I’m in the 2nd year of my Psychology undergrad which means I have to take Statistics. This subject takes up so much of my time which is why I haven’t blogged in a while, so I thought what better topic to write about than something that takes up
most all of my time?
Ahhh, Statistics class, A.K.A. the bane of all Psych majors’ existence. Even my Stats textbook acknowledges this:
“Many students in behavioural sciences view the required statistics course as an intimidating obstacle that has been placed in the middle of an otherwise interesting curriculum. They want to learn about human behaviour – not about math and science.” (Graveretter and Wallnau, Statistics for the Behavioural Sciences)
You might be wondering, why is Statistics necessary in Psychology?
Merriam-Webster defines Psychology as:
- the science of mind and behaviour
- the mental or behavioural characteristics of an individual or group
- the study of mind and behaviour in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity
Since Psychology is a science, and one that deals with human subjects, we need a system of quantifying data that we obtain from experiments, which you will be doing a lot of as a Psychology student…and that’s where Stats comes in to play!
Personally, I wasn’t excited to take Stats. I knew Math wasn’t my forte but also knew that I was capable. I just had to work extra hard. Having taken Advanced Functions in Grade 11 and 12, I convinced myself that I’ve dealt with harder and more complicated math and did pretty well so this shouldn’t be impossible.
It might help to put things into perspective and look at the big picture so you don’t get lost in all the chaos of numbers, especially if Math isn’t exactly your strong suit (ahem, like me). Too often, when a concept requires several steps, one can get lost in all the math and lose sense of why we’re doing these calculations in the first place.
My advice is to read the summaries for each chapter first, so you get the general gist of what the chapter is about and proceed to read the rest! If you don’t have enough time to read these long chapters, turn to the end-of-chapter review questions and answer every odd-numbered questions (since the solutions on the back of the book only have the odd-numbered questions anyway). If you get stuck on one question, just skim through the chapter and copy the solution step-by-step. Most of the questions ask for the same thing but in different ways, which gives you the opportunity to practice, practice, and practice! Homework is the time to make mistakes so you can learn from them before the test!
I think what most students find challenging is trying not to fall behind. Each week can cover 1-2 chapters, which doesn’t seem like a lot but if it’s a new concept and it’s a lot of information, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. So stay on top of your work and remind yourself that procrastinating is like digging yourself deeper and deeper into a hole, and when you’ve reached the point of no return, trying to get yourself out ain’t gonna be fun.
I’m only halfway done with the course so I can only give tips based on what I know at this moment in time. What I do know is this: there are many resources online and at school that can help you! Talk to your prof, ask other students for help, get a tutor if necessary, or you can go on YouTube or Khan Academy to reinforce what you’ve learned from lectures and from the textbook. Looking up videos online that cover a concept that I’m trying to learn is one of my favourite ways to study. This goes for other subjects as well!
Speaking from my own experience, getting a bad mark on the mid-term doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. My friends often tell me that I’m way too hard on myself, and they’re not wrong. I’ve been an honour roll student all my life except for that one time in 4th grade so getting marks that are less than an A or a B really feels like a slap to the face.
Despite this, I’m hanging on to that little bit of hope that I’ll be able to bring up my mark before the end of the course. I just have to revise my study habits and work harder. Wish me luck y’all. Amanda, a fellow eAmbassador, has written an amazing post on how to cope with getting a bad grade, so definitely check that out!
Anyway, I hope I didn’t scare you from taking Stats. I still find Psychology very interesting and I keep telling myself I’ll be able to take the “fun” courses next year. I’m finding the course a hard pill to swallow right now but I know I’ll be able to get through it and it’s not too late!