Course Rating: ★★★★★
Gleim CPA Review is one of the oldest CPA review courses and has been around since 1974. Ultimately, there’s a reason why they’ve been in business for so long. They make great products that have helped millions on candidates pass the exam. That’s right, I said it—millions of candidates. Accounting expert Dr. Irvin Gleim wrote his first CPA materials back in 1974 and has been a driving force in the field of accounting education ever since.
Today, Gleim is one of the most used CPA review systems available. Furthermore, this premium CPA review course also has the largest bank of test questions on the market today. With over 10,000 MC questions, there’s no wonder why many people consider this one of the most comprehensive study guides out there.
They offer two different packages that both include online access to textbooks, exam review content, a personal CPA counselor, study planner, and audio lectures.
However, probably the most impressive and exciting part of the course is the guarantee. Gleim believes in their review course so much that they guarantee that you will pass the exam on your first time otherwise they will issue you a full refund. How crazy is that? Seriously, what other company will offer you a full refund if you don’t pass on your first time?
Let’s take a look at what the inside of the course looks like and how you can use it to pass the exam in this video walkthrough.
Needless to say, this is a great course that will definitely help you prepare for the exam. After testing the full course for myself, I’ve found a number of great features that will help you decide if this course is right for you. Let’s take a look!
Gleim CPA Review Course Overview
Although Gleim has a comprehensive set of physical textbooks that are included in the CPA course, they’ve invested a lot of resources into their new online study guide experience called the Personal Classroom. Essentially, this is a modern portal that includes all the study materials, practice questions, simulations, and lectures in one organized place. It’s really user-friendly and helps CPA candidates flip between the course sections easily. Let’s look at the Gleim Online section first.
When you log in for the first time, the study planner will pop up and ask you to set a test date. This is a nice feature that helps you plan out your exam prep study schedule. Additionally, you can enter your future test date, any non-study days, and the number of study hours each day. Then, the planner will automatically prepare a calendar with the due dates for each unit.
After you have the planner set up, you can start the online course by picking a CPA exam section. Basically, each exam section is divided up into chapters that focus on key topics covered on the exam. Each chapter includes lectures, textbooks excerpts, true/false and multiple choice questions, and task-based simulations. Let’s look at the details about each one of these features included in each chapter. You can check them out for yourself for FREE by signing up for a trial version.
Lectures – The 2020 online classroom features both audio/video lectures and video lectures for every section. The newly completed Gleim instruct video lectures cover broad topics for each chapter. These videos are typically short and range from ten to thirty minutes. However, the audio/video lectures are similar to a recorded powerpoint presentation with a voice over. There are typically several short 5-minute audio/video lectures in each chapter that can also be downloaded for offline listening.
Gleim CPA Review’s study materials are split into chapters covering different topics. Each chapter consists of several different review components and modules that help candidates study in different ways. Let’s take a look at each chapter component and explain what’s inside.
Textbook – Gleim offers a physical textbook as well as a digital copy. Ultimately, the digital copy is identical to the physical except that it’s conveniently split into chapters that coincide with the online course. Hence, this is truly a comprehensive, industry-standard textbook. These books cover everything—and I mean everything. They go into great detail about everything on the exam and even highlight IFRS differences and changes.
True / False Questions – Additionally, each chapter includes several true and false questions that you can use to gauge your understanding of the topic. These questions are really convenient because they give you the answers immediately.
Multiple Choice Questions – The MC questions in each chapter are laid out in three sets. First, there is a diagnostic set that helps you evaluate how much you know about the topic. Second, there is a comprehensive set that tests how well you understand the information. The third set consists of CPA test prep application-based questions to quiz you in the real exam-type environment. Ultimately, Gleim knows how helpful these questions are. Consequently, they even let you purchase them separately from any course.
The rest of the Gleim online course consists of the following:
Test Prep – The test prep is a great way to test yourself with Gleim’s huge test bank. You can create any length custom practice exams about any topic in practice or study mode. Practice mode emulates the actual exam while the study mode gives you the answers and explanations as soon as you select one. The study mode is my favorite. You can fly through the review materials and know instantly whether you got them right or wrong. Then you can read the explanations to better understand the topics.
