Stat 121 Survival Guide

Statistics 121: Principles of Statistics. How many of you cringed just reading that? A lot of BGS students express frustration as they take the course or terror at having to take it at some point. We recently met with the Independent Study statistics tutors to for their suggestions of how to be successful. Here are some of their suggestions along with some of ours:

  • Enroll in statistics when you are able to work consistently through it from start to finish. Since the concepts build on each other, it will be more difficult if you have to take a long break in the middle (or many breaks).
  • Schedule a time to meet with the free Independent Study tutors immediately after enrolling, so they can explain to you how the course is set up and how you should work through it.
  • Meet with the tutors frequently.
    • To set up a time, go to Make sure you select “University” when you select the school type and then go to “Statistics.”
    • If you live locally, you are welcome to set up a time to come in and meet with them (they are down the hall from the BGS office). Otherwise, we highly recommend choosing the Adobe Connect option, so they can explain concepts while showing you the materials on your screen.
    • Make sure you review the course materials before discussing it with the tutors.
    • You may want to schedule an hour straight for difficult concepts instead of just a half an hour.
  • Take advantage of the open virtual lab times you can access through your course (for more info, see “Virtual Classroom” under the welcome section in the course. These are offered Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5:00-7:00 pm Mountain Time. Although you are limited to one hour of individual time with the tutors, you can have an additional six hours a week with the virtual classroom.
  • Although the textbook can be helpful, make sure you focus on the videos associated with each lesson.
  • Take all of the practice quizzes. These are more representative of the types of questions in the exams than the practice exams. At the same time, make sure you review the practice exams and understand the concepts. Review anything you do not understand with a tutor.
  • Become proficient at using the formula sheet available through the course. The tutors can help you understand it as well. Our understanding is that you can use this sheet to help you on the exams.
  • Many students struggle most with the first exam. Make sure to understand all of the new terminology and how to use it. The tutors noted that statistics is more like a foreign language course than a math course because of how important the terminology is.
  • Meet with a tutor after each exam and make sure they know you want to review your exam. Although they cannot go over exact problems, they can review your exam ahead of time to help you learn in areas where you struggled.
  • You are welcome to take advantage of outside resources such as the statistics course on Khan Academy (several students have said this was particularly helpful). Just be aware that they may teach more concepts in those courses than are in the Stat 121 course. In those cases, focus on those in Stat 121.

I hope you find this helpful. You may find yourself spending more time on this course than your others, but you can be successful! If you have taken Stat 121 and have any suggestions for other students, please let us know! We would love to hear from you.

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