Ordinary Certificate

The Ordinary Certificate is the entry level of our professional exams. It will give you a sound grounding in the principles and practice of statistics, with emphasis on practical data collection, presentation and interpretation. It is pitched between GCSE and A-level standard in the English school system.

It is intended both as a first qualification, an end in itself; and as a basis for further work in probability and statistics including our Higher Certificate and Graduate Diploma examinations. Holders of the Ordinary Certificate should be able to carry out supervised routine statistical work, or be able to apply elementary statistical methods to broader work environments.

Please note that The Royal Statistical Society has decided to withdraw from offering its own professional examinations after the May 2017 session. This decision has been made to allow the Society to focus its resources on setting and maintaining professional standards in statistics and allied disciplines, in the UK and Internationally. Please see our dedicated page on Withdrawal of professional examinations for more information.

Course structure

The Ordinary Certificate has two independent modules that you can take separately or together, during any time period. Separate certificates are awarded for each module. To be awarded the Ordinary Certificate in Statistics you need to pass both modules.

Each module has a three-hour exam. Each contains about eight questions with no restriction on the number you may answer. The questions are of different lengths and the mark allocations are shown.

Entry requirement

You should have a good General Certificate in Secondary Education (GCSE) in mathematics or statistics or an equivalent qualification, or relevant work experience.

Full details including the syllabus are available on our key information page.