Large data set guidance

The AS and A-level Mathematics specifications require students to use a large data set during their course of study.

The current AQA large data set (LDS) is an extract from the Department for Transport Stock Vehicle Database.

The basic LDS can be found on the AQA website, an enhanced version with data handling tools is linked to below.

The LDS in exams

The Statistics section of AS and A-level Mathematics exams will include questions that relate to the LDS, giving a material advantage to students who have studied it.

The data set is too large to be taken into an exam but suitable extracts may be used in an exam question.

Using the LDS 

We recommend teaching with the LDS, not teaching about the LDS. The LDS is a fantastic resource to support teaching and learning the statistics content of the specification. Rather than working with invented data or data that teachers have to find themselves, this rich data set gives a relevant context for studying statistics. Students and teachers can quickly become familiar with the context of the LDS so that they can better focus on the knowledge and techniques they need to learn.

We have created an enhanced version of the LDS spreadsheet, which teachers and students can use to explore the data more easily.

Download the enhanced spreadsheet

This spreadsheet lets you select simple random samples of data from the LDS with the option to choose subsets of the LDS to focus on. Summary statistics, boxplots, histograms and scattergraphs are all produced in the spreadsheet.


More detail can be found in the DfE content document. The data set is chosen by each exam board, based on Ofqual guidance.

The enhanced spreadsheet contains macros which allow navigation within it and also for selecting samples of data. You will need to make the spreadsheet a trusted file in order to use these features.

When this specification was designed another LDS (Family Food) was used.

Additional Guidance

Our Chair of Examiners has written additional guidance for each of the statistics areas of the specification. These contain suggestions for how to use the LDS when teaching, questions to give students and worked solutions too. These have all been a great success in the classroom.

1. Exploring the large data set
Downloadable resource in pdf format. 12/03/2020
2. Sampling (K)
Downloadable resource in pdf format. 12/03/2020
3. Data presentation and interpretation (L)
Downloadable resource in pdf format. 12/03/2020
4. Probability (M)
Downloadable resource in pdf format. 12/03/2020
5. Statistical distributions (N)
Downloadable resource in pdf format. 12/03/2020
6. Statistical hypothesis (O)
Downloadable resource in pdf format. 12/03/2020

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