Statistics (A Level)
Why should I study A Level Statistics?
This is a very useful subject to add to an A Level programme of study. Statistics will build on the data handling skills you developed through GCSE Mathematics and will teach you more about how to collect, analyse and summarise data in order to arrive at conclusions about it.
Many of the ideas you will meet in this course have applications in a wide variety of other fields. Statistics is a particularly useful complement to those taking subjects such as Biology, Psychology, Geography, Sociology, Economics, Business or Mathematics. It is also useful for students considering studying a degree course where research skills and statistical analysis will be an important part of the course.
As a student in the Mathematics Department, you will have the opportunity to attend the Inspirational Mathematics Lectures in December where well-known figures in the world of mathematics and statistics provide entertaining insights into their research.
The course will help you develop the skills to deal with large amounts of data, supported by the use of a graphical calculator. The calculators enable you to carry out the calculations more efficiently, which allows you more time to reflect on the meaning of the results and draw appropriate conclusions related to the original context of the data. To do well in statistics you need to develop and use formal logical thinking abilities that are both high level and creative.
A graphical calculator is essential for this course and will be used extensively for lessons and homework. It can be used in all written examinations and you will find that the statistical functions will make many calculations much easier. The model we use is the Casio fx-9750GII which can be purchased through the College at a very competitive price.
You will study topics from the following areas:
Collecting and presenting data, probability, the binomial distribution, the normal distribution and its application to a variety of situations from quality control in manufacturing to identifying exceptional results, and correlation and regression applied to scatter diagrams.
Time series analysis where data appears to fluctuate but in a repeating pattern, different ways of choosing samples, interpreting tables of data and statistical diagrams from a variety of sources including the Office for National Statistics.
Hypothesis tests – these allow you to determine if there is enough statistical evidence to support your idea. A few of the methods used are: contingency tables for identifying links between different variables, the sign test, Wilcoxon signed-rank test and the Mann-Whitney U test.
All of the tests in Statistics are referred to, or used, in other A Level subjects which analyse experimental results or data. There is also further work on correlation looking in more detail at the strength of the link between variables.
The Statistics course aims to develop your understanding using a variety of approaches to learning. Apart from tutor led lessons with the whole class, there are opportunities for group work and for independent study, with your tutor’s support. Teaching involves textbooks, which include explanations, development work, examples and summaries, as well as exercises. Some topics are introduced with an investigation or a practical experiment, often using computer software or graphical calculators.
Drop-in support classes are available throughout the year and we also run a series of revision workshops to help you prepare for the summer examinations.
Minimum Entry Criteria
Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the prospectus) and a minimum of:
GCSE Mathematics (Higher) and GCSE Statistics
GCSE English Language or English Literature
A Level Statistics can be studied alongside A Level Mathematics or Core Mathematics in Year 1 as a separate qualification.
Students will take three written examinations at the end of Year 2.
Progression onto Year 2
Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.
What can I do after studying A Level Statistics?
Statistics is a very valuable subject to have studied at A Level and universities will look favourably at candidates who have this qualification. If you wish to continue studying Statistics at university it is important that you also study A Level Mathematics. For many people the study of Statistics will be an essential element in their workplace, especially those working in science, finance and management.
Examples of career areas which involve statistics on a regular basis: medicine, weather forecasting, emergency planning, disease control and prediction, medical research, genetics research, political campaigning, insurance / risk analysis, quality control and stock market analysis.