You’ve decided to take the CPA Exam; now you need to research the best possible CPA prep course for you in order to sit and pass as quickly as possible. As you start to dig into CPA prep courses, you may be considering which features you really need in order to pass. Do you want to purchase a bare minimum CPA Exam review course based on your learning style? Or would you rather go all in and get something with extra features or support? Or maybe your needs lie somewhere in the middle? You’re a unique individual, and your CPA Review course should fit with your specific learning needs.

If you’re in the throngs of researching, check out Surgent’s three different packages: Essentials Pass, Premier Pass and Ultimate Pass. You’re sure to find the absolute best CPA review course to fit your needs.

Essentials Pass

As Surgent’s most cost-conscious course, Essentials Pass offers a four-part review course (one for each section), featuring ASAP technology. There are no physical materials, but the course includes a study planner as well as Surgent’s award-winning adaptive learning technology to help you study as efficiently as possible. CPA study materials include ebooks for all four exams, access to video lectures, and access to the mobile flashcard app. You’ll also have access to over 7,700 multiple choice questions, over 400 task-based simulations, and unlimited practice exams. Also, the course never expires and you’ll get free content updates corresponding to CPA Exam updates by the AICPA.

The Essentials Pass is a great choice for people who are on a budget or feel they don’t really need any physical materials or extra coaching. It offers the bare essentials of Surgent’s courses, but A.S.A.P Technology, automatic updates, and its ReadySCORE feature all make this an excellent value.

Premier Pass

Premier Pass includes all the features of Essentials Pass, but also comes with printed textbooks for all four exams, printed flashcards for all four exams, and 1-on-1 coaching sessions for each section of the CPA Exam. A.S.A.P. Technology is still at the forefront of Premier Pass and, just like Essentials Pass, the course never expires and includes automatic updates to correspond with actual CPA Exam changes.

This is a great CPA Exam review course for anyone who really enjoys having printed materials to work with. Some candidates learn best by reading through printed materials and having the ability to mark them up and make notes. You’ll still have access to the video lectures, though, if you’d prefer to learn by watching and listening.

Premier Pass is also perfect for anyone who would like a little extra boost from a virtual CPA Exam expert. Students get three 30-minute 1-on-1 sessions; success coaches will help with any questions regarding study schedules and test taking, as well as hold students accountable through their study journey. They’re a great resource if you need a confidence boost as you study, and will help you prepare for what to expect on exam day. Each session with your personal counselor is tailored to your specific questions and needs; by the time CPA exam day rolls around, you’ll be ready to sit and pass.

Ultimate Pass

If you’re looking for the best value for your money and a course that is truly comprehensive, you’ll want to look into Surgent’s Ultimate Pass. Ultimate Pass has every feature Essentials and Premier Passes do, with a few extra features tacked on. These features include an integrated test bank with 1,000 extra multiple choice questions, audio lectures for all four CPA exam sections, Surgent’s ultimate customer support, and access to the Excel Certificate course.

The Excel course is especially valuable for any CPA candidate for a few reasons. Firstly, Excel is the spreadsheet tool used on the actual exam for both multiple choice questions and task-based simulations. In 2018, the AICPA implemented a switch from a generic spreadsheet tool to Microsoft Excel; getting comfortable with Excel and learning to do simple functions will help tremendously on the actual CPA Exam. Not only will you be able to arrive at answers to exam questions faster, but you’ll be comfortable with the software going into the exam, alleviating some of those pre-exam jitters.

The second reason learning Excel is extremely valuable is because you’ll use it extensively in your actual job. No matter which field or industry you go into, there’s a high likelihood that Excel is going to be the spreadsheet tool of choice. Being able to show employers you’ve taken an Excel course and are comfortable with the software will put you ahead of the competition, helping you get a job and helping you feel comfortable in your new position.

Ultimate Pass includes study materials for candidates who want a comprehensive CPA Exam review course that is going to provide a huge boost both before and after the actual CPA Exam.

Surgent CPA Review compared to other courses

Surgent’s adaptive learning technology is best in class; its award-winning adaptive technology and ReadySCORE feature Surgent at the top of the list when it comes to helping students pass more efficiently. Surgent also offers CPA Review course payment plans, a money-back pass guarantee, and unlimited access until you pass, features which aren’t always available in other courses offered by Becker CPA review, Roger CPA review, Wiley CPAExcel or Gleim CPA review. If you want to dig deeper into how Surgent stacks up against these other courses, check out our course comparison charts below:

Becker CPA Review versus Surgent – CPA Course Comparison

Roger CPA Review versus Surgent – CPA Course Comparison

Wiley CPAExcel versus Surgent – CPA Course Comparison

Gleim CPA Review versus Surgent – CPA Course Comparison

No matter your specific needs, Surgent has a CPA prep course that is going to be the best fit for you. Our adaptive learning software identifies and optimizes content based off of your specific strengths and weaknesses, helping you pass faster and feel more confident as you make your way toward your CPA license.


Megan Bierwirth graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and passed the CPA Exam within six months of graduation. She worked in both public accounting and industry while becoming a CPA and now runs a virtual bookkeeping company focused on preventive, integrative and complementary medicine professionals.