Test preparation is always a hot topic, especially because students are usually clueless about it. And this is because there is this dubious premise that if you attend to your Stats lecture and pay attention to class, you won’t need anything.
But that is far from truth, as it is perfectly possible to find yourself in a situation in which you have done everything “right”: you have attended to class, done your homework and even gone to the library to study, but then you are still feeling lost think “Damn, my Stats midterm is coming soon, and I do not feel confident about it at all”. As a matter of fact, that is a very common situation, even more common that Stats instructors want to believe….
So, how do you prepare for your statistics test?
Well, that question does not have just one answer, since it depends on the ground you are standing. So then, it all starts with an assessment you need to conduct yourself, by asking the following questions.
Do I have all the material I need?
That is something I always advise my students about. Before anything else, collect all the required materials. Go to the syllabus of your stats class and see what is required. Do you have the textbook? Yes? Fine. No? Go get it. Also, don’t forget about aids that could have been released right before the test. Instructors like to post sample midterms, especially for math and stats courses. Take advantage of that.
Are you part of a study group?
Study groups can be productive at times, for some students. If you are the kind of students who do better at understanding concepts when working with other people, by all means go ahead and gather your groups. Do it early though, because it is well known that cramming sessions the night before of the test are not all that productive. You can prepare the night before of the test, but probably you should be working on practice stats problems that look like the ones that will be in the test instead of trying to understand concepts at the last minute.
Can I study for my stats in one day?
No, you cannot. Unless you have super powers. Look, learning stats require time, so you should not attempt a difficult stunt. And please forget about a night-before-the-test-cramming-session, as those don’t work well. Take time, and start early. “Piano piano si va lontano” or something like that, which I think means slow and steady wins the race.
Realistically, if you are kind of lost, that did not happen in a day. So, be clear that if you have a problem that was incubating for much more than a day, like you will not be able to solve it in a day, right. There is some law of consistency in the world, so follow it.
Should I Take notes for my stats class?
Yes, but don’t overdo it. I see students that go berserk trying to catch every single thing the instructor says, and that is NOT the point of taking notes. Those people get so occupied with writing every single word, that they forget to pay attention.
The idea is that you write down only things that are worth writing down: some key remarks about how to deal with some special cases, like for example when the instructor says “for this type of normal you do this”, or ‘for the midterm I will probably ask this question”, etc. You catch the drift, I am sure. The main purpose to attend a lecture is to FOLLOW the lecture and ask questions if you have any. Your textbook does not speak, in case you haven’t noticed.
In summary, here you have your Statistics Tips
- Gather all your material: Stats textbook, notes and especially some material the instructor provided to practice for the test
- Don’t wait until it is too late
- If you find productive working with a study groups, but make sure they don’t delay your logistics
- Don’t expect to learn things in a day: learning stats require time
- Attend to your lectures, but not just for taking notes for the sake of taking notes.
- Practice, practice and practice: solve as many stats problems as you can.