Discouraging Statistics course

Ever have one of those classes where is seems as though you simply will not get the grade you want regardless of how many hours you put in?

Stats is that class for me. I can’t even guess how many hours I put into studying for this last test,not counting office hours, and I still wind up with a 71. In and of itself, that’s probably not much to worry about, but the problem is the tests that lie ahead. So far my tests are A, then 73 and 71. We have one more section test, which I can only assume is going to get harder, and then the cumulative final that counts for 2 test grades. In the end, he will drop your lowest score (not the final).

It would be one thing thing if I went in cold and hoped for the best. But I went in confident and even felt pretty good when I left.

Pretty discouraging when you tell yourself that all you have to do is study hard and put in the time and it doesn’t work out. GRRRRR…


Will the prof let you come in and review the test so you can see what type of mistakes you are making. Doing that on the last 2 tests could only help you in prep for the cumulative final.

I hate statistics.


Yea he will definitely let me review it. It really has nothing to do with him. He is a fantastic prof. and makes the information very understandable during the lecture. We get along really well and he helps me anytime I need it.

The problem is more me. I seem to be able to understand the concepts while he is teaching them and even to do the homework. There are many small details to remember and apply and I have trouble incorporating them all into the big picture when they are out of context from a homework section. I guess it’s a critical thinking issue on my end. These details and concepts are very difficult for me to penetrate and once I do, they are very forgettable in the short term. I work on this stuff every day trying hard to remember how to apply these concepts.

The word problem format of the questions doesn’t help either. Once you’ve figured out the concept, then you have to figure out what the question is asking. I’m going to have to find a way to get this type of information to gel in my mind as I’m sure this won’t be the last time I’ll be expected to think like this on my way to med school (and if I get in).

  • Notecards for details

  • Highlighter on the notecards for concepts so you can group per type of concept
  • Exam question page of things you need to tweak

In addition to the above, I also ask myself (and the dogs): "If this does that to whom, what happens if I change this up? Is that good or bad? Why?"

If I can answer those types of questions, I have it; if not, I try to figure it out, and then I send an email asking for office time

Part of being an older premed (and not the 27 year olds who are only 3 or 4 years out but those of us decades out) is learning to test again.

My professor says he never worries about my knowledge or understanding of the material - he says, he knows I have it to a depth that will help me greatly in med school;

what he worries about is my TEST taking... seems you may have that similar issue.

Yes, that sounds familiar. I do use the note card trick and I’m sure I would be doing much worse without them. I’m going to go sit with the prof. this week and see if he has any strategies to improve my critical thinking and test taking abilities with stats. My test taking has not been a problem in my other non-math classes.

Incidentally, this is one of those things that contributes greatly to FUD. I find myself thinking, “If I’m struggling this much in a CC undergrad Stats class, how the hell do I expect to make it through med school?”

So we started the final chapter, Hypothesis theory, this week and halfway through, it doesn’t seem so bad. It’s cementing a lot of the past concepts and they are beginning to make more sense. There may be light at the end of this statistics tunnel. If I can pull my crap together for the last test and the final I may have a chance at a reasonable grade.

I’ve switched up my methods a bit and started re-listening to the recorded lectures, and making chapter “cheat sheets” to refer to when I need to while weaning myself off them up to the test.

Another subject - Last night I downloaded a Stats lecture from UC Berleley and watched the Hypothesis theory section. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Almost no similarity in techniques or vocabulary. No use of H0, H1 and totally off the wall examples. He went so freakin fast it was almost unbelievable. Much more personal attention and detailed explanations at the CC level. I’m glad I chose not to go the Ivy League route.

Guess that’s a window into Med school.

Captain Obvious, med school is just different. Old Man Dave has described med school classes as a mile wide and an inch deep. You cover a lot more, and you move really fast, but you scrape the surface of everything. It just feels different to your brain. It’s a tough transition, but in a way it’s not HARDER than what you’re doing now. It’s different, and there’s MORE of it, and it’s crazy, but you don’t have to suddenly become smarter to do it. Does that make sense?

I’m hoping you are able to come to conference this year and talk to people who have made the transition. It’s hard to convey some of this stuff on the forum.

Thanks. That actually makes things very clear. I’ve never heard it described quite that way before.

I’ll be doing my best to make the conference this year.

So just to bring some closure to this thread, I studied like a madman for my statistics final exam which counted twice. I hit a 90 on the final and pulled a B for the course. Two very happy moments for me. Also considering I had a Micro final and an American Cinema final all the same day back to back.

I ended up with Stats = B, Micro = A, Cinema = A.

I don’t normally settle for B’s but in this case, it felt as good as an A. Another small victory over FUD.

Thanks for all your encouragement.


Just remember it is marathon not a 100 meter dash. There are going to be classes that you struggle with and make you doubt your abilities and then there are others that make you think…why was I worried? Just remember that everyone has these road blocks.

We had a tough class in med school- the emergency medicine course- which completly flipped people around–I watched the people who normally aced the test and set the curve fail the class! While us “non-gunners” do exceptionally well.

I do hope you can make it to the conference-as samenewme said some of these things are best discussed in person!