Behind the scenes: Statistical Business Analysis certification exam


Ever wonder how the SAS Global Certification team comes up with a new exam?  Well I’m about to take you behind the scenes of our latest certification – SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS 9: Regression and Modeling Credential.

With the prevalent use of SAS statistical software for data analysis, our customers have expressed a desire for  a credential geared toward analytics professionals with strong backgrounds in SAS statistical procedures such as REG, GLM, and LOGISTIC.

It was a major collaborative approach from development to final creation. We started by talking to business leaders and hiring managers to find out what they were looking for in the Statistical Business Analyst job role. We also scoured job boards to see what skills were needed and in demand. Statistical Analysts fill a large variety of positions:  forecasting, quality control, and market basket analysis among others. Recognizing that no single certification could cover these diverse topics, we have focused this credential on regression and predictive modeling techniques using SAS.

After this research, we brought together industry professionals, college statistics professors and SAS instructors  to write the exam items. We followed it up with a major technical review and beta exam before creating the final exam.

The SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst helps with logistical regression and the creation of models to solve business challenges such as assessing credit risk and targeting marketing campaigns. Essentially helping you make better business decisions. This new certification complements our existing Predictive Modeling Using Enterprise Miner certification by providing a statistical credential that focuses on Base SAS and SAS/STAT procedures and programming techniques.

The recommended classes for this credential are the Statistics 1 and Predictive Modeling Using Logistic Regression class. While there are no prerequisite SAS certifications required, strong SAS programming skills are critical for success.

It took a lot of hours, energy and coffee to create the certification, but the process was rewarding and we’re excited about rolling it out.

If you’re interested in taking the exam, it will be available on Sept 28. In the meantime, you can find more information on the exam registration page or email us at


About Author

Mark Stevens

SR Certification Specialist

Mark Stevens is a Certification Specialist for SAS Global Certification and has been working in training and certification since 2004. A SAS Certified Base Programmer since 2010, Mark enjoys every opportunity to dive into new SAS products and features. When he isn’t working on the next SAS certification, he can be found digging in the gardens in his back yard.


  1. sameer siddiqui on

    Hi Mark,
    I am intending to give this exam as soon as possible.From the two courses you mentioned in your blog Statistics 1 and Predictive Modelling Using Logistic Regression class, i have completed the first one 'Statistics 1' by e learning module.The second module 'Predictive Modelling Using Logistic Regression class' is not available for access to me .I am interested in attending this also.Can you please sugeest as to how i can avail the e learning module for this.

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  3. kiran chapidi on


    Can anyone advise me how good it is taking the credit risk modelling using SAS course details in the following link
    Is it worth taking the course because it is a hectic module and it is thought only in 3 days... How good the quality of learning is I doubt.... Is the course taught with the real time scenarios... and is there any material provided... all this questions are in mind.. any one please clarify if you have info....

    Thanks in Advance

  4. Mark -thank you for your response. The 10 sample questions seem to be mainly testing the conceptual know-how and not so much writing the sas code itself. I do not have extensive background in SAS as a programmer however I have experience performing some of the statistical techniques like logistic regression, clustering etc. I do not however remember the code off the top of my head -I refer to my notes each time I have to do something with it. There are too many details/code options for a 'normal being' to remember in these techniques that I find it surprising that one is expected to be 'proficient' in it without any reference. Ofcourse, the definition of 'proficient' remains debatable. Could you comment on that? I can interpret the output just fine. So my concern remains the extent of coding that will be tested. Also, sample questions do not have any short answer type questions that are supposedly part of the exam. Thanks

    • Mark Stevens on


      You have some good, thoughtful questions here. I hope I can address them adequately.

      With respect to ‘proficiency’ in SAS code, we would expect that candidates would have a few months of hands-on experience with SAS and SAS statistical procedures. This credential is SAS specific, and while your background with the concepts will serve you well, we are also testing for knowledge and skills required to perform statistical analysis using SAS software. We do not try to test unusual or seldom used aspects of the procedures but rather focus on the core statements and options that hiring managers would want a SAS statistical business analyst to know and be able to use efficiently. As examples of this level of code proficiency we expect, 2 of the sample items (#2 & #3) involve SAS code.

      With respect to short answer items, sample item #7 is an example of a short answer numeric item. For a text item, it is typically a short segment of SAS programming code. When entering code, case is ignored and all variations of SAS syntax that correctly complete the program are accepted as correct.

  5. Hi Mark/Michelle

    I'm hoping to sit for this exam sometime this month. What I am not sure about is the content of the exam as in what would the structure look like. I've looked at the description of the certification for topics and pre-requisite knowledge but I'm more interested in hearing from those who've taken the exam or could shed some light on what the exam looks like on an average. The two courses recommended for this certification -to what level of expertise is one expected to be proficient in them. I'm looking through the content and although I feel good in general, there are many things that I do not remember off the top of my head on many topics etc simply because some of that stuff i've never used either at work or in school. That is my concern -Am i expected to know everything and anything that the e-courses note or a good general sense is good enough to pass the exam. Hence why the need to understand the structure of the exam. Please assist.

  6. Hi Mark,

    I have a question regarding retake policy of the certification.

    If i fail to clear the exam in one go, should I pay $180 for taking it again ?

  7. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for sharing insights regarding this certification, and also answering posted by others - it has been very helpful. I am a professional market research working with top notch market research agency, looking to venture in advance analytic career.Thus, I am planning to get this certification.

