Working on statistics problems (especially word problems) can be frustrating; but it doesn’t have to be! You just have to avoid the urge to jump right in and start doing calculations because the key to success is to develop a sound strategy. Use the following tips for test success (other students have found them helpful):

  • Think about what the problem is asking you to do (this is often stated in the last sentence of the problem).

  • Come up with a list of keywords that identify each different technique, and look for them in the problems, so you’ll know how to attack those problems on an exam.

  • Write down the formula you plan to use and label which numbers you want to plug in to each piece.

  • Do the calculations correctly and document your work.

  • Check your answer to see if it makes sense.

  • Interpret the results correctly, giving both the “statistically correct” answer (I’m 95 percent confident that the population mean is 16 inches, plus or minus 1 inch”) and the “answer in the context of the problem” (“This means we are 95 percent confident that the average height of this breed of dog is between 15 and 17 inches”).