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What is the IQ required to do a statistics major?

  1. Sep 10, 2015 #1
    I'm a statistics major, due to engineering not being feasible (units) at this point, and that i'm not really interested in anything in particular that much.. Statistics seems like a degree that is neither too shabby or too good in terms of employ-ability, so it seems reasonable. my goal after graduation is to be an analyst of some sort, like market research analyst, management analyst, or whatever i could catch with just a B.S. (most likely some entry level data entry job).Anything that puts food on the table that I cant get with just hs degree is fine with me.

    But i read forums about how people say that upper division math classes are reallyyyyyyy hard. I know that classes math majors have to take like real analysis and topology are really hard, but statistics majors don't have to take those. but i still have to take quite a few 400 level math classes: intro to linear models, prob and stats 1 and 2, categorical data analysis, sas, all in one semester, because they're only offered in the spring (with exception of prob n stats 1, which i will take the fall semester prior), and the only professor that teaches most of them is an ******* that derives pleasure from confusing and tricking (and prob failing) students. He's an ******* in the sense that he is snobby and won't reply to emails on purpose. he is rated very poorly on ratemyprofessor. I know he won't reply to emails due to snobbiness because he is also the major advisor and i have tried emailing him

    My iq is average. Should i switch majors because of my IQ? I should also add that i attend a school with 54 percent acceptance rate. I want to get at least a 3.0 . Is this doable with my IQ in a math intensive major?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2015 #2
    My IQ is 96 and I have successfully obtained a math degree. So I'll just go ahead and say it: IQ is a meaningless thing. Don't measure your worth from your IQ.
    Hard work is way more important than IQ.
  4. Sep 10, 2015 #3
    That's a pretty huge dismissal... You got a math degree with an average IQ, thus it is meaningless? Thousands of professionals developing, administrating and scoring the test are just wasting time? The government using it as a metric for disability benifit is not proper or valid?

    I agree not to base worth on it for sure. And hard work is important. But if your IQ is low enough no amount of hard work will make up for it. It's not a hard line... The smarter you work the less hard you have to work.
  5. Sep 10, 2015 #4
    For the goals of the OP: certainly. IQ is a decent test for measuring when a person does not have the intelligence to function in society. So when somebody has an IQ of 60 or 70, then the IQ score is a pretty handy tool. Once you start from average IQ-scores of 80 or 90, it's a meaningless statistic. The only difference between getting a 100 or a 160 is how good you'll feel about being labelled a number.
  6. Sep 10, 2015 #5
    Short answer, no, don't drop out of statistics because of something you read on the internet.

    Long answer, there might be some useful predictions you can make about yourself if you have an accurate measure of IQ.

    This is an interesting question, and one I know a little something about. Psychometrics is an amateur interest of mine, since it is the part of psychology that has the most replicatable, repeatable, and reliable results. Of all of psychometrics, IQ is the thing that has been studied the most and the longest. Here is a link to an article in the Encyclopedia of Sociology explaining the concept of intelligence and the history of its development.

    Intelligence is very much related to both academic and real-world success in the modern world, although two very important things to remember are: other things matter, particularly your capacity to work hard and focus, and all of the research describing a relationship between intelligence and any outcome uses words "tends to" or "for the most part". We are talking about probabilities, not absolutes.

    If you want to see some data, here is a chart from a paper by Steve Hsu and James Schombert looking at the relationship between SAT scores and the upper division GPA of math and physics undergraduates. In this case, the metric was overall odds of having a GPA of 3.5 or higher in 300 and 400 level math or physics courses.
    SAT scores are a decent proxy for IQ or academic ability or whatever you wish to call it, and there is pretty clearly a relationship between math SAT scores and grades in math-intensive subjects. This shouldn't be surprising. If you are better at math, you are probably going to get better grades in math classes.

    But the real question the OP has asked is: what does this mean for me? That is a lot harder to answer, but I'll try to give some general guidance that is of wider interest.

    First, do you *really* have an accurate assessment of your own ability? Knowing nothing more about you than that you have gained admission to a university makes it rather unlikely you are truly average in intelligence. Now, if you have an actual score from one of the three big IQ tests, the WISC, Stanford-Binet, or Raven's Progressive Matrices, I would modify that statement accordingly.

