When it comes to choosing a CPA exam review course, you want to make sure you’re getting the best course for the value and, more importantly, the best course for you. The best CPA exam prep courses help you build a study plan individualized to your learning, reducing your study time and increasing your study efficiency. In this post, we’ll compare Surgent with Becker Professional Education to help you decide which review course is right for you.
The Basics: Course Expiration and Cost
Whether you purchase an individual study course or the Ultimate Pass, Surgent’s courses never expire. The courses are also continuously updated to reflect new exam additions and updates by the AICPA. See Surgent’s pricing below:
Individual Section (BEC, REG, AUD, or FAR) $599
Essentials Pass (includes all four sections) $1599
Premier Pass (includes all four sections) $2399
Ultimate Pass (includes all four sections) $2999
Surgent has a money back guarantee if you meet the requirements.
Becker’s two top-tier courses feature unlimited access; other Becker review courses have an expiration window of 24 months. See Becker’s pricing below:
Individual Section (BEC, REG, AUD or FAR) $799
Advantage (includes all four sections) $2399
Premium (includes all four sections) $2999
Pro (includes all four sections) $3499
According to the Becker promise, Becker students can repeat the course for free if they do not pass.
The Tech: An Overview of the Technology and Exam Prep
Below, we’ll cover the essential parts considered in adaptive learning technology, and how well Surgent and Roger stack up in each category.
Assessing Your Knowledge
One of the key features of adaptive learning technology is its ability to judge how much you already know and compare it to what you need to know in order to pass. The whole idea behind adaptive learning technology is it improves your weaknesses and fortifies your strengths, helping you study less overall. Pre-study assessments must be thorough enough to identify your weaknesses; once you finish them, the results should directly impact what you study and for how long.
Surgent – The A.S.A.P. Technology features an Assessment Phase consisting of 10 quizzes with a total of 350 questions. These quizzes contain questions pulled from all areas of the exam. You answer these questions using the knowledge you currently have; Surgent then creates a detailed diagnostic report and shows you your ReadySCORE once you finish answering. This baseline ReadySCORE correlates to what you would get on the exam should you take it that day, giving you an idea of how you stack up against the exam before you even start studying. Your results in the Assessment Phase are directly reflected in your personalized study plans; the algorithm will create an individualized study path for you.
Becker – The Adapt2U technology, powered by a third party company, has one brief quiz at the beginning of each module to assess your knowledge. It then provides a recommended self-study path based on that quiz.
True adaptive learning technologies should include an interactive study planner that takes into account when you can study, for how many hours, and your exam date. The study planner should adapt to how well you’re progressing through the material so you study the correct material and correct amount on each day.
Surgent – The Study Plan is built to close the gaps identified in your Assessment Phase, taking into account when you say you can study, as well as your exam date. The planner is continually updated based on how you’re progressing through the materials.
Becker – A static study plan is created based on the recommended study path created after the brief pre-assessment quiz.
Adaptation Throughout the Course
Since the point of adaptive learning technology is to optimize the learning path for each student, what a student needs to study should be continually updated as they progress throughout the course. If they excel in one area and are weak in another, the materials should adjust to help them work on weaker areas. This type of adaptation gives CPA candidates a truly individualized experience and has them study the right content at the right time for them.
Surgent – The real-time algorithm is constantly adapting to the student’s progress, while also considering real CPA Exam content weighting. Unique study recommendations are presented via the Daily Surge, where a student can choose to answer multiple choice questions, watch bite-sized video lectures, review reading materials, or practice simulation questions. A student’s ReadySCORE is also continually updated to reflect any changes in progress. As the ReadySCORE improves throughout the review course, students get an accurate reflection of what their actual exam score would be in real-time.
Becker – Interactive tools to assess readiness are presented as students progress throughout the course. However, there is no continuous adaptation. Students work through the recommended study path. Content is structured based on the original, brief quiz. Recently, Becker partnered with a third party company to include “personalized review sessions” (PRS) at the end of each module. The PRS includes questions that students have skipped, gotten wrong, or even gotten right from each module. The PRS is not an adaptive platform. It does not influence students’ study plans, nor will it reduce study hours. In fact, it may increase overall study time.
Final Exam Review
Before taking the exam, candidates need to make sure they’re prepared for many aspects of the exam, including how to manage their time and how to use exam resources. Below, we’ll look at the final exam review portion of both Surgent and Becker CPA Review courses.
Surgent – Students may take unlimited practice exams which mimic the real CPA Exam, with both multiple choice practice questions and simulations. The exams include the same timing and tools as the real CPA Exam so candidates can practice time management and get familiar with the tools presented on the actual exam. Students are also presented with their cumulative ReadySCORE; a score of 80 or more means candidates are likely to sit and pass.