Sim Wizard – The Sim Wizard is a large bank of task-based simulations that you can use to practice in an exam-type environment. It is the largest exam simulator of its kind with over 1,300 task-based sims.
Audio Review – The audio review is a great section for people on the go. These audio lectures and course are not included in every package, but they are extremely helpful and can be loaded on your phone, tablet, or mp3 player.
Exam Rehearsal – The exam rehearsal is a full-length practice CPA Exam. It’s just like the real thing with 2 MCQ testlets containing the same number of multiple-choice questions as on the actual exam and 3 Simulation/WC testlets containing the same number of simulations/written communication questions as on the actual CPA exam. Ultimately, this is great for a final review or a way to gauge how ready you are to take the real exam. Additionally, the rehearsal will also help in sharpening your time management skills.
As you can see, this course is pretty in-depth and quite comprehensive. It includes everything you will need to pass the exam. That’s for sure. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons that I’ve found in the course as I went through it.
Huge Multiple Choice Selection
Guarantee and Unlimited Access
Like I said before, Gleim CPA has the best refund guarantee in the business. If you don’t pass on your first try using their course, they will give you a full refund. Compare that to a company like Becker that won’t even let you use their course for 18 months without paying a huge renewal fee. Gleim’s refund policy shows that their study course works. If it doesn’t work for you on the first time, you will either get your money back or get unlimited access until you pass the exam. How can you go wrong with that?
Personal Counselors / Study Tips & Support
The CPA counselors are experts at Gleim that help advise you on your study habits and coach you along the way. They are there for you during the study and exam process. They are like mentors that encourage you and help keep you motivated to study. This is great for people who have a difficult time with self-study courses.
Audio and Video Review Lectures
Now Gleim offers both audio and video lectures for all of their courses. The audio lectures are great for people who are on the go or have a long commute to work. Each lecture is about 25 minutes long and can easily be used to turn a useless commute to work or school into an active study session or review of an important topic.
The new 2017 video lectures include respected accounting educators that explain the concepts in each chapter clearly. These are great for those of us with short attention spans who can’t sit there and read textbooks for long periods of time (myself included).
Since Gleim CPA not only offers the most multiple-choice questions and task-based simulations in the industry, they have come up with a few great ways to use this huge bank of questions. The test prep module lets you create a custom quiz from any topic in the section. You can pick one topic to drill into or select all of the topics to create a general test. Either way is great. Plus, the simulator looks exactly like the real exam. Use these to study and you won’t be shocked by the test on exam day!
Student Discounts / Affordable Pricing
The last main pro is the discount. Gleim CPA gives great discounts to students. If you are a student, you can go claim your discount today.
As with any review course, there are a few drawbacks to the Gleim system. Let’s take a look at some of the cons.
Lots of Info
This is probably the most common complaint with the Gleim course: it’s density and complexity. Normally, I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing, but the CPA exam is different. There is so much information to know, but only a small chunk of it will actually be covered on the exam itself. The key to a review course is to show you what is important to memorize and what is overkill.
Unfortunately, Gleim tends to slant toward the overkill side, but at least everything is presented in the course. Many other courses try to cut down the amount of material into “just the stuff you need to know” and end up leaving out plenty of topics that actually show up on the exam.
Gleim CPA review is one of the oldest and most used courses out there today. It’s very comprehensive with the most study questions and bigger test bank than any other study guide on the market. Plus, it’s extremely affordable. Their traditional review course can be purchased for under $2,000.
Remember, the Gleim test bank isn’t exclusive to their courses anymore. You can purchase the test bank separately to supplement your existing course if you already have one.
I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who wants a truly complete study resource and doesn’t want to pay a ridiculous amount of money. With their new videos and audio lectures, flashcards, complete online portal, mobile capabilities, and CPA mentoring the Gleim review is a great option for self-studiers and traditional candidates.
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with their online platform and think that Gleim is headed in the right direction. Future updates are processed automatically, so your materials are never out of date. I’d highly recommend this course!