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Generally, statistics can be intimidating, especially for beginners. For most students, learning statistics can feel like an uphill battle as it requires a good understanding of how to interpret data, calculate probabilities, and make predictions with confidence.
So, how to understand statistics easily? Even though most students find statistics concepts hard to understand, statistics is easy to understand. The good news is that statistics is an excellent and helpful tool that can be applied to almost any study area; therefore, every student should understand this course.
With some simple tips and tricks, you can easily get to grips with statistics. In this blog post, I will explore the basics of understanding and using statistical data. If you wonder whether to take college Algebra before Statistics or not, I wrote an article that I encourage you to read.
Tips For Understanding Statistics Easily
Statistics is one of the most useful you will take in high school and college as it is applicable to real-life situations.
Statistics is also one of the subjects that most students find to be hard; however, I believe with dedication, hard work, and the right approach, every student can ace this course. If you wonder why most students find statistics to be a hard subject, I wrote a whole article that I encourage you to read.
Here are helpful tips for understanding statistics easily.
1- Familiarize Yourself With Core Mathematics
If mathematics has never been your strong point, I suggest you begin with the basics, as it will be helpful. Understanding the fundamental concepts behind statistical analysis is key to grasping more complex ideas later on.
Fundamental mathematics you should be familiar with include:
- Linear algebra, including vectors, matrices, matrix operations, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, diagonalization, and simultaneous equations.
- Calculus, including derivatives, definite integrals, integrals with infinite limits, sums, and sequences
2- Start With Understanding the Basics Of Statistics
Starting with the basics includes learning about any vocabulary related to statistics, statistical distributions, sampling techniques, and descriptive analytics.
The first thing you should familiarize yourself with is descriptive statistics, meaning understanding the definitions of common statistics terms, such as mean, expectation value, median, mode, variance, skewness, kurtosis, standard deviation, quartiles, and interquartile range.
I also encourage you to start by watching free online tutorials that will teach you basic statistics. In addition, you can also invest in some introductory textbooks that cover the basics clearly and concisely.
3- Understand Visualizations
When dealing with large datasets, it often helps to visualize the data in charts or graphs so you can more easily spot patterns or trends in usage.
There are many different types of visualizations available, depending on which type of data you are dealing with (e.g., line graphs for time-series data), so take some time to familiarize yourself with these before jumping into any analyses.
Once you learn how to use visualizations, interpreting your data effectively will become much easier and more efficient.
4- Developing Good Intuition For Statistics
Being good at anything requires a lot of practice, and acing statistics is no exception. I also suggest you learn how to perform calculations using statistical software, including Stata, SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences), or R.
To get you started at developing good intuition for statistics, I encourage you to check out “The Art of Statistics: How to Learn from Data” by David Spiegelhalter.
5- Take Advantage of Resources
Statistics can seem difficult when trying to figure it out on your own, but thankfully, there are plenty of resources out there that can help make things easier for you.
Online calculators can come in handy when performing calculations quickly; open-source libraries provide new tools for analyzing datasets, and forums offer support from those who have gone through similar struggles before you.
A quick Google search should bring up plenty of useful results that can help guide you along your journey toward understanding statistics better.
Below are excellent resources to help you learn statistics for free:
6- Types of Data
One of the most important steps to understanding statistics is by learning the different types of data used in statistics.
Generally, there are two main types of data: qualitative and quantitative.
- Qualitative data describes a property or characteristic that cannot be measured numerically.
- For example, gender or favorite color are examples of qualitative data points.
- Quantitative data measures numerical values or counts and can be further categorized into discrete (countable) or continuous (not countable).
- Age and height are examples of quantitative data points that would fall under the continuous category since they cannot be counted as discrete values.
7- Data Analysis
Once you have identified the type of data you have obtained, you will need to analyze it. This involves organizing the information into meaningful groupings, such as frequency tables or graphs, so that patterns and trends can be identified more easily.
Summarizing your results in a concise manner is also an important step in the analysis process; this can involve computing means, medians, modes, and standard deviations, depending on what type of analysis is being performed.
It is important to note that any conclusions drawn from your analysis must be supported by evidence found within the dataset itself.
8- Statistical Tests And Interpretation
After analyzing your dataset and extracting meaningful insights from it, you will need to interpret your results in order to draw conclusions about the population from which your sample was taken.
Statistical tests such as ANOVA (Analysis Of Variance) or chi-square tests are used for this purpose; these tests compare your sample results with those expected from a theoretical population distribution in order to determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between them or not.
Finally, once all these steps have been completed, you should be able to make an informed decision based on your findings.
9- Familiarize Yourself With Regression Analysis
Regression analysis is a powerful statistical technique that makes examining the relationship between two or more variables of interest easier.
Understanding statistics requires a good understanding of regression analysis and the type of regression models.
To familiarize yourself with regression analysis, I encourage you to check the following books:
- Regression Analysis: A Practical Introduction by Jeremy Arkes, particularly if you are looking for a practical introduction to regression analysis.
- Regression Analysis: Theory, Methods, and Applications by Sen et al., if you are looking more theoretical introduction
- Chi-Squared data analysis and model testing for beginners by Witkov and Zengel
What to read next:
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- Is Taking AP Statistics Worth It? (Yes, and here’s why!)
- Is Elementary Statistics Hard? (Including how to make it easier!)
- Is Statistics Hard in High School? (Yes, here’s why!)
I believe learning acing statistics doesn’t have to be difficult. I encourage you to ensure you fully understand the types of data and how they are analyzed and interpreted.
While this blog post only scratches the surface when it comes to understanding statistics easily, following these steps should set you up for success as you continue down this path.
I also encourage you to take advantage of all the free resources available online too, as they will provide plenty of support along the way until, eventually, you will reach a point where stats become second nature.
With some effort and determination, understanding statistics won’t have to be such an arduous task after all.