Updated June 6, 2023
Disclosure: CPAexam.com has affiliate (advertising) partnerships, and we may be compensated if you purchase through our links (at no additional cost to you). Additionally, this site and NINJA share the same parent company, so while we strived to make this an objective overview, take our inherent bias into consideration as you read it.
CPA Review courses are designed to help individuals prepare for the CPA exam and become a Certified Public Accountant. These courses offer structured study materials, practice questions, and exam simulations that mimic the format and difficulty level of the actual CPA exam. Many courses are available in the market, each with unique features and pricing.
The number of courses and options out there (and options within those options) can be quite overwhelming.
It's important to compare courses (and do free trials) before making an investment.
Each CPA Review course has strengths and weaknesses. There isn't a perfect course.
If you follow these three crucial guidelines, you stand a great chance of choosing the Best CPA Review course for you:
CPA Review course discounts can also help you save money taking the CPA Exam because NASBA retake fees are very expensive and add up quickly.
Getting this choice right is critical to your success as a CPA candidate and becoming a CPA.
These three popular CPA Review courses are the majority of the CPA Exam prep market and represent three distinct price points:
Want to find the best CPA Review course for your unique budget, learning style, and preferences?
NINJA CPA Review is the cheapest full CPA Review course.
NINJA CPA Review has since become a full course after increasing its offerings to include Course Lectures, CPA Tutoring, Review Books, Flashcards, Cram Lectures, and a large Test Bank with 7,100 questions.
NINJA had its first Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner (averaged 95.5 on CPA Exam) in 2012 and has several EWS Award winners each year.
The majority of NINJA EWS Award winners supplemented Becker with NINJA.
With a combined 350+ hours of course and cram lectures, NINJA has the largest course video library in CPA Exam prep.
The NINJA Monthly subscription is $67, which will appeal to those wanting only a supplement and a full CPA Review course alike.
Like Becker and Wiley, NINJA also offers CMA Prep which follows the same subscription pricing model.
NINJA's strengths are its popular NINJA Notes, Audio, Test Bank, and CPA Tutoring. NINJA is the only course to offer live CPA tutoring to all customers.
Another standout feature is that NINJA allows students to start and stop their subscriptions at any time, so there is no commitment.
NINJA is also the only major course with a 30-day refund policy, regardless of usage.
NINJA's weakness is a lack of a mobile app, although the dashboard is mostly mobile-friendly via browser.
Some students say that the CPA tutor (NINJA Mike) is hard to understand at times due to his accent.
This issue is not present in the audio course, as it's narrated by NINJA founder Jeff Elliott.
You can demo a tutoring video to see if you have similar issues.
Investopedia rated NINJA CPA Review “Best Price” in 2023.
NINJA also offers a download of Free CPA Notes.
|Course||NINJA CPA Monthly|
|Strengths||Notes, Test Bank, |
|Weakness||No App, Accent|
|Free Trial||Start NINJA Trial|
Wiley CPA Review represents the mid-tier pricing of CPA Review courses and is the second-most searched company in CPA Exam prep.
Like Becker, Wiley CPA Review has been a staple of the CPA Review industry for decades and has a great reputation.
Prior to its acquisition of CPAexcel in 2012, Wiley licensed its course textbooks and test banks to several prominent review courses.
Wiley was acquired by UWorld in 2023.
In addition to CPA Review, Wiley features CMA Prep, among others.
Wiley CPA Review has two main CPA Review courses: Platinum ($2,499 retail) and Pro ($2,199 retail).
Wiley also sells a standalone test bank called the Wiley CPA Test Bank.
Combined with the Wiley Test Bank, the Wiley Platinum package has the most CPA Exam questions (12,000) in all of CPA Review.
Wiley's strengths are its large CPA Test Bank and its diversity of instruction.
Different professors have different teaching styles, and it's good to get a mix of perspectives on the material.
Wiley's weakness is also its strength: diversity of instruction. There are currently 20 instructors listed for Wiley CPA Review.
Compared to a course with 1-3 instructors, there won't be a consistency of user experience across the lectures, although this is probably nit-picking.
For the money, Wiley CPA Review is a great value.
Wiley also offers a Free Trial for prospective students.
|Course||Wiley CPA Platinum|
|Strengths||Test Bank, Instructors|
|Free Trial||Start Wiley Trial|
Becker CPA Review is the most-expensive course, most-popular course, and the most-searched company because they are the biggest name in CPA Exam prep.
Becker has the trust of all Big 4 accounting firms.
While Becker is the most expensive CPA Review course, it offers steep discounts on the Becker Pro course, putting it within $500 of most mid-tier price offerings.
