proving a system and alternative to the mainstream, and for dedicating the time and energy to helping others pass these daunting exams.  – Alicia D.

In a world of bloated CPA Exam books, chock-full of FASB overkill, and IRS regs, we set out to make a better CPA Review textbook.

Our goal with the NINJA Book was simple: All Killer, No Filler.

NINJA Book is … wait for it … is also included in NINJA Monthly.

Take a look at our NINJA Book (FAR) demo and see if we succeeded.

CRAM Course

“Passed AUD with 89.  Feels incredible because I walked out of the exam without a clue if I passed or failed and was almost in tears.  That has never happened in my life.  I have been out of school for 10years and am 50 years old.  This has been hard but very fulfilling. The cram session was super helpful in passing And will for sure use again. ” – Kelli B.

“I ended up getting a 90 on BEC, and I would not have been able to do it without Ninja. I do have (expensive course) but basically, the last week leading up to the exam I only used Ninja and it was the difference-maker in me understanding the material.” – Andrew D.

Complete your full prep course and need a good last-minute cram?

Up against losing an exam credit and/or an expiring NTS?

Completely procrastinate and now looking for a silver bullet to rescue you from certain failure?

A good CPA Review CRAM course can save the day – and possibly your CPA Exam life.

The NINJA CRAM is included with NINJA Monthly for this very reason.

Check out this demo of the FAR CRAM:

Yes, NINJA Mike has a thick accent (he's from India), but most people can get past that and love his teaching, based on the emails I (Jeff) get.

(I think NINJA Mike is becoming more popular than me…my heart will go on, my heart will go on) :(‘

Here are some comments from the live NINJA CRAM chats:

“Thank you, Mike. These sessions were very helpful. I appreciate it very much.” – Darshan S

“Thank you Ninja Mike. This was great.” – Karen

“You're the best Mike! Thanks for walking through everything with us.” – Josh

“You killed it and I really really really appreciate the excel documents!” – Morgan E.

“Thank you so much! This has been extremely helpful!” – Alex

“Thank you Mike!! This has been so helpful!!…you da bomb.” – Rebeca

“I’m grateful for everything this weekend.” – Elka

“My brain is fried! Perfect! Thank you.” -Jaxon

“I took an insane amount of notes.” – Ethan

“This session is excellent.” – Bharati

“Thank you for the cram session!” – Jared

“Thank you Mike and the staff. It has been awesome!” – Markos

“Thanks Ninja Mike!” – Price

“Thank you. Feeling very confident now.” – Naiya

“Thanks for today's review, Mike. I think it was helpful for me.” – Jeremy

“Thank you so much, Mike! It's been an excellent session!” – Toi

CPA Exam Tutor

“Hey Jeff, Passed FAR with an 80 and 6 weeks of studying. Just wanted to take some time and give a little feedback on the Ninja course as I start to study for AUD. It’s awesome! You and the crew provide excellent material and challenging questions with great explanations. I focused on MCQs primarily but what I think really pushed me over the hump a week out were the Sparring replays. If I was struggling with a section you guys had already covered it and the explanations were great. ” – Parker W.

“Hello Jeff, I am excited to say that I have passed all four sections and completed the necessary steps to officially be a licensed CPA.  I would like to send a huge thank you to you and Mike.  I actually started my journey with (expensive course) and failed FAR twice.  I began using Ninja near the beginning of 2021 and was able to pass all four sections in a row.  I never failed a test after utilizing Ninja.  I know the Sparring videos were critical in my success.  I was able to grasp numerous concepts that I was not picking up on just hammering the MCQ’s. I truly appreciate you and Mike so much in making this dream a reality.  I graduated college in 2008 and was too intimidated to take this test, so I did not pursue the additional hours until 2019.  It was a very unenjoyable three years, but I am so glad it is done.” – Jared H.

There are a lot of searches for “CPA Exam tutor near me”, so that told us that there was a real need in the CPA Exam marketplace for a legit CPA Exam tutoring service that people could actually afford.

With some of the crazy rates that CPA tutors charge, you might as well be hiring an attorney.

Our CPA Tutoring Solution: NINJA Sparring.

The hourly rate we charge? $0. It's included with NINJA Monthly at no additional cost.

(Needless to say, the CPA Tutoring services out there don't like us.)

5 tutoring sessions a week, with unlimited replay viewing – all included with your NINJA Monthly subscription.

