Best CPA Prep Courses

Becker offers one-on-one tutoring and a gamified learning experience

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The CPA exam is made up of four different sections, all of which must be passed if you want to become licensed as a certified public accountant (CPA).  Certain states or jurisdictions may have additional requirements for you to become licensed, such as an ethics exam. If you need to transfer your license to another state, you may have to take the new state’s ethics exam. 

The best CPA prep courses offer financing, student support, and pass guarantees. Read on for our top choices.

Best CPA Prep Courses of 2021

Best Overall : Becker

Becker CPA Prep Course

 Becker CPA Prep Course

Why We Chose It

Becker is the best overall CPA prep course because of its reputation for success, gamified learning, and private tutoring option. It also has a payment plan for each course offering. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Mobile app

  • One-on-one tutoring

  • Gamified learning offering

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Doesn’t advertise pass rate

Overview

Becker has been in business for over 60 years and has partners in 55 countries. Although the company doesn’t advertise its pass rates, the Watt Sells Award recognized Becker as accounting for 90% of its winners who score a cumulative 95.50 across all four CPA exams. 

Becker’s primary offering is its Pro course which costs $2,199, or $183.25 per month. Its study materials include flashcards, videos, simulated exams, one-on-one tutoring, and a live class option. Although its Premium package is more expensive at $2,999, it includes fewer features, such as no tutoring, live class, or test bank. 

Becker’s Advantage course is just $99.95 per month or $2,399 if you pay in full. It includes everything in the Premium package, except for unlimited access, LiveOnline classroom scheduling, and access to CPA exam success coaches.

Becker Packages
Advantage Premium Pro
24 months access Everything in Advantage Everything in Premium
4-part review course  Unlimited access 1,400+ printed flashcards 
Printed and annotated digital textbooks LiveOnline classroom scheduling option Final Review with condensed material, new MCQs, and TBS 
1,400+ digital flashcards  Access to CPA Exam success coaches MCQ bank with an additional 1,100+ questions 
Proficiency score for every module   Live classroom scheduling option 
More than 400 SkillMaster videos    One year CPE subscription 
Content updated regularly to match CPA Exam blueprint    Up to 5 one-hour one-on-one academic tutoring sessions 
12 simulated exams that mirror the CPA Exam-style and content    
One-on-one academic support from expert CPAs     
Online FAQ database     
Unlimited practice tests    
Mobile app access     
Study planner     
Video lectures     
Task-based simulations with 400+ SkillMaster videos     
Flexible financing options     
Accounting for Empires game    
$2,399 or $99.95 per month $2,999 or $249.95 per month $2,199 or $183.25 per month

If you don’t pass your CPA exam, Becker will let you repeat the review course at no additional tuition cost. The company also offers a 14-day demo so you can test drive the course before you buy. You have unlimited course access for the Pro and Premium packages and 24 months access with the Advantage package.

Best Self-Paced Course : Surgent

Surgent CPA Review

Surgent CPA Review

Why We Chose It

Surgent has the best self-paced course because it offers flexibility, a pass guarantee, and you can pass all four parts of the CPA exam in just three weeks (approximately 46 hours of study time).  

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 88% pass rate

  • ReadySCORE shows how close you are to passing

  • Auto-adjusted difficulty

Cons
  • Financing not available in all states

  • No live classes

Overview

Founded in 1985, Surgent has offered continuing professional education (CPE) for over 30 years. In 2013, it began offering CPA prep courses. Financing options are provided through Affirm, although it’s not available in every state. You can test-drive Surgent’s CPA prep course with a 15-day free trial. 

Surgent’s main course is the Essentials Pass, which costs $1,599 or $145 per month. It includes AI-powered software to get you exam-ready in less time than the competition. You also get ebooks, lecture study notes, 7,700 multiple-choice questions (MCQs), over 400 simulations, and more than 350 videos. 

Premier Pass includes everything in the Essentials Pass, plus printed textbooks, spiral-bound flashcards, and one-on-one coaching with a CPA exam expert for $2,399 or $217 per month. Finally, Ultimate Pass comes with everything in Premier Pass, plus an integrated test bank with 1,000 extra MCQs, audio lectures, Ultimate customer support, and an Excel certificate course, all for a one-time price of $2,999 or $272 per month.

