6 Reasons Why Statistics Is So Hard (And helpful tips for studying stats!)

Why Statistics Is So Hard

Statistics is a field of mathematics with numerous applications. From data analysis and forecasting to survey sampling, understanding statistics can lead to better decisions and more accurate predictions. Unfortunately, studying statistics can be difficult for many students.

But why is statistics so hard? Most students find statistics hard because statistics involves a lot of technical terms that may sometimes become overwhelming. In addition, statistics can be challenging and confusing because it involves mathematical concepts that have yet to happen. Most situations students deal with in statistics are theoretical at best and cannot be easily settled or explained.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the key reasons why statistics can be challenging and provide tips on making learning easier.

If you wonder between Statistics and Calculus, which one is harder? I wrote a whole article that I encourage you to read.

What Is Statistics?

Statistics is a branch of applied mathematics that deals with developing and studying techniques for collecting, describing, interpreting, and analyzing empirical data (Source: UCI’s Department of Statistics)

Statistics is a highly useful subject applicable to almost all scientific fields. Studying statistics can help you think more critically about things you see daily and help you understand where people get those numbers from.

Uncertainty and variation are the two fundamental ideas in the field of statistics. Probability plays a crucial role in statistics and is used to discuss uncertain events and possibilities.

Reasons Why Statistics Is So Hard?

Even though statistics is hard for most students to learn; however, mastering this subject is worth it in the end because it provides valuable insights into data sets that can help make informed decisions when analyzing any information.

Here are the key reasons why statistics is so hard:

1- Depth and Breadth of Knowledge Required

Statistics requires a good understanding of probability theory, linear algebra, calculus, and programming. All these topics are large in scope and require an extensive amount of knowledge.

In addition, studying statistics requires a strong foundation in mathematics and an aptitude for problem-solving skills.

Students must also have a solid understanding of basic algebra before they start studying statistics, as it is essential in solving statistical problems.

Understanding a concept like regression analysis or multivariate analysis requires more than memorizing formulas; you need to understand the relationships between variables to apply them correctly. This often means spending extra time studying each topic in detail before attempting to apply it.

2- Mastering Statistics Requires Reading Skills

Most of my students find learning statistics similar to learning a new language. Indeed, statistics is like learning a new language because it contains a lot of reading comprehension with a side of math.

If you don’t comprehend what your statistics exercise or assignment asks you to do or what to solve, you will have difficulty passing a statistics class in college.

In general, Statistics is about 70% reading and 30% math.

The best way to ace your statistics class is to slow down, read, reread the questions, and extract the relevant information to solve the problem correctly.

3- Statistics Requires Practical Application

Unlike other subjects like mathematics or physics, which require mostly theoretical understanding, statistics also needs practical application. This means that even if you understand the theory behind a particular statistical technique, you won’t be able to use it effectively until you have practiced using it on real data sets.

This can be difficult because finding real data sets with relevant variables can take some time and effort.

Additionally, statistics takes practice to learn how to interpret results correctly and accurately and draw conclusions from them.

4- Data Sets Can Be Complicated

Data sets can also vary greatly in complexity depending on what area they are used for. For example, data sets in finance or economics typically contain many more variables than those used in social sciences or engineering research.

This means that more complex calculations will likely be involved when working with larger data sets, which can lead to additional difficulties when analyzing them correctly.

Additionally, data sets may also contain outliers or anomalies, which need special attention when interpreting results from analysis performed on them.

5- Understanding Statistics Requires Time Commitment

Statistics involves many complex concepts, such as probability distributions, hypothesis tests, and linear regression models. In other words, studying statistics requires significant time and effort.

It is not just about memorizing formulas or equations; it’s about understanding how these formulas work together to answer questions about data sets.

Students need to spend enough time on their studies to thoroughly understand the material, practice their skills regularly, and stay up-to-date on new developments in the field.

6- Completion Requirements

Many courses require students to complete several projects or assignments that involve collecting data and interpreting results using statistical methods. This can be very challenging if students are unfamiliar with the proper data analysis techniques.

Additionally, statistics exams usually involve solving complex problems from various areas of statistics, including probability theory, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and regression analysis.

Why Statistics Is So Hard
Students Studying In a Library.

Tips On How to Pass Statistics

Even though statistics seems hard, you can pass your course with the right preparation. The most important tips on passing statistics include never missing classes, practicing, and completing your homework and other additional assignments.

Here is how to pass statistics:

1- Build Foundational Knowledge

Before considering taking statistics, I suggest you review or build the foundational knowledge needed in the course.

For instance, an algebra course is usually a prerequisite for statistics classes, so refresh your algebraic skills in advance.

2- Ensure You Have The Appropriate Graphing Calculator

Having the right graphing calculator and knowing how to use it make a huge difference in passing statistics exams, particularly in high schools

Even though your teacher might insist that you learn to do things manually for homework, an essential part of the class is the test (particularly true with AP Stats!), and having a graphing calculator will be valuable.

Please read this article if you are interested in learning about the 5 Best Graphing Calculators (And how to choose the best one!)

3- Commit To Studying

To succeed in statistics, you must study and learn new concepts consistently. I suggest you form a study group with other strong and serious students.

Groups study are highly beneficial for keeping you on schedule with your studies and helping you give and receive needed support from your peers.

4- Complete Your Homework And Ask Questions

When I teach statistics, the students who get the lowest grades tend to be the ones who generally do not complete their homework or at the last minute.

I also suggest you ask your teachers or professor for help and build a good relationship with them (that will always be helpful in the future)

Best tips to improving your grades:

  • Ask questions in class.
  • Ask your teacher or professor your questions right after class
  • Go to your professor’s office hours for extra help.

5- Use Free Online Resources

Nowadays, hundreds of online tutorials explain all the basics clearly. Youtube and Khan Academy are excellent places for free help studying statistics.

In addition, depending on your school or faculty, most universities offer extra tutoring groups for statistics.

Here are a few helpful YouTube channels for learning statistics:

6- Practice As Much As You Can

Practice is essential to learn anything in life. Math and statistics classes are not the types of classes where you can passively listen, watch your professor solve problems, and immediately understand what is happening.

I suggest you rework every question solved in class on your own, as it will help you solidify your knowledge.

I notice that students who practice more are more likely to score on their exams. My advice is that if your professor provides your class with extra practice problems, try all the questions and see your professor if there are questions you can’t solve.

7- Make Your Own Notes

Making your notes will help you remember key concepts and formulas better. And more importantly, it will help prepare for exams, including AP Statistics.

Here is what I generally recommend my students add to their notes: 

  • Key formulas.
  • Essential vocabulary or terminology related to statistics
  • Problems you have already solved with a step-by-step solution.
  • Summary on how to use the various STAT functions on your calculator.

What to read next:

Final Thoughts

Learning statistics can be challenging due to its complexity, time commitment requirements, and completion requirements.

It’s important not only to gain an understanding of the theories behind various statistical techniques but also to practice using them on real data sets to get comfortable interpreting their results accurately.

With patience and dedication, anyone can become proficient at applying statistics and analyzing data effectively.


I am Altiné. I am the guy behind mathodics.com. When I am not teaching math, you can find me reading, running, biking, or doing anything that allows me to enjoy nature's beauty. I hope you find what you are looking for while visiting mathodics.com.

Recent Posts