The 8 Best CPA Prep Courses of 2021

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Acing the four sections of the CPA exam will take time, dedication, and the right kind of preparation. The average test-taker studies for over 100 hours for the CPA exam, but finding the best materials for you is key. When selecting a CPA prep course, you should take into account not only the quality of the instruction and resources, but also your own learning style, budget, and unique strengths and weaknesses.

That’s why choosing the best CPA prep courses for you can be a challenge; with so many different resources available, the selection can get overwhelming. To simplify the process for you, we’ve gathered eight of the best CPA prep courses on the market today, arranged according to each one’s standout feature. 

Best Adaptive Prep Tools: Surgent CPA Review

Surgent CPA Review

Surgent CPA Review 

Many CPA prep courses claim to have “adaptive technology” that efficiently tracks your progress as you take practice tests. Surgent CPA Review delivers the goods in terms of adaptive prep tools that conform to your individual weaknesses and strengths, monitor your progress in real-time, and help you decide exactly what to study next without having to agonize over the results of your latest practice exam. 

All of Surgent’s adaptive tools are based on A.S.A.P Technology, which is a series of algorithms that assesses your progress as you practice. The Study Planner tool will let you know how many days you’ll need to study and for how long, based on your current practice exam scores and areas of strength and weakness. The Daily Surge will create a personalized day-to-day study plan for you, taking all the logistical work out of creating a prep schedule. Finally, Surgent’s ReadySCORE tool gives you both overall and section-specific scores, so you’ll know how close you are to being ready to take the exam. 

The Surgent Essentials Pass ($1,599) includes all the adaptive course technology, along with 7,700 multiple-choice practice questions, 350 video lectures, four e-books, and a digital flashcard app for on-the-go study. The Premier Pass adds printed textbooks, flashcards and one-on-one virtual coaching from a CPA exam coach for a total of $2,399. The Ultimate Pass ($2,999) gives users an AICPA-integrated test bank, a full audio CPA prep course, 24/7 customer support, and an eight-hour Excel skills certificate course.

Best Practice Questions: Gleim CPA Review

Gleim CPA Review

Gleim Exam Prep 

If you’re looking for a CPA prep course that provides you with virtually unlimited practice, Gleim CPA Review is one of the best on the market in terms of the sheer volume and quality of test-based simulations and multiple-choice questions.

Gleim’s test bank of CPA exam practice questions comes with every package and includes over 10,000 multiple-choice questions, over 350 SIMs with exhibits, and over 1,300 task-based simulations—far more than most competitors. The practice questions and simulations include both officially released AICPA questions and others written by Gleim’s team of expert instructors. Detailed answer explanations will walk you through exactly what you got right (or wrong). 

You can buy the Gleim Test Bank by itself for $999. The Traditional Review Bundle ($1,599) also includes downloadable digital and print textbooks, audio lectures, exam simulations that look and feel just like the real ones, and a SmartAdapt course with adaptive technology that tracks your progress. The Premium Review System ($1,999) adds personal one-on-one coaching into the mix. 

Best on a Budget: Yaeger CPA Review

Yaeger CPA Review

Yaegar CPA Review

Yaeger CPA Review offers some of the best CPA prep courses for students who only have a short time to study or who are on a tight budget. This company’s offerings are some of the most affordable on the CPA prep market, including several different monthly payment and financing plans for a wide range of budgets.

The CPA Review Bundle costs $999 (or $299 for each individual section) and includes two 15-minute phone calls with Phil Yaeger to set up a personal study plan and progress review, over 120 hours of video lectures, downloadable PDF textbooks, AICPA blueprint-integrated practice questions, digital flashcards, and 24 months of access to all the resources. For the Bundle+ package you also get unlimited access to the resources, printed and bound textbooks, one-on-one instructor access for an extra fee, an audio lecture series, and a review CRAM course. You can purchase CRAM courses individually for $289 each, meant to be taken in the final weeks before your exam.

Payment plans are available, with a one-time deposit and monthly, interest-free automatic payments. Subscription plans auto-renew every month on a rolling basis unless you cancel 14 days in advance of the following month’s payment. And with a single payment for a four-part course, you can get unlimited access to online materials and hefty 40 percent discounts on prep textbooks (just $39 for each textbook and $20 for shipping and handling).

Best Flexibility in Format: Becker CPA Exam Review

Becker CPA Review

Becker

Becker’s CPA exam reviews are offered in live online, self-study, and in-person classroom formats. This company is one of the most versatile in terms of the depth and breadth of options it offers to test-takers. 

The Advantage plan ($2,399) offers 24-month access, a comprehensive four-part exam review, video lectures, practice exams, simulations, a mobile app, and digital textbooks. The Premium plan ($2,999) includes all of the Advantage plan features, plus unlimited access, LiveOnline classroom access, and 1,400 flashcards. The Pro package ($3,999) includes an additional live classroom scheduling option, and 5 one-on-one academic tutoring sessions. There are also a few fun features, like a customizable Study Planner and Accounting for Empires game, which lets you compete against other CPA hopefuls in game format as you practice.

