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# Is statistics a hard course?

NewVancouverite
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

12 replies 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

This discussion has been closed.

## Replies to: Is statistics a hard course?

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."

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.

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.

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).

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.