cpaexcel-vs-gleim-cpa-reviewBoth Wiley CPA and Gleim CPA review are great CPA exam study guides. Consequently, many candidates have a difficult time deciding which one is better. The right question isn’t which CPA exam study materials are better. It’s which CPA exam prep course suits you better and is right for you.

Let’s compare all the features in both of these review courses to see which one fits your learning style best. We’ll go through the test banks, video lectures, study books, practice questions, and a few other features. I’ve used both of these courses a ton, so I know pretty much all the ins and outs of both. I’ll be comparing the Wiley CPA Platinum Course to the Gleim Premium Course. Let’s see which one takes the cake. 🙂

Wiley CPA or Gleim CPA Review Comparison

Wiley CPA Review versus Gleim CPA Review Prices

You may have noticed that I chose to compare the two “premium” CPA review courses that both companies offer. I did this because I think it’s a true comparison of what you can get from each company. They both offer different levels of study guides, but I would recommend getting the full version of whatever prep course you decide to buy.

There is a big price difference between these two courses. Whether you’re interested in buying exam prep content for just one or two sections of the exam, or you’re interested in getting all four in one package, Gleim is the more affordable option. Impressively, they manage to keep their costs so low despite offering similar features to Wiley— and in some cases, they even offer better materials.

See for yourself how these courses compare with the table below:

CourseFull Course PriceSilver Course PriceSingle Section Price
Wiley CPA$2,450$1,700$825
Gleim CPA Review$1,999$1,599$599

Winner: Gleim

Unlimited vs Limited Access

Both sets of CPA exam review study materials come with unlimited access to their online courses and practice exams. This is a huge plus compared with many other courses on the market that expire after a certain period of time and require you to pay an additional fee to keep using the course you’ve already paid a ton of money for.

No extra fees with either of these courses!

Winner: Tie

Wiley CPA vs. Gleim Test Bank

Both of these educational companies update their test banks regularly, so you can expect them to keep improving each year. For example, Wiley now offers more than 12,000 multiple-choice questions and 500 task-based simulations. However, it’s worth noting that many of these questions are supplemental; they’re a little easier and less dense than what you’d find on the real exam.

Alternatively, Gleim CPA Review’s test bank has long been the industry leader for the largest bank of past CPA exam questions and professionally written solutions. They currently offer 10,000+ MCQs, 1,300 TBS, and 350+ simulation problems. Additionally, all of these materials are equally challenging, so you won’t get a break. If that sounds intimidating to you, then you might not like Gleim— but if you want to pass the CPA exam no matter what, this is the course for you!

Winner: Gleim

Gleim CPA vs Wiley CPA Study Text

This is where these two courses really differ. The Gleim study text is extremely detailed. It gives tons of explanations and goes through many more practice problems and examples than Wiley does. This can be great for candidates who want to understand a topic better. Alternatively, it can also bog down candidates who already understand the topic and simply want a refresh. Gleim also tends to include many more topics than what is actually covered on the exam. This tends to increase candidates’ study time by reviewing things they don’t need to.

Wiley’s materials, on the other hand, contain enough information to learn the concepts but not enough to bore you to death. The study books typically follow in the information in the lectures and give some added detail. Each lesson is relatively short and doesn’t usually walk through too many examples and explanations. These study books tend to list topics and concepts that will appear on the exam. Thus, you should know them. They don’t cover a lot of extra material.

If you’re already familiar with several exam concepts and are taking the CPA exam for the second (or third) time, you might prefer Wiley’s textbooks. However, Gleim is the better option if you’re shaky on several underlying accounting concepts and don’t mind consulting information-dense materials.

Winner: Gleim

Gleim CPA Review vs. Wiley CPA Flashcards

CPAexcel features a full set of over 4,000 digital flashcards that you can use on any device. This is a great feature because it allows you to practice topics and key terms wherever you are. However, there have been many complaints from students that accessing these flashcards on their mobile devices isn’t always dependable due to core issues with Wiley’s app. Fortunately, their Platinum course also comes with a set of 1,000 printed flash cards that you can use to study or take notes on.

