A set of rate equations have been tested against a more robust set of Time-Dependent Density Matrix (TDDM) equations [D. P. W. Middleton, L. A. A. Nikolopoulos, J. Mod. Opti. 59, 1650 (2012)] by using them to determine the populations of ion species and autoionising states (AIS) in noble gas atoms when interacting with a strong external field. Two field shapes were tested here - sinusoidal and square - and a variety of pulse characteristics were examined, i.e. intensity, duration and photon energy, for the neon atomic system. It was found that the rate equations were sufficiently accurate only when the external field is way off-resonant with the AIS. Moreover, analytical solutions of the rate equations in the square pulse case agree with the numerical solutions for a time-dependent pulse containing many cycles. An attempt to model a stochastic field was also made and it was found that the use of such a field diminished and broadened the ion yield ratio due to the presence of an added bandwidth.