CPA Test Banks & 7 Things To Avoid Exam Day Disaster

Regardless of your current CPA Review course, you need a second CPA Test Bank.

Consider it a “hedge” against an exam day disaster.

Since we accountants like math, here's some mathiness:

For every two people who walk into Prometric to take the CPA Exam, one will pass, and one will fail.

To put it another way: one in two CPA candidates will have wasted eight weeks of their life studying for a failed exam.

That is a staggering statistic when you take into account that 80%-90% of CPA Candidates use one of three CPA Review courses.

“Jeff, love the site and love what you do, but I am a firm believer that if you put in the time and pass, you only need to buy one set of CPA Review materials. You are clearly using scare tactics to push people to buy your stuff.”

“Yeah? Can you pass this simple quiz?”

“Hold my beer…”

(1 hour later…)

“Ok, Jeff, I straight bombed it. You were right – I need a second test bank, apparently.”

“And your beer is warm.”

“Sorry I ever doubted you.”

All is forgiven. Keep reading.

The following is a detailed breakdown of why you need a second CPA Test Bank and a comparison of two top CPA test banks:

I know these two Test Banks very well.

Prior to creating NINJA MCQ in 2014, was the #1 reseller of the Wiley CPA Test Bank.

Between the Wiley Test Bank and NINJA MCQ, a strong case could be made that I know the CPA Test Bank market better than anyone.

However, just like “beer guy” above, you might need some convincing.

Let's get started.

1. Yes, You Need a ‘Second' CPA Test Bank

You've spent thousands on a course and are tired of being nickel and dimed. I get it.

Think of a second test bank as a sort of insurance policy.

  • Insurance against failing and the emotional hangover that follows. If you've experienced a failing score, you know the temporary panic, depression, and paralyzing despair that a bad score release can cause.
  • Insurance against eight weeks of studying down the drain (and the flood of reminders of all the things you skipped to study for those eight weeks… guys' night out… girls' night out…fun nights with the kids…weekends with the kids…Friday night Netflix and Chill sessions (is it still called that when you're married?). GONE. You can't get those opportunities back. And for what? You get to study again.
  • Insurance against quitting the CPA Exam. One of the biggest risks of failing isn't the NTS fees or the restudying…those things suck real bad, for sure. The biggest risk is that after enough fails, you'll quit.

Statistically, upwards of 20% just up and quit the CPA Exam and never finish. Why? Failure. Enough is enough.

Who do you want to be five years from now?


Being a CPA is a ticket to doing whatever you want – and making more doing it.

Own your own firm/small business?

Do taxes on the side?

Leverage your CPA credential in another area?

It's completely up to you.

2. Different Test Banks have Different Questions & Answer Explanations

Different CPA Test Banks have different questions. Sure, there is some overlap, but it's not to a material degree, and it has been overblown by people marketing competing “non-AICPA” Test Banks.

For example, Becker, Roger, Wiley, NINJA, etc. had to update their large numbers of revenue recognition questions.

The answer explanations were already completely different, but now each question is completely different and testing on a different nuance of the same concept.

Same with Leases.

Same with TCJA.

Same with QBI (REG), etc.

A supplemental CPA test bank may explain an answer or concept better than your “main” course.

These answer explanations are written by people, and some people are better writers (and teachers) than others.

Over time, the questions themselves change due to standards/regulations changing. A classic example of this is FAR, where each CPA Review Course had to completely re-write its Revenue questions due to FASB ASC 606. Consider for a moment all of the “revenue” questions that the AICPA had released over the years. They all changed. Everything changed – the questions, the answers, and the answer explanations.

The same thing happened with Leases a few years ago. Same thing with REG and TCJA in 2017, and again in 2021 when the CPA Exam stopped testing numerous tax concepts. Did the courses simply delete these questions? No. You can see in the table above that there is an “arms race” to have the most questions. The courses rewrote the questions and put them in a different blueprint bucket.

Outside of just not wanting to spend money (hey, it's cheaper than buying another NTS for a retake), there's literally no reason not to use another CPA test bank.

(Click the playlist arrow in the top-right of the video to pull up the entire “CPA Exam Study Tips” playlist)

3. Each Test Bank has its Pros and Cons

NINJA MCQ has more questions and simulations than Wiley, but NINJA is month-to-month, so there's no financial commitment, whereas Wiley CPA ($600) gives you 24 and 18-month access, respectively. NINJA also includes a lot of features that Wiley only offers with their course packages (Study Guide, Cram, etc.) Wiley CPAexcel does not feature an audio course.

The Wiley Test Bank has fewer questions than NINJA but has two years of access. Wiley's test bank software is not adaptive per their website.

4. Adaptive Learning Makes Life Easier

A few years ago, Adaptive Learning in a CPA test bank was a major feature. Today, most CPA Review 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.

NINJA MCQ is adaptive, whereas the Wiley CPA Test Bank is not.

cpa test bank

5. AICPA CPA Exam Questions are a No-Brainer

Before purchasing any CPA Review Test Bank (aside from Wiley or NINJA), ask them the following question:

Does your CPA Exam test bank use AICPA questions?

If the answer is “no” – go elsewhere. Period.

But Jeff, I asked them, and they said they had a really good reason…overlap, blah blah.

“Uh-huh. Find a different test bank.”

When your test bank doesn't use AICPA-Licensed materials, you're at a disadvantage because only AICPA-Licensed courses get critical content updates from the AICPA Examinations Team and can use past CPA Exam questions in their materials (or service).

How can they help you pass the CPA Exam if they don't know what's tested on the CPA Exam?

It's less important for supplements to use AICPA content, but it's still very helpful. Your main course must incorporate them into the materials.

Not knowing what's testable on the exam can be the difference between a 75 and a heart-breaking 74.

6. More Questions Are Not More Betterer

Yeah, that's poor grammar. I don't recommend using phrases like this on your BEC written communications, but since I'm on the other side of the CPA Exam, I can get away with it. 😀

A solid baseline for CPA Exam questions in a CPA test bank is 6,000 questions. Now, Wiley CPAexcel (12,000 questions) seems to be in an “arms race” with Gleim CPA Review (10,000 questions) to have the most questions in their course.

This is overkill. Why? Let's break down the math.

If we set a benchmark of 6,000 questions (an arbitrary number, but it feels right) for a 7-Week Study Plan, then when is there going to be time to work the other 4,000-6,000 questions?

Conservatively, using the lower question count of 4,000, if you work 30 questions an hour (one every two minutes, which is a good clip), that's an extra 133 hours of studying just to work each question once.

If you study over 7 weeks, you're going to need to study an extra 19 hours a week for those additional questions alone.

You got time for that? Not likely. 😀

The Wiley Test Bank and NINJA MCQ have around 6,000 and 7,000 questions, respectively.

This is more than enough and then some.

7. Take NINJA MCQ & Wiley Test Bank for a Test Drive

NINJA MCQ vs. Wiley CPA Test Bank:

Choose the CPA Exam Test Bank package you like the best.

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+
Adaptive Test Bank✅🚫
CPA Book✅🚫
Video Lectures✅🚫
Study Guide✅🚫
Audio Review✅🚫
Cram Course✅🚫
Live Tutoring✅🚫

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

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To Your Success,

Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)

Another71 | NINJA CPA