The four Becker CPA Review courses are Concierge ($5,999), Pro ($3,799), Premium ($3,099), and Advantage ($2,499).
Becker Concierge was added in 2023 and offers one-on-one tutoring and a host of other features.
According to Becker, over 90% of Elijah Watt Sells Award winners used Becker CPA Review from 2007 to 2021.
Becker has a popular cram course called the Becker Final Review.
Becker's strengths are its tech platform which provides a seamless user experience across desktop and mobile, and its reputation as the “gold standard,” as some call it.
With many competitors nipping at its heels, Becker continues to innovate (e.g., Concierge package) in order to stay #1.
When companies innovate in response to competition, the customer wins.
Becker's weakness is obviously its price. That gold standard comes at a high cost.
Again, with discounts, Becker Pro is as affordable as the mid-tier options but has upper-tier features (CPE Included).
Investopedia rated Becker CPA Review “Best Overall Course” in 2023.
Becker has a Free Trial for prospective students.
|Course||Becker CPA Pro|
|Strengths||Big 4, Tech,|
|Free Trial||Start Becker Trial|
Reminder: CPAexam.com has affiliate (advertising) partnerships, and we may be compensated if you purchase through our links (at no additional cost to you).
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Yes. NINJA CPA Review is relatively affordable and has no commitment if money is an issue.
The AICPA claims that the pass rate is 45-65%, depending on the section. The pass rate for most review courses likely follows the same pattern.
One that has an audio course to maximize study time while commuting. This leaves NINJA.
Budget, Learning Style, and Peer Review. What can you afford? What clicks best for your learning style? What do others say about the course?
Each person is different, but if English is your Second Language (ESL), free trials are important to ensure that you can understand the lecturer(s).
Possibly. Some MAcc programs have the CPA Review course integrated into their program. If you're looking into a Master of Accounting program, it might not hurt to email the CPA Review course you're looking at (I'd start with Becker CPA Review or Wiley CPA Review) and ask them if they have any partnerships with colleges or universities where you can accomplish this very thing. Then, see if that school has an online program.
To counter the affiliate farms advertising that they have the “best CPA Review coupon codes [you don't BELIEVE how much money you'll save!!! MUST SEE!!! Click our Link!!!!], CPA Review courses now put the coupon code directly on their sites to avoid paying unwarranted affiliate commissions. Go directly to the course website for the best deal.
Adaptive Learning in a CPA test bank was a major feature a few years ago. Today, most courses have some form of adaptive technology. You can still pass the CPA Exam without it (as people have done for decades), but you could make a case that you're at a disadvantage vs. other CPA candidates using it. Adaptive Learning allows the test bank to ‘feed' you more questions based on your weak areas. Your strong areas are still tested but less frequently. Different courses have different names for them – and each company uses its own adaptive algorithm, so they aren't the same.
Becker CPA Test Bank: Adapt2U
NINJA CPA Test Bank: RECON
Wiley CPA Test Bank: N/A
Some MAcc programs have CPA Review courses integrated into their program. If you're looking into a Master of Accounting program, it might not hurt to email the CPA Review course you're looking at and ask them if they have any partnerships with colleges or universities where you can accomplish this very thing. Then, see if that school has an online program.
Wiley has partnerships with schools like the University of Northern Alabama.
The bigger firms have relationships with the various CPA Review courses. The courses set up bulk pricing with the firms (usually far below retail), and then new hires pick from the list of “approved” courses, and the course gets paid whatever the contracted amount is. If the employee leaves within X amount of time, they have to pay the firm back for the course. If the firm employee needs a second course or an add-on like NINJA, it's on the employee's dime. If you work for a CPA firm – best sure to ask about special pricing from your HR department.
There are two types of Military Discounts for CPA Review: Direct Bill and your regular “discount” code used at checkout.
The CPA Review course has a direct billing relationship with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Becker CPA Review has this and is the only course with direct billing.
Other courses have a flat military discount, but with the competitive nature of the CPA Review course industry right now and courses discounting the packages $1,000+ OFF, the military discount isn't likely going to be any better than the regular discount, and depending on the timing, it might be a lower discount.
CPA Review courses are always happy to get their former customers back vs them going to a competitor, which is why most courses have attractive former student discounts. Some courses even offer discounts to former students of other courses and are happy to convert them as well.
Yes – most courses offer financing. Double-check the fine print. Some of those payment plans have high interest rates.
Most CPA Review Return Policies are not friendly.
Ironically, despite being the cheapest, NINJA is the only course on this list with a 30-day return policy.
Why are CPA Free Trials so important?
Because it's hard to return a course that you don't like.
Some even have a stiff monetary penalty for returning their courses.
CPA Review Course Websites: