How to Calculate With Chebyshev's Theorem in Excel

by Ken Burnside

Chebyshev's theorem describes what percentage of the data will be within a given number of standard deviations of the mean, and this works for any distribution curve of any shape, making it a useful generalization tool. It would be used to find out what percentage of a given class of students fell within one standard deviation of the mean score on a test. It's used extensively in engineering practices where statistical measures are collated for effectiveness. Excel makes using Chebyshev's theorm a straightforward exercise in entering formulas.

Step 1

Enter the number of standard deviations you wish to check against in cell B1

Step 2

Enter the following formula in cell C1: =1-1/B1^2

Read the number that's returned in cell C1. This is the percentage of data values that will be within the given range of standard deviations from the mean.

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