Reviewed & Updated January 15, 2012
Becker is perhaps the most well-known CPA exam review course. Becker CPA review has representatives on most college campuses, and if you are a member of Beta Alpha Psi, you have likely heard from them or seen their presentations.
Becker offers review courses in 3 formats. All of the courses come with the same review materials – the Becker textbooks, Passmaster software for practice questions and simulation and exam software to replicate taking the CPA exam. Flashcards cost extra. The difference in the 3 formats is the manner in which the instructor lectures are delivered and how strict the course schedule is.
1. Live Classes – These are live, in-person classes, usually held at a college. They have a rigorous structure and schedule. Becker instructors go over the review materials in a very similar fashion to most college courses.
Homework assignments are also given. Students who choose the live classes must attend 100% of the classes and complete the assignments if they want to get continuing updates if they do not pass the exam on the first try. Check
this link to see if live classes are offered in your area.
2. Online Classes – This course has weekly online classes where you can watch the instructor-led lectures. Students can ask questions of the instructor and classmates online. Check this schedule to find out if there is an online session that fits your schedule.
3.Â Self-Study CD – The CD has the instructor lectures and you study at your own pace. There are no assignments given and no set schedule to follow.
Price – $1,050 per part / $3,245 for all 4 parts
(Prices above include $95 registration fee; All 3 review formats have the same price)
1. Structure – Live and online classes have a very structured format. They are good for those who need to have a rigid schedule.
2. Discounts – If you work for the Big 4 or certain large corporations, Becker is often paid for or heavily discounted. Smaller discounts are offered if you are a member of your state CPA society.
3. Interaction – Live classes give students the opportunity to interact with other students and ask instructors face-to-face questions.
4. Materials – The lectures and textbooks are good primary study materials.
5. Endorsements – Becker is endorsed by the Big 4.
6. Flexibility – You can install the course on up to 3 computers.
7. Volume Discount – You get 1 section free if you buy 4 parts.
8. Mac Support – Mac users can purchase a version of the software specifically designed for the Mac (not just Mac compatible).
1. Price – If it is not paid for by your employer, Becker is the highest priced of all the review courses.
2. Practice Questions – Many find that using the Becker lectures and textbooks are good primary study materials, but they need to be supplemented with Gleim or Wiley practice questions. Passmaster questions included with the Becker course are generally considered not as effective as Gleim or Wiley.
3. Poor Customer Service – Customer service is almost universally regarded as terrible. The guarantee states that if you attend all the lectures and get 90% on the homework, you can purchase new year materials at a discounted price if you do not pass. It has been very difficult for customers to qualify and get new materials at a discounted price.
4. Lack of Details – High level information is good, but details are lacking in a lot of areas.
5. Cram Course – The final review is not considered to be as good as Bisk.
6. Extra Fees - You get nickel-and-dimed with extra fees when material changes.
7. “Live” in Some Cases Isn’t – In some “live” locations, instructors just play the lecture DVD’s.
8. Location – Live classes may not be offered your area.
The Bottom Line
Becker is the only choice if you are looking for a live class unless you are lucky enough to have a regional course taught in your area that gives you another option. If your employer pays for it, Becker is a good choice.
Based on the statistics, Yaeger offers you the best chance to pass. If you are going to self-study and you are paying for it yourself, Yaeger gives you the most for your money.