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Becker CPA Review
Our comprehensive evaluation and review of the Becker CPA Review course
When it comes to CPA exam prep, many consider Becker to be king. Their course is endorsed by all of the Big 4 accounting firms, and used by roughly 2,000 or so other firms, government agencies, and universities for their staff’s CPA exam review needs. In short, almost every accounting organization trusts Becker to get their accountants fully prepped and across the CPA finish line. But is a review course the best just because it is endorsed by so many large and prestigious entities? We delve into the finer points of the Becker CPA Review course in this detailed guide and analyze its strengths and weaknesses.
Becker offers CPA candidates three distinct courses form which to choose. These prep packages generally vary by level of resources and study materials, and include the following offerings:
The Advantage course is Becker’s starter package and includes most everything you will need to prep for the CPA exam, albeit with less study material than its more expensive counterparts. Offering fewer practice questions and no live classes, this is really an essentials-only package. The Advantage course runs for right around $2,400, though it can often be found on sale for less. As far as essentials-only starter courses go, this about the most expensive in the CPA exam prep space.
Next up, the Premium course is roughly the same as the Advantage package, but adds in additional practice questions, live online classes, and unlimited access. This is Becker’s most popular package and generally considered their “standard” course for CPA exam prep. This offering costs about $3,000, though can often be found on sale. This price point again makes Becker one of the more expensive options in terms of CPA prep.
Lastly, the Pro course carries a price tag of around $3,500. For this additional $500 or so, you get access to live in-person classes (which are hosted around the country), as well as 5 hours of private 1-on-1 tutoring with a Becker CPA exam expert, among other perks. For those students wanting to take no risk, this is the choice.
Course options and pricing current as of date of publication.
Evaluation of Becker CPA Coursework
As soon as you log in to your new Becker account, you can see why the Big 4 and so many other accounting firms trust Becker – their curriculum is incredibly comprehensive. Their coursework is mapped to the AICPA exam blueprints and touches anything and everything that could ever appear on the exam. It is just a mountain of lessons, practice work and study resources.
With respect to structure of their coursework, each of the four exam sections is broken down into a series of 6 to 10 units, each covering a different subsection. For example, the REG section is broken down into 8 units – R1, R2, R3…you get the picture. Then within each of these units, there a number of modules to complete. Each module covers a discrete topic within the subsection. As such, the modules form the basis of the Becker curriculum and there are hundreds of them across the four CPA exam sections.
It is within each module that the real teaching takes place. Each learning module follows the same general pattern:
It really isn’t too complicated. You work through each of these four learning categories within the module, and when you’re done, you move on to the next module. But wrapped around this seemingly simple structure is Becker’s “Adapt2U Technology.” This software uses AI to identify your weak spots and reallocate work to those areas, ensuring you are well-prepared in every subject for test day. The software adjusts your study plan in real time to account for these identified deficiencies and works to make your skill set more well-rounded. It is a nice feature, though it doesn’t seem as powerful as Surgent CPA’s analogous tech.
The Becker video lectures are different from every other review course in the industry. In these lessons, rather than having an instructor onscreen providing a traditional lesson in front of a whiteboard (like you get with Roger CPA Review), or talking over a PowerPoint slideshow, the Becker lessons use their textbooks as the basis of the video. The instructor rarely appears on screen during the lectures – usually just for a quick module introduction. It sounds odd, but it really works.
A digital textbook appears on screen and your instructor verbalizes their lesson as you read along. They circle key points, underline important phrases, make notes in the margins, and markup the text as you move along. They even scroll the page down for you as reach the bottom. It is like someone standing over your shoulder as you read a text offering additional context and helpful tidbits, and telling you where you need to take note of the important things.
I can see some students loving this format, and other students being put off by it. Personally, I really like it. I prefer textbook-based learning to begin, so I may be a bit biased, but I found this method of teaching to be incredibly effective. All of the detail is right there in front of you and you have an expert reading alongside you, pointing out exactly where you really need to pay attention and providing some helpful additional context.
These 750+ video lectures are broken down into short, page-by-page segments, and they flow together so there is never a jump or awkward pause. And the production quality is fantastic. The picture is sharp and the graphics are very well done. Altogether, it makes for a really nice lesson.
