If you are taking a statistics course for the first time, there are certain structures in place for you to succeed in it. The length of the semester will gauge the work load. If it is a 8 week course, more than likely you will cover the basics. You won’t cover, for instance, every type of correlation analysis known to man. No. A typical statistics course that is abbreviated for non-statisticians will cover survival statistics. Metaphorically speaking, you will know how to get from point A to point B without getting lost in the woods. Ten week courses tend to be tailored to custom programs and you will learn a variety of topics specific to a job function. Fifteen week covers are the most broad in terms of topics. You will have a solid foundation of statistics in a 4 month course, which is usually taught in the classroom. By solid, I mean you have time to sit down to a full course meal of math symbols and theory with plenty of room for probability distribution tables for dessert. Full term courses allow you to breath and reflect on the pages of the book in a relaxed state. You have time to digest a four month course. So time is always a factor.
The other thing that helps you survive in a statistics course is the syllabus. People underestimate the syllabus. That document is the map for the course. It is the legal building block that tells you what will happen in that class. On day one of the course, you should be questioning the text. It typically contains weekly activities from week 1 to 15. In fact, one could argue that it is a legally binding contract between the student and the teacher. As an instructor, I can not make the students responsible for a topic that is not covered in the syllabus. Anything in it is fair game. All of the opportunities to learn carry the least weight in the grading schema. The homework is the most important and under appreciated part of a course. Assignments are your opportunity to practice learning. People come into a statistics course, focused on the final exam and they blow through the home works not realizing its importance. You are practicing for the final exam more or less. Class participation is another deception. Class time is devised to help you talk out concepts in real-time. Speak up in class. Finally, the teacher’s office hours are the opportunity to clear your mind. You should get all your paper work organized and talk it out with the professor.
These are just a few aspects learning that are important. I am sure there are others.
-Moore to Follow Amy