Posts Tagged ‘CPA Review Comparison’
Reviewed and Updated April 10, 2012
Wiley CPA review produces the most widely-used study materials in the world. The textbooks, multiple choice question (MCQ) and simulation software provide a proven way for students to study for and practice the exam.
Textbooks – The textbooks are organized by topic – AUD, BEC, FAR, REG – and have sections you can read about preparing for the exam, a summary explaining each topic, dozens of MCQs for each topic and several simulations.
Price = $35 – $39 per part /$148 for all 4 parts
You can buy the Wiley books at Amazon.
Wiley Online Test Bank - The test bank is software that allows you to practice MCQs and simulations, track your results, and focus on the areas you need the most help in. In prior years, you used to be able to get the test bank on CD. In 2012, you can only get the test bank online. Later in 2012, Wiley is planning to update the software to allow you to download question packs to practice offline and then sync your answers when you are back online. The date of this update has not yet been announced.
Price = $79 – $88 per part /$191 for all 4 parts
Here are the Amazon links for the test bank software:
1. Over 4,000 MCQs – Wiley has a huge number of MCQs both in the textbooks and in the test bank software. They increased the number of MCQs by 10% for 2012.
2. Proven Method – Wiley textbooks and software have been used by thousands of students and are chosen by several review courses as the primary study materials (notably Yaeger and Roger).
3. Annual Updates – Wiley updates their material annually, ensuring you have the most up-to-date information when you are studying for the exam.
4. Over 200 Simulations – Wiley does a nice job of providing a wide variety of simulations for you to practice. Some will argue that you should not practice simulations at all, but I think this is a mistake. It is good to familiarize yourself with the types of questions they will ask you in the simulation section.
5. Good Predictor – The scores you get on the MCQ software are generally considered to be a fairly accurate predictor of your score you will actually get on the exam. I recommend consistently getting 80% on the MCQs before you feel comfortable that you know the material well. This will allow you a little latitude on the exam if you get surprised by one or two of the topics that get tested heavily.
6. Low Price – Compared with other review materials, the Wiley CPA review materials are inexpensive, especially considering the quality and quantity of material you get.
1. Not All-Inclusive – The Wiley study materials are typically not used as a stand-alone review. They are usually supplemented by video courses that help explain the material and MCQs in a more interactive fashion than just reading a book or computer screen.
2. Updates Cost Extra – If you buy 2012 materials, but do not take the exam until 2013, you will need to buy the updated books in order to ensure you are studying all of the materials that are likely to be covered on the exam, including new pronouncements and regulations.
The Bottom Line
It is hard to go wrong with Wiley CPA review, especially considering their proven track record and low price. The Wiley books and software can serve as primary study materials if you feel confident in your knowledge of the topics or as a significant supplement to a video study course as with Yaeger or Roger.
There are many places you can purchase the Wiley materials from, but the best price is found on Amazon. If they are not included in the price of your review course, Amazon will get you the best deal.
If you order from Wiley directly or from other CPA web sites, you will end up paying $65 per part for each book or $260 for all 4 parts and $97 – $105 per part for the testbank or $277 – $299 for all 4 parts. At Amazon, you get the books for $35 – $39 per part or $148 for all 4 parts and the testbank for $79 – $88 per part or $191 for all 4 parts. That is huge savings compared to any other site.
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.
Reviewed and updated April 10, 2012
Yaeger CPA Review has been around for nearly 35 years, but has flown under the radar compared with behemoths like Becker or Bisk. The owner, Phil Yaeger, has been teaching CPA exam review courses for almost 4 decades. The course itself is the only “teaching” course on the market.
Yaeger teaches you what to do, how to do it and why you are doing it that way. The other courses only teach you the what and how. For those looking for a deeper understanding of the material, this is very attractive.
The Yaeger review course includes 136 hours of video on either DVD, USB or online streaming (your choice), the Wiley textbooks, Yaeger-authored handouts and the Wiley Testbank software for practice questions.
Price – $445 per part / $1,587 for all 4 parts - (using the coupon code SPRINGCLEANPART for 1 part and SPRINGCLEANFULL for all 4 parts)
1. Best Pass Rate – You have the best chance to pass the exam as Yaeger has the top pass rate of any CPA review course (88%). Passing the exam is why we all look for review courses, and Yaeger gives you the best chance to do that based on the statistics.
2. Personal Service – When you call, you get Phil Yaeger (the owner) or one of the instructors, not some customer service representative. Other courses do not allow personal access to the instructors except through email or message boards which often take a lot of time to get a response. The ability to get on the phone with Phil Yaeger or the other instructors is one of the most important advantages over the other courses.
3. Regular Updates – You get the most up-to-date information because the review videos are re-filmed in their entirety every year.
4. Unlimited Use – You can watch the videos an unlimited number of times and you do not “run out” of study questions – there is unlimited use. Other review courses limit your usage and only allow you to watch videos a certain number of times or limit your study questions.
5. Convenience – For convenience and flexibility, you have 3 study formats to choose from – online, DVD, or USB. Other review courses charge you extra for the USB option if they even offer it (many don’t even give you the option). Yaeger does not charge extra for USB.
6. Price -With the coupon code SPRINGCLEANFULL or SPRINGCLEANPART, Yaeger is the most affordable of all the top-ranked review courses. If you go for the USB option, the savings Yaeger offers is even greater because the other courses charge extra for the USB option while Yaeger does not.
7. Mobile Access – No matter which option you choose, you can access the Yaeger videos and study materials on your iPhone, iPad or other mobile device.
There are a couple of potential draw backs to be aware of.
1. No Transfer Between Formats – If you answer test questions offline, the scores to not transfer over if you answer some questions online. This results in having different scores in different places that you’ll have to combine to get a complete picture of how you’re doing.
2. Guided Self-Study Only – The review is conducted entirely through video, books, and test questions. There are no “in person” classes.
The Bottom Line
Yaeger is the only teaching course, meaning they teach you not only what to do and how to do it, but also why you are doing it that way. If knowing the “why” helps you learn and retain information better, Yaeger is the course for you.
In my opinion, Yaeger also offers the most value for your money. They have the highest pass rate and are cheaper than most of the other CPA exam review courses.
Check out this CPA exam review course comparison chart (near the bottom of the page) before you decide which course to buy.