In general, psychology students aren’t the biggest fans of math courses. However, it’s undeniable that stats is a big part of psychology – especially if you plan on going into research. As such, read on for a list of five things to remember when taking York’s year-long statistics course.

1. Stats is, in its nature, a cumulative subject!

One of the most commonly asked questions profs get is, “Will this exam be cumulative?” When you take the year-long stats course, the short answer is “no”. However, stats, similar to calculus, is inherently cumulative. If you can’t calculate the sum of squares, you’re going to have a difficult time with t-tests!

2. Take advantage of the tutorials!

PSYC2020 has an interesting format; instead of the professor lecturing for the entire three hours, he lectures for the first hour and a half then lets the TA take over for the rest of the class to present her own slideshow as a review of the topics learned during the previous class. Yes, it’s tempting to leave at the half-hour mark (those three-hour lectures are brutal!), but at least stay for the first fifteen minutes of the tutorial. If she’s going over material you already feel comfortable with, you can leave. But if she starts explaining things you are confused by, you’ll be happy you stayed!

3. Do the homework.

At the end of every class, the prof asks the class to complete the questions at the end of the chapter covered in class so the TA can go over the answers in the next week’s tutorial. Yes, stats homework is not a particularly fun activity – especially if you don’t enjoy stats, as is the case with many psychology students. But learn the lesson the easy way: when you have other time-consuming classes and are not staying on top of your stats homework, it piles up really quickly! Before you know it, you’ll be three classes behind on your homework and won’t know what in God’s name is going on.

4. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the TA for help

If you’re taking PSYC2020 taught by Alistair Mapp, your TA will most likely be the same one he’s worked with for the past seven years. Some good news? She’s actually very nice! If you email her a question, she will have no problem answering and will do so in the least condescending way possible. Furthermore, if you missed a tutorial for whatever reason, she’s actually willing to email you the slideshow she presented! In terms of TAs, you can’t get much better than that!

5. Take advantage of the PASS program

PASS stands for Peer Assisted Study Sessions, and they are run by a student who did particularly well (we’re talking A+) in the course the previous year. The PASS leader will usually hold two sessions per week on campus and will even do one live on Facebook (a new and extremely useful feature). Not only will these sessions force you to stay on top of your work, but they will also allow you to ask questions if you’re confused about certain concepts and receive extra review materials before tests. You can’t miss!


A lot of psychology students don’t particularly enjoy this stats class. It takes work, and in a lot of cases, it’s work people just don’t want to do. But if you stay on top of the material and put in the effort, there’s no reason you can’t make it through!


Lia Reed

Lia hopes to get her PhD in Clinical Psychology, so she'll be in school for a long time! Aside from that, she loves playing with her cat and tutoring (so she gets at least some human interaction!).

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