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November 27, 2022

Turns Out Becker Didn’t Come Up With the Intensive Review Course Concept

Fun fact: the intensive review course is not a Becker invention. As far as we are aware, it was actually pioneered at James Madison University in 2005.

Known GC reader Professor Tim Louwers sets the record straight (note for disclosure purposes that Professor Louwers serves on the AICPA Auditing and Attestation Subcommittee and is therefore restricted from having any contact with Becker or any other CPA review program):

James Madison University pioneered the 5-week CPA Review course which Becker originally thought was insane, but allowed us to try anyway.  Paul Copley, JMU’s Director of the School of Accounting, came up with the idea of “CPA boot camp” as a good way to encourage our grads to take the exam before they started working.   Most of the students’ leases go through 6/30, so the course starts on campus a week after graduation (midMay), runs 6 weeks with a one-week break in the middle.  Students are then encouraged to take all four parts in the July-August window (two weeks apart). 

I think we had close to 90 (both JMU and other local college students) take the course this past spring in a “misery loves company” environment, but the results ARE pretty ridiculous (94% overall pass rate, 87% (!) overall section average for JMU MSAs).

As we already know, JMU boasts a pretty bad ass CPA exam pass rate so they must not be that crazy after all.

This only goes to prove what was already proven in the comments on the earlier post about intensive review – it works best if you have no kids, no spouse, no job and no life. For fresh grads, it might be a viable way to hammer through the exam but for those who've been dragging their feet and out of the game for awhile, it might be best to stick to something a bit slower and all-encompassing.


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