Normally, the process of getting ahead in a stats class is based on a very simple algorithm: Attend to class, attend to the T.A. sessions, attend to office hours with the instructor, due diligently and on time your homework assignments, ask the instruction for guidance with the homework when needed and follow all the required reading and practice exercises. Most people follow such process, and they will end up do it pretty well.
Other students, though, will follow such process religiously and yet they will still feel that they are following behind. Those students are typically the ones that struggle in all of their math classes. They do pretty well otherwise (they are great at writing, at sports, at the arts, you name it). But then they have to face their nemesis: that Stats course that they have been pushing forward in hopes that it would eventually disappears mysteriously, magically. It does not happen unfortunately, and they have to face it.
Why do I have to take Stats?
That is the question that many students will pose, and to a strong degree that is I question that I ask myself: why the system is such that it forces students with no inclination (and potentially no skills) to take certain math or stats classes. One the one hand, I think that skills can be acquired. I mean, after all, we are endowed by birth talents, and all the skills are acquired. But to what degree it is logical to force someone to acquire skills when that person does not have any interest?
Acquiring a skill has several requirements: Number one is the desire to acquire the skill, and number two, repetition of tasks that have a proven positive effect in the acquisition of such skill. So, in my mind, interest goes first. Then, you do the rest. Lots of homework problems, practice. Get under pressure and solve your Stats quizzes and tests All that pushes your brain, and makes you forcefully to learn. Almost mandatory. But, in my experience, something fails when interest is not there. It is like a channel is closed. It is like that road of learning is full of landmines. And unwillingly so. This is, when a student does have interest in the subject, the path shuts down internally, automatically.
The Emergency Path: Learning Stats When You Don’t Want to Learn Stats
Here is where you need to have an emergency plan. You don’t like stats, but somehow you need to pass the class. Then you need to concentrate, because there is not one way to do it. Look around, see the resources you have available. Talk to your instructor, talk you your T.A. Talk to your classmates who are also lost. What are they doing. Get a Stats tutor, see if your classmates are also getting a tutor.
Get a hold of an online stats tutor. Are other people you know using some good stats service. How about a local tutor. Consider all the options. Even, work your mind out and decide that you will develop a little bit of interest in the subject. Give it a try. There must be something in it that may be of some remote interest.