CPA Exam Guy Editorial Policy

CPA Exam Guy Editorial Policy2021-01-13T17:22:43-08:00

CPA Exam Guy Review Policy

As your personal CPA exam prep expert, our aim is to provide the most accurate and relevant assessments possible for the many different certification courses you can find online. Because of this, you’ll only find recommendations for exam prep courses that we’ve thoroughly tested and evaluated— we don’t want to waste any of your time or money!

Are you curious about our review process and methodology? If so, take a look at our criteria for reviewing, ranking, and recommending the best online CPA exam review courses!

What We Look For

For starters, here are some specific resources and criteria we look for when picking a course to review:

Company Info

Whether it’s a large corporation, a small business, or just one freelance instructor, we conduct thorough research into each company that offers CPA, EA, and CIA exam review materials— among many others. Here’s a checklist of necessary features:

  • Contact Info: Does the company have an official email address, phone number, and social media profile? Does a real person pick up the phone when you call their company number?
  • Staff: Do the instructors have experience in public accounting and education? Has the founder published any books or been recognized in their field? 
  • Accreditation: How long has this company been in business? Are there any professional institutions that have recognized this company? Are they registered with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)? 
  • Relevance: How much of their catalog focuses on relevant subject matter? How many people have tried their study materials and left reviews?

Study Materials

Once we’ve determined that the company is legitimate and relevant to your interests, we closely examine the study materials they offer students and exam candidates. Here are the materials we look for, as well as the questions we ask about them:

  • Lectures: Do they offer lecture content in video and/or audio format? How many hours of lecture content is provided? Are these lectures presented in an interesting way while still providing relevant information?
  • Practice Questions: How many practice questions are provided? Are any questions from previous years’ exams? Can these questions be used to make simulated practice exams?
  • Textbooks and Study Notes: Does the course provide physical or digital textbooks? Is the content easy to read or overly dry and technical?
  • Supplementary Materials: Does the course provide digital and/or physical flashcards? Do they provide last-minute cram sheets or a final review? Do they have mobile apps or games with extra study content?

Other Factors

Aside from these obvious factors, we consider several others as well. These aren’t as important as the ones above, but they’re still important to many of our readers:

  • Price: How does the course’s cost compare to similar prep courses? Do they offer financing or a money-back guarantee?
  • Technology: Can students access their study materials on smartphones and tablets? Does the course have adaptive learning tech to track progress and generate custom study plans?
  • Support: Can students contact the company’s support team via email, chat, and/or phone? How quickly do they respond? Does a real person respond or is it staffed by bots?
  • Reviews: Have other students left reviews and/or testimonials? Are these reviews only listed on the company’s site, or have they written reviews on third party sites and social networks?

What We Avoid

Now that you know what goes into our selections for the top CPA review courses, let’s cover some red flags we avoid when choosing which products and services to cover:

Questionable Accreditation

If a company isn’t officially recognized by the AICPA or NASBA, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad resource for test prep. However, it can make the difference between a #1 and #2 ranking. Additionally, all US-based companies we cover must be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.

Limited Availability or Relevance

If a course only offers live in-person instruction, we won’t cover it. We have readers all over the world; a service with limited availability won’t help the vast majority of them. Similarly, we won’t cover a course if they fail to keep their materials up-to-date with the latest CPA Exam Blueprints.