Saturday, June 2, 2012

CPAR vs ReSA: A Review on two of the toughest CPA review centers in the Philippines

It's been two weeks since I passed the May 2012 CPA board examination. After three attempts of taking the board examination, finally I made it. To God be the glory.

This review is based on my experience in both review centers. Yes, I have tried these two and now I will try to give a brief and unbiased overview of them both.

Firstly, The Review School of Accountancy (otherwise known as ReSA)
I enrolled in ReSA after graduation from college to take the October 2008 board exam. I enrolled here because this was really my first choice even if my boyfriend (who's already a CPA then) kept on convincing me to enroll at CPAR. I chose ReSA over CPAR because of the public perception about the fast-paced teaching in CPAR, I feared that I could not be able to cope up with the lesson. 

So to start,
ReSA is located at the 5th floor of CMFFI Bldg. in Sampaloc, Manila (near UE and PSBA). If I remember it right, there are four or five rooms used as classrooms, all fully air-conditioned and one small library.

  • located in the 5th floor - if you're late, there's no elevator to use
  • only one restroom for ladies with few cubicles - long line starts to build during break time and dismissal (separate restroom for gents)
  • during combined classes, they use video camera and projectors so that reviewees from other rooms could see the reviewer
  • weekly quiz in order for the reviewees to assess how much do they understand the topics
  • materials are really comprehensive and contains lecture notes about the topics to be discussed 
The Reviewers (only those who became my reviewers):
  • Aljon Lee - became my reviewer in MAS and TOA. Yes, he's really good. He explains every topic not too fast but not too slow. For me, he's a very effective reviewer that, what he teaches really retains in my head. 
  • Antonio Dayag Sr. - became my reviewer in Practical Accounting 2. Many say he's good but I really cannot appreciate the way he teaches. He speaks kind of fast and unclear that I cannot understand what he's saying. Handwrtiting is small that it almost cannot be seen when you are seated at back of the room. What I like about him is his book, no doubt about that.
  • Asser Tamayo - became my reviewer in Taxation. The hand-outs have it all, just a little input and explanation from him could be enough.
  • Marcelino Bonafe - became my reviewer in Business Law. No comment. ;-)
  • George James - became my reviewer in Aud. Theory. He makes the discussion light and easy to understand. I didn't experience boredom in his class.
  • Conrado Uberita - became my reviewer in Practical Accounting 1. The classroom becomes lively whenever he cracks silly jokes. He teaches formulas that are easy to remember. (e.g. PAPA BEEB, DADA BEEB)
  • Chris Espenilla - became my reviewer in Practical Accounting 1 and Auditing Problems. He's cute. But he's really fast during discussions. I wasn't able to cope up with his style of teaching.
  • Shirley Ireneo - became my reviewer in Auditing Problems. The classroom is lively during her class. She's good in explaining the solutions to the problems, she often cracks jokes to maintain the liveliness of the class and to lessen the stress brought by the subject.
On my first attempt of the board exam, I did not succeed. I decided for the second attempt for May 2010 examination and enrolled again in ReSA but I did not take the board for some personal reasons. Then, as I reflect on myself about what I really want in life, I have finally decided to take the board again on October 2011. For a change, I followed my boyfriend's recommendation and tried the --

CPA Review School of the Philippines (otherwise known as CPAR)
CPAR is located at Cayco St. Sampaloc Manila (across UST). It has its own building (I'm not sure if it's rented though) with seven class rooms, two rooms in each floor for 2nd to 4th floor, one room and the so-called library in the 5th floor which is the penthouse. All rooms are fully air-conditioned except the "library" because it's open air.

  • no video camera during combined classes (am/pm sessions), so the room where the reviewer is, gets crowded. Reviewers in the other rooms just listen to the voice of the reviewers
  • materials may or may not be enough, depending on the reviewee of course. As for me, I needed ReSA's Taxation and MAS hand-outs. There are no lecture notes in the hand-outs except for Auditing Theory and MAS
  • the building is spacious during regular classes, making it more comfortable and relaxed to study
  • comfort rooms with cubicles are provided in each floor
  • the fast-paced perception of the public is not true :)
The Reviewers (only those who became my reviewers):
  • Atty. Conrado Valix - didn't actually became my reviewer during regular class but during pre-week lectures. He explains in simplest terms. He's a hands-on review director. 
  • Christian M. Valix - became my reviewer in Practical Accounting 1 and TOA. He discusses the theory/concept about the problems first before answering the materials. I like his approach. Just like Aljon Lee, he explains slowly but surely
  • Chris German - a factor why I decided to try CPAR, too bad he didn't became my reviewer in Prac. Acctg. 2 again. He was my reviewer in IPRSD in P2 and I could say the best I had in P2 so far.
  • Brian Lim - became my reviewer in Practical Accounting 2. May 2007 CPA Board Topnotcher. At first, I really didn't bother to listen and understand his lectures, but as I progress during review, I have learned to cope up with his style of teaching. He's kind of fast.
  • Gerry Roque - became my reviewer in Auditing Theory and Auditing Problems. He's kind of good during lectures but seldom writes on the board.
  • Rodel Roque - became my reviewer in MAS. He discusses the lecture well and really encourages the reviewees to study ahead so that we wouldn't be left during the discussions
  • Atty. Dante dela Cruz - became my reviewer in Business Law. Idol. The best. He discusses the lecture very brief and concise. Explains the law in its simplest terms. His life story is really inspiring that if I would ever take up Bachelor of Laws, it's because of him.
  • Atty. Jack de Vera - became my reviewer in Taxation. He explains the theory really well but not so well in computations. I like the way he delivers his lectures, and I really see him as an intelligent man.
My second attempt wasn't successful like the first one, but I've seen an improvement on my ratings that's why I decided to try it for the last time. I took a refresher course in CPAR again. Incidentally, my reviewers during my first time with CPAR became my reviewers again during my second time, so I couldn't speak for the other reviewers. 

