Compare the best CPA Exam review courses, and see the Surgent difference! For a deeper look at how our course technology compares to other technology, view our Adaptive Technology Comparison. Want to know the truth behind what competitors are offering? Check out our in-depth analysis of CPA Review Competitor Hidden Truths.
Best CPA Exam Review Courses: Surgent vs Individual Exam Prep Providers
Gleim CPA versus Surgent – Course Comparison
Overview: Surgent vs. all leading CPA Review course providers:
|Course Features||Surgent CPA Review||Other Leading Providers*|
|All-Inclusive Pricing||All parts of the course and all materials included||No|
|Unlimited Practice Exams||Yes||No|
|Student-friendly Payment Options||8- month payment plan (immediate approval), no credit application, 0% finance charges & no initiation fees||No (published interest rates for some providers are up to 30%)|
|Complete Access Until You Pass||No strings attached access until you pass, includes updated course materials at no additional charge.||Varies by provider|
|Money-Back Guarantee||If you’re not satisfied with our course, we’ll provide a full refund (see terms & conditions)||No|
|50% Discount for Anyone Who Failed With Another Provider||Yes||No|
|Adaptive Learning Technology Proven to Save 50+ Hours per Part||Yes||Some providers claim to offer adaptive learning, but the technology (and results) are not the same|
|Short, Frequently-Updated Video Lectures||350 + bite-sized video lectures (10-20 min. long), updated quarterly to reflect the most recent changes.||No|
|Task-Based Simulations||Yes – including the new DRS format||Yes|
|Includes AICPA recently released questions||Yes – 6,840+||Yes|
|Flashcards||Yes – free mobile app with 2200+ CPA Exam terms & definitions. Available free for iOS & Android devices.||Yes, but not free. Prices range from $99 – $179.|
|Adaptive Study Planner||Yes – adapts to your performance: calculates study hours based on your test data & study performance.||No|
|Dedicated Instructor Support||Yes, included at no charge.||Available for a fee from select providers. Not available for others.|
|Average Study hours per Exam Part||95 hours**||Over 200 hours***|
|Interactive Dashboard with Personalized Exam Readiness Indicator||Provides updated visual snapshot of exam readiness by exam category||No|
|Personalized Onboarding Support||Yes||No|
|Free Updates||Yes – until you pass||Only before expiration for most providers|
|Customer Service||Live chat, email, and phone support with dedicated accounting coaches.||Varies by provider|
**This comparison includes publicly available information about Becker, Roger, and Wiley CPAexcel courses.
***Based on actual observed study time for Surgent CPA Review; For other leading providers, average study time was estimated based on each provider’s recommended study plan
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Advice for choosing a CPA Review course?
A: There are several factors to consider when choosing a CPA Review course. Candidates should consider the quality of the material, length of access (some courses provide unlimited access while others cap access after 18 months or so), a money-back guarantee, and course reviews, among others. Scroll up to see how Surgent CPA Review compares against some of the leading exam review providers.
Q: How to apply to take the CPA Exam?
A: Candidates must apply through NASBA or their state board (this will vary by state). Candidates must be sure to submit an official transcript from their schools to satisfy CPA Exam education requirements. Once your application is approved, candidates receive their Notice to Sit (NTS). As soon as candidates receive their NTS, they can schedule their exam at Prometric.com. For a detailed explanation of how to apply for the CPA Exam, click here.
Q: When to take the CPA Exam?
A: The best time to take the CPA Exam is immediately after graduating college. Recent grads have the highest pass rates out of all CPA Exam candidates. Why? The biggest reason for this is that much of the contest tested on the CPA Exam was recently learned, and is still fresh in candidates’ minds.
Q: How can you pass the CPA Exam fast?
A: The key to passing the CPA Exam quickly is to study efficiently. Most CPA Exam prep courses follow a linear learning model, requiring their candidates to watch all videos and read all study material from chapter 1 before moving on to chapter 2, regardless of what the candidate knows or doesn’t know going into their exam prep. The best way to pass the CPA Exam fast is to use an adaptive learning course, which identifies each candidate’s level of knowledge of CPA Exam content, and then generates personalized study programs geared to bridge those knowledge gaps. Learn more about Surgent’s award-winning adaptive learning technology here.
Q: How is the CPA Exam Graded?
A: Multiple-choice questions account for 50% of the scoring weight for all four exam sections. For AUD, FAR and REG, that remaining 50% comes from Task-Based Simulations, where in BEC Task-Based Simulations account for 35% of the scoring weight, and Written Communication questions account for the remaining 15%.
Students must achieve a minimum of 75% in each exam section to achieve a passing score.
Q: When is the CPA Exam offered?
A: The CPA exam is held at Prometric testing centers during the first two months of each quarter. These testing windows run January-February, April-May, July-August, and October-November.
Q: What are the requirements of the CPA Exam?
A: While requirements vary by state, most require that: you. Have a BA degree with a minimum number of hours in accounting related courses, pass all sections of the CPA Exam, pass the AICPA professional ethics exam, among others. For a complete list of CPA Exam requirements by state, click here.
Q: How long should I plan to study for the CPA Exam?
A: We recommend that students who use Surgent CPA Review study and practice problems for about 95 hours per Exam section. By setting aside 20 hours per week o studying, you should be able to schedule your exam 5 to 6 weeks from the day you begin studying for that section.
Q: Which section of the CPA Exam should I take first?
A: We recommend taking FAR first. The Financial Accounting and Reporting section covers the broadest set of topics, including intermediate accounting, advanced accounting, government not-for-profit, etc. It is the foundation of GAAP. And because these concepts are so foundational, we’ve found that the AICPA tends to test FAR content in other exam sections. In fact, we’ve found that students who have a strong understanding of FAR tend to do better in the other sections of the CPA Exam.
Q: Which CPA Review Course is best for me?
A: Not all CPA Review courses are created equal! Almost all CPA Review courses on the market are what we call “linear learning,” which takes every student through the same study program, without any customization of material. This traditional method of learning has been useful for teaching the masses, but often is not the most effective or efficient way for students to learn.
Adaptive learning courses, on the other hand, start by testing you on a set of topics to get a feel for your graps of exam content, and then tailor each study session to filling those knowledge gaps. These algorithm-based courses are 100% customized to each student, making them the best way to study for the CPA Exam.
The problem? Some courses claim to offer adaptive technology, while their courses are actually linear. Learn more about how each course stacks up in our Hidden Truths investigation.