Website of the Month: Kaplan CPA Review

By Susan B. Anders

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JULY 2005 - The Kaplan CPA Review website ( is a marketing tool of a for-profit organization and is designed for the user to purchase Kaplan’s products and services. The site, however, does offer some interesting free material.

The website is organized utilizing two comprehensive approaches: a familiar format for a product or service provider, and a format based on the four segments of the CPA exam. Every page on this website minimizes extensive searching. The website also features video content.

The homepage packs in a lot of information and quickly guides users to their desired resources. The homepage and the main pages present a consistent banner design at the top, followed by a horizontal menu bar to navigate the site. A second horizontal menu bar that appears only on the homepage features the four parts of the CPA exam. Hyperlinks that appear at the bottom of pages replicate the items in both horizontal menu bars. Each main subsidiary page presents a left-side vertical index of the main features for that section. Free resources include “navigate the CPA exam,” “video tips,” “practice questions,” and “accounting links,” which are accessible to all visitors. A 40-question testlet and e-mail lessons are available to registered users. Creating an account is the least user-friendly activity, as there is no obvious hyperlink or menu button to follow. This reviewer found that the easiest approach was to log in and receive an error message, which then directs the user to the necessary instructions on how to create an account.

Navigate the CPA Exam

The “navigate the CPA exam” feature presents a map of the United States from which the user can select a jurisdiction for its specific rules, in a PDF file. The summary, which is handy and time-saving, addresses applying to take the examination, state fees and educational requirements, “testing windows” when the exam is offered, and locations and contact information for the Thomson Prometric testing centers in each state.

Sample Exam Questions

The website offers free sample questions under two different resources. Practice questions are available via the “free resources” menu button. There are five to eight multiple-choice questions for each section of the exam. These questions are not interactive, but the user can see the answers and an explanation.

The 40-question testlet, which includes 10 interactive multiple-choice questions for each section of the exam, can be accessed from a hyperlink on the homepage, and also under “free resources” on the main menu. Users must register and log in to access the testlets, which will then appear as hyperlinks on the homepage. The questions appear one at a time, and each question must be answered before proceeding to the next. A time clock is at the top of the screen, and users can mark questions to return to at the end of the exam. After completing the 10 questions, the user can view and print explanations of the correct answers. There is also a 45-minute video for each testlet, in which Joe Hoyle addresses each question and explains the answer.

Other Free Resources

The “video tips” section provides short videos on specific topics that fall under each exam section. These can be accessed via a hyperlink on the homepage. A useful collection of links to other websites, including the official CPA exam website, can be found under the “free resources” menu button. The “CPA info” menu button contains basic information about the CPA exam, including the test sections, scoring, dates, and registration information.

Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor of accounting at St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, N.Y.




















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