The statistics module is perhaps the most difficult one during the first and second years of the degree and is also perhaps one of the most important ones too as it plays a massive role in the analysis and write up of papers. Nevertheless, many students still find the module rather difficult and often get left behind during the first few classes. So what can you do to keep yourself up-date with the statistics lectures and make sure you know your stuff inside-out?
- Use available resources – depending on your lecturer, they may issue you some sort of homework or extra work to be done outside of the lecture. This is naturally to benefit you and allow you to grasp a better understanding of various aspects of statistics. Mathematics or calculation based work is best understood with working examples and actual practice questions. It probably isn’t too beneficial if you were to just read through how you would do certain calculations – you really need to do them over and over! Make use of the material given to you buy the lecturer!
- Visit seminars and extra classes – the classes held in addition to the lectures are designed to aid you with the bits and pieces some of you may find a little difficult. In such classes you are invited to ask questions and introduce problems to solve, as a class. One major advantage is that the classes are not always as occupied like the lectures, so they can be a tad more interactive. You can also expect the classes to pace themselves a lot slower than lecturers too, as the aim is to enhance understanding and not necessarily to speed through a syllabus.
- Use a text book you understand – if you have been looking around for books, you may notice there are many on statistics for psychology. However, it’s not advisable for you to just buy any one because you adore its cover. You really need to take a look inside and see whether it’s a book you understand, with examples you can trace through to the answer with ease. Make sure the text is written clearly with easy to understand English too. You don’t really need to keep to the book recommended by the lecturer, although it’s a good idea to take a copy out from the library and he/she will most likely reference to it.
- See your lecturer – this is perhaps not practiced by many students for some reason (perhaps the fear of speaking to your lecturer face-to-face!), however, it’s a very valuable resource and shouldn’t be wasted! The best way to use your lecturers’ time is to read around what you don’t understand and formulate a set of questions to ask him/her. You should also try some questions and see if you get stuck to take to your tutor for assistance.
- Talk with friends – probably something you’d try quite early on after attempting to consult a textbook, perhaps. Getting an explanation from your mate on how to calculate t-test is another way to tackle statistics. However, at the same time you need to make sure that what you are being told is correct, too! Study circles can also prove to be useful and you share knowledge and fill each other’s gaps in with statistical goodness.
There you are then, a couple of ways you can make sure you don’t fall too behind on your stats module. Exercise them all, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a decent examination grade at the end of the year!