MATH 215 (Introduction to Statistics) is a three-credit introductory statistics course that “gives students a working knowledge and understanding of descriptive and inferential statistics and how statistics is applied in the sciences, social sciences, and business.” This course has no prerequisites; however, fundamental mathematical skills are expected, specifically in algebra. For students who are concerned about meeting the requirements, there is a upgrading tutorial site suitable for preparing for MATH 215.
Who and Why You Should Take This Course
For anyone who is interested in gaining some basic statistic knowledge for work this is a highly recommended course. It offers basic and important statistics knowledge for general work environments and is incredibly helpful. After completing it, I find that when reading news articles or scientific articles I am able to understand some of the statistic analysis – which I think is amazing!
Course, Assignment, Midterm and Final Exam Details
Introduction to Statistics is a course that contains six written assignments each worth 3 1/3%, totaling to 20% for assignments. The midterm was originally an in person written assignment, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been converted to an online exam. Same goes for the final exam, and both are worth 40% each.. Both the midterm and final exam include multiple choice and short answer questions. It is important to note that students must achieve a mark of at least 50% on each of the midterm and the final exam to pass the course. Students are given one chance to rewrite each exam if needed.
The six assignments each cover one of the six units, starting with “Descriptive Statistics,” which covers more basic topics such as how to calculate the mean, variance, standard deviation, and how to analyze data, and quantitative/qualitative data. The second unit is “Probability” which starts with basic Grade 12 Probability and expands to experiments, outcomes, and determining probabilities using multiplication/addition/counting rules along with use of factorials and combinations. The third unit is “Probability Distributions” which covers probability distributions and binomial distributions. The fourth unit covers “Estimation and Test of Hypotheses for One Population,” and unit five is “Estimation and Tests of Hypotheses for Two or More Populations” with the final unit of “Bivariate Analysis.”
For the midterm and exam, students are able to bring a scientific non-programmable calculation and a single double sided 8 ½ x 11 inch (letter size) copy of the “Key Concepts and Formulas” sheet.
From my personal experience of taking this course recently, the assignments were, overall, relatively easy if you take the time to understand and practice the textbook questions. Most questions on the assignments are similar to the textbook questions and examples, so make sure to do the practice questions that are recommended before tackling the assignments, as the practice questions from the textbook include answer keys for you to check your answers. Most assignments are a few questions long with multiple parts, ranging from 5-9 pages. Students can mail their assignments to the tutor, or take a picture or scan it to their computer and submit it via Moodle.
Midterm and Final Exam
The midterm and final exam were originally designed to be in person, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exams were all switched to online and monitored by ProctorU. As mentioned earlier, both the midterm and final exam contain both multiple choice and short answer questions. The short answer questions typically ask you to type the answer to a specific decimal place.
To prepare for the midterm, I strongly recommend thoroughly reading through terms in the textbook and ensuring you understand the terms well and know how to differentiate between the different terms, and you should doi the textbook practice problems. I found the midterm heavier on theory and content-based questions, with some calculations. Students are given three hours to complete the exam, and I found that I used most of the time. At the same time, do not forget to practice the calculations, after all this is a statistics class.
The final exam is not cumulative, and only covers the final three units of the second half of the course, however, make sure to briefly review some of terms in the first half of the course as I found some theory questions from the first half of the course were included. The final exam was heavy on calculations and had significantly less theory. Therefore, practice is key here! Similar to the midterm, the final exam is also 3 hours long, and I found the final exam more time consuming than the midterm as there were significantly more calculation-based questions with multiple parts.
The course overall was appropriate in terms of difficulty for a 200 level, and I found the YouTube videos provided extremely helpful for anyone who is having trouble understanding the textbook. Remember, that it is normal to not understand everything the first time you read the textbook. I personally had to read through the content at least 2-3 times before fully understanding everything. Feedback on assignments is very quick and only take around a day. To be successful in this course, it is extremely important to practice as much as possible. If you spend enough time adequately practicing questions from the textbook you will find it an easy course.
Tips from Course Coordinator and TAs
In September, one of the tutors for MATH 215 had emailed the class a very useful suggestion for preparing for the final exam, which is also applicable for the midterm.
Many students overestimate their level of mastery of the material since they are comparing their abilities in assignments (in which you can refer to examples and models from the text and have unlimited time to complete) to their ability to perform in an exam situation. As such, replicating exam type situations by not referring to materials outside those you would have during an exam and creating time constraints for yourself is the best way to gauge your readiness for the exam.
If you have any further questions regarding the course, please do not hesitate to contact the Course Coordinator at Fst_success@athabascau.ca. Happy studying!