Surgent CPA Exam Review Prep Course: In-Depth Review (2020)

Brandon Vagner - CPA Exam Success

Quickly meet the expert reviewer for the Surgent CPA Review product

Real quick future CPA, my name is Brandon Vagner.  I’m a CPA first and foremost, but I’m also a former KPMG manager, PhD, and business advisor.  I take helping you succeed on the CPA exam extremely seriously, and I know a high quality review of the prep courses is an important piece of that process.  I’m confident you’ll find everything you need right here at CPA Exam Success.  Enjoy this detailed review of Surgent CPA Review.

What comes with the Surgent CPA exam review course?

Surgent CPA Review Highlight Features

  • 350 video lectures;
  • over 6,840 AICPA-Licensed multiple choice questions;
  • 295 task-based simulations for all four sections of the CPA Exam;
  • Customized study notes and their study planning tool.

Surgent CPA Review

Surgent CPA Exam Review

Highlighted below are some of the the Surgent Ultimate Pass Course Features:

Ultimate Pass was created to take personalized exam review to the next level. It has an incredible level of personalization and one-on-one student support. Ultimate pass is powered by the Surgent CPA Review proprietary adaptive learning software, A.S.A.P. Technology, which identifies an individual student’s areas of comprehension and uses that information, as well as real CPA Exam content, to generate customized study plans aimed at improving his or her weaker areas.

While A.S.A.P. Technology optimizes study time for efficiency, Ultimate Pass ensures student success with one-on-one student support.

Students receive:

Professor Tutoring (an $800 Value): *New* Students receive 4 hours of one-on-one tutoring from practicing Accounting Professors. Professors serve as an additional resource for the student to explore subject areas they may be having trouble with, breaking down difficult topics into easy-to-understand concepts.

Success Coaching (a $400 Value): Students are also assigned dedicated success coaches to guide them along their CPA journey. Success Coaches assist students with study and exam schedules, study strategies, test-taking tips, and accountability.

Additional features also include:

Surgent’s Critical Skills Certificate: Excel® for Accounting and Finance Professionals (a $149 value): *New* Since its incorporation into the CPA Exam, students with Excel® knowledge have a leg up on those without. Students will walk away from this course with a better understanding of how to use Excel to their advantage during the CPA Exam, as well as a skillset that will set them apart from other job candidates or colleagues.

Printed Textbooks ($500 value) and Flashcards ($150 value): High-quality bound textbooks and spiral bound printed flashcards. These resources are fully aligned with CPA Exam Blueprint categories. Printed textbooks include multiple-choice questions, simulations, and explanations at the end of each category (whereas digital textbooks do not). Surgent prints textbooks on demand, and textbook content is updated on a quarterly basis, ensuring candidates receive the most updated content at the time of their order. By comparison, most providers update their textbooks annually.


Before we dive into breaking down the Surgent CPA exam review course and actually showing you key features within the course, I want to first say that Surgent CPA exam review could be a great option for you for a few different reasons.

Surgent takes a tailored learning approach.  What do I mean by that?  Well, the typical CPA exam prep course has you watch the lectures and/or read the incredibly long lecture guides before you work any practice problems.  This is what takes up the bulk of your CPA study time.  However, Surgent takes a different approach and has you work the problems FIRST.  Their system is adaptive learning based, and it is able to identify your weak areas and adjust the questions delivered to you based on the questions you miss.

The online dashboard will notify you of these weak areas and you can then go in and watch lecture videos as you please based on which area you performed poorly in.  Additionally, when you miss a practice question, you will be prompted with an excerpt from the respective reference text (i.e. lecture guide).  The thought being, you don’t need to read anything unless you show signs that you don’t already know it (i.e. missing a question).  The bottom line, Surgent can be a TIME SAVER.

You might be wondering why you’ve never heard of Surgent CPA Exam Review, and how successful can they really be at preparing you if you’ve never heard of them.  You’ve likely never heard of them because most institutions only push the big block brands.  My guess is that one of the big block brands already didn’t work for you and/or the cost of the big block brands is too much.  Don’t worry if a big block brand didn’t work for you!  It simply means that particular course didn’t match your learning needs.  Everybody is different, and that’s why companies like Surgent CPA Exam Review exist.  They offer a different learning environment that might just be the perfect fit for you.

As far as their track record, Surgent has an overall pass rate of 89.7%!  That’s extremely impressive, and shows that they are doing something right.  Also, students who complete the Surgent course with a trending score of 80% or higher have a 100% pass rate.

These are just some of the positives to this course, and i’ll list out more below in the actual review.

Overall, this course takes a much different approach to preparing you for the CPA exam.  If you are short on time and/or just don’t like watching long lectures or reading through standard textbooks, then their adaptive learning question bank approach might be just the ticket for you.  They are using 6,000 licensed CPA exam questions from the AICPA.  So, from a content perspective you are not getting short changed.

You should know that this great website is made available to you based on the minimal commissions, at no added cost to you, earned by this website if you decide to utilize the links within the website prior to making your test prep purchase.  I greatly appreciate your support, and so do all the future CPA’s looking for guidance in choosing a CPA prep course!

Alright, lets dive into the detailed review…



Real quick and simple, are you somebody who is looking for a prep course that can analyze your weaknesses and strengths; adjust the content deliver based on those analysis results; and deliver content quickly?  Then, you might have just found your perfect match!  It’s a unique course and approach to CPA exam prep, but Surgent realizes your time is extremely valuable and they try to address that.

This course is potentially perfect for the person with an extremely busy job and/or personal life that is looking for an efficient quality prep course option.