I do not know if this blog could help you decide on which review school to enroll. I wouldn't recommend one either because they have their own strengths and weaknesses, facilities-wise and reviewers-wise. In the end, it isn't the review school that will get you the CPA license but YOU. I would just like to quote what the May 2012 CPA board topnotcher said during his talk in the pre-week in CPAR:
"WORK as if everything depends on YOU and PRAY as if everything depends on GOD."
And another one from the movie 3 Idiots:
"Pursue EXCELLENCE and SUCCESS will chase you, pants down."
God bless future CPAs. :D


  1. "Passing the board exams is based on luck, but the more you read, the luckier you get"- as frequently spoken of by Mr George James.

    I enrolled in both review schools for the Oct 2006 boards. I reviewed in ReSA during weekdays (batch 12), and CPAR (batch 60) during weekends. Each review school has their strong points and subjects which they excel in, and both differ in approach.

    On my opinion, CPAR assumes that the reviewee is already knowledgable of the topics on hand and the lesson would just be a "mere review", that's why the discussion is already problem based. That's why many problems can be discussed, and their problems are quite difficult to solve in comparison to the CPA board exams.

    On the other hand, ReSA assumes a 50%-base knowledge of the reviewees, therefore making the subject lighter and easier to understand, which is good particularly if the reviewee didn't have a good grasp of the subject during their undergrad. Sometimes, the problem is for subjects with overwhelming topics like P2 and AT, there is a tendency that the reviewers needed to catch up on the topics and would have combined make-up classes for it.

    Both schools are good. Choosing therefore the review school should be dependent on your style, on how you cope up with the subjects and on how dead serious are you in passing the CPA boards.

    1. I agree sir. Depende talaga sa style ng reviewee kung pano sila mag-aral. :)

  2. Thanks for this info and review. I will show it to my gf who is presently studying at CPAR, as her plans as of now are to attend review school at least twice before taking the exam

  3. Tanong ko lang kung pano ang procedure ng enrollment sa Resa? how much is the tuition fee and reservation?Plano ko sana magtake ng CPA exam sa October 2014, so May ako mageenrol, pwede na ba magenrol/reserve ngayong January?

    1. Hi. Actually po wala akong balita how much yung tuition fee ngayon sa resa. That was 2009 pa nung nagreview ako dun. Pero alam ko po as early as now pwede na magpareserve ng slot, para makapili ka ng magandang sched and seat. :)

  4. Wow! Thanks! I just enrolled in CPAR this week and i am so hopeful that I'll be a CPA this year. :D I never knew that CPAR has a library/penthouse. :D

    1. God bless sa review. :)
      Yung penthouse usually open yun kapag pre-week. may mga tables and benches naman sa 2nd - 4th floor as study area. :)

  5. Hi,

    I just want to ask if you took a refresher course and where did you took it?



    1. Hi! Yeah i took refresher course in CPAR. :)

  6. Hello,

    Is there an online review or online refresher course of those two (ReSA & CPAR)? I'm actually planning to try taking the CPA board exam. I graduated 11 years ago. My work experiences (in pinas & abroad) are on accounting (5 yrs) & auditing (6 years) respectively. I'm confused whether to take the refresher course first or I'll go for the review straight away? I really appreciate if you could give me some advice. Btw, I'm currently (working) in abroad, so online class is my only option.

    Thanks & Regards,


    1. Hi ma'am. I am sorry but I am not sure of both review centers offer online refresher/review course.

      As for your second question, i am also not sure if refresher course is required for those who graduated long time ago. What I know is, refresher course is required to those who failed the board exam twice. Basically, there is really no big difference between refresher course and review proper. In refresher course, you just have to satisfy the attendance requirement of 20% in National Review Center and 80% in CPAR and pass the preboard examinations. That is just the difference between the two. But I do not know if you will be required to take refreshers or not.

      Hope I had enlightened you somehow. :)

    2. Hello Johanna,

      Thanks a lot for your reply.



  7. Hi kapag ba holy week may pasok sa CPAR? :D