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Gleim vs Becker CPA
Our side-by-side comparison of the Gleim and Becker CPA review courses
In terms of CPA review company history, no two prep providers are more alike than Becker and Gleim. Both prep courses were originated by legendary founders around 50 years ago and have slowly grown into CPA prep giants, each helping millions of students pass the CPA exam. However, while the two CPA review companies have similar beginnings and history, their course curriculums and structures are quite different. As such, many students want to know how these prep courses differ and which is best for them. To help you make an informed decision regarding which course is right for you, we have compared and rated each course in this detailed guide.
When it comes to pricing and course selection, Gleim keeps things simple for their students. Offering just two prep packages, the decision really comes down to the medium of instruction that you prefer and how much content access you need.
Gleim’s basic offering, the Traditional Review System, provides text-based instruction through Gleim’s prep books and access to all of their practice problems. This package does not include any video lessons, and limits access to online content to only 18 months. This barebones offering runs right around $1,600, which is much less than Becker’s equivalent starter course. In fact, it is about $800 cheaper.
On the other hand, Gleim’s much more popular and flagship Premium Review System course costs right around $2,000. This package includes everything Gleim has to offer and adds 450+ video lessons to the mix, as well as unlimited access, among other things. Compared to Becker, this standard offering is about 2/3 the cost and will save you around $1,000 (assuming no promos or coupons are being offered).
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Gleim Curriculum and Study Materials
Despite being relatively inexpensive as compared to Becker, Gleim does not sacrifice curriculum quality. Their coursework and study plan are comprehensive and well-organized, covering everything you need to learn for the exam in an efficient manner. Each of the four sections is divvied up into 20 or so study units covering a major subtopic of that section. The course flows smoothly and naturally with its logical groupings of topics and you never feel like you’re jumping around.
The lesson work is led by a combination of Gleim’s bite-sized video lectures and concise outline-style texts. You typically start by reading a select passage from one of Gleim’s infamous textbooks, which takes the format of a succinct, outline. This creates a very nice balance of critical detail with brevity. There are no dense passages or lengthy paragraphs. Everything is neatly broken up into bulleted lists and quick hit points. This is a different format from Becker’s books, but in our team’s opinion, is just as good.
You then move onto Gleim’s video lessons, which usually feature a Gleim instructor before a green screen. As they speak, short form text appears beside them in bulleted lists and one or two sentence blurbs. Keeping these visuals short and to the point greatly improves engagement and material retention. These video lectures also always feature a series of example problems at the end of the video, which are really helpful for comprehension purposes.
Beyond the instructional video lessons and text assignments, Gleim hits a home run with its practice material. Offering 10,000+ multiple-choice questions and 1,300+ simulations, Becker simply can’t compete when it comes to practice quantity. Not only that, the quality of Gleim’s practice problems is just as good as Becker’s. And in fact, their text explanations are better. The Gleim problem explanations provide much more detail than Becker’s and cover each answer choice thoroughly. This is a definite strength of the Gleim course.
The most noteworthy aspect of the Gleim CPA Review course is their bundle of task-based simulations. Gleim places a huge focus on simulations, offering 1,300+ practice opportunities, with 350 or so of these having exhibits (to replicate many of the simulation types you will see). This is 2x as many simulations as any other provider and roughly 3x as many as you get with Becker. And this is a very good thing, considering task-based simulations now make up 50% of the CPA exam.
Not only do they offer a boatload of practice opportunities, but the quality of the Gleim simulations is also excellent. These task-based simulations really mirror the simulations you will see on exam day, right down to the testing format. In addition, they offer some really helpful simulation explanations to accompany each, so you can learn from your mistakes and confirm where you’re doing things properly. Our team loved that Gleim doesn’t shy away from the simulations, as this portion of CPA prep is often neglected.
While Gleim CPA Review offers students just two courses to choose from, Becker offers three. The Becker course options include the following:
Becker’s starter level package, the Advantage course, is their most basic offering. It does not include access to Becker’s well-known live classes, and reduces availability of practice questions as well. This is really the essentials course for those students that just need on demand video lessons and a baseline amount of practice work. This course format will run around $2,400, which is about $800 or so more than Gleim’s entry level package, but does include access to video lectures, while Gleim’s base offering doesn’t have any.
At the next level up, Becker provides its Premium package. This is their most popular choice by far. Costing right around $3,000, this course provides access to prerecorded video lessons, live online classes, textbooks, practice problems and more. This course does cost about 50% more than Gleim’s comparable package, but also includes access to live classes, which Gleim doesn’t offer. More on that below.
