A Level Statistics

 

Please note that from September 2017, Statistics will be available as a one-year A level subject only.

What is it about at sixth form level?

A fair coin is tossed nine times in a row and lands heads each time. Will it land heads the next time? Many people feel that it is quite unlikely and would bet on tails. That run of luck surely has to end! Yet it is statistically just as likely to land on heads as on tails. Chance, as they say, has no memory. Now suppose that you read that scientists have just discovered that if you eat chocolate regularly, the risk of your skin turning bright orange increases by a factor of 100. That’s enough to worry many people. Indeed, “shock” headlines of this kind can be found across the “science” pages of many national newspapers. By itself, it should not worry anyone. Perhaps the underlying odds of developing orange skin are astronomically small. If so, a hundredfold increase will pose a negligible absolute increase in risk.

When it comes to statistics, our intuitions often lead us astray. In a world where we are bombarded with ever more data, it is increasingly important to have a good understanding of how to interpret patterns and probabilities. The emphasis of the course is on developing a rigorous understanding of how to approach and interpret data. You will learn how to decide which tests are appropriate to determine which kinds of patterns and how to evaluate the results. Although you will have proper grounding in the mathematics, the course is designed to show you how to use statistics across a wide range of real-world situations.

The course is a one-year course, meaning that you will sit the AS and the A2 together in the summer.

Autumn Term

The AS is divided into three modules. In Unit 1, you will look at numerical measures, probability, binomial and normal distributions, estimation, and correlation and regression. In Unit 2, you will look at time series, sampling, discrete probability distributions, interpretation of data and hypothesis testing. In Unit 3, you will look at contingency tables, hypothesis testing and non-parametric methods.

Spring and Summer Terms

The A2 is also divided into three modules. In Units 4 & 5, you will look at continuous probability
distributions, distributional approximations, estimation, and hypothesis testing. In Unit 6, you will look at experimental design, analysis of variance, statistical process control, and acceptance sampling.

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

A qualification in statistics is valuable if you wish to pursue study in the social sciences and in medicine. It will develop your skills of analysis and abstract thinking. In particular, it will sharpen your sensitivity to patterns and teach you how to overcome misleading intuitions and cognitive biases.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You should have a grade B or above Maths (I)GCSE.

How is the course assessed?

AS & A level

The course is assessed entirely by examination in May/June. There are papers on each module. Each paper is worth one third of the AS level or one sixth of the A level. Each paper lasts 1 hour 30 minutes.

Reading

Statistics 1 (2nd Edition)
By R. Williamson et al
Published by Heineman, ISBN 978-0435513382

Statistics 2 and 3 (2nd Edition)
By R. Williamson et al
Published by Heineman, ISBN 978-0435513405

A level Statistics for AQA SS4
By R. Williamson, G. Buque
Available by special order from AQA

A level Statistics for AQA SS5
By R. Williamson, G. Buque
Available by special order from AQA

A level Statistics for AQA SS6
By R. Williamson, G. Buque
Available by special order from AQA

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: Pearson-Edexcel 5381, A2: Pearson-Edexcel 6831

 

Mike Danzelman
Head of Department

Tiffany

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
Royal Veterinary College (Veterinary Medicine)

"I have loved MPW. The class sizes are very small and it is easy to ask questions. The teaching is really interactive and they all care so much about the students. My Director of Studies helped a lot with my UCAS statement, suggesting what to include and perfecting it with me. I honestly don’t think I would have go any university offers without her help."

Oliver

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A

Progressed to
University of Bristol (Law)

"I’ve had three fantastic years at MPW: I’ve had a happy time; I’ve met some amazing people; and, most importantly, I’ve left school knowing that I have fulfilled my potential, leaving with GCSE and A Level grades that I can be proud of. I feel that the teachers and Directors of Studies all care deeply about their students' futures and performance."

Nathaniel

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University of Edinburgh (History and Politics)

"All of my teachers have been great; they are experienced, friendly and treat us all like adults rather than teenagers. I’ve also enjoyed being in a city. There is so much to do and we’ve been on a lot of theatre trips after school which is something I hadn’t been able to do before. My favourite thing about MPW has been the people I have met."

Ella

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
King's College London (Biology)

"I would like to say a big thank you to my teachers. Everyone at MPW has been so warm towards me and my teachers are so friendly and willing. They also adapt to learning styles and have been sensitive about responding to my needs; they provide extra help when I need it but also give me space to absorb new topics or information when I need that."

Chris

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A

Progressed to
University of Bath (Mechanical Engineering)

"One of my favourite things about MPW is the people I have met, who are all really nice and really fun to be with. My Director of Studies was really enthusiastic which rubbed off on me. She also helped enormously with UCAS, taking the time to clearly explain what I needed to do and supporting me."