Master of Business Administration (MBA) students
- Peruse the recommended reading in your textbook before a particular topic is covered in class, but don’t try and understand every formula or computation. Most textbooks have enough material for two statistics courses and, as such, go into far more depth than your lecturer will usually require you to do. If time permits, reread the material the day after your lecture – by then, you’ll likely know which sections are relevant.
- Attempt those questions for each chapter/topic suggested by your lecturer as soon as possible – but don’t despair if you can’t do them straightaway. Most diagnostic questions are harder than those you’ll receive in a quiz/exam. The lecturer’s tactic is not to scare you, but to train you in a similar way to an athlete undertaking a difficult workload before her/his Olympic event.
- Ensure you come to grips with the software requirements of your stats unit. Many textbooks focus on Excel and its add-ins PHSTAT and XLSTAT or SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). It will be easier to answer many questions if you can perform the mathematical operations using a software package rather than first principles (calculator or even abacus).
- Your “application of statistics” project will be made easier if you can generate appropriate visual displays/graphs to support your statistical analysis. Your lecturer will expect your project to look at a “real-life” problem supported by data and statistical analysis. This contrasts with the lecture material, where analysis is typically supported by real-life scenarios.
- When revising for a quiz/exam, do as many “relevant” questions as possible. Your lecturer will likely provide you with “sample” questions that he/she deems relevant, while the university library website may provide downloadable past exams. Only refer to your textbook to check those areas you’re unsure of. Just as athletes prepare for their event by training rather than looking at a fitness manual, little benefit is obtained from just reading stats material – you should aim to attempt as many questions as you can.
- Have a strategy during a quiz/exam rather than attacking the paper like a bull at a gate. If there are 100 marks on a two-hour paper allow a mark per minute, with the leftover 20 minutes being spent on those questions you were uncertain of. Don’t try and “beat” a question at all costs (being “time”) – if you’re stuck, move on to the next one and enable your subconscious to kick in. Resist the temptation to write down everything you know about a topic – answer the question as succinctly as possible, using bullet points and referring to appropriate stats from any computer-generated output provided.
- Don’t expect all material covered in your statistical unit to be applicable to your working life. If you can take away two or three applications/techniques for use in your workplace, the unit will have been worthwhile. Techniques such as Multiple Regression have great applications to everyday life, including estimating the approximate worth of a house you may want to buy or sell. Remember, statistics always has an element of randomness.