Finally, Becker offers a white glove package that Gleim does not. Becker’s Pro course is approximately the same as its Premium course, but additionally allows students to take their live classes in person if they desire, and tosses in a handful of private 1:1 tutoring hours with a Becker pro. This course prices out at around $3,500 and should be considered by students needing a little bit more guidance and hand holding.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
The Becker Lessons and Coursework
Unquestionably, Becker provides one of the best all-around course curriculums in CPA review. Their course plan is robust, providing a presentation of material in multiple ways to accommodate learners of all styles. Between the live classes, on demand video lectures, thorough textbooks and practice problems, you will definitely see every possible topic that could come up on the CPA exam. Not to mention, Becker’s course just feels cohesive and deep, while other courses in the industry at times feel piecemealed.
The main difference between the Gleim and Becker curriculums is clearly the live classwork offered by Becker. More on these classes below in the course highlight section, but this is a super beneficial offering that Gleim just can’t compete with. In addition to the live class time, Becker also provides some stellar video lessons. Different than Gleim, these videos take the form of an onscreen interactive textbook that the instructor updates with notes, highlights and key points. Essentially, your instructor reads the text to you, but stops to emphasize key points, provide context and tell you exactly where you do and do not need to memorize something. It is a novel and very cool way of doing a video lecture.
Becker’s practice material is also top notch, though lacks the volume of Gleim’s offerings. Becker provides 9,000 multiple-choice questions to Gleim’s 10,000, but lags in the simulations department. Offering just 400 simulations to Gleim’s 1,300+, Gleim wins on this point. But the quality of Becker’s solutions should not be overlooked. They are extremely well designed. And more importantly, Becker provides some fantastic video explanations of each simulation. Rather than reading about how you should have answered the simulation, you are shown how you should have attacked it on video.
As mentioned, Becker offers a feature that Gleim simply can’t compete with – live classwork. If you are the type of student that needs commitment and accountability in your studies, this may be a significant advantage. There are a bevy of different live classes with new ones being added all the time. Each class covers a separate section of the exam and generally meets once or twice per week over several weeks. These classes are offered live online via webcast or in person, though in person classes are only available to Pro students.
These live classes are a fantastic resource. The instructors are incredibly knowledge and are willing to stop and answer questions whenever you need clarification. They generally cover the same material as the recorded video lessons, but have a freer flowing structure and are open to adapt to the students’ needs. These live classes are the clear highlight of the Becker program.
Gleim CPA Review and Becker are similar in a lot of ways, but also have varying course features, content and structure. Each has their strengths, and each their weaknesses. We hope this comparison has been helpful in parsing out the differences between the two courses and you can make an informed decision on which is best for you. But if you’re still on the fence about which course to go with, here is our point-by-point summary:
Lessons and Coursework – Edge: Becker. Gleim provides a very high-quality and comprehensive curriculum, but Becker is the winner here. Becker’s course design and features are just too good. Between the first-rate video lessons, live class sessions, solid practice material, and overall course organization, the quality of Becker’s course shines through.
Price – Edge: Gleim. Gleim clearly takes this category with its most popular course, the Premium Review System, costing roughly 2/3 of what Becker charges. At $2,000, this is a great value.
Books – Edge: Gleim. Our team absolutely loves Gleim’s concise, outline-style textbooks. These books are efficiently written and structured to improve overall comprehension and retention. The punchy writing and brevity really helps you learn. This was a close call, as Becker’s books are fantastic, but Gleim gets the nod here.
Practice Exams – Edge: Becker. Becker offers a very cool feature that you don’t get with any other course (including Gleim) – full-length simulated exams with never before seen questions. You get access to 12 full-length practice tests with replicated testing interface and brand-new questions to help you prep under real exam-like conditions. As such, this is an easy win for Becker.
User Experience and Interface – Tie. Both courses offer first-rate digital platforms with a user interface and experience that is clean and modern. Our team loved the look and feel of both companies’ portals.
Extra Resources – Edge: Becker. While Gleim offers a handful of nice supplemental resources, Becker’s study resources are just too strong. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given Becker’s price point, but their add-ons are fantastic. You get access to student forums, final review sessions, academic support from CPA’s and exam success coaches, and 1,400+ digital flashcards, among other things.
Content Access Period – Both Gleim and Becker each offer unlimited course access through their flagship course packages. As such, this is an easy tie.
Which CPA review course costs more – Becker or Gleim?
Gleim CPA Review is clearly the most affordable option, with its two course options costing around $1,600 and $2,000, respectively. That said, Becker’s course packages offer features that you do not get with Gleim.
What’s the main difference between the Gleim and Becker CPA review courses?
The primary difference between Gleim and Becker is the extent and style of instructional lesson work. Becker offers live classes and a novel video lesson approach, while Gleim takes a more traditional take on video lectures.
Which company provides more study material, Becker or Gleim?
Gleim edges Becker in the category of practice material volume. Gleim offers 10,000 MC questions and 1,300 simulations to Becker’s 9,000 MC questions and 400 or so simulations.