Gleim CPA Review didn’t offer flashcards with their courses for a long time. In fact, it was only in 2020 that they started including digital flashcards for each section of their CPA exam review courses. With even distributions based on the content of the exam itself, this is a terrific feature to have— but it’s not quite on the level as you might expect from the courses that have been including them for longer!

Winner: Tie

Audio Lectures and Audio Books

Gleim offers a full set of audio lectures that can be listened to anywhere you go. This is a pretty good feature because it allows you to listen to lectures while you are doing something else like driving to work or riding your skateboard.

Wiley CPA doesn’t offer any audio lectures or audio books with their platinum course. It’s a shame, but many people don’t use this feature because they do the bulk of their studying at home, the office, or the library.

Winner: Gleim

Offline Access

CPAexcel comes with a set of flash drives and a mobile app that can be installed on any device. Thus, you can take the entire CPAexcel experience with you no matter if you have an internet connection or not. But just like with their digital flashcards, there have been multiple complaints from customers about being unable to access their materials offline.

Gleim doesn’t include flash drives or a mobile app. You’ll have to log onto their system in order to use the digital aspects of their course. Fortunately, this doesn’t limit your use of their study materials on your mobile devices when they have a solid connection— which unfortunately can’t be said about Wiley. Additionally, Gleim’s award-winning and universally praised physical textbooks are fully accessible offline!

Winner: Gleim

Gleim CPA Review versus Wiley CPA Course Format

Both of these prep courses are based around the self-study model, but they have a couple of huge differences in their approach. Gleim CPA Review has embraced the adaptive approach that actively suggests questions and study topics for candidates as they go through the course. As you answer questions, the adaptive software tracks your right and wrong answers to understand what you know and what you don’t. It then makes custom topic suggestions for you to study.

The CPA Excel course format is more traditional. It’s similar to a textbook where you start at chapter one and go under you finish the course. The entire course is split into small, bite-sized lessons that target the most important topics covered on the exam. Each lesson should take 10-30 minutes to complete. This means that you can start and finish multiple lessons in one sitting without having to start and stop the same lesson over and over.

Ultimately, this is a case of personal preference: do you want more hands-on or hands-off guidance?

Winner: Tie

Wiley CPA or Gleim Lectures

Both of these courses have similar lecture styles. The presenter stands in front of PowerPoint presentation and talks about the concepts. The Gleim lectures tend to go into more detail and cover more examples than the Wiley videos do, but the CPAexcel videos tend to focus on only the key topics covered on the exam. Additionally, Wiley offers slightly more video content with their premium prep course compared to Gleim, giving them the win.

Winner: Wiley

Study Planning

Since Gleim has started using the adaptive approach to CPA exam prep, they have developed a smart planner than automatically generates your study schedule. You simply enter your exam date and any days you don’t want to study and it will do the rest. It automatically tells you how many topics you need to cover each day. It also actively tracks your progress. If you miss a day, it will update the calendar and add more study time to future days.

Wiley CPA doesn’t have a feature like this. They make an effort to compensate for the lack of adaptive learning tech by offering physical Focus Notes in a spiral-bound book, but the better option for this educational aspect is definitely Gleim.

Winner: Gleim

CPAexcel or Gleim CPA Review Customer Support

When you purchase a Gleim course, you will be assigned a personal counselor who will be your helper and supporter throughout your study process. He or she will email you when you get behind and answer any questions you have along the way. This is a great feature for people who have questions about topics or just need an accountability partner to give them a kick in the pants.

CPAexcel offers support through message boards and emails. It’s similar to the Gleim support system, but not as personal. You don’t have a designated person who answers your questions. You simply send them in and someone will get an answer back to you.

Winner: Gleim

Study Material Updates

Both courses come with unlimited access and updates. You never have to worry about your course being outdated with either of these choices.

Winner: Tie


Both of these courses look nearly identical at first glance. However, when you really get down to the finer details, it’s obvious that Gleim has the far better CPA review course in nearly every aspect that matters.

Kenneth W. Boyd

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.