Peter Symonds College

Study at PSC

This Statistics course is designed primarily for candidates who wish to study the applications of statistical techniques within psychology, biology, business studies, economics, management and the humanities.

Course Content

The emphasis in Statistics is on uses of mathematics, rather than the logic, style and rigour of Pure Mathematics. This course is not suitable for students who will be studying Mathematics or certain types of Engineering at university.

Statistics is the branch of Mathematics which is used in situations involving variability or uncertainty, such as weather forecasting, finance or assessing the effects of medicines.  The course builds on descriptive statistics, such as averages, and leads on to testing whether an observed result is statistically different from what might be expected; for example, is the proportion of babies born with birth defects significantly higher in the neighbourhood of a nuclear power plant or not?

Methods of Teaching

Lessons will be varied, mixing investigations, class discussions, checking progress with mini-white boards and the practice that makes perfect.  The graphical calculator offers tools for deepening our understanding, checking our working and saving us time.  You will have opportunities to develop your calculator skills in lessons.  Your teacher will show you how to make effective use of the department's Google Site.  The subject content will be assessed regularly by means of tests and assignments.

There is a well-resourced workshop, available every lunchtime for students, to gain additional support.  Teachers and upper sixth students will be present at each session to offer you help.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

There will be three 2 hour external exams in May/June at the end of year two.  There is no coursework.

Paper 1 Data and Probability, 2 hours long. Questions may be on

  • Probability
  • Probability distributions
  • Binomial, Normal, Poisson and Exponential Distributions
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Experimental Design.

Paper 2 is on Statistical Inference, 2 hours long. Questions may be on

  • Correlation and linear regression,
  • Hypotheses Testing
  • Contingency Tables
  • Paired Test
  • Goodness of Fit

Paper 3 is on Statistics in Practice.  Questions may be set on any of the topics within the specification, including the Statistical Enquiry Cycle (SEC)

Where Could It Take Me?

Some students with A Level Statistics have gone on to train as accountants.

Many students have found A Level Statistics valuable when taking degrees in Psychology, Business Studies, Geography, Biology and Anthropology.

You develop the ability to follow complicated formulae and instructions accurately, and this is a very transferable skill in a wide range of mathematical and non-mathematical contexts.

Financial Implications

You will be provided with course booklets but you must have your own stationery and purchase a graphical calculator. It is best to wait until you are at college where you can buy the fx-CG50 at a reduced price. Where there is difficulty meeting these costs, the College has a Student Support Fund.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English and a grade 6 or above in Mathematics.

A level Statistics cannot be taken alongside A level Mathematics.

Most Recent Results

Below is a summary of the most recent set of results for this subject:

Grade: A* A B C D E U Total
Total: 1 3 3 11 4 2 1 25
Percentage 4.0 12.0 12.0 44.0 16.0 8.0 4.0