In today’s review I am going to reveal to you the Pros and Cons of Becker CPA, Why Becker CPA is so popular, why it’s the most expensive CPA review, and really try to help you decide which CPA review course is going to work best for you based on how you learn, because everyone learns differently and I DON’T want you to make the same mistake I did and just go with the most expensive CPA review course thinking it was fool proof.
Caveat: I only passed 2 sections of the CPA exam using Becker until it expired, and it wasn’t until after I had failed 4 times! I finally invested in Gleim CPA and passed the last 2 sections.
The reason was because the Becker CPA's one size fits all linear study plan did not cater to how I learn best.
With this in mind as you read this review keep in mind what worked and what didn’t work for you as you studied for tests in college.
If you learn best from sitting in class for extended periods of time then you definitely need to keep reading.
Who / What Is Becker CPA
Becker CPA is the brain child of Newt Becker that began his public CPA review course in 1960.
It quickly grew during the 80s and 90s offering live classes in 90 different cities all using Newt’s trademarked teaching style and format (a one size fits all study model).
Becker was sold to DeVry in 1996 and has since grown into the most used CPA review course in the CPA exam industry.
Why Becker Is So Popular And Is Likely The Only Review Course You Have Heard Of
Becker has built an incredible network of On-Campus Becker representatives and they also offer their course at a deep discount to Public Accounting firms.
Firms then give Becker CPA to their employees for free or will reimburse their cost.
Due to this strategy and the massive marketing expenses that come along with it, Becker has placed itself as THE premium brand name in the industry and is charging normal CPA candidates who pay out of pocket $3,300+ for their course and only give them access to the course for 12 months.
This is almost double the price of the other CPA review courses and by far the least amount of access time (the lowest is 18 months offered by other review courses).
So this obviously means that the course is twice as good as the other courses right?
Well that is what this review is all about and I think the results might surprise you...
So let’s get started!
The Becker CPA Dashboard
The Becker CPA review dashboard is fairly standard.
It provides you with easy access to your study calendar, important review course updates and downloads and your Academic Support.
I also found the dashboard to be mobile responsive so if you had to you could access the course on your phone or tablet and it will serve you with the same functionality.
The Becker CPA Study Planner
Becker CPA Review has a very dynamic and easy to use study planner.
It allows you to adjust your schedule and life happens and very clearly gives you assignments to complete by specific dates based on the amount of time you tell it you plan to study every week.
It should be noted that Becker CPA review is not the only course with a dynamic study planner as Wiley CPAexcel and Gleim CPA utilize very similar study schedulers.
The Becker CPA Lectures
Becker CPA's cornerstone is their lectures.
It was Newt Becker's original formula to have extended lectures that every student watches first and only after attending/watching these lectures would the students go to the textbooks and multiple choice.
As more and more information has been added to the CPA exam unfortunately Becker CPA has not updated their philosophy on lectures.
The average run time for a lecture can run from 1-3 hours!
With the average attention span of people in 2015 being between 8.25 seconds (Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, The Associated Press) how likely do you think it is that you will be able to focus for 1 hour straight on a "riveting" accounting topic let alone for 2+ hours?
Now with that being said, Becker CPA does have an excellent video lecture dashboard.
It is the only CPA review course to offer Chinese Closed Captions (CC) and English CC. This will be a huge benefit for international students.
You also have the ability to take virtual notes if you prefer, and the lectures are broken down by page which makes it very easy to track where you are or determine where a topic you don't understand is discussed in a lecture.
The 2 primary lecturers are Tim Gearty and Peter Olinto who are somewhat of youtube celebrities. But as you will quickly find their lecturing gets a bit monotone, especially after spending one to two hours straight with them.
If you learn best by watching lectures but have a short attention span or don't like the idea of sitting in front of a lecture for 1-3 hours at a time, I highly recommend checking out Roger CPA Review.
Roger Philipp, CPA (in my opinion) is a much more dynamic and energetic instructor, and his lectures are split up into smaller chunks (around 10-30 minutes, which allows you to constantly be moving between reading watching and performing multiple choice.
For most CPA candidates this will be a much more efficient method of studying that will keep you focused instead of dazing off from the fumes from all your yellow highlighters.
The Becker CPA Study Road Map
Becker breaks each section of the CPA exam into 5-10 parts.
For each of those broken out parts they provide you with a roadmap that gives you a "suggested" number of hours to spend studying.
As someone who studies slower than most people I didn't find these estimates useful, but they are a good time budgeting tool.
The three step study road map begins with watching your lecture and reading/highlighting your textand then moving onto the practice questions.
The final step is to spend 2-3 hours testing your knowledge over everything you have learned.