The weekly live tutoring sessions are done via Zoom and all NINJA Monthly members can attend and ask questions.

They are hosted by NINJA Mike, a member of the NINJA editorial team, and an expert on all CPA Exam & CMA Exam topics.

He's also the Best CPA Exam Tutor out there.

No one knows their stuff better than NINJA Mike.

If you can get over this thick accent (most people do), then you've hit the CPA tutoring jackpot.

We run four live tutoring sessions a week with the following schedule:

  • Monday – FAR
  • Tuesday – AUD
  • Wednesday – REG
  • Thursday – BEC
  • Saturday – Open Sparring (any topic is fair game)

Most sessions include an accompanying Excel worksheet.

Replays are available the following day and there are currently 300+ hours of replays available for NINJA Monthly members, broken down by CPA Exam topic.

NINJA Sparring videos have been viewed over 115,000 times by NINJA Monthly members, so they're quite popular. 🙂

Check out this Sparring session on Accounting Basics (FAR):

“I'm canceling my subscription today…But first, I want to say thank you. I may have been able to pass with a different review course, or with just the Ninja materials alone, but Ninja Mike helped me understand the concepts and answered so many questions, I feel like I had a much better understanding of the material. I almost exclusively used the excel notes and lectures for REG and passed with an 81. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” – Angela

“Dear Jeff, I wanted to let you know that I am about to cancel my NINJA subscription.  However, I really wanted to send a note first to let you know that my cancellation is not because I don't like the product – but because it totally worked!  I am a NINJA success story.  I joined NINJA in March 2020 after failing my first attempt at FAR with a 70.   When I resumed studying after a pandemic pause, I applied the NINJA framework and passed FAR in November 2020 with an 89.  After following the NINJA method to “Just Rewrite Your Notes” and listening to the NINJA audio constantly – things really did come together for me.  I also really love the way the MCQ test bank and “trending score” work.  It really helped me drill down on my weak areas.  After my boost from passing FAR, I continued to apply the NINJA framework in 2021 and passed AUD (78 – March 2021), BEC (93 – July 2021), and REG (87 – Dec 2021) each on the first attempt.  The only change to the NINJA program I made was to add more weeks of study to the “Nail the Concepts”.   I knew that I needed a 12-13 week study plan for each section to really feel confident (and balance family commitments) rather than your suggested 7, but otherwise, I followed the plan. Thank you for sharing your personal story on the website.  I found it very inspiring and I think I read it about 100 times for encouragement to keep going.  I also listened to the chapter in the Reg audio “How I scored a 92 on Reg” about 20 times.  I kept repeating to myself (especially after I walked out convinced I had failed) “never quit the CPA exam.”   I am a 47-year-old mom to 3 tween boys.  It took a lot of discipline, schedule juggling, and hard work to pass but because of your framework, I got organized, focused, and did it.  I am not exactly sure what I will do next, but my resume just received a huge boost! Thanks again and keep up the good work.” – Sarah H – Michigan

“Thanks for all you do in helping so many people achieve success in their CPA quests. NINJA is truly a great review course: it’s simple in its presentation, yet highly effective and efficient in capturing the essential contents of the exams. And your software is really amazing! I highly recommend NINJA to anyone who wants to prepare for the CPA exam.” – Stephen K.

While all AICPA-Licensed CPA Review courses get their CPA Exam questions from the AICPA, the differences among CPA Exam Test Banks are notable.

Adding a second CPA Test Bank is a really good idea. Here are three (quick) reasons why:

  1. You will start memorizing your “main” course questions. A false sense of accomplishment could lead to disaster on Exam Day.
  2. If your Test Bank doesn't have a Trending Score as part of their algorithm, you're missing out on an invaluable study tool that lets you know if you're on track for exam day victory – or if you're walking into an embarrassing ambush.
  3. Using two CPA test banks is an important hedge against missing out on important points or concepts that one course emphasizes while the other course lightly covers (if you've ever had a “WHAT!?!?!” moment on the CPA Exam, you know what I'm talking about).

I've included a bonus FAR Sparring session (woo hoo! party!) that showcases NINJA MCQ so you can demo it:

NINJA MCQ ($67 monthly) has 6,000+ MCQ and 200+ Simulations and is the most-affordable CPA Test Bank on the market.

NINJA MCQ is also the best value among study software options, as comparable CPA test bank alternatives range from $600 to $1,000, compared to $67.

