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Wiley vs Roger CPA
Our in-depth comparison of the Wiley Excel and Roger CPA review courses
Choosing between Wiley CPAexcel and Roger CPA Review can be a difficult task. When examined closely, each seems to have strengths where the other has weaknesses. Where one has great video lessons, the other’s video instruction lags. And where one has fantastic practice material, the other receives a middling grade. These two courses are seemingly the yin and yang of CPA review. So how do you choose when each has such polarizing features? Our detailed comparison guide provides everything you need to know to make an informed decision on which course is best for your needs.
Roger CPA Review provides a slightly simpler slate of course options than Wiley. Offering just two courses – the Premier and Elite courses – Roger tries not to overwhelm students with too many options. Their first package, the Premier course, offers just the basics. It is odd to me that a course offering only fundamental features is called “Premier,” but I digress. This course offers video instruction, practice problems and digital prep books, but not much else. And in fact, access to your materials is limited to 18 months. This package runs right around $1,900, placing it somewhere between Wiley’s Essentials Review Course and their popular Pro Review Course in terms of pricing.
Roger’s more popular flagship course, the Elite course, carries a price tag of nearly $3,000. This package includes the same general features of the Premier package, but adds in some private tutoring, unlimited access and hard copy textbooks, among some other minor extras. At around $3,000, this course option is about $500 more than Wiley’s most expensive offering, yet offers about the same level of resources.
Roger CPA Review’s Lessons and Coursework
The Roger CPA Review video lessons are what make this course. There is no point in beating around the bush. These video lectures are what sell this otherwise average review package. Led by energetic and passionate founder Roger Philipp, these video lectures are about as good as they come in the CPA review space.
The videos generally take the form of Roger on camera standing before a whiteboard. He energetically delivers his lecture, bouncing back and forth between looking at the camera and jotting notes on the whiteboard. He is constantly in motion, and draws your attention from the first line. Roger is a master of breaking down complex and dry accounting and business concepts through funny anecdotes, mnemonics, and relatable examples. He seems to find the perfect balance between keeping the lesson interesting and making sure you get the informative content you need. You are also shown the Roger CPA textbook onscreen (to the right of the video container) so you can follow along in the text, but it generally goes unnoticed as Roger himself gets the attention.
While the information and delivery of the content through the video is first-rate, the production value does lack. The image isn’t the sharpest and there are no digital effects. It is just kind of basic. This is interesting, as it just the opposite of the Wiley lectures. Put the strengths of the two video-based lessons together and you’d have the ultimate video lecture. But overall, the Roger CPA Review video lectures do win out.
In addition to the video lessons, Roger CPA provides its students with a textbook for extra content review. This book though seems like an afterthought to the video instruction, and we give it a fairly average grade. It does a decent job of conveying the necessary material, but lacks the balance between detail and brevity you get with other prep books, like Wiley’s.
To round out the Roger CPA coursework, they provide roughly 6,000 multiple-choice questions and 200 or so simulations for practice work. These numbers obviously aren’t as strong as the volume of work you get with Wiley, but the quality is very good. Roger’s team of experts clearly know what they are doing, as the questions (like Wiley’s) closely resemble real CPA exam questions. Our team had no qualms with the style or content of Roger’s practice questions. And in fact, we actually prefer Roger CPA’s problem explanations to Wiley’s, finding them more thorough and easily digestible.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, the Roger video lessons are the clear highlight of this course. To be honest, the rest of the Roger CPA Review package is slightly above average – it is these video lectures that propel it into the elite category of CPA review. CPA exam content is about as dry as it comes, so you need an x-factor to make study interesting and engaging. And these lessons provide just that.
Roger does an amazing job of drawing in your attention and holding it the entire time. Not only that, he has mastered how to use memory aids to make recall of material much easier down the road. By associating certain concepts with analogies, stories, jokes, and mnemonics, he improves your overall comprehension and, more importantly, retention.
While the production quality is a little lacking, Roger’s energy more than makes up for it. He bounces around on screen, gesticulating wildly and scribbling things on the whiteboard. He just seems to have a knack for engaging students and making things feel important.
Wiley CPAexcel offers students three different course options from which to choose. These packages generally vary by the level and type of content and features included. The three packages are as follows:
Essentials Review Course
Pro Review Course
Platinum Review Course
The Essentials Review Course is Wiley’s basic package and offers much less in the way of features than the other two upper tier courses. This package includes just practice questions and simulations, and digital textbooks for content review. And that is really it. This offering has no bells or whistles and is really targeted for students needing mainly practice work. Wiley charges approximately $1,800 for this package.
At the next level up, Wiley offers its Pro Review Course. This is Wiley’s most popular choice among students and generally considered their standard course. It includes the same resources as the Essentials Review Course, but adds in 140+ hours of video lessons, 20 or so hours of live class sessions, a few hours of tutoring, and printed textbooks. This is a hefty list of valuable study tools, but only adds $400 or so to the bill with a price point of around $2,200.
For reference, Roger CPA’s Premier Course (their lower tier package) is somewhere between Wiley’s Essentials and Pro courses in terms of resources offered. With a cost of around $1,900 – it is fairly priced right between the Wiley price tags.
