Skip to content The Open University

Student and tutor module reviews

Mathematical statistics

see module description

  • Points: 30
  • Code: M347
  • Level: 3
On this page

Student reviews

I embarked on this module as one of my last two for my degree.

Having completed it, there is some quite heavy calculus and theory involved. It is really interesting how you learn lots of underpinning theory behind things you just took for granted up until now. I know that some people suggest that you should do this one at the end, but I would seriously think about doing this while 'Mathematical methods, models and modelling' (MST210) (particularly) or 'Pure mathematics' (M208) were fresh in the memory as the calculus from that helps in M347.

Once over the initial couple of recap chapters, it was immediately quite difficult, but on receiving results of my first couple of tutor-marked assignments, and with support from my tutor on some things that I just couldn't understand initially, was reassured that I was on the right track.

It's a challenging module but if you put the work in you'll be OK, and your maths will really progress. It's not one to do if you're looking to do the bare minimum and dip in and dip out of - half the exam is multiple choice with no marks for your working, so you have to be on your game.

Edwin James Evans

Course starting: October 2020

Review posted: August 2021

I found M347 absolutely fascinating and highly enjoyable. Some of the insights I gained, not just into statistics but into the wider mathematical world, left me sorry that my degree is finished and half-persuaded to pursue a Masters. I felt far more capable as a student of maths after the module than I did before.

M347 has a reputation for being very tough. I found it as tough as you would expect a level 3 mathematics module to be, no more no less.

I think the reason for its reputation is that most students who do it are on a maths/stats pathway and for many of them it's the final module of their degree. Consequently they likely won't have done any hard core calculus or linear algebra since OU level 2 (M208/M210) and M347 comes as a bit of a shock to the system. So although students are sometimes advised to take M347 as their final module (as I was) I think in fact it may be better to do it before the other OU level 3's with the foundations of M208/210 fresher in the memory.

One word of advice - be sure to do ALL the exercises either during the module or during revision. They really help.

John Schofield

Course starting: October 2019

Review posted: November 2020

Faculty response

Although students can decide when to start studying M347, we advise that students should have the required statistical and mathematical background which can be achieved by studying ‘Analysing data’ (M248) and other OU level 2 and 3 statistics modules. Obtaining the required level of competency in mathematics and statistics is crucial for students to be able to understand the module. To make M347 simpler for students who may not have enough time to fully understand every topic in the module, the module team has produced a list of core material for students to concentrate on.

I am really pleased I did this module.
Seeing the mathematical underpinnings of statistical methods made them make so much more sense to me!
I also really enjoyed learning about the Bayesian approach which was new to me.
The module also benefits from an excellent set of additional resources in the "wiki" including screencasts and past paper solutions.
This is a mathematical module (as the name suggests) so expect to need to be fluent with calculus, in particular.

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: May 2019

By far the hardest of the modules in my BSc maths/stats. The material is very intensive and whilst well written was a slog. The lack of a handbook in the exam (instead a formula sheet was given) was sorely missed compared to previous maths modules. In fact the chapter summaries combined would have made an excellent handbook and im unsure why this is not admissible. Im not a fan of the CMAs (multiple choice). As others have stated, no method marks are available in this section and so your reasoning can be 80%+ correct but, say with a minor slip up and its still worth no marks...

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: September 2018

Faculty response

In response to the feedback, students are now provided with a printed Handbook to be taken into the exam like other mathematics and statistics modules. M347 students are also allowed to annotate the Handbook with their own remarks and comments. This was not present before as M347 was originally online only but the module now has both a Handbook and printed module material.

Following on from students review, the iCMA (multiple choice questions) that used to be part of the module assessment have now all been transferred into Practice Quizzes. This means that students can use these quizzes for exercising and revising as many times as they want, without worrying about the marks they may get.

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

Enter a module code to find a review

To send us reviews on modules you have studied with us, please click the sign in button below.