    I have no experience in SAS Programming; do I need basic training of SAS Base programming before I start to study for this certification. FYI - I have good knowledge about statistical analysis such as ANOVA, regression, logistics regression etc.


    • Vinay,
      Yes, you should be proficient using SAS to manipulate data and also using SAS to perform the statistical procedures. I suggest looking at the sample questions on our web page (linked in the original post) to see examples of the use of SAS programming in test questions. You may want to consider our eLearning versions of our STAT1 and PMLR courses.

      Sincerely - Mark

  8. Hi, I am MBA with computer Science in graduation. I am working as a buyer in Carrefour (leading) retailer in the world. We do planning and forecasting as part of our job. Now I am looking to further my career in Analytics. However I am not sure which of the two certification to go for:
    1) SAS Certified Predictive Modeler Using SAS Enterprise Miner 7 OR
    2) SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS 9: Regression and Modeling

    Considering the fact that I have a background in Computer Science but currently working in a business related job, which track would be more suitable for me.


    • Mark Stevens on

      It would mostly depend on which SAS software package you are using. If you work more with Enterprise Miner, then option 1 is better. If you do more programming using Base SAS and SAS/STAT, option 2 would be a btter fit.

      • Hi Mark,
        Can I opt for the 2 courses offered for SAS Statistical Business Analyst without knowledge / hands on experience on SAS software.
        Is SAS programming skills mandatory for subscribing to these 2 courses?

        • Mark Stevens on

          There is not a firm requirement to have programming skills to take the STAT1 and PMLR classes, but they do list SAS programming skills as prerequisite knowledge. Our Programming 1 course is available as eLearning at no cost, I would recommend working through that material with the help of SAS University Edition software, a free download of SAS that you can use to learn SAS.

  9. Hi Mark,

    Will there be a practice test published for this certification? Any books that you would recommend apart from the SAS e-courses?

    Thank you!


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  11. Hi Mark,
    Thanks for good and valuable information, I just completed my MBA first year, Can you please guide me about courses that are after MBA or with MBA, those will helpful to my carrier.


  12. Hey Mark,

    Thanks for the info --- since this test is pretty new and of course the sample test is too small, while the training are expensive ( if I talk of the one's being offered by SAS), I want to know if I have prepared statistics at my own end, and understand the regression concepts strongly, can some hands on knowledge of SAS/STAT would be enough for me to appear for this exam....

    Also, any relative miminum professional work experience on these skills is required to be eligible??

    • Ketan,

      While I recommend the training, it is not required. You can follow the exam objectives and prepare to answer questions in these areas. You should definately have hands-on experience working with SAS/STAT software. Experience isn't required for eligibility, but we recommend a minimum of 3 months experience, but 6 months - 1 year would be better.

  13. Hi Mark,
    Can you please advise if we can pursue ' SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS 9: Regression and Modeling Credential' after SAS Base programming certification?
    I mean without the knowledge of SAS Certified Advanced Programmer is it viable to directly jump on to the SAS statistical business analyst certification....Please share your thoughts on this.

    • Yes, you could take the new exam without having taken the Advanced Programming exam. The exams are independent of each other.

  14. thanks for sharing this! it is important to understand the wide variety of circumstances under which you could be working. Basically, a business analyst (BA) is someone that analyzes the design and organization features of businesses, companies, organizations – any conglomerate really – and makes recommendations based on his findings. This can include anything from analyzing business needs and company policies to developing a business process model and interpreting regulations necessary for technical systems.

    • JhenC,

      We had many discussions about the role of the Business Analyst during the development of this exam. It is true that it can mean different things to different organizations. This is why we included both the word "Statistical" and the phrase "Regression and Modeling" in the credential title. We hope that this helps to narrow down the intent of this credential. For further definition, we refer people to the list of exam objectives:

  15. George, can you check question 4 again and let me know if you still have a question? It was being updated at the same time you posted your comment.

  16. Sorry, actually Item 4 is the one I was unsure of, the question about the most important predictor of the response variable.
    Sorry for the confusion.
    Thanks again,

    • All you do is;
      1. Find the absolute value of the standardized estimate.
      2.Choose the biggest value.
      3.Read the corresponding variable;That would be the most important predictor of the response variable.

  17. I looked at the 'SAS Global Certification Program' link that was provided in this blog and under the 'Exam Preparation' tab there were some 'sample questions'. I am confused with the answer to
    'Item 5'. So, can someone please explain.

  18. Thanks Mark for providing some background to the certification.

    I participated in the beta exam and found it a good test of your knowledgei the areas of regression and predictive modelling. It covers your understanding of statistical theory, SAS syntax and interpretation of results - all attributes of a statistical business analysis. I learnt last week that I passed the exam, the first in Australia and I am excited to now have gained the SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst Using SAS 9: Regression and Modeling Credential

    I am now looking forward to helping other SAS users to achieve this certification. SAS users in Australa can join me, in November/December as I teach the SAS Australia Business Analytics Bootcamp -

    • Hi what is the percentage of questions come in exam as statistical theory, sas syntax and interpreting results

    • hi Michelle
      will you guide about free links books etc for preparing for sba cert exam

    • Hi Michell,

      Appreciate your help .
      I am giving "Business analyst -sas using regression" in next 15 days.
      gave base+adv. and working in analytics only.

      A request to please suggest a Best book. I will buy.

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