    Second, intelligence is not the only thing, or the most important thing in completing a college degree. Interest in a subject and the willingness to work hard matter a lot. How much "a lot" is depends on the intrinsic difficulty of the subject.

    Third, you already have some demonstrated ability in math. Previous success tends to be a pretty good indicator of past success. Upper division courses are going to be harder than introductory courses. You should expect this, and not feel discouraged. More work [that hard work thing again] will be necessary, and perhaps you will to find good resources to help you through your coursework if the professor is as unhelpful as you say. Your university should have something available to help you find tutoring or mentorship. The university has absolutely no interest in you doing poorly in classes. Take advantage of that.
  7. Sep 14, 2015 #6
    I think there are two types of 'hard' and it is important to distinguish between them. First there is conceptually hard, these things are difficult to understand because they are far from everyday experience, I would say real analysis and topology fall into this category. Second there is progressively hard (I can't think of a better description), these are difficult to understand because although each concept is quite simple they build on one another and assume knowledge.

    It sounds like the material you are worrying about is progressively hard. That means the strategy to succeed is to be very comfortable with the previous material to 'keep up' with the new material. To do this, do problem sheets to identify gaps in your understanding and find peers/tutors to help fill those gaps. If you get behind it will be very painful to catch up.

    If you're really worried you could use edX or kahn academy to familiarise yourself with some of the courses during holiday giving you more time to focus on the other courses.
  8. Sep 14, 2015 #7
    First off, I may not be a physics, mathematics, anything. Not even a high school grad yet. But I can tell you something that most no one else will. This reality is not real it's not what we perceive it to be. Money? Meaningless. Iq? Somewhat meaningless (really decides how hard you have to work) but here's the thing - our brain is much more strong than anything, telling yourself you can't will result in I won't. Telling yourself you can results in I will do this now. Say it, "I will do this now" and do it. Crazy concept but our fates are in our hands decidedly. Regaurdless of anything. Break the mind control, and no barrier and then simply succeed in anything u do in life.
  9. Sep 14, 2015 #8
    People like to forget about the psychology of our world. What you see is a lie remember this, you can do anything you ever want. Don't be a victim to your own mind
  10. Sep 15, 2015 #9


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    If you're hoping to find that a statistics major is some sort of "safety" degree to obtain, you might want to reconsider.

    I once had a high school math teacher, one with a PhD in math no less, who was a rather, ahem, cocky individual. He was one who was not willing to tolerate any nonsense from his students with regards to math, and it was not unknown for him to throw an eraser at a student whom he thought was unprepared for class or not putting forth his best efforts at studying the material.

    Anyway, one day our class got him to talking a little bit about math classes at college and how hard they might be, and our math teacher mentioned his brother, who was then studying to be an actuary. Now, our math teacher was no slouch in things mathematical, but he mentioned that in order to become an actuary, his brother had to study loads of statistics in college and then take a rather daunting and difficult professional exam in order to obtain his actuarial credentials. Our teacher said the actuarial exam would have been a challenge to him, even with his doctorate in math!

    Colleges don't test their applicants for IQ (at least not the ones with which I am familiar), and to many academics, the IQ metric is rather suspect as a reliable qualification or indicator of whether a student will do well or poorly at college. Schools, however, do rely heavily on standardized test scores, like the SAT and the ACT, when selecting which applicants to admit. Once you have been admitted, however, having a high score on a standardized test does not always guarantee that things will go as well academically once you are immersed fully in college life. You still have to do the course work and do well on the exams in order to pass your courses and obtain your degree.
  11. Sep 15, 2015 #10
    i don't understand what you mean by this? Do you mean that statistics is not an employable degree?
  12. Sep 15, 2015 #11


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    No, what I mean is that if you are hoping that obtaining a degree in statistics will be easier than obtaining a degree in engineering, for example, becuz it's less work or the material is somehow easier to master, you might want to re-examine this supposition.

    Statisticians as professionals are in demand to a certain degree in certain fields. Actuaries, for example, are recruited by insurance companies to help them assess and quantify risk, so that the insurance company can properly price its premiums. If the actuaries guess wrong, the insurance company can lose a lot of money very quickly, so insurance companies tend to hire only the best actuarial candidates. Ditto if you are a statistician in charge of quality control at a manufacturing plant.

