Posts Tagged ‘Pass The CPA Exam’
Reviewed and Updated January 15, 2012
Gleim CPA review provides many types of test preparation courses for various accounting and aviation certifications. For the CPA exam, Gleim is commonly used for supplemental multiple choice questions (MCQs). The company offers several different types of study materials for sale.
Audio Lecture CD’s – Gleim sells audio lectures on CD. Each part of the CPA exam has 10 hours of lectures. These lectures come on either 8 or 9 CDs depending on which part you are studying. For all 4 parts, there are 34 CD’s in total. These cost $90 per part or $360 for all 4 parts.
MCQ Software – The MCQ practice software is downloaded from the Gleim website. It includes performance tracking so you know how well you are doing on the different exam topics and allows you to take simulated exams. The software has over 8,000 MCQs.
- AUD – 2,000 MCQs
- BEC – 2,200 MCQs
- FAR – 2,100 MCQs
- REG – 2,500 MCQs
It costs $55 per part, or $220 for all 4 parts.
Simulation Wizard – This includes 20 simulations per part of the exam (or 20 essay questions for BEC). These are accessed entirely online so you need an internet connection to use it. It costs $90 per part or $360 for all 4 parts.
Online Review – This includes 18 months of online access to audiovisual presentations, true/false study questions, study outlines, multiple choice quizzes, and 1 task based simulation per part. It costs $170 per part or $680 for all 4 parts.
Full Review – As part of the full review package, Gleim includes textbooks, MCQ software, audio lecture CD’s, simulation wizard access and access to a personal counselor.
Price – $275 per part / $990 for all 4 parts
1. Price – At $990 for the full review for all 4 parts, it is the cheapest of any of the review courses.
2. Lots of MCQs – There are over 2,000 MCQs per part (8,000 in total). This is well above every other review course. The next-closest is CPAExcel with 6,000 MCQs.
3. Listen On The Go – The audio CD lectures can be listened to in your car, so you can get some study time in while commuting.
4. Windows Mobile Access – If you buy one or more sections of the full review, you get access to the MCQs on your Windows Mobile device. This is nice for studying in places where you may not have your computer or books.
5. Free Mobile App – Gleim offers a free mobile app that includes a 40 question multiple choice test for each part (160 question total for all 4 parts). It has a timer to simulate exam conditions and allows you to review correct and incorrect answers.
1. Not A True Guided Review – Gleim only has 10 hours of lectures per part, or 40 hours in total for all 4 parts of the exam on the audio CD’s. The other guided review courses (except Bisk) have 100 or more hours of lectures.
2. Difficulty – Gleim MCQs are notoriously difficult. Many people who use Gleim in addition to another review course report they consistently get lower scores on the Gleim MCQs than on their other review course. Keep this in mind if you use the Gleim materials.
3. No Ability To Ask Questions – There is no ability to contact instructors or get help with parts of the exam. In the full review, you have access to a personal counselor, but this is more like a college adviser than an instructor. The counselor can help you devise a study plan and offer motivation, but he or she is not an expert in the content of the exam. If you have a question on pension accounting, you will have to look elsewhere.
4. No Pass Rates – Gleim does not publish the passing rates of its students. It may be because this is difficult to track since Gleim has less interaction with its students than some of the more hands-on review courses or it may be because it is a low passing rate. Whatever the case may be, it makes it difficult to determine how effective the materials are without actually using them to prepare for the exam, and then it may be too late.
5. MCQ Software Not Mac Compatible – Unfortunately, if you have a Mac, you cannot use the MCQ software.
The Bottom Line
In my opinion, Gleim is not robust enough to use if you are looking for a guided review course. If you already know the exam topics well or are already using another review course, the Gleim MCQ software makes a good supplement if you need it. I would definitely recommend signing up for the free mobile app to get a little extra studying in while you are on the go.
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.