Reviewers say that, while expensive, Becker’s CPA materials are some of the best-written and most realistic on the market. The practice questions are often challenging, while the simulations are some of the best available in terms of mimicking what you’ll see on exam day and walking you through examples step by step. However, the company’s adaptive tools aren’t the most advanced in the business, so this isn’t the best choice if adaptive technology is what you’re looking for.

Best Customizable Prep: Fast Forward Academy CPA

Fast Forward Academy CPA

Fast Forward Academy

Fast Forward Academy offers some of the best CPA prep courses on the market for students who like a bit more guidance along the way as they get ready for exam day. 

There are several ways that Fast Forward stands out in terms of customizing your CPA prep and getting some personalized attention. Fast Forward’s online community includes both students just like you and expert instructors, ready to answer questions, help with a difficult concept, talk about time management and pacing, or even find emotional support. 

The online tools also track your personal progress as you take simulated exams that look just like the ones you’ll see on official test day. The adaptive technology will let you know exactly what you need to focus on in your study time and will even tell you if you’re “Not Ready,” “Progressing,” or “Ready” as you improve.

Fast Forward’s CPA Smart Bundle costs $1549 and includes online and paperback textbook materials, nearly 7,000 practice questions and simulations, 80 hours of video lectures, and unlimited practice exams. The online course includes everything but paperback textbooks and costs $1049. Financing options are available.

Best Self-Study: Wiley CPAexcel

Wiley CPAexcel

Wiley CPAexcel 

Prefer self-paced, self-driven CPA study? Then the best CPA prep courses for you are likely the most comprehensive, including detailed answer explanations and step-by-step guides to difficult concepts. 

Wiley CPAexcel is one of the best-known CPA review courses, and it’s an ideal fit for students who like to prepare on their own schedule and at their own pace. Test-takers can purchase the Wiley Platinum CPA Review Course, which is fully updated with all the recent CPA exam changes, for $2,499. Under the “Partner Until You Pass” guarantee, users will have access to all the course materials and courseware updates until they pass the exam. 

Wiley’s materials are uniquely comprehensive, covering even highly technical concepts efficiently and effectively with 30-minute “bite-sized” lessons and quick drills after each one to check your progress. The course bundle includes a mountain of prep material, including a full set of textbooks, over 140 hours of video lectures, over 500 task-based simulations, 4,000 digital flashcards, 5,000 true/false questions to check your knowledge quickly, and over 12,000 practice questions. Wiley CPAexcel also comes with a companion mobile app so test-takers can practice on the go.

Best Lectures: Roger CPA Review

Roger CPA Review

Roger CPA Review

Roger Philipp, CPA, CGMA, is a well-known CPA exam review instructor who has been teaching for nearly 30 years. Users of his materials appreciate his creative approach to teaching, including tips, tricks, and mnemonic devices that students can’t find in many other places. His instruction is the stand-out component in the Roger CPA review course.

Course options include the Elite-Unlimited Bundle for $2,999 and the Premier Bundle for $1,899, both of which include Philipp’s lectures on all four sections, as well as over 6,000 practice questions and simulations for laptops and mobile devices. The Elite-Unlimited Bundle also includes digital flashcards centered around particular concepts and terminology, unlimited access to materials, and a full set of Roger CPA textbooks.

Roger CPA review courses also use SmartPath Technology, or adaptive tools that hone in on students’ weaknesses and strengths to customize their study plan, to personalize the preparation process for future CPAs.

Best Supplemental Study: Universal CPA Review

Universal CPA Review

Universal CPA Review

If you’ve already enrolled in an in-person or live online course but want some supplemental resources to keep your practice game strong, Universal CPA Review is a high-value option. You can purchase a package for each individual exam at $825 a piece. Each package includes 100+ hours of video lectures, a visual study guide, and multiple choice questions, all AICPA-licensed. The bundle also includes simulated testlets and task-based simulations. Detailed audio and video answer explanations for every practice question round out the bundle. A complete package of all four exams will cost you $2500. You can also buy the practice question bank by itself for $398.

Reviewers especially appreciate that your access to Universal’s CPA resources is unlimited until you pass the exam, so you don’t need to worry about running out of material before test day.

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Dorwart, Laura. "The 8 Best CPA Prep Courses of 2021." ThoughtCo, Jan. 4, 2021, thoughtco.com/best-cpa-prep-courses-4707228. Dorwart, Laura. (2021, January 4). The 8 Best CPA Prep Courses of 2021. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/best-cpa-prep-courses-4707228 Dorwart, Laura. "The 8 Best CPA Prep Courses of 2021." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/best-cpa-prep-courses-4707228 (accessed April 20, 2021).