If you’re looking to watch the entire set of lecture videos and you need a high energy instructor to keep your attention, then I would advise to look into other options.  Definitely try Surgent with their free trial and check it out for yourself, but if you know you need high energy instructors, then there are better options.


Surgent CPA Review – FREE Trial

Yes!!!! Everybody loves FREE trials!  It’s such a great way to feel out a course before you make your final decision.  I highly recommend using this FREE trial link for the Surgent CPA Review course.



CUSTOM PREP!  That’s what Surgent is selling you on.  Their courses are designed to cut your study time down significantly, and provide you with a custom adaptive learning approach.  That means your analysis dashboards should be highly informative and clearly identify your weak areas.  Surgent has successfully done this.  Below you’ll notice a snapshot from their system, which evidences my results analysis for the auditing sections.  Each one of these high level section dashboards clearly shows you how many total questions Surgent has for you in that section; the number of questions you’ve already attempted; and your percent correct total.  From within this high level view you can easily see all this high level data, but it also acts as your daily task starting point.

At the top of the dashboard is your “Daily Surge.” This is what Surgent CPA Review is telling you that you need to complete for the day. Below you will see your daily practice question session, which is driven by your pre-assessment. You also will notice suggested lecture videos and study guide references. Keep in mind that all of this is based on your custom path. Surgent CPA Review keeps you on a customized daily path so that you’re studying what you NEED to study.

That’s not all though!  They have much more detailed analysis reports, which we go into below this high level one.

Surgent CPA Review Course Dashboard

Alright, so you’ve seen the high level reporting tool above.  The reporting tool you see below is critical and has a very KEY data element, which is the average time spent on each question.  This is huge considering your CPA exam success is going to be driven by your ability to not only answer the questions correctly, but also by your ability to efficiently move through the exam.  Trust me when I say that you should pay VERY close attention to these performance statistics to help identify areas you need more practice in.  A 100% average score for a 125 question section is AWEFUL IF you had an average time of 7 minutes to complete each question.  This tool will help you analyze your speed!

Surgent CPA Review Detailed Report



Below you will find an example of what a Surgent CPA Review practice question will look like.  It’s very simple and straight forward. You’ll notice that within each individual question you will have an opportunity to read the lecture text if you so choose and/or watch the related lecture videos.  Below, you can see the question explanation, but also the related resource links.  This easy to use interface makes navigating through your studies VERY easy.

Surgent CPA Review Practice Question Example-



Below you’ll notice a screenshot of the Surgent lecture video dashboard.  The video dashboard is slide based, and probably what you’re used to if you’ve taken an online class.  You can see below how the content is sectioned off into category time blocks, which makes it easy for you to navigate through the lecture.

Additionally, on the left of the screenshot you’ll notice a place for ‘notes’ and ‘bookmarks.’  This will come in handy for you as you progress through your prep.  The system auto logs where the video lecture was when you took the notes, and that makes it very easy for you to go back to the specific point in the lecture video.

You’ll notice a 1x speed below in the snapshot.  This is a really nice feature that allows you to speed up the lecture so you don’t have to spend as much time watching it.  Many people use this feature for online book reading, and it enables them to quickly move through content.  You should definitely take advantage of this.

With regards to the instructors themselves, they do bring a level of personality to the table, but at times it can seem like they are just reading from their notes as opposed to really getting into the lecture.  I will say that this is being pretty critical of me, and I do think that the instructors did a great job.  Keep in mind that this course isn’t like all the others.  It’s not designed for you to sit and watch all the lecture videos.  It’s designed so you only have to watch videos that pertain to areas of weakness identified by the Surgent learning management system.


Surgent CPA Prep Course Lecture


If you need to access a lecture guide (i.e. reference text), you will have that option within your dashboard.  Below is an excerpt from the auditing reference text.  You can take a quick read through this example and see the level of detail attained.  This is definitely nice that they packaged together this reference text within the prep course.


Surgent CPA Prep Course Lecture Guide


Another nice feature they have in the prep course is a section glossary at your disposal.  It’s always beneficial to have something like this as you move through a CPA exam prep course.  It will make your life easier as you go to do your final reviews.


Surgent CPA Review Glossary


The simulations get the job done.  Period.  The tool isn’t going to look exactly like what you’re going to see on the official CPA exam or other high end CPA exam prep courses, but that’s ok.  You don’t need it to.  Would it be nice if it did?  Absolutely, but that costs major development dollars, and this is an affordable CPA exam prep course that’s trying to keep your cost down.  With that said, you’re going to give up some design features, but you shouldn’t lose sleep over it.

Surgent’s job is to get you familiar with simulations so it’s not something completely foreign to you when you get to the official exam, and they do get that job done.  Check out your simulation view below…


Surgent CPA Review Simulation Example


DESIGNED TO SAVE YOU TIME  – Surgent CPA exam review has two primary goals: 1) save you time when it comes to studying and 2) prepare you to pass the CPA exam.  They are succeeding at both, and I personally think Surgent CPA is a good option for people looking to save money and get through their CPA prep quickly.

PASS RATE – 89.7% overall pass rate!  Enough said!

ADAPTIVE LEARNING – Having a prep course that can identify your weak areas and adjust the content it delivers to you is huge!  It saves you time!!!

PASS GUARANTEE – As long as you meet all the criteria, they do have a pass guarantee.  For many, this allows them to sleep easy at night.

PRICE – This course is affordable at a starting price of $1,899, and they do offer payment plans.

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Let’s get you on the right track so you pass all parts on your next try!