The primary difference in the Becker study road map is that the other CPA review courses break up each section of the CPA exam in 20-80 bite size pieces. But the overall study plan stays the same for each.
It really boils down to your preference.
Would you rather try to consume a massive amount of information at one time or chip away at topics one at a time.
Becker CPA Multiple Choice
The best feature of Becker CPA is absolutely their multiple choice.
They offer 7,200+ AICPA release multiple choice questions and they offer some of the best explanations for why a question is right or wrong in the industry.
Each question is linked directly to the text which you can access with one click in the multiple choice dashboard.
Each question is also linked directly to the lectures so if it's a topic you are struggling to understand it's easy to determine what lecture to watch and where.
The Becker CPA analytics also track the total amount time spent on each quiz and calculates your average time per question.
This is extremely valuable to track as you try to decrease your average time to per question as you approach your exam date.
Becker CPA also tracks your results and maintains them in their multiple choice analytics. So at any given time you can determine which areas you are scoring higher on and the % correct you have scored for each section.
Becker CPA Academic Support
An important feature to consider when going with a CPA review course is their customer support.
If you have a question on the material instead of sitting there and spinning your wheels it is always better to outsource your questions when possible.
So when researching customer support you need to consider response time:
Becker CPA states that you should expect responses to take 2 business days.
This is a long lead time compared to some of the smaller CPA review course courses who are able to make a more personal connection with it's customers.
Also consider that since most Candidates will study on Saturday that would mean you would have to wait until Tuesday to get your response.
Becker CPA Pass Promise
An attempt to make up for only giving 12 months of software access Becker CPA Review offers a Pass Promise.
While in theory it sounds great that they promise that you will pass the CPA exam or you will get an additional 12 months of access at no charge there are some stipulations.
For whatever format you use (live or self-study) you are required to complete 100% of the lectures and get 90% of the multiple choice questions correct.
The problem I see with this stipulation is that not all of us learn by watching video lectures. In fact the only reason I am a CPA today was because I used Gleim CPA and skipped lectures, focusing on teaching myself the materials with the textbooks and multiple choice.
For some people watching the Becker video lectures turns into busy work and NOT efficient studying. To require everyone to watch 100% of the video lectures may be creating double the work.
Another thing to consider is that the goal of multiple choice is not to get a question right or wrong by guessing or by memorizing the answers. The only way to pass the CPA exam is to make your goal to gain a true UNDERSTANDING of why a question is right or wrong.
I understand that they want to make sure you have actually followed their study road map, but it would just be so much easier (and less stressful on candidates) to give unlimited access until you pass the exam or at least 24 months of access.
Becker CPA Review Course Pros & Cons
Just because a course is expensive doesn't mean it's the best.
Written materials are top notch with plenty of examples and mnemonics
Multiple choice explanations are excellent and will help you truly understand why a question is right or wrong.
Some of the best Flashcards in the industry with detailed definitions of the most tested material.
Excellent study planner that keeps you on track and is fully customizable.
It doesn’t make sense to spend 2-3 times more for a review course that offers the same features as Becker CPA.
Live Classes are in 4 hour sessions and involve an accounting professor playing the video lectures for you. The only real advantage would be the ability to ask the live instructor a quesiton. But personally I would rather have the ability to pause and rewind the lectures if I missed something.
18 Month Expiration. With only 20% of CPA candidates passing the CPA exam without failing a single section their Becker 18 Month Promise isn't ideal for Candidates. If I am going to spend $3K+ on a CPA review course I never want to lose access to it. I admire any CPA review course that is willing to stand behind their product and guarantee me access until I pass the CPA exam.
Waiting 2 full business days for a response to a question is too long in my opinion. Especially when the majority of students study during the weekend and need a quick response.
Who is Becker CPA For?
Becker CPA may be the best course for you if:
You have an excellent attention span and like following a rigid system
Learn from lectures and highlighting (Visual Learner)
Like using flashcards
Don’t mind dry accounting professors
Bottom line if that doesn't sound appealing or you can't afford Becker, I would recommend Roger CPA, Gleim or Wiley CPAexcel.
They all offer the equivalent features with twice the access time and options at half the price.
I highly recommend that before investing a significant amount of money into Becker CPA Review that you sign up for their free trial to ensure you are 100% confident Becker CPA Review is the best course for you.
The majority of my classmates used Becker to pass the CPA exam, but it just didn't work out for me. Bottom line, I want to connect you to the Best CPA Review course for you based on how you learn. NOT what some fancy marketing terms that the companies come up with.
NOTE: If you are still unsure how you learn best and whether Becker CPA is absolutely the best course for you I would be glad to assist you in your decision:
My email: [email protected]
Or head back to my Top 10 Comparison page here or Discounts Page here