Surgent Packages
Essentials Pass Premier Pass Ultimate Pass
A.S.A.P. Technology Everything in Essentials Pass Everything in Premier Pass
7,700 MCQs, 400+ simulations, 350+ videos  Printed textbooks  Integrated test bank with 1,000 extra MCQs 
Ebooks and lecture study notes  Spiral-bound flashcards  Audio lectures 
  One-on-one coaching with a CPA exam expert  Ultimate customer support (responds in one business day) 
    Excel certificate course
$1,599 or $145 per month $2,399 or $217 per month $2,999 or $272 per month

The purchase of a course through Surgent grants you unlimited access to your course until you pass your CPA exam. It estimates you’ll need to study 46 hours to pass all four components of the CPA exam, far fewer than any other prep course provider. If you only need to study for specific sections, you can purchase prep courses for $599 per section or $55 per month if financed.

Best for Student Support : Gleim Exam Prep

Gleim Accounting

Gleim Accounting

Why We Chose It

Gleim offers the best student support with its CPA prep courses because of its SmartAdapt online platform that auto-adjusts based on your score results and points you to the resources you need when you need it. You’ll also receive personal coaching with most packages.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 91% pass rate

  • Personal coaching options

  • Financing through Affirm

Cons
  • Financing not available in all states

  • Pass guarantee only available in Premium package

Overview

Irvin Gleim, then a professor at the University of Florida, wrote his first Gleim CPA Review book in 1974. Since then, Gleim has been a leading provider of CPA exam prep courses and pilot courses. If you’ve purchased a CPA exam prep course from another provider and didn’t pass, you may qualify to save $750.

Gleim’s Test Bank package includes over 10,000 multiple-choice questions (MCQs), more than 560 task-based simulations, unlimited practice exams, and phone and email support, all for $999 or $91 per month financed. 

Its Traditional package costs $1,599, or $145 per month, and comes with digital and printed books, SmartAdapt Adaptive Course, audio lectures, over 10,000 MCQs, 1,300 task-based simulations, unlimited practice exams, final reviews, exam rehearsals, detailed performance reports, and phone and email support. With this package, you also get personal coaching. 

The Premium package costs $1,999 or $181 per month and includes everything in the Traditional package. It also includes Gleim Instruct video series, digital flashcards, accounting experts, and Access Until You Pass guarantee.

Gleim Exam Prep Packages
Test Bank  Traditional Premium
Detailed answer explanations Everything in Test Bank Everything in Traditional
Digital/printed books optional  SmartAdapt Adaptive Course Gleim Instruct video series 
10,000+ MCQs  Audio lectures Digital flashcards 
560+ task-based simulations  1,300 task-based simulations Accounting experts 
Unlimited practice exams  Final review mode Access Until You Pass guarantee
Realistic exam environment  Exam rehearsals  
Email and phone support Detailed performance reports  
  Personal coaching  
$999 or $91 per month $1,599 or $145 per month $1,999 or $181 per month

While each of the packages offered by Gleim is self-study and there are no live classes, you’re never tackling your CPA exam alone. Two of its packages provide personal coaching and all packages offer email and phone support. The SmartAdapt Technology offered in Gleim’s Premium and Traditional packages make it easy to know what to study and when based on your performance. 

If you only need to pass specific sections of the CPA exam, you can purchase section reviews for $599 ($55 per month) each for the Premium package, $459 ($42 per month) each for the Traditional package, and $250 each for the Test Bank package. The Test Bank package does not offer Affirm financing.

Best Variety of Study Resources : UWorld Roger CPA Review

UWorld Roger CPA Review

UWorld Roger CPA Review

Why We Chose It

UWorld Roger CPA Review provides a wide variety of study resources, including a textbook, task-based simulations, full-length practice exams, a mobile app, video and audio lectures, customized digital flashcards, and more. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 91% pass rate

  • Mobile app syncs across devices

  • Entertaining lectures

Cons
  • Financing not available in all states

  • No live options

Overview

UWorld Roger CPA Review was born out of a college dorm room in 2001 when Dr. Chandra Pemmasani began offering case-based learning questions for others in medical residency. It has since expanded beyond the medical world and now offers courses in finance, nursing, legal, grad school, and high school. 

