Math Phobic No More (Or, How To Avoid Becoming a Statistics Statistic, 101)

Mathematics has never been a strong suit of mine because my learning challenges mainly center around things that are math-oriented. So imagine my complete horror when I learned that the completion of my degree hinges on my ability to pass SOC 202, Quantitative Methods, which is a statistics course. Great. Time to panic...

Or not. Keep in mind that while your course load may make it seem as though the odds are stacked against you – the university is committed to providing its students with all of the tools necessary to succeed academically.

The teaching assistants are there for a reason – use them! They are one of the few times in your life that you will be able to access academic tutoring for free. Who doesn’t like free?!?!

Another great option can be found at your College Math Aid Centre. Like the campus writing centres, you can go in to for feedback. Take your problem sets to them and have the tutors look over your work and go through practice problems with you. Again – this help is completely free.  For example, the Woodsworth College Math Aid Centre is located on the ground floor of the Woodsworth building, in room 100. Its hours of operation are Tuesdays from 11am – 1pm, Wednesdays from 4 – 6pm, and Thursdays from 11am – 1pm.  Check with your college about a math aid centre.

Tips for succeeding in statistics or any other math-based course…

1. This may seem incredibly obvious, but I think its worth stating that you should never skip over any of the end-of-chapter problem sets that the textbook provides. Do them. Do all of them. And if you can squeeze in the time, do them again. The adage “practice makes perfect” has never rung more true than in this situation.

2. Meet with your prof or T.A.s immediately after class or during their office hours to clear up anything that you did not quite grasp during the lecture. That said…

3. It’s OK to raise your hand during the lecture to ask a question. Really, it is. No, your question isn’t “ridiculous”. You’re here to learn – if you were expected to know it all, then why would you be in the prof’s class? I’ve been in classrooms where you could hear a pin drop, and the look of disappointment or frustration on the professor’s face is telling. They want us to ask questions, otherwise they might as well be teaching to a brick wall.

4. Get a math study buddy. Sometimes all it takes is going over a problem with the help of a fresh pair of eyes, for the answer to suddenly “click”.

More tips for succeeding in math-related courses can be found here. Happy Studying!!!


2 comments on “Math Phobic No More (Or, How To Avoid Becoming a Statistics Statistic, 101)

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  1. Thanks for the tips Dara! I’m taking SOC202 this semester and have been preparing for it since the end of the last semester. I never knew about all of these resources available on campus. I know a fellow classmate who is also majoring in Sociology and we also plan to study together in a bid to pass this class.

    Good luck with your studies!

  2. Hi,
    very nice post. it inspires students who really wanted to excel in their fields. Yes, the adage “practice makes perfect” is such perfect to say. I fear Math also. But, once you get to know the subject, it’s a blast! two or three people in a group study, that’s amazing! it’s like, two heads are better than one!.. =)