How to Pass Statistics

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
While taking a statistics class terrifies some students, one need not be a mathematical or statistical genius to pass this class. Read on to discover tips and strategies that will help you pass statistics.

The Five Steps to Passing Statistics

To pass your statistics class, you'll want to focus on these five things:

  • Refreshing your knowledge of foundational concepts
  • Mastering statistics fundamentals
  • Using your time wisely
  • Getting help early if you need it
  • Not stressing about the course

Step One: Master the Foundational Knowledge

Before you take statistics, it is a good idea to brush up on the foundational knowledge you'll need in the course. For example, an algebra course is often a prerequisite for statistics classes so, if it's been a while since you've taken that course, you may want to refresh your algebraic skills in advance.'s online Intro to Algebra course, for example, offers an easy, self-paced way for you to make sure you have mastery of that subject. You may also need to use a graphing calculator in statistics so, if you aren't already familiar with this device, studying a lesson, such as's Solving Equations by Graphing on a Graphing Calculator lesson will be helpful.

Step Two: Focus on the Fundamentals

When you break it down, everything you learn in statistics is based upon a few key fundamental principles. Concentrate on memorizing and mastering those, and then you'll be able to apply them to additional concepts as you encounter them. Beyond those fundamentals, don't try to memorize as you encounter new concepts. Instead, figure out how the fundamentals you've memorized relate to the new information. Keeping paper and a pencil handy as you study, so you can test out what you are reading or hearing in lessons, is helpful.

Step Three: Make Time Your Ally

To succeed in statistics, you need to take your time in studying new concepts, allow time to let them sink in, and don't give up. Because each new idea you learn in this course relies upon what you've already learned, statistics is not a subject in which to procrastinate. It may help to form a study group, so you can remain on schedule with your studies and are able to give and receive support from your peers.

Step Four: Get Help When You Need It

When you're trying to master a certain topic and, after time and repeated study, you just can't grasp it, get help. If you wait until the course has moved on to new concepts, you run the risk of making a simple problem a major one. A variety of resources are available to help. These include:

  • Supplemental statistics textbooks that are available for purchase.
  • Private tutors.
  • Instructors in the tutoring or help center if offered by your school.
  • An online course. Check out, for example,'s Statistics 101: Principles of Statistics course, in which you can study concepts by watching video lessons and take quizzes to measure how well you understand the material.
  • Online flashcards from can help reinforce concepts to prep you for your next statistics quiz or test.

Step Five: Relax!

Many students think of statistics as one of the most stressful courses in their academic careers. If you are one of them, try to step back and relax. The more you stress about the course, the worse your performance is likely to be. When you feel overwhelmed, check out these short lessons on Behavioral Strategies for Dealing with Stress and Relaxation Techniques to help you keep calm and relax.

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