Dealing With Anxiety


To Study Statistics or to Not Study Statistics. . . That is the Question

Let me just start here - Statistics IS on the EPPP. I have heard over and over again, as a coach preparing people for the EPPP, that learning this information often comes with feelings of intense stress and fear. You might be saying to yourself:

“I barely passed statistics in graduate school!”

“I’m never going to understand statistics!”

“Statistics is going to make me fail the EPPP.”

Before we move forward - take a deep breath. Regardless of your knowledge or feelings of competence regarding statistics, here is a strategy that may help you. On the exam, statistics will consist of approximately 10-15 test items. Although that might feel like a lot, it is a much smaller portion of the exam in comparison to other more highly emphasized areas of the test such as ethics and abnormal psychology. ”

Technically, this means that you can miss every test item in statistics and still pass the test. Feeling better now? You read this correctly. You can miss EVERY TEST ITEM in statistics and still pass. The exam is cumulative and bases whether or not you pass on your overall percentage or total number of test items answered correctly. Whether or not you decide to study statistics comes down to how you want to strategically prepare for the exam. For example, if you consistently score extremely high in ethics and lifespan, both highly emphasized on the test, you may have enough of a “buffer” to bypass studying statistics altogether.

To best determine whether or not to study statistics, consistently review the breakdown in your percentage scores in each domain of the practice tests. If you keep finding that you are really strong in certain domains, this allows you room to score a little lower in other areas you find to be a weakness. For many, this is often statistics. So, if you can’t reach a passing score of 70% in statistics on your practice tests and find that you keep scoring around a 60%, try and score an 80% in a domain that is a strength for you. It all averages out.

If you happen to enjoy statistics or find that you feel competent in your ability to perform well in this domain, by all means, study this section! Review the statistics material and focus on the areas of the material you feel you can reasonably master. Many find the first half of the book material for statistics easier to grasp than the second half, which focuses more on regressions and difficult concepts. As an example, you might feel comfortable with learning the scales of measurement and t-tests, but struggle with interaction effects. That’s okay! Get really comfortable with what you know and make sure to review it. Even a 50% in statistics is better than 0%. Learn what you can and look to compensate in other domains.

Finally, if you are short on time to study and are not sure whether or not to study statistics or another area of the exam, choose the area that is more emphasized. At times, people find that they allow a significant amount of study time for statistics because it is a source of anxiety for them. Remember, it is not a heavily emphasized area of the test. Therefore, you want to allocate your study time accordingly.

If you remain unsure of how to approach statistics based on your practice test scores, considering consulting an AATBS EPPP coach to help you decide what strategy is best for you. As you can see, this decision should be based on your knowledge of statistics, the amount of study time you have, and on your practice test scores.

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