Course Rating: ★★★★
Becker CPA Review course is by far the most popular and biggest name in the CPA exam study course industry. All of the Big Four accounting firms recommend Becker to their employees because it has proven itself to be an effective CPA review course for thousands of candidates over the years.
Since their inception in 1957, Newt Becker has developed a system of teaching that requires students to pay attention and keep up. Today Becker offers many different options from live in-person training to online classrooms and self-study materials. Each of their three subscriptions has slightly different options, but all of the courses are applicable for the Becker Promise.
They promise if you attend 100 percent of the lectures and maintain a 90 percent on all PassMaster homework problems and you still don’t pass the exam on your first time, you can retake the entire course tuition-free. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, this is a pretty big commitment. If you miss one lecture, you can wave the promise goodbye. Plus, retaking the course will still cost you money. They only waive tuition. You will still have to pay for materials, so this is a good guarantee if you are able to meet all of their requirements.
There are three different ways you can take the Becker course, so let’s take a look at them and see if any will work for you.
Becker CPA Prep Course Details
Live Teaching – Most CPA exam prep courses don’t do live, in-classroom teaching because of the high cost and logistics. Becker arranges college professors and industry professionals across the country to do local, nightly classes for each section. These classes generally meet in a college or office building and usually last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours.
There have been mixed reviews on how well these live classes are actually run. Since professionals and professions teaching them to have other full-time jobs, the CPA exam review courses sometimes fall on the back burner. In other words, many people have told me the classes are a waste of time and extremely boring. One student even said the instructor just stood in the front of the room and read directly out of the book for an hour.
Still, there are a few others who have said these classes are great and just like college accounting courses. If you take the live version, you will get the study text and access to the computerized tools.
Online Teaching – The online version was introduced a few years ago for students who want the benefits of a live classroom and schedule without having to drive to a physical meeting room every night.
They work exactly how you would assume. You log on to the system and attend lectures virtually. Your homework assignments have similar due dates to the live teaching sections and the Becker Promise works the same as well.
Self Study Course – Becker’s most affordable Advantage course is similar to other review courses in that it includes video lectures, an interactive study planner, a test bank of 6,500 questions, and exam simulations. Unlike the live and virtual classrooms, however, the self-study course is set at your own pace and does not have stringent deadlines.
The Becker System
The practice questions and other study materials are extensive and well put together. All of the options come with over 7,000 multiple-choice questions, exam simulators, and practice exams to help you prepare for the CPA exam. All three study options also include over 150 hours of instruction; more than the industry average.
Let’s face it. Becker is the biggest name in the industry and that’s exactly what you are paying for. You get the confidence of using something that is familiar to many CPAs.
Unfortunately, there are a few shortfalls to this package. Read this before buying:
Price – Extremely Expensive
The biggest problem with Becker CPA is the price. Their most in-depth Pro subscription costs $3,499. That’s crazy, especially when Roger CPA Review is only $2,999! This is by far the most expensive study guide in the industry. In fact, it’s over two times what other comparable courses cost. I think this is WAY too much of your own money to spend on a single study guide. Some firms and employers will pay for study materials, however. If yours does, take them up on it. Otherwise, I’d look at a few of the other courses out there or downgrade to Premium.
Poor Quality Lectures
As I mentioned in the course overview, tons of students have complained to me about how bad the live lectures are. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are some instructors that are great, but that doesn’t seem to be the standard. Candidates have complained that instructors read straight from the book or powerpoint without adding anything to the lectures. Some instructors have even just played the same video lectures you get with the self-study course!
Not to mention, some live course locations are not always convenient. Depending on your area and the popularity of the course, you might have to drive quite a ways after work to get to the classes.
Should You Buy Becker CPA Review?
Like I said before. Becker CPA is a good course if you don’t have to pay for it. There is a reason why they have the biggest name in the industry. Unfortunately, I think a lot of it has to do with advertising and marketing relationships. It’s way too expensive and doesn’t really offer more than the other options that are available for half the price. Unless your employer is paying for it or you have your heart set on attending live lectures, I wouldn’t recommend this course.
Instead, I’d suggest you take a look at Roger CPA, CPA Excel, or Yaeger CPA if you want a reasonably priced full line study guide. All of these courses offer the same benefits of Becker without the crazy price tag and marketing hype.