    As an engineer, I took a course in statistics when I was in college. Math-wise, statistics was not as difficult as say, vector calculus, but it did take a different kind of thinking to follow and understand some of the reasoning behind the concepts.
  13. Sep 15, 2015 #12
    Statisticians and actuaries need more than just a BS . There are very few of them too. So if i don't go to grad school or take exams after, is statistics B.S still employable?
    I know statistics isn't easier than engineering; it just has fewer units. I am super senior. If it is employable though, i would fight with it till graduation. I think I am really regretting switching out of accounting at this point.....
  14. Sep 15, 2015 #13
    And if you're in the US or Canada, it's more like 8 - 10 difficult professional exams over 5 - 8 years. A lot of work!
  15. Sep 15, 2015 #14


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    What I am about to say may seem harsh, but in all honesty, you have been on this forum stating how much you regret not doing this particular degree or that particular degree, or otherwise wallowing in self-pity. Get over it!!

    Instead of obsessing on what IQ you need to finish a degree, why not actually focus your energy on working hard, understanding your material, doing the best on your coursework, and getting an internship during the summer to provide you with job experience?

    As for employability, any degree can be either employable or unemployable, and whether it is either or not depends on you! In the case of statistics, as I've stated before in another thread you've posted, if you develop some good programming and communication skills, a BS in statistics can be very employable (although you may not be called a statistician), but you would be even more employable if you pursued a MS, in all honesty. That being said, a BS in statistics is also a great preparation for becoming an actuary, assuming you're interested in becoming one, and that you've passed at least a few of the exams. Of course, it's important that you gain some experience (in an internship, for example), attend any job fairs at your school, and network, network, network!!

    Now as far as how challenging these exams are, I have a number of friends who are actuaries. The first 2 exams shouldn't be that hard, because they are just a review of the math and intro stats and probability classes, but after that, there are more materials covering specific actuarial topics and business topics, and these can be challenging. Challenging but doable, if you study and prepare for these -- hey, my friends are not geniuses, and they were able to pass these, and I have every reason to believe that, as a stats major, that you'll be able to pass these with work.

    So the bottom line is, if you work hard & smart, show some effort, and reach out and network, you can be employable!
  16. Sep 15, 2015 #15
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-attitude-more-important-than-iq-dr-travis-bradberry [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  17. Sep 15, 2015 #16
    well i'm scared that even if i tried my best, i wouldn't be intelligent enough to pass upper division maths
  18. Sep 15, 2015 #17


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    Upper division maths aren't too bad. Mostly counting things and drawing blobs. Pay attention to definitions, don't assume anything until you either prove it for yourself or are told you can assume it. Anyway, you said you won't need to take those.
    You will have to take Prob and Stats and Linear Models. These are the foundation of statistics -- kind of like arithmetic for statisticians. If you like statistics, you will like these classes. If you understand how statistics is done, you will understand these courses.
    What courses have you already taken? You said you are a stats major, but it looks like you still have to take all the stats classes.
  19. Sep 15, 2015 #18


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    Look, you've already gotten this far in your studies, so obviously you're intelligent enough to still be in college/university. You just have to work hard and be organized to be able to graduate. I'm not a genius and I was able to graduate (and even finish a MS), so if I can do it, so can you.

    I don't want to yell at you (as that would be rude), but as I've said before, with all due respect to you:

    GET OVER IT!!!

  20. Sep 19, 2015 #19
    It's my understanding that education isn't structured to pass or fail because of high IQ or not. It's a step system where the class you're taking now, builds the foundation for the new material you'll learn later. And on and on. I've never gone to a great school, but at my grade level it seems like every class is roughly (I made this up on the spot) $75% application of previously learned concepts, and 25% extension. Give or take.

    So it's not about how smart you are. It's about how well you understand the material. The only difference, I think with intelligence, is how quickly that happens. Setting the correct pace for your education is more important than the material you study (as far as success goes). Unless you have some kind of learning disability, you should be able to obtain whatever degree you chose.
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