Some TIPS for success in
this course

This is a course in which the mathematical skills acquired in
the prerequisite courses are expanded upon, and applied to problems in
Statistics. It is not a review of these skills, and you shouldn’t expect it to
be. Students who did poorly in the prerequisite courses, or who don`t remember
what they did there, should be prepared to revisit their notes from those
courses.

Typically there is a sizeable cohort of students who do extremely well in
this course, and in this
note I will explain how they do it, and how you too can do it.

First a WARNING:
Some students
enter this course thinking that mathematics is a body of facts to be memorized,
rather than an exciting process in which to engage. Such students spend their
time seeking out opportunities to watch others solve the problems posed in the
labs and lectures, in the hopes that if they can only memorize enough answers
then they will somehow be able to match them up with the right questions. This sounds ridiculous,
and it is. If it
describes you, then you should BAIL
OUT NOW! Perhaps you
would be happier in law school.

Now the GUIDE TO SUCCESS: One hundred percent of the grade in
this course is obtained by writing out solutions to problems which arise in the
lectures, or are posed in the labs. These questions are publicized well in
advance – the tentative lists, consisting of about 150 problems, are available
now.

Knowing the questions from which the exam questions will be
chosen is a huge advantage, if you choose to make it so. The students who
succeed don`t do it by magic – they do it by taking the only sensible route. After each lecture they solve, and
write down solutions to, the problems which can now be done of the basis of the
most recent lectures. They solve, and write down the solutions to, the lab
problems. They attend labs, not to watch others do mathematics but to engage in
the process themselves, and to pose any questions which might have arisen in
their work. They are very frequently in my office asking me to read and check
their solutions. Note that my office hours are `whenever I am in my office, or by appointment`- e-mail me if you want to be sure
I am in.

By the time the exam comes around, these students have
written up solutions to all the possible exam questions, in what they believe
to be a perfect manner. They don`t attempt to memorize these. They don`t need to – they remember the process, they have seen the
way the concepts flow from one application to another, and most of all they remember and relish the
feelings of excitement at discovering these mathematical and statistical truths
for themselves. (AND of course they look forward to
showing their mates how clever they are – that`s part of the fun!)