After your lecture is complete, you move into skills practice. This usually takes the form of a quick video or two with your instructor providing a little recap of the material and giving some context to the drill you’ll be doing. Then you work a simulation-type drill that tests your knowledge on the content just covered. After you’ve finished, an explanation video rolls, where the instructor returns to provide the solution and explain the answers.
This is a very nice drill feature that you don’t get with other CPA review courses. Most other prep companies just take you straight to multiple-choice questions, and I appreciate how Becker tests your new knowledge in different ways.
You then move into the more traditional practice of multiple-choice questions. There are typically anywhere from 5 to 50 questions for the module, depending on the scope and size of the subsection. That means this part can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and a half. But in any event, you are assigned a slate of relevant multiple-choice questions to tackle and reinforce what you just learned.
As you complete each question, you are shown the correct answer along with a corresponding problem explanation. The explanation covers each answer choice and describes why it was correct or incorrect. In my opinion, these explanations were helpful, but not the best I have seen (personally I think Gleim CPA’s are better). They are just a little on the thin side and I would like to see more general analysis breaking down the entire problem and providing more targeted information on the topic.
The final component of each module is the set of task-based simulations. There can be anywhere from 1 to 10 simulations for you to complete, again depending on the particular module. These simulations are very realistic compared to the task-based simulations you will see on the real CPA exam. They cover a variety of topics and issues with each module, and do an excellent job testing your new knowledge in a variety of ways.
And the explanations that accompany each simulation are much better than the ones accompanying the multiple-choice questions. Each simulation has a “Skill Master” video that corresponds with it, where a Becker expert breaks the simulation down in detail. They appear onscreen in the upper left corner, and show you through notes and calculations exactly how you should have attacked the simulation. These videos are a fantastic resource and a very useful learning experience in and of itself.
Backing up the coursework, Becker provides some performance trackers and metrics to help you analyze your current knowledge base and skills. On the whole, these metrics are a little rudimentary and not super helpful, particularly when compared to data you get from other CPA prep companies. You’re really just given the basics – % of questions correct, % of lecture completion, number of correct answers on simulations, etc. There is nothing noteworthy about these metrics. The one saving grace in Becker’s performance trackers is the proficiency measures. Becker tells you (on the basis a of a star rating) exactly how proficient you are in each module. This in turn determines your readiness. This was about the only helpful metric that I used my studies.
All in all, Becker’s course structure makes for a very effective means of learning. The combination of video, practice questions and simulations increases comprehension and retention through the variety of methods in which your knowledge is tested. Honestly, I was very impressed with the design and execution of the Becker coursework.
Becker CPA Review Practice Work
Beyond the core curriculum, Becker offers an abundance of additional practice material. Though not required by your assigned study path, you are given access to a beneficial practice test tool. This function allows you to build as many practice question sessions as you’d like, including both simulations and multiple-choice questions. You can customize the practice set by mode, question type, section and much more. This provides a really nice opportunity to get in some targeted practice work.
The practice questions that are generated as part of your personalized session are pulled from Becker’s question bank. They appear in the same interface and format that you see in your module-based lesson work, except that when you answer the question you have to affirmatively click to see the explanation.
This is one thing that drove me crazy about the Becker practice tests. When you click to see the problem explanation, it pops up in a separate window from the onscreen problem, and is always too small to read. So you have to drag the window to the middle of the screen, enlarge it and then read the explanation. I know this sounds like a minor annoyance, but when you have to do this dozens of times in a row, it gets infuriating. It would be so much more efficient to just have the explanation appear automatically, just like they do in the lesson work. But I digress.
In terms of quantity of practice material, Becker provides over 9,000 multiple-choice questions and 400+ simulations across its modules, practice test bank and simulated exams. This is a ton of practice. And though not quite as much as Wiley CPAexcel, this level of practice material should be plenty for your prep needs.
One of the highlights of the Becker CPA Review course, and something you don’t get with other providers, is the bundle of simulated exams. Becker provides 3 full-length, simulated exams per section, or 12 in total. And unlike other CPA prep providers who provide practice tests, but just recycle problems from their question bank, the questions you get on the Becker simulated exams are never before seen.
Seeing entirely new problems for the first time is huge benefit when trying to prepare under exam-like conditions. In addition, these simulated tests mirror the real CPA exam interface, so you’re getting the look and feel of the true experience. This is just one more advantage offered to Becker students.