Becker – The final review is meant to strengthen a candidate’s performance on the most heavily tested topics. Unlimited practice exams are available per exam section in CPA Study Packages. These exams are meant to mimic the actual exam so candidates can practice time management and become familiar with the tools on the actual exam.
The Time: Average Study Hours per Part
CPA Exam candidates often lead busy lives, whether they are just out of school or are working full-time. It is therefore essential that candidates choose a course that helps them pass as efficiently as possible. Below are the estimated average number of study hours per part of the CPA Exam for Surgent and Becker CPA Review. Surgent hours reflect actual recorded average times of all students using the course. Since the experience does not change for individual students using the Becker course, hours are estimated based on the amount of time it would take an average student to study all of the materials in the course.
Surgent – 46 hours per part (184 hours of total study time)
Becker – 190 hours per part (758 hours of total study time)
The Help: Support Outside of the Course
Your CPA course’s CPA Review study materials will be your number one tool to prepare for the CPA exam, but sometimes candidates need a little extra boost from a real person to help them pass. Below, we’ll compare the resources offered outside of the CPA Review materials for Surgent and Becker CPA.
Surgent – Both Premier Pass and Ultimate Pass come with three 30-minute 1-on-1 sessions with a CPA Exam prep success coach.
Becker – Candidates can choose a live webinar or live classes option, which allows interaction with a live instructor. All CPA Study Packages include 1-on-1 acadmeic support.
Remember, choosing a CPA Review course is a highly personal decision. How you study, what baseline knowledge you have in each section based on your schoolwork and/or work experience, and how long you have to study may be vastly different from another student looking to pass the exam. When choosing study materials, make sure you choose the review course that is individualized to your needs, and you’ll be opening that passing score report on your last exam in no time.
|Surgent CPA Review||Becker CPA Review|
|Course Expiration||None of our courses expire. We’re with you ’till you pass!||The Becker Bundle has been recently updated to include unlimited access as well.|
|1-on-1 Coaching||Surgent offers virtual 1-on-1 coaching from a CPA Exam expert.||1-on-1 support available|
|Customized Study Plan||A.S.A.P. Technology™ works continuously throughout the course to help you identify your weak eares, focus your studies, reduce study time, and improve your pass rate.||Adapt2U technology does not provide a customized study plan. Candidates must study everything.|
|Payment Plan Fees||Surgent offers 3, 6, or 12 month payment plans through Affirm. Rates vary from 0-30% APR, which is the only fee associated with the loan. Affirm does not charge late fees, service fees, repayment fees, or any other hidden fees.
|Application fee of $125 for the 18-month interest-fee loan.|
|Money-Back Guarantee||Surgent offers a money-back guarantee.||Full tuition refund will be issued within 10 days of initial purchase or first login.|
|Number of Practice Exams||Unlimited practice exams||Unlimited practice exams|
|Free Course Updates||Updates are FREE and made continuously, so you can be sure you’re always studying the most up-to-date material.||Online content and software updates are free. Printed text is $25 for new content upgrades.|
|Course Price||Full-course prices range from $1599-$2899||Course price ranges from $2399-$3499|
|Average Study Hours Per Part||46 hours per part||190 hours per part|
|Assessment||10 Quizzes comprised of a total 350 questions pulled from all CPA Exam categories, plus detailed diagnostic report||1 brief quiz that does not inform the recommended study plan|
|Study Planner||Study planner calculates necessary amount of study time per day based on student’s chosen availability, and adjusts that study time based on performance.||Static calendar. Software does not calculate study time per day.|
|Adaptability to Student Progress||Real-time algorithms ensure study material is always adaptive to the student’s progress. Plus, a student’s ReadySCORE™, the industry’s first measure of CPA Exam-readiness, adapts in real time.||No continuous adaptation|
|Category Content Weightings||Assessment quizzes, daily study material, and practice exams all factor in exam content weightings||No category content weighting|
See what Bryce from Crush the CPA Exam has to say about what sets Surgent CPA Review apart from Becker:
If you’ve previously used another CPA Review course, like Becker, you are eligible to save up to $1,200 when you switch to Surgent!
For a more in-depth look at how Surgent CPA Review’s course technology compares to that of other leading CPA Review course providers, check out our Technology Comparison Grid.
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Liz Kolar, CPA, CGMA, has been teaching CPA Review for more than 25 years in the United States, has personally taught more than 2,500 live sessions, and has helped thousands of candidates pass the CPA Exam. She founded Pinnacle CPA Review and co-founded Surgent Kolar CPA Review.
She is a recipient of the ASWA Business Woman of the Year Northeast Region, Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year, and PICPA Outstanding Educator of the Year. Liz began her career in Public Accounting with a Big Four accounting firm auditing financial service clients after graduating from Pace University with an MBA in Public Accounting. Liz’s teaching career spans almost 30 years. She has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Pace University and Seton Hall University and is currently a professor at Delaware Valley University.