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Should I take Stats?

  1. May 12, 2012 #1
    Hey everyone,

    Next year (sophomore year in highschool) I will be taking pre-calc as of now. I was just dropping into ask if anyone thinks that it's a good idea to take AP-Stats along with pre-calc. I can't imagine myself having all that much trouble with it, as I do love math.

    Thanks for the replies.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2012 #2
    I would say go for it if you have the option.

    Personally, I hate statistics. It doesn't feel like "real math" if you know what I mean, at least, at a lower level. I wouldn't count on "I like math, so I will like this" unless you have had some exposure to it. But then again, that is just from personal experience.
  4. May 13, 2012 #3


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    I have heard people knock statistics for a lot of reasons, but I've never heard that one :)

    I agree that in comparison to other kinds of math, it is different but probabilistic variables just generalizes the idea that instead of having something with zero variance, you introduce things with variance.

    For example we have things like y = x + 2 and we get a line. With non-zero variance variables you can use things like y = x + 2 and calculate y in terms of realizations, expectation and so on if x is normally distributed, exponential and so on. In fact this is precisely what is done in stochastic calculus: we include the generalization of having instances of variables that have non-zero variance.

    It's easier to make sense of how you can relate probability to maths if you think in terms of determinism having zero variance and non-determinism having non-zero variance.

    For the OP though, I'd recommend it because it will introduce a different style of thinking as QuarkCharmer has mentioned, and for that reason it is a good idea IMO.
  5. May 13, 2012 #4
    Last edited: May 13, 2012
  6. May 13, 2012 #5
    Statistics is very useful in real life. Also, much of the underlying theory for statistics uses "real math," but you likely won't encounter that in AP Stats. However, what AP Stats will give you is a good introduction to practical statistics for science or engineering.

    Having a good basic understanding of statistics can help for classes such as genetics, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, economics, quality control, experimental design, etc. Even many fields that wouldn't seem extremely mathematical, such as psychology or sociology make heavy usage of statistics for their studies.

    As many have stated above, it also trains you to think carefully about what you are concluding based on the information you have. Here is a classic problem from statistics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem
  7. May 13, 2012 #6

    Stephen Tashi

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    I agree! Furthermore most students in an introductory statistics course develop a complete misunderstanding of how its procedures can be interpreted.

    The question of whether a person should do something is related what other choices exist. What are the other choices available to the original poster?
  8. May 13, 2012 #7
    I'm gonna go out on a limb here: why not finish pre-calc and *then* study calculus?
  9. May 13, 2012 #8
    Well as of now I'm only qualified to take pre-calc and AP stats, I would take AP calc but the prerequisite for it is pre-calc. If I didn't take AP stats this year I would most likely take it next year with AP calc, but after I finish AP calc I will have no other math classes. So I guess the school will have to make arrangments with a local college so me and a few other students can go over there and take a couple math courses our senior year.
  10. May 13, 2012 #9
    A friend of mine will be teaching me most of pre-calc and some calc, he's sure that I can handle it. This is, in hopes, that when I take pre-calc next year I will already understand about 90% of the material. Therefore I will be qualified to begin rigorously working through Spivak.
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