Here follows the Royal Statistical Society's Examinations report for the year 2015
Candidate numbers and results
There has been a rise in uptake of modules at each of the three levels as compared with last year, and the overall number of awards has also risen slightly.
This year 101 and 93 candidates sat the two modules of the Ordinary Certificate examination, the numbers in 2014 having been 90 and 99. There were 92 (ie 91%) and 61 (66%) passes respectively, compared with 65 (72%) and 67 (68%) in 2014, while 60 candidates were awarded the Ordinary Certificate, 25 of them being with credit and nine with distinction as against 62, 17 and nine in 2014. These are very pleasing results, matching almost exactly last year’s performance and thus maintaining the step-change from previous years.
Candidates at the Higher Certificate level sat 340 modules in total and recorded 222 passes (an overall pass rate of 65%) compared with 247 modules in total and 134 passes (54%) in 2014. Seventeen (fifteen in 2014) candidates successfully completed the Higher Certificate this year, seven (two last year) of them with credit and a further three (five last year) with distinction. The previously downward trend in level of performance has thus been reversed, and there was a very encouraging upward swing in the number taking each module.
Candidates at the Graduate Diploma level sat 163 modules in total and recorded 76 passes (an overall pass rate of 47%) compared with 149 modules in total and 83 passes (56%) in 2014. Thirteen candidates successfully completed the Graduate Diploma (ten in 2014), two (one last year) with credit and five (same as last year) with distinction. Although there was a drop in the pass rate of individual modules, the number of awards exceeded that of 2014 which had itself been the highest for many years. We warmly congratulate the candidates on this notable achievement.
The usual collaboration continued with the Hong Kong Statistical Society for offering professional examinations in Hong Kong. We are grateful to Howell Tong, who acts as the moderator for the Chinese Language papers.
The separate arrangement with the Japan Statistical Society (JSS), whereby the Society’s examinations are offered under licence to candidates in Japan with the JSS taking responsibility for administration and awards, also continued at the Graduate Diploma and Higher Certificate levels. Forty candidates sat at least one of the Higher Certificate modules (47 last year), and 14 candidates sat at least one of the Graduate Diploma modules (nine last year). Altogether 150 modules were taken at Higher Certificate level of which 82 (55%) were passed, the corresponding figures in 2014 being 174, 78 and 45% respectively. Nine candidates were awarded the Higher Certificate, seven with credit and one with distinction, as against five, two and one respectively last year. A total of 34 Graduate Diploma modules were taken of which 20 (59%) were passed, the corresponding figures for 2014 being 31, 20 and 65%. Two candidates were awarded the Graduate Diploma, both with credit.
Reports from examiners
The reports submitted by RSS examiners on their papers include detailed comments on individual questions, which should be of great help to candidates and to those preparing them for the examinations. These comments have been incorporated into the Examiners’ detailed comments file, which is available from the examinations section of the Society's website.
This document also includes generic advice to candidates based on our examiners’ experience of marking across all the levels and papers of our examinations. We would encourage those candidates intending to take the examinations in 2016 to read this advice and to refer in particular to the comments on the papers they expect to sit, as this is the primary means by which their examiners can communicate with them.
It is worth reminding candidates that all levels of the examinations operate under the modular system, one benefit of which is that not all the modules at a particular level need to be taken in the same year. Candidates are most likely to be ultimately successful in passing, particularly at the Higher Certificate or Graduate Diploma level, if they are realistic about the amount of time they have available for study and enter for an appropriate number of modules each year.
We would also remind candidates that past papers (plus specimen papers for newer examinations) and reading lists are provided on the RSS website, and we strongly suggest that all candidates make use of these vital resources as part of their preparation. Full solutions for papers before 2011 are available from this web page, though it has been necessary to discontinue the preparation of solutions for more recent examinations.
In 2015, the full team of examiners and markers comprised: Paula Curtis, Hilary Kimber, John Lane, John McColl, Andrew Mead, Kay Penny, Karen Pettit, Trevor Ringrose, Derek Robinson, and Neil Sheldon. Penny Bidgood, Alan Kimber and Lawrence Pettit were our senior examiners, with Gerald Goodall and Ian Jolliffe as assessors. We thank all these colleagues for their professional approach to setting, scrutinising and marking the RSS papers. Ian Jolliffe and Derek Robinson are now stepping down, so our particular thanks go to them for their dedicated service over many years. Indeed, Derek has been involved in RSS examinations for over 20 years and has held all the posts of examiner, senior examiner and assessor at one time or another, so his input will be greatly missed. Martin Ridout will take Ian’s place as assessor in 2016, while Ian will switch hats and replace Derek as examiner.
Once again, the Board is most grateful for the work undertaken in support of the examinations by the whole team at Errol Street, in particular Sarah Barker, Cat Eaton-Lee and Roeland Beerten; the success of the examinations system depends heavily on their hard work and care day by day. Special mention, as always, is also due to James Clark for the speed, efficiency and accuracy of his typesetting of the examination papers.
My own time as chairman has also come to an end, and Kevin McConway will now take over. I am very grateful to all those who have contributed to the Society’s examinations during the past four years; their hard work and professionalism have been exemplary, and they have made my task both a pleasure and a privilege.
Wojtek J Krzanowski
Chairman, Examinations Board
NB: The exam pass list for 2014 is currently published in the News of Fellows section of this website.