A lot is said about the challenges of statistics courses. Yes, what is rarely discussed is that millions of students around the globe take stats classes head-on and go on to make stellar grades from one semester to the next.
This should tell you that you can perform just as well in stats as in other courses with some hard work and commitment.
For some students, being average just does not cut it; they want to be the best. This is admirable because top employers in specific industries seek to recruit top performers on their teams and are happy to pay top dollar for it.
How do you join the top tier of performers in your stats courses? Here are a few pointers.
Find Out How to Make Things Easy
Stats can get complicated from time to time, and some topics will require more time, attention, and effort than others. However, this should not necessarily intimidate you.
Instead, think about how to get through the more challenging topics seamlessly. One way to do this is to find tools that will help you get things faster. For example, one thing that is widely expected in math-based courses today is the calculator. This is something you can now use freely for your studies, homework, and assignments.
Because not all calculators are equal, you need one that adds the most value to your studies. You can try using this one for your Z-score calculators.
Go To All Your Lectures
While it’s never advisable, there are courses whose lessons you can skip and still catch up. Unfortunately, statistics is not one of these.
Your stats syllabus is well planned out to ensure you acquire different skills progressively. Each topic will therefore build on the next one gradually, increasing in complexity.
As a result, each class you miss creates knowledge gaps that make subsequent topics harder to understand. When this happens often, you find that each topic becomes extremely difficult, causing you to fall behind and even feel overwhelmed.
Instead, the purpose of attending each class on time and remaining in class to the end.
Be An Active Participant
While attending all your classes is essential, what students do is what separates top students from the pack.
Top students attend all classes, but they also make an effort to learn actively and be active participants.
There are several ways to do this.
The first is by taking notes. This ensures your mind remains focused on the lecture, lowering your chances of zoning out during the lesson and missing important points.
Bring your notebook to class even when you get printed notes. These should include formulas, anecdotes, applications, and so on. These will come and in handy and make your revision session so much easier later on.
The other thing to do is to interact. Engage in class discussions, ask questions for clarity and answer questions when the opportunity comes up.
These two actions will help you stay attuned to lectures.
Read Up Before and After Class
Granted, reading up on the topic ahead might seem a bit counter-productive. In the real sense, it can be surprisingly helpful. While you will not be expected to understand everything you read, you will get an idea of what your next class will cover.
Once in class, the lecturer will cover concepts that you will have an idea about. You will also walk into class with an awareness of some areas of difficulty or areas of a topic that you need to focus more on. This makes a lesson more meaningful.
The other thing you must do is revise your notes after class. Be active about this as well, by practicing problems and looking to understand applications.
Stats can quickly look like abstract concepts that you can’t make heads or tails of. Fortunately, this needs not to be the case.
If you are to become a top student, you need to get a deeper understanding of stats. This means that memorizing and learning things on the surface will not help much.
Instead, look to understand how the various concepts are applied in the world. Seek to learn how the calculations you are doing help solve problems in the real world.
Having a grasp of this helps you engage more with what you are learning. It also enables you to internalize concepts better and work from the point of understanding instead of memorization. Read more on the pitfalls of memorization here.
Practice, Practice, And Then Practice Some More
While your stats classes will have some theory to learn, most of it will be geared toward problem-solving. You, therefore, get numerous problems to solve. This will be the case in your exams as well.
It, therefore, helps to get ahead of it and get exceptionally good at problem-solving. After each class, find time to solve several problems from each sub-topic. An excellent way to go about this is to find a workbook that provides solutions. With this, you can attempt problems then check to see if you did it correctly and found the correct answer.
If not, review the topic and sample problems before attempting again. If you do this consistently, it becomes easier and easier to arrive at the answers. You will also find yourself using less time in the calculations. This will be incredibly useful during your final exams.
Mix Things Up
One thing you want to avoid is monotony. Once learning starts feeling monotonous, you get bored quickly, feel less motivated and find yourself doing less and less.
You can avoid this by implementing different methods of learning. Consider joining study groups, finding online stats vlogs, simulation, gamification, and so on. These can help liven up your study sessions and keep you engaged and inspired to work consistently on your statics courses.
The ‘how’ of it does not matter. Gaining the necessary knowledge and skills is what will help you become and remain a top stats student.