• Studying for the certified public accountant exam is no easy task. There are various methods you can use to study for the four-part exam. Two very popular study programs are the Gleim and Bisk CPA review programs. Knowing which one to use is a matter of knowing your strengths, weaknesses and preferences.


    A complete Gleim CPA review course that includes online tutorials, books, test-prep software, audio CDs and Test Prep for Windows Mobile costs $989.95 for all four parts or $274.95 for an individual section. Bisk charges $1,980 for the complete package. It includes online classrooms, streaming lectures and access to live faculty advisors. A full set of books is also included in the package price. One individual section costs $495. If you prefer not to use the online classroom, you can purchase a full set of self-study software and textbooks for $695.


    Both the Gleim and Bisk programs have money-back pass guarantees. Under the Gleim program, you must complete either 90 percent of each online study unit or 90 percent of each question type. You must also sit for the purchased sections by the end of your testing window and submit your report to Gleim within 45 days of receiving a failing grade. Under the Bisk program, you have to complete all of the study materials to qualify for the guarantee. The company also goes one step further and will refund your purchase price if you purchase study materials to prepare for your next sitting of a section of the exam, but find out later that you passed in a previous sitting and the materials were not necessary. The CPA exam is a four-part examination covering rigorous topics. It takes six to eight weeks to get a score back and there are limited chances to take the exam, as every third month does not allow for any testing. You can take one exam at a time, or you can sit all four within a two-day period. Once you pass a portion of the exam, the score is only valid for 18 months. If you don't pass the other test portions by the end of the 18-month period, you will have to sit for that section again. This is why the Bisk return policy is a great feature. If you have a feeling you failed a section, you can start preparing so that you are ready when you get your score report.

    Time Frame

    Your Gleim online materials will be available for 18 months past the purchase date. After 18 months, you will have to re-purchase the product in order to use it. Bisk software never expires. Note that the Bisk software differs from the online classroom. The software is a self-study and self-paced system that comes on a CD-ROM. Bisk's online courses are instructor led--just like a live seminar--except that it is delivered on the computer. Once the online class is complete, you aren't going to have access to it again without paying for another class session.


    When choosing between the Bisk and Gleim programs, consider your personal learning preferences along with the overall cost of the product. The comprehensive Bisk program provides you with online access to faculty instructors. The online Gleim program is a self-study course with pre-recorded presentations.

    Expert Insight

    Bisk claims that it is the online review of choice for two of the big four accounting firms, and that it was originally designed for use in one of the big four firms. Accounting firms and the exam software manufacturers won't disclose their relationships, due to legal issues. However, both Gleim and Bisk programs are used at various college campuses across the country to help students prepare for the CPA exam.


    Gleim CPA Review

    Bisk CPA Review

    More Information:

    American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

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