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Wiley vs Becker CPA
Our detailed comparison of the Wiley Excel and Becker CPA review courses
On the surface, Wiley and Becker appear to be incredibly similar courses. Each offers hundreds of hours of video lectures, thousands of practice problems, and textbooks in both print and digital format. Additionally, they are the only two prep companies to offer live CPA review classes, giving students the opportunity to learn in a live class setting. So how do you make the right call when the two courses you are considering look so similar on paper? We closely examine both review courses in this in-depth guide and give you a side-by-side comparison so that you can make an informed decision on which is best for you.
Similar to Wiley CPAexcel, Becker offers three CPA review products. These include:
The Advantage course is Becker’s starter package and offers video lessons and practice material, but no live class sessions and generally has fewer practice questions than its more expensive counterparts. This course costs around $2,400, which is slightly more expensive that Wiley’s comparable package, but note that unlike Wiley’s basic course offering, this package offers video lessons.
Becker’s next two course packages are generally the same, with the exception being that their top model Pro course offers in-person class sessions and a few hours of private tutoring with a Becker CPA expert. These two courses run around $3,000 and $3,500, respectively. Not considering promos and coupons, which Becker does run frequently, the Becker offerings on average are slightly more expensive than Wiley’s.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Becker’s Lessons and Coursework
Like Wiley, Becker offers a robust curriculum that provides everything you will need to fully prep for the CPA exam. The coursework is comprehensive and spans every bit of material that could conceivably appear on the test. The main difference between Wiley and Becker though, is that Becker’s live classes are a core component of their coursework, whereas Wiley’s feel more like an add-on. Not only do Becker’s classes total up to 90+ hours of live class time (while Wiley’s top out at around 20 hours), but the material covered in the live Becker lessons is just more streamlined and detailed.
Beyond the live classes, the Becker video lessons are better as well. While Wiley takes a more traditional approach to video, with the instructor on screen before a solid background, Becker syncs its video lectures with its textbook. This is a very cool method of online teaching. An interactive text appears on screen and your instructor writes notes in the margins, highlights key points and generally marks up the book with all the critical, need to know stuff. Instead of looking at the instructor’s face, you’re looking at the material as they talk. These video lessons are a highlight of the Becker course.
In terms of practice material, while Becker matches Wiley with respect to question quality, they can’t quite stand up in terms of question volume. Becker offers 9,000+ multiple-choice questions and 400+ simulations, which is very respectable in its own right, but can’t match Wiley. Whether this will be enough for you depends on the type of student you are and how many hours you plan to commit to studying. However, I would suspect Becker’s quantity of practice material is going to be plenty sufficient for most students. After a while, heaping on more and more practice for the sake of volume just doesn’t add any real value.
For students who want a more structured approach to learning, or need the commitment and accountability that comes with a scheduled course, Becker is your best bet. Their live class sessions are extremely helpful and offer roughly the same curriculum that is contained in the on demand videos, but in a live format. The class sessions are lengthy, thorough and offer students the chance to stop and ask questions if they need clarification. Many students prefer learning in a classroom setting alongside peers, and this format gives you that opportunity. Additionally, the live classes (both live online and in-person) are offered frequently. There are not just a couple offerings and if one doesn’t work, you’re out of luck. New classes start all the time, all with varying meeting days and lengths. This is a true benefit for students who need that extra push to keep them on track.
Like Becker, Wiley CPAexcel offers three different course options from which to choose. However, the course offerings from the two companies differ when it comes to pricing, with Wiley CPAexcel generally having slightly more affordable price points. Each of Wiley’s three offerings provide differing levels of content, access and resources, with the three options as follows:
Essentials Review Course
Pro Review Course
Platinum Review Course
The Essentials Review Course is just that – the pure essentials. There are no video lessons, live class sessions or even print books with this package. It is really the bare bones, no frills package for students who mainly need practice problems. This package runs right around $1,800.
At the next level up, Wiley’s Pro and Platinum courses are near identical, with the exception being that the Platinum package comes with access to Wiley’s highly beneficial CPA 11th Hour Final Review Course. This final review session offers students the opportunity to cram with some targeted video lessons and practice tests in the final days before the big exam. These packages cost approximately $2,200 and $2,500, respectively, placing a value on the CPA 11th Hour Final Review Course of roughly $300.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Wiley CPAexcel Lessons and Study Materials
Wiley CPAexcel provides a thorough course curriculum that touches every topic that may appear on the exam. Consisting of 140+ hours of video lectures, 20+ hours of live online classes, some strong study guides, and a mountain of practice material, they provide a healthy dose of coursework.
