Choosing a CPA Review course can be a confusing process; there are quite a few courses out there each offering different features. However, there are a few core offerings you should consider when you choose a CPA Review course, and ensuring your course has them will make the learning process much smoother. To help you make the right decision, we’ve put together a list of 5 things to consider when you’re choosing a CPA Review course.
1. Individual Relevance
When you go to choose a CPA Review course, you should make sure it implements effective learning processes and doesn’t rely on you to do the bulk of the work. It should have technology that lays out a learning plan for you and adjusts to your competency level.
You also want to make sure the course you choose is relevant to your learning. Traditional education is a one-size-fits-all model, and many courses follow that route. However, we all learn differently and we all have different strengths and weaknesses. You should look for a course that automatically explores and remedies your weaknesses while reinforcing your strengths.
Specifically, you should look for courses that implement adaptive learning technology. Surgent’s CPA Review course takes a completely adaptive approach. The A.S.A.P. Technology identifies your strengths and weaknesses early on and adapts as you learn and develop new strengths and weaknesses. This provides a completely individualized learning experience to prepare you for exam day.
Lastly, look for technology that helps you know when you’re ready to sit for the exam. One of the hardest parts about the CPA exam is making the decision to sit. How do you know when you’re really ready? Surgent’s review courses offer ReadySCORE, a feature providing real-time feedback on your exam readiness. You don’t have to guess when you’re ready to sit, because ReadySCORE does it for you: students who achieve a 75% ReadySCORE pass the exam nearly 90% of the time, and almost 100% of students who achieve an 85% or higher ReadySCORE pass the CPA Exam.
2. Exam Similarities
CPA Review courses implement features to make them as close as possible to the actual CPA Exam. Having a great study program is the majority of the battle, but if you aren’t prepared for the exam format, it can throw you off and cost you valuable time during the exam. To avoid this dilemma, choose a course that offers practice exams that are very similar to the real exam.
Specifically, you want practice exams to mimic the timing format of the real exam, have a simulation format similar to the real exam, and provide the same tools available on the exam. Look specifically for these offerings when you choose a CPA Review course.
Also, keep in mind, Excel is the spreadsheet tool used on the current exam, and courses that offer Excel training will help you go into the exam prepared. Surgent’s Ultimate Pass has Excel training to help you familiarize yourself with the software, an essential training for both the exam and your career.
3. Length of Course Access
Believe it or not, some courses don’t give lifetime access to the materials. Even big names only give you access for 18 months or require you to buy a more expensive plan if you want longer or unlimited access.
But the reality is, life happens, and sometimes it takes longer than 18 months to pass the full exam. In those cases, you don’t want to have to scramble to find a new Review course, shell out more money to extend your course, or purchase a new one that doesn’t expire. Ideally, you would purchase a course that has unlimited access, like all of Surgent’s CPA Review courses, so you’re covered if you need to come back to the exam in the future.
4. Student Support
Some people enjoy a completely individual approach to learning, but others enjoy having support. If you feel like you learn best with a support system or might need some one-on-one time with an accounting tutor for specific topics, look for courses that offer tutoring or exam strategy support to help you fully prepare for the exam.
Surgent’s Premier Pass offers three 30-minute exam strategy sessions with a CPA Exam Success Coach. These sessions help you strategize for the exam and develop techniques to help your efficiency and effectiveness on the exam. If you want a more in-depth approach, you can look into the Surgent’s Ultimate Pass, which offers the exam strategy sessions, as well as 4 hours of virtual tutoring with an Accounting Professor. You can use these sessions to cover topics you’re struggling with or brush up on specific areas of the exam.
While cost is the last consideration we’ll talk about, we can’t pretend it isn’t a huge factor. CPA Exam Review courses can run $3,000 or more, so you want to make sure you’re getting as much bang for your buck as possible.
Be sure to really scrutinize the courses you look at and be sure they offer the features above. Then, compare the price to how many features you’re getting. After you’ve really narrowed it down to two or three courses that seem like they have what you need, consider courses that offer interest-free payment plans. This allows you to spread your cost out over several months (deferred liability, anyone?) and have a more realistic approach to payment. Surgent offers 0% interest payment plans over 8 months, helping you get started on your CPA journey with a smaller initial investment.
Passing the CPA exam is a launching pad for your career and will open doors in a variety of different fields and companies. By digging into these 5 considerations, you can choose a CPA Exam Review course ideal for your learning, and help you gain entry into the world of elite accounting professionals.
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Megan Bierwirth graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting and passed the CPA exam within 6 months of graduation. She worked in both public accounting and industry while becoming a CPA and now runs a virtual bookkeeping company focused on preventive, integrative and complementary medicine professionals.