BCPS Exam Tips – 2 Types of Statistical Data you Need to Know

Need a few BCPS Exam Tips?  You’ve come to the right place.  Everyone knows you need to understand statistics to pass the BCPS Exam.  I’m going to cover 2 basic types of statistical data that are critical to understand for anyone preparing for the BCPS Exam.  One of the major reasons for understanding these two terms is that it will allow you to figure out which biostatistics test is most appropriate.

Nominal Data – The best piece of advice I can give you on this term is to equate nominal to “name”.  If you are looking at specific data and trying to figure out if it is nominal data, ask yourself if you can “name” them to a group?  Another tip or trick is if you can answer the question with a yes or no answer.  With nominal data we are lumping people into groups with no definitive order.


  • Do they have high blood pressure? (yes or no)
  • Do the research subjects have GERD? (yes or no)
  • What political party do they belong to? (you can name them to a group, but no defined order)

Ordinal Data – The answer is right in the name with ordinal data.  Ordinal data has a defined “order” as compared to nominal data.  Many of our “scales”, “surveys”, or “classifications” are considered ordinal data.  What is unique with ordinal data (as compared to ratio or interval, to be covered in the future) is that ordinal data will not have a continuous number of variables between each value.  For example, a patient won’t have stage 4.13 cancer because it is ordinal data.  Often ordinal scales are very subjective (i.e. pain scale).


  • Pain Scale
  • Staging of Cancer
  • Staging of Pressure Ulcers
  • Patient satisfaction surveys

Everyone knows you have to understand statistics to do well on the BCPS exam – Check out the ultimate statistics study guide designed specifically for the BCPS exam!  A 200 question mock exam is available as well (best seller on Meded101.com)!  Best wishes if you are planning on taking the exam!

Written By Eric Christianson

June 28, 2015

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