Preparing for the CPA Exam: 4 Recommended Review Programs

Do you really need to pay a small fortune for a CPA review program? There are many programs available that range from $0-$5,000. To make the decision less daunting, find below four programs available at different price points for your reference.

Becker Professional Education ($3,360)

While costly, the Becker program offers several learning formats, available to you interchangeably as you see fit. If you prefer to study on your own, you can do so with the textbook provided. However, you can also take live courses with an actual instructor on a structured schedule if you prefer personal interaction. If you need more flexibility, but still learn best from an instructor, online lectures are also available. In addition, an “intensive option” is available for those that want to prepare in minimal time. Practice exams and simulations are also available. Becker claims that the pass rate for students that take their course is twice that of non-Becker candidates, according to an independent third-party research firm. Becker caters to all learning styles so it is best for those that are unsure of what will work for them.

CPAexcel CPA Review Course ($2,100)

CPAexcel specializes in the CPA exam and offers several options for self-study. Students can order a complete “Partner’s Choice” program that offers textbooks, videos, slides, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and other study materials. There are less expensive options for self-study (no mentoring) and for those that prefer to purchase only one part of the four-part exam. This option is best for self-starters that need flexibility to study on their own time.

Roger CPA Review ($1,695)

CPA and motivational speaker Roger Phillip claims that 88 percent of those that prepare for the CPA using the Roger CPA Review pass the exam. The base course offers live lectures by Phillips himself, accessible via computer or mobile device, textbooks. There are also customizable study planners and interactive full practice exams. For an additional $200, students can purchase offline lectures, cram materials, and extend access to the course. This option is best for visual learners that need motivation.

CPA Review for Free

If you’re not into paying your first few mortgage payments on CPA preparation materials, there are several free alternatives, one of which is the CPA Review for Free. The website offers free online practice exams for each of the four parts of the CPA exam. Experts, claims the website’s owners, agree that by spending 60-100 hours per part (250-400 hours total) gives students the best chance of passing the exam, whether that time is spent taking practice exams or watching online lectures. The website also offers premium content for $10-$30 depending on the item, such as online textbooks and online simulation problems.

American Institute of CPAs

The AICPA offers free tools to help for CPA preparation. One section of the AICPA website introduces the prospective CPA to the different parts of the exam, and to new accounting practices that may be included on the current CPA exam. In addition, tutorials and sample tests are available.  The site has a robust FAQ section that explains all the details, from how to sign up for the exam, eligibility, pass rates, sample candidate performance reports, and more.

Whether you decide to invest in a CPA review course or utilize free resources, the key is to know your own learning style. If you learn best by practicing, free options are fine. However, if you are a visual learner, the free options my end in wasted time, effort, and ultimately the fee to take the exam. Consider your own needs when choosing a CPA Review program.



About Sara Huter

Sara Huter has over 15 years experience in the banking and energy industries, and over 10 years as an adjunct professor. Her work has been published for, the International Directory of Company Histories, the Encyclopedia of Business Insights: Global,, and Find out more about Sara at her Google+ Profile.