UWorld Roger’s primary offering is its Premier Package which costs $1,899 or $172 per month. It includes 6,000 MCQs, task-based simulations, practice tests, ebooks, unlimited practice exams, audio and video lectures, a mobile app, and personalized study planners. If you only need certain sections to study for, you can buy single sections for $399 and get the same features as the Premier Package.

For $2,999 (or $272 per month financed), UWorld Roger’s Elite-Unlimited Package offers unlimited access to the course until you pass. It includes everything in the Premier Package and also consists of a four-part cram course, digital flashcards, and printed textbooks. 

UWorld Roger CPA Review Packages
Single Section Premier Package Elite-Unlimited Package
Six months of access 18 months of access Unlimited access until you pass
6,000+ MCQs  6,000+ MCQs  Four-part cram course
Hundreds of task-based simulations  Hundreds of task-based simulations  "Expert Deck" digital flashcards with spaced repetition technology
Customizable practice tests that replicate exam interface  Customizable practice tests that replicate exam interface  Printed 2021 CPA Review Course Textbooks
Unlimited full-length CPA Practice exams  Unlimited full-length CPA Practice exams 6,000+ MCQs
Curriculum that maps to the AICPA Blueprints  Curriculum that maps to the AICPA Blueprints  Hundreds of task-based simulations
100+ hours of video lectures by Roger Philipp, CPA, CGMA  100+ hours of video lectures by Roger Philipp, CPA, CGMA   Customizable practice tests that replicate exam interface
SmartPath Predictive Technology™ SmartPath Predictive Technology™  Unlimited full-length CPA practice exams
Customizable digital flashcards with spaced repetition technology Customizable digital flashcards with spaced repetition technology Curriculum that maps to the AICPA Blueprints
Personalized study planners  Personalized study planners 100+ hours of Video Lectures by Roger Philipp, CPA, CGMA
Fully-featured mobile app that syncs across devices Fully-featured mobile app that syncs across devices SmartPath Predictive Technology™
Downloadable video and audio lectures Downloadable video and audio lectures Customizable digital flashcards with spaced repetition technology
Performance and improvement tracking by topic Performance and improvement tracking by topic Personalized study planners
Study Hub including expert help on top CPA exam concepts Study Hub including expert help on top CPA exam concepts Fully-featured mobile app that syncs across devices
Digital eTextbooks Digital eTextbooks Downloadable video and audio lectures
    Performance and improvement tracking by topic
    Study hub including expert help on top CPA exam concepts
    Digital eTextbooks
$399 each $1,899 or $172 per month $2,999 or $272 per month

You’ll get access to your Premier course for 18 months, and if you need more time, you can pay for an extension. The Elite-Unlimited Package provides unlimited course access until you pass. If you’ve purchased just a single section, you get six months’ access.

Best Value : Yaeger CPA Review

Yaeger CPA Review

Yaegar CPA Review

Why We Chose It

Yaeger CPA Review offers a comprehensive package with personalized support for an affordable cost as well as financing, a pass guarantee, and excellent student support. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Pass guarantee

  • Two 15-minute phone calls with Dr. Phil Yaeger

  • Unlimited help via phone, email, and message board

Cons
  • Financing not available in all states

  • No live class options

Overview

Founded in 1977, Yaeger CPA Review started in the classroom but moved to a self-study-only course after the exam format changed. The company also offers two 15-minute phone calls with professional CPA and owner Phil Yaeger to create your study plan and progress review. You can test-drive its software with a free trial.  

Yaeger’s primary offering is the CPA Review Bundle, which costs $999 (or $91 per month with financing). You get over 120 hours of video lectures, online textbooks, a study planner, homework questions, a TestBank Quiz Generator and Exam Simulator, flashcards, and 24 months of access. You can also purchase a printed textbook for $99. 

The CPA Review Bundle + adds unlimited access, audio lectures, printed textbooks, and other resources to help you wrap up your learning in the week before your exam.

