Suggestions for Reading Your Statistics Text
Getting the most out of technical material takes practice and dedication, just as it does with James Joyce or Toni Morrison, but it can significantly increase your understanding, as well as helping making class meetings more valuable for you. As time goes on, you should find the reading getting easier.
- Expect to spend 60 minutes before class for each reading assignment -- You may not completely understand everything in the chapter, but the class meetings will be more meaningful and the homework easier if you've put in this effort before class each day
- Be sure you understand the key words--There is a lot of new vocabulary in this class, and many concepts are close in meaning. If you're not sure, use the index!
- Keep a running list of definitions, formulas, theorems, and results -- Not only are some of the definitions close but the distinctions between some of the concepts are also subtle. You will internalize the ideas better if you keep your own list to which you can refer
- Pay attention to graphs and tables-- Graphs and tables are part of the reading. Make sure that if the text refers to a figure, you understand what the figure shows, and how the text relates.
- Read with pencil, paper, and calculator-- You learn by doing.
If the text suggests you check a calculation, do it!!!! Try working through the step-by-step examples before reading through them -- you'll get more out of reading through them if you've already tried
- Reflect on what you've read-- Periodically stop and think: How does it fit together? How does it tie in with subjects we've discussed in the past? Why is it important?
- Make a list of questions-- As you're reading, make a list of questions on a separate sheet of paper. Then go back and re-read, and try to figure out the answers to your questions
- Re-read each section -- Statistics texts are not light reading, and you will need to re-read it to get the most out of it. It's also important to re-read each section after we discuss it in class, as well as before -- many points will be clearer, and you'll start to pick up the subtler points
- Keep this list handy -- print it out and store it in your text, or bookmark it. Re-read it every few weeks
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