How The Does The Kaplan CPA Review Course Stand Among the Competition?

The Kaplan CPA Review Course is part of Kaplan, one of the leading educational review companies out there.  You’ve probably heard the name associated with high quality preparation materials. 

The reputation is built on Kaplan’s history of preparing candidates to take not only the CPA exam but a number of other professional exams. 

Reputation is nice, but how does the actual CPA review course rank among other courses available to you.  After all, your goal is passing the exam right?  It takes more than a good reputation to give you the success you’re looking for.  

Let’s dig into Kaplan and see what they have to offer.

Kaplan’s Learning Plan

Kaplan has a trademarked Learn-Practice-Retain methodology.  The course focuses on repetition of foundational concepts and repeated learning opportunities to prepare you fully for the CPA Exam.  They feel this is approach is the best way to ensure your success.  

While Kaplan originally offered a “live online” class option, they now offer a self-study package only.  The self-study package includes many different kinds of material, giving you lots of learning options.

  • Video Lectures on CD and Online:  Because the lectures are recorded and housed in a video library, you can watch them multiple times and on your own schedule.
  • Study Manual: Effectively a guidebook to help you learn along with the video lectures combined with a textbook.  The manual covers foundational accounting information as well as specific information relevant to the exam.
  • CPA Pro Q Bank:  This is Kaplan’s group of practice questions.  There are 2000 questions and simulations combined.  Not as many as other courses, but according to former students the questions are challenging.
  • MP3 Audio Review: Have you ever wished for a study partner?  Someone to quiz you on key topics and terminology?  Kaplan provides you with just that in the form of an audio review.
  • Interactive Study Calendar:  Kaplan’s answer to a guided review.  You can customize the calendar and create your own study plan.
  • Flashcards:  Kaplan is one of the few review courses to provide you with flashcards as a part of the main package.

Cost and Guarantee Information

The package for all four sections of the exam is $1,399.  Each section can also be purchased separately. It’s pretty reasonable, although not the least expensive option available.  This fee gives you access to the materials for 24 months.  After that point, you must purchase the package again but receive a 50% discount.

There is no guarantee related to passing or failing the exam.  The only refund Kaplan offers is a 30 day money back offer.  To qualify, you must return the entire package in its original condition and with the original packing slip.

If you use it extensively or mark in the materials in any way, you are not eligible to get your money back.

What’s Unique about The Kaplan CPA Review Course? – The Positive and the Negative

CPA review courses are plentiful and have a lot of similarities.  In order to choose wisely, it’s important that you understand the unique features of each one.  We reviewed comments and feedback from former students of the Kaplan CPA Review Course to get a good understanding of what makes this course different.

  • MP3 Audio Review:  This is not the typical lecture material in audio format.  Instead, this is an audio quiz, helping you test yourself while on your commute or in a few moments of otherwise idle time.  Think of it as audio flash cards.
  • Instructor Access:  While some other courses offer online access to instructors also, Kaplan instructors have scheduled “office hours” when they are available for online chat.  You get the benefit of asking a complex question and getting an immediate response. 
  • Too Much Written Material:  Kaplan Study Guides are extensive.  Former students say they are too extensive, covering much of the same information you learned in college.  Many didn’t use the guides because they were simply too much to assimilate. 
  • Not Enough Questions: While the questions are apparently good quality, students frequently mentioned having to view questions multiple times because there simply weren’t enough of them for a good practice session.

The Kaplan CPA Review Course – Is Reputation Enough?

The Kaplan CPA Review course has name recognition and a reputation for quality.  In our view, however, the product doesn’t live up to the reputation.  While the course offers some unique and positive features it delivers a mediocre review experience based on the competition.