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Is statistics a hard course?

NewVancouveriteNewVancouverite 32 replies28 threads Junior Member
I have to take statistics this semester and I wonder how hard it is for someone who sucks a math. I didn't have any math course for years, last time was in my European "high school" and I always really sucked at math and HATED it. I'm a good student normally, but math is my weakness.

Is statistics generally a hard course? Is it different from other math? Can someone who is bad at math realistically pass it with an ok grade?

Thank you
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Replies to: Is statistics a hard course?

  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14921 replies1010 threads Senior Member
    Statistics involves essentially arithmetic and some algebra. The emphasis is on concepts and what they mean.

    You will learn the absurdity of the following statement once made on the floor of Congress:

    "It is a national disgrace that half the high school students in America are below the median level of performance."
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  • zannahzannah 1081 replies12 threads Senior Member
    Statistics teaches problem solving using logic and measurement. Once the problem is set up, it uses math, now done online, to answer the question with a very good degree of probability. This explanation is more complicated than statistics.

    Statistics is very practical because it allows you to make a decision. It is easier to learn when you aren't frozen with fear. Ultimately, statistics will be helpful in practical decision making.
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  • iubaccountingiubaccounting 1138 replies16 threadsForum Champion Indiana - Bloomington Senior Member
    It involves a lot of logic and figuring out how to approach each problem. The math is not hard computationally.
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  • GoatGirl19GoatGirl19 332 replies5 threads Member
    As other posters have said, it is more logic- and problem-solving-based than you'd experience in high school level math classes. The actual computations are quite simple and you may even find you enjoy the logical puzzle-like aspect of it.
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  • mom2twogirlsmom2twogirls 2251 replies29 threads Senior Member
    I struggled with math in high school and was terrified to take stats. I easily got an A at both the undergrad and grad level stats classes I had to take. It was very different than high school math. I really could see the connections and it just made sense.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14921 replies1010 threads Senior Member
    Stats is definitely not a class you can cram for the night before an exam.
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  • Muad_dibMuad_dib 902 replies23 threads Member
    Three out of ten student say statistics is hard.
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  • RedLariRedLari 100 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited August 2017
    Math is my worst subject but I passed the stats requirement with a B.

    It involves as others have said basic math and some algebra and word problems. Understanding the differences between a hypothesis testing claim and confidence intervals. Understanding what to do during a testing claim when the significance level (P-value) is above or below the alpha (in my case the alpha always seemed to be 5% or 10%)? Entering values from a table to find the mean and standard deviation. It's not really hard math, you deal with mean, median and percentages. A lot of it is done on a graphing calculator because trying to test a claim without one imo would be difficult.

    Just to add if you aren't a stem major and if your CC has it there's also the year long statway sequence (I took it because I am not a stem major and I would have never have passed the traditional algebra sequence because I am just not wired that way). Just make sure whatever 4 year you transfer to will accept statway as the math requirement.
    edited August 2017
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  • juilletjuillet 12693 replies161 threads Super Moderator
    Statistics involves essentially arithmetic and some algebra. The emphasis is on concepts and what they mean.

    That's assuming that this is a non-calculus-based statistics class...calculus-based statistics will have more than that. But statistics classes that are intended for non-majors or for social science majors generally do have more emphasis on concepts and on simple arithmetic/algebra.

    I'd say it depends on why you are bad at math. There is a lot of learning new concepts, formulae (whether or not your professor requires you to memorize them or not will make a difference), and thinking logically and making decisions about the proper techniques to use to do specific things.

    Also, in the stats classes I taught graphing calculators were not allowed - we required students to do things by hand (except in the lab portion, which was done with a statistical software package, usually SPSS for social science/non-calculus-based classes and R for the math-based stats classes). I can't imagine too many classes allowing the graphing calculators at least in the first part of the class because it does a lot of the work for you. Most stats books have tables of all the comparisons you need to make, and they're easy to find online too. (This will make more sense when you take the class).
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14921 replies1010 threads Senior Member
    @juillet Given the OP's aversion to math I am assuming that this is a stats course for social sciences or business.
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  • guineagirl96guineagirl96 3759 replies97 threadsForum Champion Math/Computer Science, Forum Champion Richmond Forum Champion
    edited August 2017
    I was gonna say much of what @juillet said. I am a math major and I took the stats course designed for math majors, which was a calc-based theory class. It was very hard (I hated it, and I just barely got a B) and you'd be surprised how little actual numbers were involved (lots and lots of derivatives, integration, greek letters, etc). It was very, very different from the business stats course my friends were taking in the business school, which didn't use calculus. Stats classes can be taught at many different levels, and difficulty can be dependant on what type of students the course is geared towards.

    If the OP is in fact talking about a more applied stats course, then you don't have to be great at math to get a decent grade in the course. I had to take an algebra-based stats crash-course in high school (was the first 3rd or so of our year-long algebra 2 course), and the people that weren't that great at math did fine. In an applied course, there's a lot of knowing how to apply formulas and using logic to figure out exactly what test to run and on what parameters.
    edited August 2017
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  • dietz199dietz199 3640 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Yes......it is....
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