Posts Tagged ‘CPA Review Course Comparison’
Note – This post was written in October 2011. By February 2012, most major review course providers have their 2012 materials available for sale. Please check out each individual review for specifics on the review course you are interested in.
If you are in the market to purchase a CPA exam review course but are worried because the 2012 materials are not out yet, there are options you should be aware of. Many of the review course providers have options for you to ensure you don’t miss out on the 2012 update.
Yeager – The Yaeger option is called the “Now and Then Plan.” To qualify, you have to purchase all 4 parts. You have 2 choices – you can either elect to take delivery of 1 part or 2 parts now. The other 2 or 3 parts will be delivered in late December or early January when the 2012 update is released. You only pay for the parts when they are delivered to you. So, if you elect to take 1 part now, you only pay for 1 part. You pay for the other 3 when they are delivered in December or January.
If you want to get one more part of the exam in this year, this is a great option. Best of all, any discount codes still apply (the code scoresfull gets you $200 off).
Roger – Following Yaeger’s example, Roger is offering split shipments on its review materials. When you check out, you simply click on which part(s) you want to receive in 2011 and which parts you want to receive when the 2012 update is complete. Unlike Yaeger; however, it appears you need to pay for all 4 parts now rather than paying for the 2012 parts when you receive them.
Becker – Similar to Roger, Becker offers split shipments so you can order all 4 parts now to qualify for the 4 part discount, but you can choose which part(s) you want to receive for 2011. Like Roger, you have to pay the full amount now.
CPAExcel – CPAExcel is unique in that it offers free online updates of its materials to all of its students. If you have DVD’s, a USB or printed books, these updates are still delivered online – not through physical products.
Bisk – Bisk has no official program for updates. Many students report that Bisk sends free electronic updates via PDF file.
Lambers – Lambers offers free software and video updates for one year. Text books and flash cards do not qualify for free updates
Kaplan – Kaplan offers free content updates for 2 years, but these are PDF updates only, not updates to the videos.
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.