Led by their video lessons, Wiley’s instructional material is fairly strong. That said, after reviewing each course, we do prefer Becker’s material. Wiley’s video lectures have really solid production value and the screen around the instructor is punctuated with bold, colors and highlights to aid in your reading, maximizing the delivery of content through the videos. Nevertheless, the instructors are a little boring, causing these video lessons to lack in the engagement department.
For those students who prefer live classes to prerecorded lectures, Wiley does provide live online classwork. While not nearly as effective or numerous as Becker’s live offerings, Wiley’s classes are generally held a couple of times per week via webcast and offer targeted lessons. Backing up the video lectures and live webcasts, Wiley does provide some really solid study guides. Their texts are extremely detailed and act a great backstop to the lectures.
The most noteworthy portion of Wiley’s curriculum is the bundle of practice material you get. You get access to:
12,000+ multiple-choice questions
500+ task-based simulations
4,000 digital flashcards
5,000 true/false drill questions
40+ written communications
This is enough to make your head spin, and where Wiley CPAexcel gets its highest marks in the coursework category. Not only is the volume of work crazy, but the quality is also fantastic. The questions very closely resemble real CPA questions, offering a true advantage to Wiley students. However, if there is one complaint about the practice work, it would be that the problem explanations that accompany each question are a little thin.
As mentioned, the strength of the Wiley course lies in its volume of practice material. If you’re the type of student who likes to grind on practice questions and burn though problems quickly, Wiley will likely be your ticket. The 12,000+ multiple-choice questions are an industry-best by a long shot, and even the 500+ simulations are second only to Gleim CPA Review. Not to mention, no other provider comes close to offering the 5,000+ true/false drills that Wiley does. The bottom line, if you’re an experiential, “learn by doing” type student, think Wiley.
Becker and Wiley are very similar courses, though with subtle and qualitative differences. We hope this comparison has been helpful in teasing out some of the more important distinctions between the two prep offerings so you can make an informed decision. But if you still need a little more info to make a final call, here is our summary recap:
Lessons and Coursework – Edge: Becker. Though Wiley takes the cake when it comes to practice question quantity, Becker simply provides a better-quality curriculum. Becker’s video lessons, live class work and practice material taken as a whole simply can’t be touched.
Price – Edge: Wiley. No surprises here. Coming in a few hundred dollars cheaper on analogous course offerings, Wiley simply provides better value. If price is the most important course feature to you, Wiley will be your ticket.
Books – Edge: Becker. Though both companies offer quality prep books in both digital and hard copy format, Becker’s books are slightly better than Wiley’s in our team’s rating system. Wiley offers some nice study guide-style texts, but Becker’s legendary books, which have been updated and vetted for decades, are about tops in the industry.
Simulated Exams – Edge: Becker. Unique to Becker, they offer 12 full-length simulated exams with fresh content. Each section comes with 3 practice tests with never before seen content, offering students the chance to practice under exam-like conditions. This is huge benefit to Becker students.
User Experience and Interface – We have this one as a tie, with maybe a slight edge to Becker. Both companies offer very modern and easy-to-use interfaces. The digital platform of each prep provider is clean and simple, while still being extremely professional and sleek. We had no qualms with either.
Extra Resources – Edge: Wiley. This one was very close, but we have Wiley’s supplemental resources edging out Becker’s. Among other things, Wiley offers 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with their CPA experts, CPA blog articles and webinars, a personalized exam planner, an additional 1,000 printed flashcards, printed “Focus Notes”, task-based simulation video reviews, and 24/7 customer care support. While Becker has many similar resources, Wiley takes this category.
Content Access Period – This is a clear and easy tie. Both Wiley and Becker each offer unlimited content access with their standard courses.
Which CPA review course costs more – Becker or Wiley?
While their course offerings are qualitatively different, Wiley is generally more affordable than Becker. Their course prices range from around $1,800 up to $2,500, while Becker’s cost anywhere from $2,400 up to $3,500.
What’s the main difference between the Wiley and Becker CPA review courses?
The live classes are the main difference between the Wiley and Becker CPA review courses. Wiley offers just 20 or so hours of live online classes, while Becker offers 90+ hours of live online or in-person classes.
Which company provides more study material, Becker or Wiley?
In total, Wiley provides more practice material. Offering 12,000+ MC questions and 500+ simulations, they best Becker, who offers around 9,000+ MC questions and 400 or so simulations.