In my personal opinion, this is one of the greatest strengths of the Becker course. There is often no better means of learning than by just doing. And 12 full-length practice exams with fresh content absolutely helps with that.
The Becker Live Classes
For those students opting to purchase the Premium or Pro version of the Becker course, you will be entitled to attend any of Becker’s live courses. For the Premium students, this means live online only. But for the Pro students, you can choose whether you want to take the class live online from the comfort of your couch, or in person.
These live courses generally cover the same material that is in the on demand video lessons. But rather than a faceless off screen instructor telling you where to circle and underline things, your instructor is right there in front of you (virtually or in person). The structure is the same, where you work through your hard copy textbook and make notes as you go along; however, I think there are a number of benefits to the live version of the course.
First, you get some additional tips and strategies that you don’t get with the on demand lessons. The on demand video lectures are scripted and highly choreographed. So the national instructor moves quickly and efficiently through the material, never taking any side journeys. However, the live instructor isn’t as constrained, so you get some additional tips, tricks and strategies that you just don’t get in the recorded videos.
In addition, I think for students who need commitment and accountability in their studies, the live courses provide a nice means of keeping you on track. If you’re a working professional and tired at the end of a long day, it’s often easy to say “oh, I’ll just watch that lesson and do those problems tomorrow.” But when you have a live course that meets 2x per week, you can’t afford to just skip a day. It keeps you committed and accountable to your studies. Plus, it just provides nice structure in your prep work, and we all know accountants love structure.
I personally took the Premium course, so I didn’t get the choice to take the in-person class. That said, I greatly enjoyed the live online course. The webcast was always crystal clear, on time and there were no technical issues. I truly think I got many of the benefits described above. The instructor was knowledgeable and provided some awesome side notes, and the rigorous structure kept me on track.
The bottom line is that no other courses really provide the scope and depth of live classes like Becker does, so this is a huge benefit to students.
The Becker CPA Prep Books
Another advantageous feature of the Becker course is the set of digital and hard copy prep books that you get when you sign up. These books are incredibly thorough and well-written. And they need to be, as they are the basis of the instruction. No matter what course format you follow – on demand, live online, or in person – the books form the foundation of your learning. And they don’t disappoint.
The level of detail contained in these books is simply incredible. And just as importantly, they are very well-organized. The books are methodically laid out in a manner that is both logical and easy to follow. I honestly think these prep books are some of the best in the CPA review space, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Becker is about the biggest game in town and has been vetting and updating these books for decades.
The user interface of the Becker digital platform is superb. Neatly organized, the half-dozen or so icons of the left-hand navigation bar clearly and easily direct you to all of your study materials. From the dashboard, you can quickly jump to your current module, a practice session, your study planner or a number of other helpful resources. You should never have to struggle looking for some study tool.
The look and feel of the portal is also top notch. With eye catching graphics and a smart look, the overall feel is professional and modern. Unlike some other CPA review courses where it is clear they don’t care about investing in the functionality of their online platform and focus on the material, Becker has clearly spent significant resources on providing a high-end experience.
Bonus Resources with Becker
In addition to the core course components described above, Becker kicks in a handful of really helpful resources as a bonus for their students. Some of these resources include:
Access to student forums and FAQ database
Final review sessions
Academic support from CPA’s
Access to CPA exam success coaches
1,400+ digital flashcards
Now it should be noted right off the bat that many of these resources are only available to Premium and Pro students, and do not come with the Advantage package. So if you’re considering the essentials-only Advantage course, please keep this in mind.
But assuming you take the Premium or Pro version of the Becker course (as most students do), you will get access to all of these beneficial resources. My favorite of the bunch is the set of final review sessions. These condensed, highly intensive sessions are designed to help you cram in the final few days before your test day. They cover the most heavily-weighted subjects and target easy point boosts. These sessions are a great advantage and should not be wasted in my opinion.
The other resource most worth noting is the access to a CPA success coach. Take advantage of these sessions. While they won’t get into the weeds of technical details like a full tutoring session, these meetings are great to get insights on overarching exam strategies. I think the academic success sessions offered by Yaeger CPA Review are a little better in terms of support, but found my couple sessions with Becker to be quite helpful.
