Bisk CPA Review Course – Why the Mixed Reviews?

The Bisk CPA Review Course has been preparing students for the CPA Exam since 1971.  It’s online and self-study programs are endorsed by Ernst & Young and KMPG, two of the Big 4 public accounting firms.  

Bisk material is used by on campus CPA review courses at universities across the United States.  You would think Bisk is a premier review course.

Past student reviews, however, are mixed.  Why? Let’s investigate together.

Learning Options with Bisk

Bisk is best known for its Classic CPA Review course.  These CD-ROM based courses offer over fifty hours of video lectures and Personal Trainer software to keep you engaged and on track with the course.  Bisk was actually one of the first courses to offer its courses in audio or video format, so they have years of experience creating high quality CDs.

Along with the video lectures, the Classic course includes a textbook and workbook for each section and a schedule of homework and reading to accompany each lecture.  If you are looking for structure, you will find it here.  In addition, the included practice test software keeps statistics for you to help you decide where you need additional review.

Live classes are available through Bisk if you prefer a face to face classroom setting.  Live class sessions are four hours long and available in many cities and on college campuses.  The live class uses the same textbook and homework material as the Classic course, but lectures are given by instructors who highlight the material as they see fit.  If you like the interaction of an instructor, you may prefer this setting.

What if you prefer instructor interaction but the class locations or schedules don’t work for you?  

The Bisk CPA Review Course offers an online class that blends the best of the live classroom experience with the Classic course.  You log in to a “virtual classroom” to chat with other students and interact with your instructor.  The lectures are delivered via streaming video and the textbook and workbook material is identical to other Bisk courses.

Costs and Guarantees

Bisk CPA Review Courses are moderately expensive compared to other options. While not as expensive as Becker, the Classic and Online courses are $1,980.  Other courses like Yeager CPA Review are less expensive, and courses such as Roger CPA Review have extensive discounts which Bisk doesn’t offer. 

  • Bisk offers a money back guarantee within 10 days of purchase

  • If you sit the exam and fail, you can receive either a full refund or an updated version of the course as long as you meet Bisk’s qualifications

Here’s where things get a little tricky. 

  • Requirements for Online Course Guarantee – once you prove you failed the exam section in question Bisk will review your online statistics.  You must have answered every practice question correctly at least once AND passed the final review exam to qualify.

  • Requirements for the Classic Course Guarantee – Again you must prove you failed the exam section in question.  At that point, you must burn your statistics on a CD and send them to Bisk for review.  Those statistics must show that you not only answered each review question at least once and passed the final practice exam… you must have spent a minimum of one full minute on each practice question in order to qualify.

While it is certainly possible to utilize the guarantee, it’s difficult to believe many students have.

A Look at Student Comments

Former students make interesting observations about their experience with the Bisk CPA Review Course. We’ve reviewed the comments and summarized them for you.

  • Lecture Quality – Bisk has one very well-known instructor, Bob Monette.  He is a nationally recognized CPA expert and many students love him.  Other Bisk instructors are not so well loved and students are concerned about the quality of lectures delivered by anyone other than Mr. Monette.

  • Create a Custom Exam – Bisk offers software as a part of its courses that lets you create your own practice exam.  This feature is unique and students enjoy being able to focus their practice on areas of weakness.  Unfortunately, however, it does not randomize the questions within each section.  Some students find this limits their ability to truly judge their progress.

  • Textbook vs. CD – Students who used Bisk’s a la carte purchasing options were disappointed to find that the textbook and the review CD are identical.  If you are considering purchasing both, there’s no need.  Be careful to differentiate between the review CD, which is text, and the video CD-ROM which contains lecture content.

  • Quality of Overall Instruction – This is the key area where reviews are mixed.  Most students seem to feel Bisk is not enough to prepare them for the exam and in the end purchase a course like Wiley to supplement their study efforts.  The exceptions seem to be students who benefited from Bob Monette’s lectures.  They felt well prepared as a result of his instruction.

  • Guarantees – Student comments were overwhelmingly negative about Bisk’s guarantee policy.  Many tried but did not qualify for a refund.  This one factor alone prompted some students to abandon Bisk altogether and move on to another review course.

Bisk CPA Review Course – Inconsistent Quality

Bisk CPA Review Course has the reputation and endorsements to make it one of the main review course options on the market.  Unfortunately, the lectures and materials offered are inconsistent.  While we can’t argue with the expertise of Bob Monette, his high standards of instruction don’t appear to flavor the entire course.

It’s particularly concerning that students who are unsuccessful with the CPA Exam find it difficult if not impossible to use Bisk’s guarantee. 

Reputation isn’t everything.  Unless you are a fan of Bob Monette or your employer is footing the bill for your review course, you should be very cautious about purchasing the Bisk CPA Review Course.  If you decide to give it a try, make sure you read the guarantee fully or consider supplementing Bisk material with a strenuous review course like Wiley.

If not, you could be sorely disappointed.