I received my Professional Accounting Certificate in December 2011, and just today I received the happy news that I passed the last of the sections of the CPA Exam!
Because my CLC classes were spread out over a lengthy period of time, I decided that it would be a good idea for me to enroll in a review course. To be honest, I think taking a review course is a good decision for anyone, just because there is so much information that is covered on the exam. The review course I chose was the one offered through Becker Professional Education. They offer live review classes (now with a location in Gurnee), online lectures, or a self-study program. Whichever you choose, you receive a study book and lecture/homework software for each section of the CPA Exam. You can pay extra for flash cards and a final review package, but I didn't do that. There were literally thousands of review questions, a lot of simulations, and practice tests that are set up almost exactly like the real exam. The biggest downside is that Becker is REALLY expensive. I was very fortunate that my employer reimbursed the cost, but because of that I don't know how Becker's costs compare to anywhere else.
I certainly expected the exam to be challenging, but I definitely underestimated how much of my life it would consume. For me, preparing to take the CPA Exam was almost like having another job. The best thing I can recommend to anyone else, regardless of if/where you take a review course, is to answer as many practice questions as you can get your hands on. If you have time on your side it may be beneficial to spread out your test dates a little, but keep in mind that once you pass your first section, that score is only valid for 18 months from the original test date, so you can't wait too long either. All I know is that I took the four sections within a five-month span, and it definitely took a lot of effort.
I will say that the CLC Professional Accounting Certificate program was excellent preparation as well. I'm glad I had the opportunity to be a student there, and it absolutely has paid dividends for me. Keep at it, it's worth it!