Wiley’s most expensive course, the Platinum Review Course, is nearly identical to the Pro Review Course, but includes Wiley’s final review cram course. This cram session increases the price point by about $300, to $2,500. Compared to Roger’s more expensive package at around $3,000, this is a pretty good bargain.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Wiley CPAexcel Study Plan and Coursework
As may be expected with a large test prep company like Wiley, they offer a very robust course curriculum. Their study plan for students starts with a default schedule and set of study materials, but adjusts that plan based on the analysis of their adaptive software. Wiley employees some very smart AI-driven software to analyze their students’ performance and adjust their coursework based on their strengths and weaknesses. While just about every CPA review company utilizes some type of similar technology today, Wiley’s is noteworthy.
No matter how their adaptive tech adjusts your study plan though, every lesson plan starts with instructional videos. This is the first point where Wiley CPAexcel and Roger CPA Review diverge in terms of strengths and weaknesses. While Wiley’s video lectures have excellent production value and onscreen digital effects, the performance of the instructors is a bit lackluster. In other words, the video and audio quality are superb, but they lack engagement. As discussed more fully below, Roger CPA’s video lessons are just the opposite – the engagement factor is through the roof with their energetic founder leading video, while the production value is pretty mediocre.
Beyond the video lessons, one feature provided by Wiley that you won’t get with Roger CPA Review is Wiley’s access to live lessons. Across your studies you get access to live class webcast sessions, where your Wiley instructor will take a deep dive into a particular topic. These class sessions are not as numerous or deep as Becker’s offerings, but still offer value. They are a nice complement to Wiley’s video lessons.
The most important aspect of the Wiley course package is their practice material. Boasting 12,000+ multiple-choice questions and 500 or so simulations, Wiley CPAexcel offers one of the largest quantities of practice work in the CPA review space. This is just one more way in which these courses differ, as these number are more than 2x that offered by Roger. Additionally, the practice questions and simulation quality is top notch. The problems closely mirror what you will see on test day and you never get cheated with questions that are too simple or easy.
One other variance between the two prep companies is with respect to problem explanations. While Wiley wins on practice question quantity, we actually prefer Roger CPA’s text explanations that accompany each problem. Whereas Wiley’s explanations are a little thin, the Roger CPA solutions go into great detail.
The clear highlight of the Wiley CPAexcel course is their practice work. Offering 12,000+ multiple-choice problems and 500+ simulations, Roger (and other courses) just can’t compete. But as mentioned above, it is not just the quantity that impressed our team. The question quality is also fantastic. It is evident that Wiley’s CPA experts have spent thousands of hours crafting problems that resemble real CPA exam questions as closely as they could get them. Honestly, it is very difficult to distinguish between the two when seen side-by-side.
This goes for the simulations as well. Wiley does an excellent job matching the types and characteristics of task-based simulations that you’ll see on test day. As referenced though, the only line item that doesn’t get full marks is Wiley’s text explanations. They aren’t bad by any means, but just lack the detail that Roger’s explanations carry.
Given the differing strengths and weaknesses of Wiley CPAexcel and Roger CPA Review, you probably have a pretty good feel for which course will better suit your needs at this point. But if you need a little bit more info to help make that call, here is our final verdict on a point-by-point basis:
Curriculum and Study Material – Edge: Roger. This was a very, very close call for our team, but Roger’s coursework gets the edge. While we love the quality and quantity of Wiley’s practice work, given the importance of video-based instruction to the overall course, we give Roger the nod. Their video-based lessons are just too good to overlook.
Pricing – Edge: Wiley. Not only does Wiley offer lower average prices than Roger, but we also like the greater selection (3 options vs. 2). It is always nice to have choices, each with differing features. Just as importantly, Wiley’s top shelf course comes in around $500 less than Roger’s, offering a great value.
Textbooks – Edge: Wiley. While neither course offers the best textbooks in the game (see Becker and Gleim for that), Wiley’s are the winner here. We prefer Wiley’s concise, study guide style texts to Roger’s more traditional textbooks.
Practice Exams – Tie. We were very happy with the practice exams of both prep providers here. You can create an unlimited number of practice tests from each companies’ test bank of questions, and the software of each company parallels the real CPA exam testing interface.
User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) – Edge: Wiley. Wiley’s digital platform offers a clean, modern look and feel that you just don’t get with Roger. It is easy to navigate and find the resources you are looking for. Roger’s digital portal is much improved since their merger with UWorld, but we just like Wiley’s a bit better.
Supplemental Resources – Edge: Roger. Roger CPA Review offers one of the best bounties of supplemental resources in the CPA review industry. In addition to your core coursework, you also get access to audio lectures, cram courses, coaching with Roger CPA exam advisors, customizable digital flashcards, their mobile app and student forums. Wiley provides many of the same types of resources, but not to the extent of Roger.
Online Content Access Period – Edge: Wiley. The only difference between the two prep companies, and why Wiley gets the win here, is that every Wiley CPAexcel package offers unlimited access, while the Roger basic package only grants 18 months of access.
Which CPA review course costs more – Roger or Wiley?
On average, Wiley CPAexcel’s course pricing is more affordable. Roger CPA Review’s two course options cost around $1,900 and $3,000, respectively, while Wiley’s courses range in price from round $1,800 to $2,500.
What’s the main difference between the Wiley and Roger CPA review courses?
While there are a number of differences between these two prep courses, the main difference between Roger and Wiley is the video lessons. Roger offers some of the most engaging video-based lectures in the CPA review industry, but they lack production quality, while Wiley’s videos are a little on the dry side, but offer some of the best production value.
Which company provides more study material, Wiley or Roger?
Wiley provides much more practice work than Roger CPA. Wiley boasts 12,000+ multiple-choice questions and 500+ simulations to Roger’s 6,000 multiple-choice problems and 200 or so simulations.