Sample Question #205 (programming – SAS)

Let a be a SAS dataset that’s already read into SAS memory and let v be the numeric variable of interest from a.

How do you get the following sample statistics about v in SAS?

- Mean, standard deviation, median, minimum value, maximum value
- Kurtosis
- Two-sided confidence interval limits, with confidence level (i.e., alpha) set to 15%

(Comment: SAS, which is great for processing large datasets, can be found at many quant shops)

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ANSWER

You use PROC MEANS for all these sample statistics. (Bonus question: do you know the difference, in syntax and in functionality, between PROC MEANS and PROC UNIVARIATE? When would you use which?)

1. PROC MEANS DATA=a MEAN STDDEV MEDIAN MIN MAX;

VAR v;

[Since you’re asked to print sample stats only for the variable v, make sure you include the VAR statement! Remember, quants must be detail-oriented.]

2. PROC MEANS DATA=a KURTOSIS;

VAR v;

3. PROC MEANS DATA=a ALPHA=.15 CLM;

VAR v;

This is pretty basic stuff in SAS (beyond using only DATA steps). Not too long ago, though, I interviewed a candidate whose resume labeled him a "SAS expert," yet he couldn’t answer this question correctly (he didn’t know he could specify specific statistics for SAS to compute and print out). [True story]