You can start and stop your NINJA MCQ access as needed.

Using a second CPA Test Bank is a must – especially if you're retaking an exam. Do you ever work test bank questions and wonder if you're answering them correctly because you're seeing repeats?

A supplemental test bank like NINJA MCQ fixed that.

With 6,000+ MCQ and 200+ simulations, not to mention killer analytics, it's the best value in CPA Review.

NINJA MCQ is $67 and you guessed it – included with NINJA Monthly.

“I passed (BEC) with a score of 90 which shocked me, as I went in certain of failure. This was my first section. Your study tips really paid off.” – Kathy R-G.

5. CPA Review Course Reviews Tell the Real Story

“Hi Jeff, the score release went well for me this time – I passed FAR finally and I'm officially done! Ninja gave me the tools to pass, I tried to pass AUD originally with (expensive course) and missed it by a mile twice. I switched to Ninja only and passed (77). I used that same approach for the other 3 (only ninja) and passed REG and BEC on the first try (85 and 78). FAR took me two tries with a 74 the first time and a 77 this time. Thank you for producing a great product and I will without a doubt be recommending Ninja to all my friends who are starting the journey.” – Wil S.

“Finally passed FAR on my third try supplementing with Ninja. I got an 81. First two with just (expensive course) I got a 63 and 69. Just have REG left now and I’m telling everyone I talk to about Ninja and how it helped me.” – Seth B.

What do your online CPA Study Groups say about the course or company?

Use the search function and type in whatever course or product you're researching.

Is there negative chatter about the course – or worse, no chatter?

In this day and age, if there's relatively little feedback online about a course or service, that's a red flag.

You'll find that there is a lot of discussion about NINJA in the various online groups and forums. (Most) People like us. 😀

6. CPA Review Pass Rates are Mathmagic

“I love ninja!!!! You guys are the best study service for CPAs :)” – Allison

“I think ninja is a really great compliment to (expensive course) as (course) does not have enough MCQ in my opinion. Thanks for helping me out after failing 2 in a row! Turned that around to a pass 3 to be done!!” – Sarah M.

“You're a CPA, so you must be really good at math.”

Well, actually I hated Business Calc, and accounting is mostly add/subtract/multiply/divide, but it's easier to just nod my head.

You'll be getting that comment soon enough as well.

Speaking of basic math – let's run some real quick-like.

  • The first time CPA Exam Pass Rate per the AICPA/NASBA is 25-30%
  • The average pass rate for any given CPA Exam section is 50%
  • Courses are advertising 90%+ Pass Rates

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

Ignore CPA Review Pass Rate Mathmagic when selecting a course.

Instead – choose the Best CPA Review course for you: one you can afford and will actually study with.

7: No One Pays Retail – Check for Discounts & Free Trials

“I LOVE this access…I kept putting off buying something because I couldn't afford it, and it was literally a prayer answered when the day I got online to purchase NINJA, I saw the monthly plan. Thank you for being an innovator in this industry!” – Cathy R. in Texas

“I am very thankful for NINJA CPA and have recommended it to my colleagues who are beginning their CPA journey – I could have saved a lot of money if I had gone to NINJA initially! ” – Greg P.

CPA Review courses are very expensive (except for NINJA 😀 ), but thankfully, discounts are usually available.

We NINJAs don't play the “discount game”, however, where the price isn't actually the price.

If something is always on sale – then let's call it what it is – a game.

You don't have time for games, so maybe NINJA (always $67 monthly, never goes on sale, and never will) is the best course for you.

With our industry-leading return policy (no one can match it or come close), we've removed 100% of the risk if you want to find out.

Matt Durette, Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner (Becker + NINJA)*

Matt Durette, Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner (Becker + NINJA)*

* Not a typical result. Only 1 in 1,000 CPA candidates win the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

“I used NINJA MCQ for each of the exams as a supplement to Becker, which was provided by my work. I asked advice from my brother, who had passed the exams a few years prior, and he suggested to work through as many MCQs as I could, so I did just that. I worked through all the Becker MCQs, then did about 50-60% of the NINJA MCQs. I thought the NINJA ones were more difficult than the Becker questions, which was a good thing. I was trending about 7-10 points below my actual exam scores for each of the sections. The NINJA product was great because it showed me where I was weakest, and I was able to focus on that section until I felt really comfortable with it. I would say the NINJA MCQ were essential to my success.”