Yaeger CPA Review Package
CPA Review Bundle  CPA Review Bundle +
120+ hours of in-depth video lectures Everything in the CPA Review Bundle
Online textbooks synced to video lectures  CRAM final, wrap-up, and review 
Downloadable PDF textbooks*  Printed, bound textbooks (plus S&H) 
Customizable study planner  Audio lecture series
Multiple choice homework questions  Unlimited access 
TestBank: Quiz Generator   
TestBank: Exam Simulator   
Flashcards for on-the-go studying   
Most dedicated customer support   
Best personal service   
24-month access   
Two 15-minute phone calls with Phil Yaeger to set up a personal study plan and progress review   
$999 or $91 per month $1,399 or $127 per month

* Printed, bound textbook available $99 + s/h 

If you fail your CPA exam, you get a free three-month extension to any failed section. Yaeger recommends studying 15 to 20 hours per week for 12 months if you work full-time.

Final Verdict

Passing your CPA exam isn’t easy, but it’s easier when you have the right supports and systems in place. Because not all accountants have their CPA, earning yours can help set you apart from the rest. This can earn you a better job or even gain the trust of bigger and more dedicated clients in your practice. 

There are many CPA prep courses available, and we recommend Becker because of its reputation for success, gamification, financing, and private tutoring option. Your learning style, budget, and time you have to dedicate to studying should factor into which prep course you choose.

Compare the Best CPA Prep Courses

Course Format Individual Tutoring? Course Length Cost
Becker
Best Overall
Self-study, live, and on-demand Yes 24 months to unlimited access $2,199–$2,999
Surgent
Best Self-Paced Course 
Self-study and on-demand  Yes  Unlimited until you pass  $1,599–$2,999 
Gleim Exam Prep
Best for Student Support 
Self-study  Yes  Unlimited until you pass  $999–$1,999
UWorld Roger CPA Review
Best Variety of Study Resources
Self-study and on-demand No Six months to unlimited $399–$2,999 
Yaeger CPA Review
Best Value
Self-study  No  24 months to unlimited  $999–$1,399

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the CPA Exam? 

The CPA exam is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and will enable you to become licensed as a certified public accountant (CPA). There are four sections to the exam totaling 16 hours (four hours each) and you have 18 months after passing your first one to finish them all. These sections include:

How Much Are Prep Courses?

A CPA prep course typically runs from $1,000 to $3,000 for courses covering all four sections. If you’re purchasing single sections, you can expect to spend $300 to $600 per section. The cost of your prep course will usually be lower for self-study courses and higher if it includes personal attention like one-on-one coaching or a live component. Most prep courses offer financing. 

Are CPA Prep Courses Worth It? 

Even if you’re already working in the industry, it’s a good idea to take a CPA prep course to pass your exam. These prep courses teach you the content you’ll encounter on the exam and help prepare you for a role as a CPA. 

It’s unusual for your employer to have an in-house prep course, so you will often have to purchase it independently. However, many employers reimburse these types of expenses, and most prep course providers offer financing. 

How Many Hours Does It Take to Complete a CPA Prep Course? 

Most students take a year to study for their CPA exam, but your own study time could be more or less depending on your ability to grasp concepts, professional background, and education. Some providers have students that pass all four sections of their exam with just three weeks of study time, although this is highly unusual. 

Your exam prep course will usually grant access for 18 to 24 months, though some courses give you access until you pass the exam. Remember that after you pass your first section, you only get 18 months to pass the rest of the sections. 

Is the CPA Exam Difficult to Pass Without a Prep Course?

For those who already work in the industry or have an accounting background, you may have an easier time passing the CPA exam than someone completely new to it. However, the exam is still difficult, and you’re unlikely to pass without taking a prep course. Pass rates by section get published by AICPA each quarter and average 49.98% to 65.56%. 

You can take a sample test for each section to get a feel for the types of questions you’ll encounter on the exam. These come directly from AICPA and are the best predictor of what the actual CPA exam is like. 

Methodology

We evaluated a dozen CPA prep courses and narrowed them down to the best options based on several features and considerations. We considered flexibility, financing, overall cost, student support, company reputation, study resources, and guarantees. Customer reviews, quality of training, and length of course access are also factored into our rankings. 

Each of our picks offers financing, self-study options, and an excellent reputation for helping students pass their exams on the first shot.

Article Sources

  1. AICPA. "Learn more about CPA Exam scoring and pass rates." Accessed April 23, 2021.