Private Tutoring with Becker
When you purchase the Pro course from Becker, you will be entitled to five separate one-hour sessions with a private Becker tutor. Or alternatively, you can always purchase tutoring sessions separately. Either way, Becker provides some first-rate tutoring services. I was given a complementary one-hour session with a Becker tutor and found it to be incredibly helpful.
I tested my tutor’s knowledge a bit with a couple detailed FAR questions and she didn’t miss a beat. My tutor was not afraid to wade into the technicalities of issues and gave me some great insights. And not only was she extremely knowledgeable, but she was also very approachable and open. I felt like I could ask her anything, and even if she didn’t know the answer (which she did), she would have run it down for me. In short, although I only had a one-hour tutoring session, I found the quality of Becker’s tutoring to be top shelf.
Content Access Period
Though what should be an afterthought in terms of CPA review course features, many busy professionals are keen to know how long their access to study materials will last when hunting down the best CPA review course for their needs. The duration of your access to Becker’s online content will depend on the course type that your purchase. If you opt for the Advantage course, you will be granted just 24 months access to your materials. And if you go with the Premium or Pro version of the course, you will be given unlimited access to your resources.
While 24 months may sound a little short standing next to an unlimited duration, for most people 24 months should be plenty of time. But if you’re a working professional and think there’s a chance your CPA studies and passage may take close to two years, think long and hard about bumping up to the Premium version to get the extended access.
Does Becker have a Mobile App?
Not only does Becker have a mobile app, but they have a very, very good mobile app. Their current 4.7-star rating with 5,000 or so reviews in the app store is justified. Whereas other exam prep companies provide mobile apps with very limited resources built in, Becker’s app has everything. Well not everything, but pretty darn close. You can access your lectures, multiple-choice questions, simulations, flashcards, and much more.
Essentially, the mobile app materials are tied to your underlying coursework. In addition, once downloaded, you can access everything in the app online or offline. This makes it a great tool for studying on the go. This is a very impressive app that serves as an excellent complement to the desktop version of the course.
Does Becker Have a Pass or Money Back Guarantee?
Unfortunately, Becker does not offer a money back guarantee if you fail to pass all four sections of the exam. Other CPA review companies offer such tuition refunds in the event you can’t get across with the finish line with the help of their prep, but not Becker. In lieu of money back though, Becker does offer a free repeat program that allows you take the course over if you fail all four sections. However, the requirements around this promise are fairly strict. In any event, if you have the Premium or Pro versions of the course with unlimited access, this shouldn’t be a concern anyway.
General Refund Policy
In the event you change your mind about your Becker course or a life event gets in the way of your studies, you can cancel your enrollment in the Becker course and get a full refund within 10 days of purchase. This is a short window, so make sure to track it during the first few days of your studies in case something comes up. Generally though, this is a very nice return policy.
Verdict: Becker CPA Review Course
There is a reason the Big 4 and thousands of other organizations rely on Becker to prep their professionals – their coursework design and content is truly unmatched. Neatly organized into learning modules that cover specific CPA exam subtopics, their course structure provides a highly effective method of teaching which improves comprehension and retention. Additionally, the sheer amount of prep work is staggering, including thousands of practice problems, hundreds of hours of video lectures, 12 full-length simulated exams, and much more.
The explanations which break down and explain the answer choices around each and every practice problem are a little thin for our team’s liking and we’d prefer to see more detail in this regard, but that is about the only complaint we have with Becker. Their video lectures and practice work are otherwise on point, and it’s clear from the moment you open your course materials why Becker is #1 in the minds of accounting professionals. In short, while it may cost you a bit more than other prep providers, if you don’t want to take any risk in your CPA review and want an excellent all-around course, turn to Becker like so many others have over the past 60 years.
How much does the Becker CPA Review course cost?
Becker offers three prep packages, ranging in price from around $2,400 up to nearly $3,500. This is generally more expensive than other CPA review courses, though the quality is unmatched.
What is the best part of the Becker course?
The video lectures and prep books lead Becker’s formidable stable of resources. The books are incredibly thorough and well-written, while the video lectures offer an engaging and informative learning experience.
Is Becker CPA Review worth the price?
Yes. After a full evaluation and review of the course, our team believes Becker CPA Review is worth the money. While more expensive than other courses, the quality and quantity of study resources offered is hard to beat.