In this post I will be reviewing the very useful Birts Tick Data Suite. This is the must have forex tool for anyone who wants to back test in the MetaTrader 4 strategy tester – honestly, I would not even think about back testing without it.
The MetaTrader 4 strategy tester is well known for not giving accurate results but thankfully the generous “Birt” developed “Birts Tick Data Suite” which gives the most accurate back testing conditions possible in MetaTrader 4.
For starters the maximum modelling quality available in MetaTrader 4 using history from the historical data center from MetaQuotes is only 90%. The data tends to have missing gaps which can cause a significant difference in back testing results.
Birts Tick Data Suite allows you to use real tick data (I get my tick data free from Dukascopy downloaded using Tick Story Lite) for back testing expert advisors in the MT4 strategy tester. This gives you back tests with 99% modelling quality.
Birts Tick Data Suite Features
Really, the difference that Birts Tick Data Suite makes on the quality of back testing cannot be expressed enough. It is easy to use; you simply install it into the same directory as your MetaTrader 4 installation and use it to run the platform. It will prevent the tick data from being over written and removes the MetaTrader 4 back testing size limitations.
You can use the Tick Data Suite to set your tick data to use the real historical spreads (ask-bid), implement slippage, include commissions at chosen values, the time zone of the data and so much more.
The difference this accurate data and testing conditions have on some forex robots is incredible, especially scalpers. Some forex robot developers fail miserably in back testing because they used the current spread in the strategy tester which ives unrealistic results as it uses the same spread throughout all the history when in reality the spread would have been changing. If a strategy was only targeting a few pips this could be the difference between a winning and losing strategy.
Furthermore, by including commissions into the tick data you ensure that the trading costs are included in back testing which again is not done by default in the strategy tester. Slippage can also affect forex robots performance and the strategy tester by default cannot emulate slippage but with Birts Tick Data Suite you can.
Anyone serious about back testing should use this software in my opinion; I don’t really consider any back tests that don’t use tick data, real spreads, commission and slippage.
Perhaps you may be put off thinking it is too complicated to use but once you get going it really isn’t. Birt also offers great support and is very helpful and the website also has tutorials explaining how to back test in a very easy to follow and understand format.
Birts Tick Data Suite Summary
I use Birts Tick Data Suite on a daily basis for testing my own expert advisors and wouldn’t do without it. The process I follow is simple, I download the tick data from the currency pairs I need using tick story lite and then import the data into MetaTrader 4. I then use Birts Tick Data Suite to load the MetaTrader 4 terminal and convert this data into FXT with real spreads, commissions with UTC (universal coordinated time – the same all year round). I can then accurately test with 99% modelling quality and get results from the strategy tester. If you are interested back testing forex robots you may have downloaded (even purchased) or developed yourself using software such as the Expert Advisor Builder then make sure you use Birts Tick Data Suite for the best possible back testing conditions.